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Occupation Movement Organizes in Hartford

by | Oct 5, 2011 11:42am
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Posted to: Town News, Hartford

Hugh McQuaid Photo

Demonstrators gather outside Bushnell Park

Around 65 people gathered on a sidewalk outside Bushnell Park Wednesday morning and identified economic injustice as the primary unifying principle of the Occupy Hartford movement.

The activity in Hartford represents the latest incarnation of a movement that began last month in Manhattan with the ongoing “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations. Since then demonstrations have sprouted up in dozens of cities across the country. University of Connecticut students were expected to stage a walkout Wednesday afternoon to show solidarity for the movement.

-Click here to read Melissa Bailey’s latest report from Occupy Wall Street

Jon Prue, a WHUS radio host and one of the group’s organizers, said the Hartford meeting was organizational in nature and did not represent the beginning of a formal occupation. However, the group moved to establish a handful of committees to address the logistical concerns of a long-term occupation.

Rather than employ a microphone or bullhorn, the group used a technique it called “the people’s mic” to conduct its meeting. Whenever an individual spoke, the entire group would parrot his or her exact words back. Prue described himself as “just one of the 99 percent,” but he led much of the assembly’s discussion Wednesday.

“The first step is to educate ourselves and have these committees formed so our occupation goes well, so people can stay here indefinitely if our needs are not met,” he said.

Prue said the group would need to establish a legal team, to avoid trouble with the law. They would have to reach out for medical support, he said. Food and shelter committees would have to be formed, as well as media outreach and expression committees, he said.

Some occupation movements in other cities have drafted formal demands to be met before the demonstrators will disperse. The Hartford group had yet to determine exactly what its demands will be and Prue wouldn’t speak to what the group will likely decide.

“All I would say is we’re here to figure out the best way to approach building a better tomorrow because unfortunately our representatives don’t represent us. So we have to take our sovereignty back and demand change,” he said.

Dissatisfaction with the government was a common complaint among the demonstrators. David Morse, a freelance journalist from Storrs, said he came out to demonstrate because he was unhappy with the direction the country was headed. He said he wanted to support the most progressive elements of the political system.

“That means social justice, it means gender equity, it means a fair taxation system. The wealthy should not be getting off free. I think if these executives are getting really bloated salaries in the multi-millions, they should be paying a good chunk of that back to the society that’s supporting them,” he said.

Morse was among many at the meeting who advocated keeping the group’s message as general as possible. Many Americans share the concerns of the demonstrators so the more fundamental the message is the more support they will likely get, he said.

Organizers of the movement on Wall Street have posted to their website a proposed list of demands primarily focused on shifting the tax burden more on to corporations and the rich and strengthening government oversight and enforcement of the corporate financial system.

But some media accounts of the demonstrations have focused attention the varying message and principles of many of the people involved with the protests. JoAnne Bauer of Hartford told the group she thought the media was willfully choosing to not see the message the demonstrations are trying to send.

“It’s my strong belief that that is just a silly tactic. The message is clear—we are suffering. People in the cities in particular are suffering because of the economic disparities, the economic injustices,” she said.

That disparity is especially evident in Connecticut, a state that has both impoverished cities and Fairfield County, home to some of the nation’s wealthiest individuals, she said.

The occupation movement represents a chance for different types of activists to unify under one umbrella for a cause, she said. It has already drawn college students, folks from anti-war movement and the gay and lesbian movement, she said.

“People are coming together around the fact that their pocketbooks are hurting. We don’t have money for education, we don’t have money for public services. We’re in trouble in the city of Hartford,” she said

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(6) Archived Comments

posted by: Disgruntled | October 6, 2011  9:42am

The “haves” will always get their way. From banks to retailers to politiicians.
An interesting news items today re:actions by corporations.

“Costco is still doing a brisk business, with profit up 12 percent for its fiscal year ending in August and revenue, at $88.9 billion, up 14 percent.”
So what are they going to do? Increase their membership fee by 10%.

Vote with your ballot.Vote with your voice. Vote with your feet.Vote with your checkbook.

posted by: CTResidentForLife | October 6, 2011  12:58pm

Isn’t it strange we have had a system of capitalism for centuries now and in the most recent decades, the middle class now sends their kids to college, owns large homes, multiple cars and has a better standard of living than in the socialist countries.  The programs of the left/Democrats such as the Community Reinvestment Act encouraged banks to loosen up lending standards, and then we are surprised when we have a banking problem and call it “corporate greed”.  This is similar to the government spending like drunken sailors and enacting massive programs like Obamacare and regulations so business people are afraid to hire, yet the left blames “corporations” again.  I see these protesters simply as pawns of the Democrats, Unions, and left extremist organizations like Moveon.org.  Economic Injustice is just another phrase for socialism advocates who want all of us to have lower living standards like they do in socialist countries where unemployment is over 20% and the middle class all drive bicycles and live in “flats”.  These protesters are in the wrong places.  They should be protesting at the White House and at the capitals of places where Democrats have implemented their grandiose spending and regulation programs.

Just in case these liberals have not noticed, other countries less capitalistic, including the socialistic countries are also having tough economic times.  Trusting the left and being pawns is not going to help.  Think about the left organizations…

When was the last time a front organization for Democrats/the left like NOW did anything for a woman?  Go to their website and see what is there.  If you can read through the hype, you can see if’s nothing but a mishmash of liberal agendas.  Check out Code Pink as well.  They barely mention the wars anymore now that a Democrat is president.  It’s like they fell off the face of the earth!

It’s a shame these pawns are being used.  I hope our economy recovers soon and the government gets out of the way and we then have prosperity for all.  This is a very bad economic cycle, but Democrats are making things much worse.  The best thing anyone can do is be sure to vote.

posted by: Korten | October 6, 2011  3:18pm

CT News Junkie is generally very well written and professionally produced.  So it’s a disappointment to see that no one caught the error in the phrase “the primary unifying principal of the Occupy Hartford movement.”  It should, of course, be “principle.”

posted by: Christine Stuart | October 6, 2011  4:01pm

Christine Stuart

Thanks for pointing it out. If you ever want to catch a typo and help us out you can reach us at ctnewsjunkie@gmail.com
Thanks again.
Christine Stuart

posted by: dhaseltine | October 6, 2011  4:44pm

WHUS Radio is in no way affiliated with Occupy Hartford, Occupy Wall Street, or any political movement.

David Haseltine

WHUS Promotions Director
91.7 FM|whus.org

posted by: gutbomb86 | October 6, 2011  7:00pm


@CTResidentforLife - a lot of folks see people like you as a pawn for greedy capitalists bent on retaking the presidency so that they can both kill off tax revenue and increase spending exponentially and irresponsibly with ridiculous demands on our military and massive unaccountable contracts for defense products no one will ever see or use. Or need. All to our detriment and to the detriment of people who volunteer for military service.

The “drunken sailor” spending habits are not related to Affordable Healthcare legislation. The drunken sailors are, in fact, drunken sailors in uniform with admirals bars and or joint chiefs insignia who are approving about a billion dollars a day in private defense contracts out of your pocket. But instead you want to target people’s healthcare some gov’t service where you had to wait in line for more than 5 minutes as the bigger problem. Wow. Quibble all you want about healthcare and welfare or unemployment benefits or any other trickle of domestic money. Feel free. But that stuff pales in comparison to the big dollars going out - daily - in the form of DoD contracts and corporate welfare all designed to pad the pockets of the wealthiest 1%.

You’re completely off base and partisan in your suggestion that people want a lower standard of living as well. Did someone pay you to post that? So bizarre as to be hard to believe you were sincere. I’m more apt to conclude it was a spoof comment.