While OWS was demonstrating throughout lower Manhattan yesterday, with over 200 participants arrested, the Mid-Jersey Move-on Council joined the Nationwide Day of Action for Jobs and Economic Justice in sponsoring a peaceful rally on the steps of the State House. One of the eight speakers, Occupy Trenton’s Alex Higgins, said “We need to spread awareness of why OT is here.” He urged the rainy day audience of about 150 people to support OT and join its cause. This event marked a “coming out” for OT participants – the first time they worked together with other local groups in organizing a substantial event.
The theme of “Jobs Not Cuts” ran through the message of the other labor union and anti-war speakers. Carol Gay, President, NJ State Industrial Union Council, said, “More cuts won’t help; we need more jobs programs. There has to be an end to attacking the social safety net. We need to reinstate the millionaires’ tax. The occupy movement is shining a light on greed and inequality.” Rev Robert Moore, Executive Director, Coalition for Peace Action, had as his theme,”Jobs not war.”
Occupy Trenton participants have steadfastly maintained a policy of not aligning themselves with only one specific political group. Nonetheless, there is a growing realization that to increase their supporters and to achieve goals envisioned in their message they must participate with others and organize events that capture public attention. After the speeches Alex Higgins pointed out that while other occupy sites have members with experience in direct action activities, OT does not. They need people with this expertise as well other talents to sustain and grow their embryonic movement.
Now with two venues – at the WWII Memorial and a nearby Tent City – the logistics for 24/7 operation require more on-site volunteers and people who can participate regularly in their workgroups and GA and not only plan projects but carry out the specific tasks. Individuals are wearing too many hats, with Edward maintaining the “face” of OT at the Memorial, Maureen stepping up the publicity, Sam planning the Tent City community, and Alex interacting with other organizations. Their involvement yesterday with local progressives was another step in their process of maturation. The need for jobs and economic justice today cannot be clearer.
While Occupy Trenton’s efforts in our state are ongoing, another occupy venue in NJ is just beginning. You can join today’s debut of Occupy Newark and read about the event here or on facebook. You can also learn more about Occupy Trenton at their website.