Why aren’t more cities getting behind Occupy? As grateful as we can be for the few who are, it begs the question why our local governments are so hesitant to back the stated agenda of a movement of the people.
The city of Cleveland recently passed an emergency resolution to support Occupy Cleveland and the Occupy movement in general. Their particular resolution is stronger than some others we’ve seen in other cities who have shown official support of Occupy, such as Pittsburgh’s, but all support shown for Occupy is a tremendous improvement over where we were before the American Autumn.
The Cleveland City Council resolution will be sent to Congress and President Obama, and reads in part (emphasis mine):
BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF CLEVELAND:
Section 1. That this Council recognizes and supports the principles of the Occupy Movement and the peaceful and lawful exercise of the First Amendment as a cherished and fundamental right in the effort to seek solutions for economically distressed Americans at the federal, state and local levels.
Section 2. That this Council commits to working with the Jackson administration to continue taking steps to minimize economic insecurity and destructive disparities in the City of Cleveland.
Section 3.That this Council requests our Congressional leaders generate solutions for economically distressed Americans.
Section 4.That the Clerk of Council is directed to transmit copies of this resolution to President Barack Obama and all members of the U.S. Congress.
Section 5.That this resolution is hereby declared to be an emergency measure and, provided it receives the affirmative vote of two-thirds of all the members elected to Council, it shall take effect and be in force immediately upon its adoption and approval by the Mayor; otherwise, it shall take effect and be in force from and after the earliest period allowed by law.
The resolution is dated as adopted on Dec 5, 2012, which we hope and assume is a typo.
Pittsburgh’s resolution was strong in its support:
WHEREAS, the Occupy Wall Street movement is a non-violent, people powered movement for direct democracy that began in the United States on September 17, 2011 with an encampment in the financial district of New York City; and
WHEREAS. the Occupy Wall Street movement and its offshoot movements around the world, including here in Pittsburgh, exemplify a new and exciting surge of popular resistance to the dominance of multi-national banks and corporations over the lives of millions of working families,
WHEREAS, solidified by a march and rally on October 15, 2011, from Freedom Corner to Market Square, and continuing through the ongoing encampment at Grant Street and Sixth Avenue, Occupy Pittsburgh represents our local contribution, and has become one of the more sophisticated organizations in this worldwide movement; and
WHEREAS, the Allegheny County Labor Council, AFL-CIO, and other organizations, in addition to many cities and other municipalities, have gone on record in support of the Occupy movement;
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Council of the City of Pittsburgh does support and declare solidarity with Occupy Pittsburgh and the Occupy Wall Street movement, exercising First Amendment rights in a free, open, peaceful, and productive manner, toward the better condition of our citizens and of these United States.
SPONSORED BY COUNCIL PRESIDENT DARLENE M. HARRIS
CO-SPONSORED BY COUNCIL MEMBERS:
RICKY V. BURGESS, PATRICK DOWD, THERESA KAIL-SMITH, BRUCE A. KRAUS, R. DANIEL LAVELLE, WILLIAM PEDUTO, NATALIA RUDIAK, AND DOUGLAS SHIELDS
Isn’t Bloomberg ashamed? Why would any mayor treat the people as an enemy, when they should be willing to meet with the people in order to hear their complaints and should be supporting the precious First Amendment rights of their citizens. We saw early on the mayor of Austin using the Occupy protests as a way of being more in touch with the people, instead of hiding in the ivory tower of privilege. That’s just smart politics and it happens to also be the right thing for them to do.
Of course, in most cities the police answer to the Mayor and not the City Council, so we can’t expect police brutality against the protesters to fall in line with these resolutions. One was, in fact, introudced in New York as well.
Other cities with similar resolutions are Seattle, LA and Chicago; so we’re seeing a melding of progressive cities with labor cities. If I were a Republican standing for the 1%, that would make me nervous; but then again, if I were a Republican standing for the 1%, I wouldn’t care what the cities or her people did, because I would think the riches of this country existed for those who were greedy enough and privileged enough to have a piece of the pie already.
The actions of the city councils in Cleveland and Pittsburgh serve as a reminder that the battle isn’t strictly the 99% versus the governmental puppets of the 1%. Movements are comprised of individuals, and individuals within governments are being forced to confront the realities of our American corruption and inequality.
Cleveland and Pittsburgh have done the right thing. Here’s hoping that the protests continue until more cities, states, and finally our federal government gets the message.
Image: Occupy Pittsburgh