A group of Wisconsin activists are helping lead the opening rally today on the latest stop of the occupation movement making its way across America, this time at Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C.
Thousands of Americans are converging on the nation's capital today as part of the October2011 movement, which is "a prolonged occupation that coincides with the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan and a new federal Fiscal Year that promises austerity in everything but weapons and war," according to a release. Many of the nation's long-term unemployed have pledged to take part in the occupation beginning today.
“I am a 99er whose job disappeared over three years ago and have gone without any income for one year [and] three months," said Rhonda Taylor, who is taking part in the Freedom Plaza occupation. "I advocate for the 99ers and would like to see jobs created in this country. Human needs before War.”
Here is the pledge made by those taking part in, or supporting, the October2011 movement:
I pledge that if any U.S. troops, contractors, or mercenaries remain in Afghanistan on Thursday, October 6, 2011, as that occupation goes into its 11th year, I will commit to being in Freedom Plaza in Washington, D.C., with others on that day or the days immediately following, for as long as I can, with the intention of making it our Tahrir Square, Cairo, our Madison, Wisconsin, where we will NONVIOLENTLY resist the corporate machine by occupying Freedom Plaza to demand that America's resources be invested in human needs and environmental protection instead of war and exploitation. We can do this together. We will be the beginning.
More than 150 groups have backed the movement, including Occupy Wall Street, the Progressive Democrats of America, the Progressive Caucus of California, Wisconsin Wave, the American 99ers Union, HealthCare Now, the the Michigan Peace Team, and the Indiana Peace and Justice Network. The full list of supporter organizations can be found here.
Here's a live stream of the opening ceremonies and ongoing action taking place at Freedom Plaza:
The October2011 protesters say they are in agreement with a supermajority of Americans when it comes to seven important issues threatening the future and integrity of the nation and its economy:
Those in support of the long-term occupation effort in D.C. say they want to see legislators represent all Americans, not just the wealthiest one percent.
"Our safety net is at risk of being gouged, further threatening the health and well-being of our nation's most vulnerable at a time when 1 in 6 live in poverty and 50 million are uninsured," said Vanessa Beck of HealthCare Now. "Cuts to Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare will increase poverty, illness, and death. There is no better time to implement improved Medicare-for-all. It saves lives, keeps people healthy, and redirects money from corporations to health care."