Netroots Nation won’t be the only progressive group taking Providence by storm this weekend. Occupy Providence, the activists that protested economic inequality by turning Burnside Park into a tent city in 2011, plans to re-occupy the city in honor of Netroots.
Local poet and activist Jared Paul, one of the original organizers of Occupy Providence, said the group plans a four-day, three night occupation of the sidewalks near the Convention Center during Netroots starting Thursday and lasting through Sunday.
“We believe our occupation will show that the voice of the 99 percent is present and active at this political convention,” he said. Besides, he added, the action will make a good alternative to those “who don’t have the money for the registration fee.”
Paul stressed that Occupy isn’t protesting Netroots Nation – while he said some of the high-level political operatives and beltway Democrats involved with Netroots don’t always have the best interest of the 99 percent in mind, he added, “many of the people there are our allies, and we look forward to making more of them our allies.”
Mary Rickles, a spokeswoman for Netroots, said the annual conference is on the side of the Occupy movement in general and Occupy Providence in particular.
“We stand with the 99 percent too and welcome the conversation they want to have,” she said. “We’ve been supportive of the Occupy movement from the get-go. Last fall, we publicly petitioned Mayor Taveras to not evict the protestors from Burnside Park. And, we’ve got a number of Occupy folks on panels during the conference. We look forward to working with them on pushing out the message that our leaders must stand for the 99 percent.”
Netroots has planned several panel discussions on the Occupy movement, such as: Beyond Occupy: What Does a New Economic System Look Like? on Thursday at 10:30 and That Will Never Work: What Progressives Can Learn from OWS, on Friday at 4:30. Here’s a full list of the OWS-related panel discussions at Netroots.
Outside of the convention, Occupy Providence’s Facebook page says there will be, “Rallies, marches, sign and banner making, workshops, teach-ins, poetry, music, general assembly, working groups, chanting, dancing, art-o-lution, radical games, and more!”
Here’s a link to the full schedule of events for Occupy Providence’s sidewalk protest this week.
In a press release sent out today, Occupy Providence detailed its demands for the sidewalk occupation:
- No 38 Studios bailout: The 38 Studios debacle illustrates how our local government recklessly gambled on the notion that the “job creators” are the 1% rather than investing in small business development, micro loans, or the expansion of public works projects that helped pull us out of the last Great Depression. Now, to add insult to injury, Rhode Island taxpayers are being asked to bail out this insider deal or face financial blackmail from Wall Street rating companies that were co-conspirators to begin with.
- Tax the 1%: We need proven solutions not gambles. The top marginal tax rate was increased to 63% during the Great Depression and steadily increased, reaching 94% (on all income over $200,000) in the following decades. OPVD believes tax rate increase for the wealthiest Americans during the Great Depression set a precedent, and that similar measures are now needed to pull us out of the current crisis that is again the product of Wall Street greed.
- Solidarity not austerity, locally, nationally and internationally: The third anti-austerity demand reflects the desire of working people around the world that our governments stop punishing the victims of this Grand Theft by Wall Street and instead hold the perpetrators accountable.