Occupy Albany

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The Occupy Albany (New York) demonstration is a part of the Occupy Movement which began on Sept. 17, 2011 with the original Occupy Wall Street demonstration in New York City. The demonstration is based across the street from the State Capitol building.[1]



Participants

Speakers

The following have spoken at Occupy Albany events:[9]

Support

Elected Officials

  • David Soares, local district attorney - met with the demonstrators - and has said publicly that there's no reason whatsoever to hassle them. The Capital District CLU was reportedly ecstatic at his comments.[1]

On Dec. 19, the Albany Common Council presented a "Resolution On Ending Corporate Control Over Politics" to the protestors who had gathered on the steps of Albany City Hall.[11]

DSA Involvement

On Oct. 28, 2011, Democratic Socialists of America member Larry Wittner attended the evening gathering at Occupy Albany. He stated,[1]

"I was at the Occupy Albany gathering tonight, where about 150–200 people were doing their stuff in a local park—right across the street from the state capitol and city hall. I was quickly tapped for future teach-ins.
Yes, the police reportedly resisted pressure from the mayor and the governor (Andrew Cuomo –a real corporate prick) to clear the park and make arrests. Part of the reason is that the local district attorney (David Soares) is quite liberal, and, assailing the draconic Rockefeller drug laws, he rallied local lefties in 2004 to win an upset victory over the establishment mayor's hand-picked candidate. Soares has met with the demonstrators and has publicly said there's no reason whatsoever to hassle them. The Capital District CLU is ecstatic."

An early December report from Alan Curry stated;[1]

I'm a paralegal in Albany, NY, and have signed up on the Legal Team for the local camp. Not much is happening yet in that regard, mainly because the AG here is declining to prosecute any OWS arrestees. Other than that, I've been dropping in on the park and contributing what I can.

Events

Nov. 2 Muslim Teach-In

On Nov. 6, 2011, the Muslim Solidarity Committee of OA organized a Teach-In entitled "First They came for the Muslims: What you Need to Know about the FBI Attacks on Muslims" Speaking at the event were:[7]

  • Shamshad Ahmad, President of Albany’s Masjid-As-Salam (mosque) will speak about the case of Imam Yassin Aref and businessman Mohammed Hossain, who were unfairly entrapped in an FBI sting operation in 2004 and who are serving 15 year sentences
  • Lynne Jackson will speak about the horrendous prison conditions faced by many of the prisoners in these cases
  • Kathy Manley will speak about how the FBI and DOJ are engaging in a policy of “preemptive prosecution” and using provocateurs, guilt by association, overbroad material support laws and secret evidence to target hundreds of innocent Muslims (and some non-Muslims) who often end up with long prison sentences
  • Dominick Calsolaro will speak about the 2010 Resolution passed 10-0 by the Albany Common Council which asks the federal government to do an independent review of these cases

Interfaith Prayer Vigil for a Fair Economy

On Nov. 4, 2011, OA hosted an "Interfaith Prayer Vigil for a Fair Economy." The advert stated, "People of multiple faith backgrounds are coming together to demonstrate solidarity with the Occupy movement. Together, we will affirm core religious values of compassion and justice in a time of crippling income inequality." Speaking at the vigil were:[12]

Contactperson for the event was Sara Niccoli, Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS. The vigil was co-Sponsored by the Labor-Religion Coalition of NYS and Interfaith Impact of NYS.

Dec. 1 Doorknocking

On Dec. 1, 2011, Occupy Albany protestors participated in a door-knocking campaign, "going door to door in communities across New York to tell your neighbors – fellow members of the 99% – why a tax break for the 1% is a bad plan for the rest of us." Mark Emanatian, New Jersey Citizen Action and Jessie Lapolla, Alliance for Quality Education were listed as contactpersons for the event.[9]

OA Support for DA David Soares

An article on the Occupy Albany website reported,[13]

"The office of Albany District Attorney, David Soares, has been receiving a lot of negative calls about his decision to decline prosecuting peaceful protests associated with Occupy Albany (possibly organized by groups opposed to the Occupation). Don’t let the pressure on the District Attorney be one-sided. Please call the DA’s office and say that you support his decision to protect first amendment rights and decline prosecutions..."

Writing in the CPUSA's newspaper People's World on Oct. 31, 2011, Jenise Depinto wrote of the petition that was being circulated in support of Soares:[14]

"The Working Families Party of New York circulated a petition this week proclaiming "Albany is not Oakland" and thanking Mr. Soares for standing up for the constitutional rights of public assembly and peaceful protest. To be sure, the official statements from state and Albany city police do not voice explicit support for the goals of the Occupy movement, though it was rumored that last Friday night protestors chanted to police "we are fighting for your pensions" in the hours before the curfew was to be imposed. Occupy Albany has attracted national attention and was featured on Democracy now! for the strikingly tolerant approach of law enforcement compared to the violent reactions of officials in other cities across the nation, most notoriously Oakland."

External Links

References