Occupy Albany Weekly Update, Week of Dec. 2 to Dec. 9

On Friday afternoon Occupy Albany was with a by the City of Albany government. The order threatened eviction from the park on December 6 if fifteen conditions were not met. These conditions were focused largely on health and safety matters, though one one condition required Occupy Albany to apply for a permit that would give the city government the right to evict Occupy Albany at its discretion and which would require that the park be cleared entirely by December 22.

Occupy Albany spent Saturday streamlining and cleaning up the occupation, consolidating work areas, restructuring its tent management system, and generally sprucing things up. However, on Sunday morning extreme winds undid most if not all of the work that was done on Saturday. Thus, Sunday was spent recovering lost ground, but by Sunday night things were under control and the camp was ready to , which it did on Tuesday morning.

On Monday morning, the met with city officials to discuss the cease and desist order issued on Friday. The city agreed to relax some of the restrictions they sought to impose on the camp and Occupy Albany agreed to apply for a permit that would allow Occupy Albany to remain in Lafayette Park indefinitely and which would not allow the city to evict Occupy Albany without cause. However, the permit that was by the city on Wednesday , setting the city and Occupy Albany for a showdown in a few weeks, as Occupy Albany is set on remaining at Academy Park through the winter.

Despite the distraction posed by the city, the core mission of Occupy Albany, to fight for substantive political change on behalf of New York and the United States’ disenfranchised 99%, went on. On Monday night Occupy Albany held its of the Capitol. There were about fifty in attendance. After Monday’s general assembly, about thirty-five to forty occupiers marched from the Capitol to City Hall to urge the city council to override Mayor Jennings’ recent veto of the city council’s fracking-ban and to support a city resolution denouncing the legal doctrine of , which accords corporations the same legal status as human beings within the framework of the U.S. Constitution. Though the fracking veto override failed by , the council adopted the anti-corporate personhood resolution.

On Wednesday, Occupy Albany took park in Occupy Together’s day of action by staging a speak out and demonstration in front of the Bank of America branch on State Street. Bank of America is perhaps the one bank most responsible for the housing bubble of 2006-07 and the ongoing economic collapse that resulted.

This week saw a “sort of” victory for Occupy Albany as Gov. 1% Cuomo somewhat on his promise not to extend the (which imposed an elevated income tax rate on those making more than $200,000.00 per year). The tax deal he brokered maintains some of the elevated tax rates on the wealthy, but, again, disproportionately favored the wealthy. For instance, under the tax deal, a family earning less than $50,000.00 year will save $200.00 in taxes whereas a family making more than 1.9 million will receive $40,000.00 in tax cuts. The deal also leaves the state a in its budget for next year and, if history is any lesson, we can expect this money to come from schools and programs for the disadvantaged. Thus, while Gov. 1%’s backtracking on his pledge to shield the wealthy from any any tax increase whatsoever can be seen as a sign of change, any honest examination of that backtracking reveals that our Governor is still committed to ensuring the wealthy are protected at the expense of working New Yorkers and the most vulnerable among us.

Towards that end, members of Occupy Brooklyn and Occupy Wall Street on Thursday afternoon and to bring their opposition to the tax deal to the Capitol. The day ended with a speak out on the steps of the million dollar staircase at 5:30.

Also on Thursday evening, the Capital District Area Labor Federation hosted a “Fundraiser for the 99%”. More than 200 attended the spaghetti dinner, which resulted in one of the largest total donations to Occupy Albany to date.

There are a number of events happening this weekend if you’re interested in coming out take part in the movement. First, starting at 12:30PM on Saturday, the Occupy Albany Foreclosure Action Committee and the Housing Working Group will be meeting at the Albany Library, Washington Branch before going out into the community to raise awareness and learn about housing issues in our city as part of the development of a foreclosure and eviction resistance movement in Albany. Second, Occupy Schenectady will be holding a to protest GE’s role in the military-industrial complex, its poor environmental record, and its role the exportation of American jobs to third world markets where workers are not protected and environmental regulations do not exist all while having p. The march will begin at 2pm at the Moon and River Cafe at 115 S. Ferry St. Third, on Sunday at 1:30 at Academy Park, the Direct Action and Outreach Working Groups will be meeting to discuss future events and activities. If there’s an issue you think Occupy Albany should get behind, this would be the place to let us know. Generally, between noon and 7:00 PM on Sunday there will be a number of meetings at Academy Park. Attending any of these meeting would be a great way to get involved. The movement can only survive with your participation and input.

Remember, for ongoing updates about what Occupy Albany is doing, you can go to the , or , or follow Occupy Albany on Twitter at .

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