Protesters Occupy the Federal Reserve in Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Occupy Wall Street Takes the Torch from Dr. King … Protests the Federal Reserve as a Prime Source of Inequality … “King Would say, ‘Please Finish What I Started.’ “

Martin Luther King, Jr. organized an “Occupy DC” protest shortly before his assassination to bring attention to economic inequality.

Today, protesters honored Dr. King’s vision by staging occupy protests at Federal Reserve banks all over the country. For background on today’s protests, see this, this, this, this and this.

AP notes:

The “Occupy the Dream” coalition is calling for a National Day of Action to mark Martin Luther King Day today.

Leaders are calling for demonstrations outside all 13 Federal Reserve Banks across the country.

Two members of the coalition’s national steering committee, Benjamin Chavis Jr., and the Reverend Jamal Bryant, say the effort will be led by prominent members of the African American clergy, Occupy Wall Street participants, students and others concerned about income inequality and economic justice in America.

Bryant says Occupy Wall Street has snatched the torch of Dr. King and reignited in America the flame that was seen in Tunisia and Egypt — to spotlight poverty as a critical issue.

In a separate article, AP points out:

About 100 Occupy Wall Street protesters marched from New York’s African Burial Ground to the Federal Reserve for Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday, saying the civil rights leader’s work echoes in their own fight for more economic opportunity.

“He set the benchmark,” protester Ted Actie said. “He set the blueprint as far as what Occupy Wall Street is talking about.”

***

The protesters then marched a few blocks south to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where they huddled in 30-degree weather to listen to speakers who criticized corporate greed. The demonstrators carried signs reading “We oppose economic inequality” and “Democracy for sale no more.” They handed out pamphlets with excerpts of King’s speeches.

***

Occupy protesters also planned King Day rallies in Washington, Atlanta, Chicago and other cities.

WABE reports:

The Atlanta-based Southern Christian Leadership Conference, which King founded, is one of the support groups. Damien Conners is with the SCLC.

“Dr. King’s last campaign was the poor peoples’ campaign,” said Conners. “The Occupy movement is primarily about people who have been left out of the political processes as well as economic gains the country has made.”

From the Occupy the Dream website:

Members of the African-American faith community have joined forces with Occupy Wall Street to launch a new campaign for economic justice inspired by the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Faithful to its philosophical origin, the “Occupy the Dream” coalition has called for a National Day of Action on Martin Luther King Day – Monday, January 16, 2012 – to focus attention on the gross injustice visited upon the 99% by the financial elite.

As the Sacramento Bee notes, King’s message is echoed in the message of the “99%”:

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to action – spoken four days before he was assassinated on April 4, 1968 – resonates powerfully in the hearts and minds of many in the 99 percent.

***

“King would say, ‘Please finish what I started.’ That’s what we’re doing,” said Sean Laney, head of Occupy Sacramento’s education committee.

 

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  • http://www.correntewire.com lambert strether

    I’m very leery about “Occupy the Dream” for two reasons:

    1. See this article from Black Agenda Report on “Occupy the Dream’s” leadership — most of whom have already endorsed Obama, a commitment incompatible with any real reform whatever.

    2. Occupations occupy. At the tactical level, I’m concerned about reverting to marches and protests, which even if they are easier to get covered in the press (I wonder why) are far less interesting than the issue of how to take and hold public space using processes of GA, consensus-based decision making, etc. So, yeah, I’m happy that the Fed was notified, as it were, but if the Fed wasn’t occupied, then “Occupy the Fed” didn’t happen. Co-optatation happens when these distinctions start to get blurred with sloppy language.

 

 

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