Happy third birthday, Occupy Wall Street. This time last year, some former Occupiers embarked on a small-scale, nostalgic march through the Financial District — one that, for a change, ended in zero arrests. But this year, many of their minds are on next week, when a massive civil-disobedience action is planned for the steps of the New York Stock Exchange. “Flood Wall Street” is being billed as a sit-in and blockade to “shut down the institutions that are profiting from the climate crisis.” Blue-clad protesters are expected to meet in Battery Park and then descend on the Financial District sometime on September 22; people affiliated with the event have told us to expect mass arrests.
The event is part of Climate Week; it’s taking place one day after the People’s Climate March, which aims to be the largest climate march in history and which is backed by a mixture of large labor unions and environmental organizations and more radical groups. For a day, outfits like the Sierra Club and SEIU 32BJ will coexist with groups like the Black Rose Anarchist Federation.
Flood Wall Street, though, is an entirely activist party, with a large base of support from the remainders of Occupy. The event organizers write that it’s meant to “confront the root cause of the climate crisis — an economic system based on exploiting frontline communities, workers, and natural resources.” At noon, they add, the protesters will take to the steps of the Stock Exchange, in what they call “a collective act of nonviolent civil disobedience — to confront the system that both causes and profits from the crisis that is threatening humanity.”
About 2,000 people have RSVP’d for the event on Facebook (although that’s admittedly a shaky indicator of how many will actually attend). Yesterday, one group announced on Twitter that it’s looking for 200 people to help carry a massive banner through the Financial District:
— Occupy Theory (@occupytheory) September 16, 2014
Before the march and the inevitable unpleasantness between the protesters and the NYPD, several speakers will address the crowd in Battery Park, including leaders from the Climate Justice Alliance, as well as authors Naomi Klein, Rebecca Solnit, and Chris Hedges. The organizers are already preparing a bail fund for everyone who will leave Wall Street that morning in plastic zip-tie handcuffs.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on September 17, 2014