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Occupy Wall Street and NY Offshoots Act Up on May Day

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Tuesday, May 1, 2012   

NEW YORK - "Don't go to work. Don't go to school. Don't shop. Take the streets!"

That's the rallying cry for what's called "A Day Without the 99 Percent" by the Occupy Wall Street movement (OWS). On this May Day there are teach-ins, a march and a rally at Academy and Lafayette parks in Albany ... a rally and a march in late afternoon in downtown Syracuse ... a morning die-in at Buffalo's main Army recruiting center, followed by a rally at 5 in Niagara Square ... and similar events in Binghamton's Liberty Park.

In Utica, where there are teach-ins set for 3 and a rally at 5 at Liberty Bell Park, Ken Keplinger is looking for a rebirth of activism.

"You know, the wintertime is traditionally a time when things slow down and everybody goes inside, and I do expect May Day is going to be a gigantic kind of coming-out party for the spring for us."

In New York City, labor unions are promising to bring at least 12,000 people to the main Union Square rally. Other marches, stepping off from different locales, will converge there and all will march from there, in late afternoon, down past the bull statue near Wall Street.

Jacki DiSalvo of the OWS May Day Coalition With Labor says some non-violent civil disobedience is planned, and some unpublicized actions are expected later in the evening, but she says no one should stay away out of concern for lawlessness.

"The events on May Day, supported by this May Day Solidarity Coalition, are completely permitted. The Union Square rally is permitted. The march to the bull is permitted. And we are allowed by the police - we've negotiated with the police for a peaceful march."

Protester Aaron Bornstein says while some people thought Occupy was "hibernating" during the winter, it was at work forging alliances with labor, students and, especially, immigrants' rights groups.

"It focuses on this idea of "A Day Without the 99 Percent" which is a homage to our friends in the immigrant rights movement who really resuscitated May Day in this country with their 2006 'Day Without An Immigrant,' where they really stood up and showed people 'what it's like to not have us.'"

Utica, incidentally, is the figurative "radio newsroom" for the whole Occupy movement. Ken Keplinger is a producer of an online radio show originating there.

"Every night at 10 p.m. Eastern Time on OccupiedRadio.net we get together, we talk about issues that maybe the media overlooked, other occupiers call in and give us updates. It's kind of our own news channels."

Groups of pickets began popping up around New York City last week and will continue today. They are going to targets identified with the "One Percent." Others are by labor organizations that have chosen targets they are in struggle with.




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