In wake of Occupy Wall Street, plans develop for Occupy Detroit

Area activists will gather at the Spirit of Hope Church at 1519 Martin Luther King Blvd. in Detroit on Monday to discuss plans for a protest dubbed “Occupy Detroit.”

The planned protest — to begin Oct. 21 — is an offshoot of  the Occupy Wall Street protest that has been continuing in New York City since September 17,  centering on economic injustice and the plight of average Americans. It has since spread to a number of other cities, including Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Seattle, Denver and Washington, D.C.

“This is meant to be a peaceful nonviolent act of civil disobedience,” said Alexandra Borngesser, a member of the Occupy Detroit and Lansing Volunteer Group. “I’m hoping that the population of metro Detroit can get involved because Detroit is so directly affected by big business and economic hardship.”

Occupy Detroit has already gathered over 1,800 followers on its Facebook page — and the numbers are growing daily.

“Everyone who has suffered financial injustice is welcome,” the group’s Facebook page states. “If you’ve had no voice, please join us in this peaceful occupation. Together, we will be heard!”

Current plans include using Roosevelt Park in front of the Michigan Central Station as the base camp for the protest, where marchers will make their way towards Grand Circus Park, Hart Plaza and the Financial District.

“Corporations have a disproportionate influence in the political sphere and no one is in favor of evicting struggling families to the street while banks continue to profit,” said Borngesser. “We need to bring this country back to its roots, back to a place where America is represented by a government of the people, for the people, by the people

instead of one controlled by big business and large corporations.”

Plans also include a candlelight vigil for Troy Davis to be held on the night of Oct. 21. Davis was executed Sept. 21 in Georgia in a murder case — growing out of the 1989 shooting of a police officer — that provoked widespread controversy and a number of protests because of doubts about his guilt and questions about the handling of his case.

Meanwhile, observers of the movement are commenting not only on its geographic spread around the country, but the range of supporters. Besides support from labor unions, the protest supporters now include public left intellectuals like Cornel West and Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University.

This is a video of Stiglitz's address to protesters on Sunday. The unusual "echo chamber" delivery was a way of dealing with a ban on bullhorns to communicate with the gathering.