October 09, 2011

Occupied territory

The Occupy Wall Street solidarity movement officially hit West Virginia this weekend in Huntington. Organizers, many of whom were connected in some way with Marshall University, planned to begin rallying outside Chase Bank on Friday evening, stay there until Sunday, and finish with a march.

I stopped by for a couple of hours on Friday and there might have been as many as 100 people, if you count comings and goings, which in my experience is a good number for Huntington. I'm sure the number of hardy souls who camped out on the street was smaller, but it seems like they had a good support system organized and I'm not aware of any conflicts with the police.

There seemed to be a wide variety of people with many viewpoints, united by a concern for growing inequality. The event also seemed to provide an opportunity for people who have never engaged in this kind of activity before. I'd never seen most of the people who participated before and I've done a thing or two in Huntington over the years. It's hard to say how many more events will happen in WV or around the country but this is something I didn't see coming.

I think the movement will be stronger if it sticks more closely with the 99 percent message rather than covering the map of issues. A populist economic message could really resonate in southern West Virginia--if people can avoid getting sidetracked with coal controversies. Those issues need to be dealt with, but this probably isn't the best venue. Just saying.

LOOKING AHEAD. Here's an op-ed by yours truly on economic policy options for WV.

AFGHANISTAN. Here's a statement from WV Senator Joe Manchin on the 10th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan. Sample quote:

"As I have said before, we must choose between rebuilding Afghanistan and rebuilding America because we can’t afford to do both. And I choose to rebuild America.”


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