Thursday, November 10, 2011

Minneapolis City Council Supports Goals of the Occupy Movement

Minneapolis City Hall
Since OccupyWallStreet began in New York City on September 17th, it has spread throughout the country and world. To date, many occupations have been met with resistance and hostility from law enforcement along with city, county, and state officials.  We have seen brutal police attacks on peaceful protesters in OaklandNew YorkDenver, and elsewhere; we have had arbitrary restrictions placed on our occupations, limiting our First Amendment rights; and we have heard a CEO of a large national bank mock protesters.  In Minneapolis, however, we do have the official support of our City Council.
On Friday, October 21, 2011, a majority of Minneapolis City Council members voted to adopt Resolution 2011R-549: Supporting Peaceable Calls for Reforms to the Income Tax, Financial, and Electoral Systems [PDF]. The adopted resolution acknowledges current political, economic, and social struggles, and it also pledges support for citizens currently engaged in peacefully protesting the causes of such struggles. Among those issues acknowledged are the effectively disenfranchising effects upon individual Americans as a result of the 2010 Citizens United ruling; the vast income disparity between the richest 1% of Americans and the remaining 99%; widespread unemployment, particularly among racial minorities; and the injustice of the fact that the burden of the economic crisis is being shouldered predominantly by the victims of the crisis, rather than by the perpetrators.  As the Resolution summarized:
Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved by The City Council of The City of Minneapolis:

That in order to create a shared dialogue through which to address the problems and generate solutions for 99% of Americans the City stands in support of peaceful calls for serious reforms to the income tax, financial, and electoral systems, and of education efforts in furtherance of those goals.

The Los Angeles City Council has also voted to pass a similar resolution, and the Seattle City Council is currently considering their own.
The Occupy Movement is already looked upon favorably by a growing number of ordinary Americans; our biggest challenge thus far has been earning the support of our elected leaders and those with the power to effectively end our ongoing occupation.  The fact that the Minneapolis City Council voted to pass this resolution is a significant and positive development for not only the Minneapolis occupation, but also for other occupations across the country. Together, we work in solidarity to fight for the voice of the 99%.  In addition to the official support of the Minneapolis City Council, the Minneapolis occupation has not seen violence or overt intimidation tactics used by local law enforcement, despite ongoing disputes between the two parties about outdoor shelter and continued occupation.  While the inclination to specifically praise law enforcement for a lack of such objectively unethical behavior against  law-abiding citizens is troublesome, indeed, it must be acknowledged that the Hennepin County Sheriff's Department, as well as the Minneapolis Police Department and other involved law enforcement outfits, have generally shown respect and restraint when interacting with peaceful occupiers.  We are fighting for the voices of the 99%, and we realize that our local law enforcement and local city representatives are part of the 99%, and that they should therefore have our support, as well.  The Occupy Movement is, for better or worse, partially dependent on the support of our local elected officials and law enforcement.  In Minneapolis, we have begun to earn that support, and are grateful for it.  True to our reputation as "Minnesota Nice," both occupiers and authority figures alike have shown respect and understanding toward one another. As this trend continues, it is important to note that all parties involved will benefit.
OccupyMN appreciates and thanks the Minneapolis City Council for their public show of support for our collective movement, and we intend to maintain our respectful and cooperative relationship with the city and county as we continue to exercise our First Amendment right to peaceably assemble and redress our grievances with our government and political system.

Originally posted at