The tents are still up at Turning Point Park, but Occupy Hartford has shown few signs of life in recent weeks. After a strong showing at their kickoff march in early October, active participation has waned. There has been high turnover of activists, both those living in the tents, and those dropping by or showing support from afar.
The declaration of its impending death comes from those who have worked closely with the group, saying that those still involved in the encampment “don’t even know they are on a sinking ship.” In recent weeks, there have been hints that Occupy Hartford was on the verge of imploding.
The inexcusable mishandling of the sexual assault on site may have been the final straw for many who had previously offered their support for the local incarnation of the Occupy movement.
The move away from Occupy Hartford appears to be taking two forms (more…)
Occupy Hartford, like many other Connecticut residents right now, is directing its ire at CL&P. Besides a rally they have planned for this coming Saturday, the group has released a play on Martin Luther’s Ninety-Five Theses.
In its entirety:
Disputation on the (Lack of) Power and (Absence of) Efficacy of (Executive) Indulgences Commonly Known as The 99 Theses.
By Occupy Hartford CT.
Out of love and concern for the truth, and with the object of eliciting it, we present the following reasons that CL&P must be held responsible for providing the services they promise and for which we pay them. We request that whoever cannot be present personally to debate the matter orally will do so in absence in writing.
1. Our Governor, Dannel Malloy stood at the podium and called for CL&P to “Repent,” which roughly translates to, “Do the job consumers pay you for”
2. The word “Repent” cannot properly be understood as referring to penance by the consumer in terms of increased rates.
3. Repentance means not only in the Executive’s heart; for such repentance is null unless it produces outward signs in various mortifications of the flesh. We mean increased staffing.
4. As long as hatred of the profit loss abides, the penalty of sin abides, viz., until we enter the kingdom of heaven, or refuse to pay our bills.
5. Jeffrey Butler and Co. have neither the will nor the power to demand any rate increases beyond those imposed by law.
6. Mr. Butler himself cannot remit guilt, but only declare and confirm that it has been remitted by CL&P. Clear case, the guilt remains untouched. (more…)
Three police on horseback kept themselves at a respectful distance from activists near the Bank of America on Park Street. Saturday morning’s march had been billed as a family-friendly, law-abiding event, yet a speaker from Occupy New Haven threw around phrases that could be interpreted otherwise, at one point telling the throng to “seize the banks,” while the crowd stood opposite one. It is this uncareful rhetoric that escalates tense situations and alienates others who would have joined in. It makes one curious as to who this “99%” actually is if there is a lack of sensitivity toward those with children (this, in effect, primarily excludes mothers from the movement), those who can not risk arrest because they can not afford to be bailed out from jail, and those who can not risk injury because they lack health insurance.
Ignoring the weight words carry only further dilutes the message.
As the anti-Bank of America activists walked down Broad Street and Park Street, residents and shop owners, for the most part, looked puzzled. Sometimes the chants were about banks getting bailed out, but other times, the chanting called for an occupation of Hartford; little thought seems to have gone into what this might sound like in a neighborhood where many residents’ native countries have actually experienced occupation.
And this population along Park Street is not one Occupy Hartford activists should want to alienate. If anyone knows something about poverty, unemployment, rental housing, and medical bills, it’s Hartford locals. According to data from HartfordInfo.org, 42% of Frog Hollow residents live below the poverty line; the median household income for this neighborhood is just above $17,000. Almost all of the housing in this area is rental. The Park Street corridor might not have as much to say about student loans as some of the Occupy Hartford activists, but the residents could offer more insight about what it is like to live paycheck-to-paycheck and worry about whether or not the electricity will not be shut off that month.
Despite the lapse in judgement by a few, Saturday’s march remained peaceful. The police-to-activist ratio was something like 10-to-1, perhaps in part to the public announcement that civil disobedience was being discussed as a possible tactic. While activists stood across from Bank of America, one was inside closing her account, which was, after all, the purpose of Bank Transfer Day. (more…)
It has come to my attention that Occupy Hartford is coordinating a large march and rally on Saturday and is inviting fellow Occupy movements from around the region to join them. I fully appreciate and respect the right to assemble, protest and petition one’s government and I have consistently instructed City departments and employees to treat all “Occupiers” with the utmost respect. That order continues to stand. (more…)
no actions scheduled at banking institutions are organized or condoned by this movement or its organizer. Please close your accounts in the manner they were opened: independently, with respect, without signage
Route for Saturday's march, courtesy of Occupy Hartford
In Hartford, activists will begin marching at 10 on Saturday morning from the Occupy Hartford site to several Bank of America locations. In a press release, Rebecca Burton from Occupy Hartford, states,
Bank of America has refused to use the money taxpayers ‘loaned’ them to help small businesses and homeowners here in Connecticut. We think that’s wrong, and we hope our protest against this bank’s selfish policies will help in the nationwide campaign to get everybody to move their money out of Bank of America–and the other ‘too big to fail’ banks.
Occupy Hartford says that this is a “solidarity action,” and that Occupy Wall Street and offshoot Occupy groups endorse Bank Transfer Day.
But, Bank Transfer Day organizers do not return the endorsement. (more…)
“Get a job” is yelled, again, from an SUV speeding by Turning Point Park during early evening rush hour on a day when many are still off from work due to the storm.
A group of fifteen activists — some camping at the site, some not — gathered at the corner of Broad and Farmington to rally in solidarity with Occupy Oakland in general, and Scott Olsen, specifically. (more…)
They said they would not be deterred by the weather. Given the nature of Saturday’s storm, the Occupy Hartford bunch may have had a few advantages over the rest of us: no trees overhead and they already adjusted to being without power, aside from what the small solar panel could supply. (more…)
While morale seemed to be at a low last week, the threat of imminent implosion appears to be minimal now. Monday evening’s meeting involved around 40 people altogether, most of whom had not been involved just a few days ago. Among those speaking out: a man wearing a “Don’t Tread on Me” hat, another in a button-down, collared shirt, and a local postal worker, who informed activists that those he delivers mail to, in one of Hartford’s poorest neighborhoods, “don’t know you’re here.”
The theme of outreach emerged throughout the meeting. There was agreement that very little was going on at the Occupy Hartford site to engage “new blood.” The information bulletin board was not near the sidewalk where pedestrians would see it, but almost hidden from view toward the back of the encampment. Depending on the day, a passerby can receive immediate and accurate information from someone acting as a greeter, or, receive a mumbled “hello” only after the pedestrian has initiated contact. Another concern voiced during the meeting was that there are not enough picketers on the street. (more…)