Starting Oct. 15, the New Haven Green will be the site of an indefinite “occupation.”
One hundred fifty New Haven residents congregated on the New Haven Green Saturday night for the second organizational meeting of Occupy New Haven, a movement opposing corporate influence over American society that grew out of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that have gripped New York City since mid-September and inspired similar protests nationwide.
Occupy New Haven, like its sister movements, takes as its guiding principle the idea that 99 percent of American citizens are politically, socially and economically misrepresented, because corporations — representing 1 percent of the population — dominate American society.
Ben Aubin, an organizer of Occupy New Haven and the founder of the New Haven Free Store, said he hopes the New Haven occupation will be able to coordinate with Occupy Wall Street and its sister occupations, transferring supplies among them and sharing materials with the underprivileged areas of the community.
“People are asking what our demands are,” Aubin said. “We’re not demanding anything, we’re giving everything. We want to create a constructive center of community organizing to bring joy and prosperity to New Haven.”
Currently, only 10 to 15 people are planning to participate in the “occupation” of the Green, but organizers are optimistic that these numbers will soon rise.
At the meeting, organizers proposed that the protest include marching around the Green on the day of occupation and a series of musical events to raise money for food and other necessities. Participant Camille Seaberry ’08 said that some food will be supplied by Food Not Bombs, an organization dedicated to ending war-related violence through the distribution of free vegetarian meals. Another supporter said that comfort items such as blankets, tarps, toothbrushes and clothes will be donated to the New Haven Free Store for distribution among the “occupiers.”
A few Yale students attended the event to express their dissatisfaction with the current state of socioeconomic inequality in the United States.
One such student, Avani Mehta ’15, said she has a certain amount of privilege as a Yale student, but she still identifies as part of the 99 percent because “the insane amount of power that a corporation has trumps the power of the people.”
But Reverend Scott Marks, a preacher at the New Growth Praise Center on Dixwell Avenue, said Yale is a corporation though it hides behind the title of “University,” and it does not share enough with New Haven.
“We stand in the shadow of Yale University, which is part of the corporate world,” he said. “President Levin should be here. There are so many resources and wealth here at Yale and they train a lot of corporate America.”
The meeting ended at 9:00 p.m. with the crowd chanting Occupy New Haven’s motto: “We are the 99 percent, and so are you!”
Occupy New Haven will reconvene this Saturday at noon for a march around the Green.