Listening to Occupy DC

Monday, December 5, 2011

Listening to Occupy DC(Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO)“The reason I joined Occupy was because I was looking for what I saw in Wisconsin” said James Ploesner last Friday at the K Street Busboys & Poets. Ploesner, a Wisconsin-born DC activist, was one of the featured panelists at the Kalmanovitz Initiative’s “Labor Lab: Listening to Occupy DC”; the others were fellow DC activist Vasudha Desikan, Heather Booth, founder of the Midwest Academy and member of Democratic Partners, and Dorian Warren, Columbia University political scientist. Over a hundred people crammed into the back room of Busboys & Poets, from occupiers to local activists of all ages, to hear the panelists share lessons from past movements and visions for the future of Occupy. Ploesner described Occupy as “a huge wakeup call to labor and NGOs,” speaking to collaborations across the country that have pushed labor and non-profits toward more radical actions. “Occupy is getting folks to really re-envision what community looks like” said Desikan. “It’s still not a really broad-based movement, but we’re working on it.” As panelists and audience members spoke to the challenges of building a strong movement, Warren reminded the crowd that the movement is “only two months old,” telling occupiers “this is the moment to be as creative and as radical as you can be.” - report/photo by Julia Kann (photo L to R: Heather Booth, Dorian Warren, Paul Adler - facilitator)


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