OSWEGO, NY – The occupation has come to the Port City.
A group of concerned citizens are following in the footsteps of the Occupy Wall Street movement and hope to bring positive change to Oswego.
Sue Matthews of Oswego spoke on behalf of the group at Monday’s council meeting.
“As Occupy has sprung to life in small towns and cities across the world, the people involved have come to a consensus that one of the best and fastest way to bring positive change is on a local level,” she told the council.
One of the grassroots group’s current needs is a central location where they can gather in town at least once a week.
“If the city could offer us such a space we would consider it a show of good faith,” Matthews said. “We would consider any offer of this with great thanks and hope you will give us a prompt reply.”
Shortly after she left the podium, in the few minutes between the end of the public session and start of the regular meeting, Councilor Connie Cosemento mediated a possible deal with Mike Smith, DPW commissioner. They offered the group a possible meeting site, weekdays, in the McCrobie Civic Center on Lake Street.
Starting this week, they have a small, local group that will attempt to attend every public city council meeting in Oswego and take part in working toward forwarding the community in a positive way, Matthews added.
“We will continue to gather facts and make public, relevant issues, in an attempt to defeat the apathy that has allowed the current misuse, waste and corruption to exist on just about every level of our government,” she said. “We would like to foster more interaction between the college and town, support local business, attract new businesses and tourism, in an environmentally sound way. We invite everyone to join us.”
This week’s Saturday march will highlight the importance of buying locally and supporting local business, she said, adding that “where you spend your money speaks loud and clear to the big corporations that have stolen your democracy.”
A group is traveling to Dansville on Wednesday for the hydrofracking hearings to ensure the water is protected, she noted. Another is working on the issue of large power corporations negotiating down their property taxes and leaving local school budgets woefully short, she added.
Some of the group’s members are working on the beginnings of a youth activity center.
They will soon get information to the public on the working groups and their goals in hopes that others will come help, she said.
“We strive to be known by our good works. In the meantime, connect with your local groups and find out what is going on locally, every place has its own issues and you are all welcome to attend our biweekly general assemblies to start your own group,” she said. “We have much work to do to take back our democracy. We remain united in our number one goal as issued by the Occupiers on Wall Street. We know what we are protesting and we are not going away.”
”Personally, I know there’s a lot of issues that will take a long time to fix, a lot of work. I have a little issue that you can fix real easy. It’s a personal request. I request that the plastic inflatable environmentally insulting Christmas Ornaments not appear on the lawn of Oswego City Hall again,” Matthews told the council. “Please, can you upcycle or recycle them? A tree, some greens and a candle in the window would be lovely.”
She invited people to attend their meeting. If they have an issue that’s not being addressed maybe they can help get it addressed, she said.
The group’s newly created official website has links to their two Facebook pages (one is for planning and working on local actions and the other for posting information and gathering, sorting and disseminating facts): http://www.facebook.com/l/mAQE_xOBOAQF1cevww0ET8UV_4U4MaaQcbtAsbug_QJlm3g/occupyoswego.com/
“You will also find a calendar there that was just created, so it may not have every event yet. We have people working on it,” Matthews said.
Many members prefer to remain anonymous, she noted.
“Our contact list is used mainly for emergency calls to action. Like when somebody is getting maced or evicted. I’ve received private messages from some small businesses that are very supportive but don’t want to express it publicly for fear of alienating a segment of their customer base that listens to the bad press that the corporate media has been spewing,” Matthews told Oswego County Today.
She isn’t sure exactly how many members they have, but added, “there are more every day. Seems like it about doubles every week.”
“People come and like it and bring a friend or two next time. People are hungry for good news and solutions to their problems. It feels good to be heard and take back your country,” she said. “No one can take your power; the only way you can lose it is if you give it away. All we need is 50% of the 99% by the next election and we the people will win.”
For more information, visit: http://www.facebook.com/l/BAQEnbNVyAQFk8_0ogOWc3o5QYfM_jzIQovod8UFjYteZow/occupyoswego.com/get-involved/