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Top 10: Occupy everywhere

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Marie Cusick
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WMHT
Occupy Wall Street kicked off a movement that spread to Buffalo, Rochester, Ithaca, Binghamton, Syracuse, and Albany.

When the Occupy movement first cropped up, I was skeptical about whether or not we should be covering it. After all, it appeared to be happening in New York City – not on our beat, in upstate New York.

But Marie Cusick, the Innovation Trail’s Albany reporter, based at WMHT, convinced me that it was worth a trip to Zuccotti Park to see what the protestors were talking about.

The result was this report for New York NOW, in which she shows us protestors creating a community dedicated to spreading awareness about economic inequality:

Once we’d seen the movement up close, it was easy to see it unfolding in each of the communities that we report in.  Protestors across upstate had similar concerns about the concentration of wealth – but each added local items to their agenda. Albany Occupiers decried corruption in state government. Rochester-area protestors took up mortgage foreclosures. 

As winter approached, we watched to see how the message of the protestors would survive, in the face of upstate’s snow.  The weather held off, so plans by Occupy Buffalo to erect igloos haven’t panned out – but they did build a geodesic dome.

It’s all in service of keeping the group’s message in the headlines, in the hopes that it will permeate beyond the encampments in city squares.  And as Marie notes in a reflection on her visit to the now-unoccupied Zuccotti Park, it’s a message that’s likely to resonate beyond 2011:

“Change” was the word I heard most often. Although people have come here for myriad reasons, they share frustrations about economic and social injustice. The group has been criticized for lacking specific policy goals (though they do have the Declaration of the Occupation of New York City document), but as one of the protestors told me, that’s the point. They want to break away from the current political system. “The Declaration of Independence didn’t have any policy goals, it was just a list of grievances,” he points out.

Your turn

How do you think the Occupy movement will play out in the new year? Let us know in the comments, or talk back to us on Facebook.

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