A movement that has been sweeping across the country since mid-September speaking out against economic inequality and greed has made its way to Johnson City.
On Saturday, residents of the Tri-Cities will have a chance to join the national movement by participating in Occupy Johnson City, an event that’s being held in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street in New York City.
The “solidarity event” will begin at 10 a.m. with a general assembly in the East Tennessee State University parking lot across from McDonald’s on West Walnut Street. The assembly will act as a way to inform participants about the purpose of Occupy Johnson City. A possible march toward downtown Johnson City is in the works, depending on the number of people who show up for the event.
Since the group operates on a consensus basis, there are no leaders, which is why the event agenda is tentative.
“A large part of what this is about is coming together and hearing individual voices and coming to a consensus as a group as to what it is we’re going to do and what actions we are going to take,” participant Josh Flaccavento said.
While the group doesn’t have a particular demand, the individual demands of the movement’s participants range from speaking against corporate greed, social inequality, global climate change and other concerns.
With the movement continuing to grow, Flaccavento said he’s participating in Occupy Johnson City because he can’t participate in Occupy Wall Street.
“If I didn’t have a job here and things like that, I would go,” he said.
As a socially active person, Flaccavento said he has been aware of issues of institutions that hold influence over politics and wealth for quite some time.
Knowing that similar groups have sprung up in nearby cities of Knoxville and Asheville, N.C., Flaccavento said he was pleasantly surprised to have one form in the Tri-Cities.
“We’re not some fringe group, we’re not a bunch of left-wing anarchists, we’re not all privileged college students or anything like that. We’re your neighbors, your brothers, your sisters, we’re co-workers and the reasons why we’re all coming out, they’re diverse but they have a common thread and that’s our shared humanity, and that’s what it’s about for me,” he said.
For the schedule for Saturday’s event, search for Occupy Johnson City on Facebook.
For more on the Occupy Wall Street movement, visit www.nycga.cc.