As spring approaches, Occupy Wall Street protesters who mostly hibernated all winter are beginning to stir with plans for renewed demonstrations six months after the movement was born.
The global protests against corporate excess and economic inequality are generally thought to have begun Sept. 17 when tents sprang up in a small granite plaza in lower Manhattan. The movement has lost steam in recent months, with media attention and donations dropping off as Occupy encampments across the country were dismantled, some by force.
On March 7, the finance accounting group in New York City reported that just about $119,000 remained in Occupy's bank account — the equivalent of about two weeks' worth of expenses.
The Occupy movement has influenced the national dialogue about economic equality, with the word "occupy" itself becoming part of the public lexicon.
Here's a look at some local achievements that can be connected to the efforts of the Occupy movement, and some plans for the near future:
WHAT GOT DONE
In Albany, Occupy protesters dubbed Gov. Andrew Cuomo "Gov. 1 Percent" for his refusal since the 2010 campaign to agree to a millionaire tax, and because his major campaign financial support comes from corporate executives.
Cuomo tried to evict Occupy Albany from the park co-owned by the city and the state. But the Democratic mayor, Gerald Jennings, agreed to allow Occupy Albany to stay on the city-owned side.
Local Democratic District Attorney David Soares also announced he wouldn't prosecute anyone for disorderly conduct at Occupy Albany who might be arrested by state police — who answer to Cuomo.
In a surprise, Cuomo reversed his position on the millionaire tax in December to avoid further cuts to schools and health care. Part of the $2 billion in revenue went to a modest but rare income tax cut of $200 to $400 for most middle class families. Cuomo refers to the millionaire tax as the biggest tax cut for the middle class in decades.
Democratic lawmakers attributed Cuomo's move in part to the Occupy protesters who had targeted him across the street from the Capitol for months and had begun demonstrating just outside his office.
Occupiers in Manhattan will commemorate the six-month mark with a rally Saturday in Zuccotti Park, where protesters camped out for months until the city ousted them in November.
Organizers are hoping donations will start to flow in as protests begin anew this spring, including a global day of "economic disruption" on May 1.
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