US: #OccupySeattle calls for “The Night of 500 Tents”

600 to 800 students joined student strikes

The #OccupySeattle movement took an important step forward on the 12th of October with student walkouts taking place around the city, including the University of Washington, Seattle Central Community College, Seattle University, Cornish College, as well as a number of high schools. Approximately 600 – 800 students joined the walkouts, called only one week earlier.

All around the country and the world students have faced tremendous attacks in the form of higher tuition and fees, ultimately for a lower quality of education. With chants like “Student Debt is Exploitation/Join Seattle’s Occupation,” those concerns were connected today with the #Occupy movement that is beginning to span the globe.

Today marks one week since police last clamped down hard on #OccupySeattle - Wednesday, October 5th - dismantling tents, attacking protesters, and arresting 34 within minutes. The police seized the occupier’s tents, and then later “camping accessories.” Seattle Mayor McGinn has even extended a ban on umbrellas at Westlake park (the site of the Seattle occupation), unless one is standing up, after particularly inventive occupiers created crude structures. Imagine that – a ban on umbrellas in the heart of Seattle!

These developments have given rise to intense debate within the movement. Unfortunately, a section of the movement has retreated in the face of these attacks due to illusions that the Mayor, and even the police, are on our side.

Urgently and rapidly, rearming this movement with radical tactics and clear demands are needed – coupled with massive outreach. For this reason tonight’s General Assembly, with 200 people present, produced perhaps a turning point for the movement – the call for a “Night of 500 Tents”- a bold retaking of Westlake on Saturday October 15.

This call came out of the work of local Socialist Alternative organizers in linking up with other activists and correctly identifying the next steps for the movement- an analysis vindicated through the virtual consensus in support of indefinitely continuing to occupying Westlake and issue a call for a mass re-occupation of the park on Saturday with 500 tents.

Forward to the Night of 500 Tents!

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October 2011