Down at the increasingly-permanent looking camp of Occupy Wall Street protesters at Liberty Plaza, a.k.a. Zuccotti Park, there is a tendency to hype future events. The cops are going to do something tonight! Radiohead is coming! But with an actual permit for the protest in Foley Square and several prominent unions including the Transit Workers Union, SEIU and the AFL-CIO as well as student advocacy groups from CUNY, SUNY, NYU and Columbia pledging to march on Foley Square by City Hall today, this time the cry of “it’s going to be huge!” seems likely to be on the mark. If all the groups succeed in bringing their armies out, the crowd could be on the order of 10,000. The TWU Local 100 alone has 38,000 members in New York. It’s also a gorgeous fall day.
But with some flyers advertising a meetup at Washington Square Park and others directing protesters to Liberty Plaza, what exactly is set to go down?
Foley Square is a small plaza a few blocks from City Hall at the sleepy intersection of Centre and Lafayette St., marked by a fountain, benches, grassy areas and some tall, well-spaced trees. It is arguably less habitable than Zuccotti Park, which features marble benches, tables and halal trucks. From Wikipedia: “Foley Square, which was named after a prominent Tammany Hall district leader and local saloon owner, Thomas F. “Big Tom” Foley (1852–1925), is the site of a number of civic buildings including the classic facades and colonnaded entrances of the 1933-built United States Courthouse.” As of 2:35 p.m., some camera crews are setting up and union workers are testing the P.A. as unsuspecting workers on break peer up curiously from their Kindles. The 3G, we can testify, is O.K.
Occupy Wall Street
The protesters who have been camping out at Liberty Plaza for going on three weeks are planning to meet at the plaza at 3 p.m. to psych each other up and give speeches about solidarity, the tyranny of Wall Street and how to respond to the police. The group will then march to the beat of drums and cries such as “The people! United! Will never be defeated!” en route to Foley Square to meet in solidarity with the labor groups. The plan is to march back to Liberty Plaza at 4:30.
NY Students Rising
This group was organized by students at CUNY and SUNY who were already galvanizing around tuition hikes and picked up the Occupy Wall Street cause. Those students have been coordinating with grad students that had organized around student causes at NYU and Columbia. The plan is to meet at Washington Square Park at 4 p.m.–more of a field trip than a walkout, as The Observer feels compelled to point out, considering many students won’t have to miss class and two organizers we spoke to said their afternoon history seminar would be attending along with the professor–and then march down Lafayette all the way to Foley Square. Some 600 or so NYU students have registered for the event via Facebook, suggesting the total student turnout could be around 1,000 from all the universities. The Twitter hashtag is #nywalkout. On the map on the back of the flyer, it says: “Finish! Start again!” over Foley Square.
The unions will be going directly to Foley Square, with various unions advertising 4 p.m. and others saying 4:30 p.m. “March against corporate greed and big banks!” says the TWU Local 100, which plans to assemble at Foley Square at 4:30 and march to Wall Street. These are the unions slated to participate:
Strong Economy for All Coalition
Working Families Party,
TWU Local 100
Communications Workers of America
CWA Local 1180
United Auto Workers
United Federation of Teachers
Professional Staff Congress – CUNY
National Nurses United
Writers Guild East
Community Voices Heard
Alliance for Quality Education
New York Communities for Change
Coalition for the Homeless
Neighborhood Economic Development Advocacy Project (NEDAP)
The Job Party
NYC Coalition for Educational Justice
The Mirabal Sisters Cultural and Community Center
The New Deal for New York Campaign
National People’s Action
Human Services Council
Labor-Religion Coalition of New York State
Citizen Action of NY
Common Cause NY
New Bottom Line
Tenants & Neighbors
Democracy for NYC