Occupy Carbondale makes plans inside

By Gus Bode

As part of their non-violent action, almost 40 supporters associated with Occupy Carbondale held a demonstration Thursday outside of the Senator Paul Simon Federal Building in Carbondale.

To mark the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street — a movement to end the corruption of democracy — groups across the country held demonstrations, many of which shut down rush-hour traffic in major cities. People of the Occupy Wall Street movement have protested in New York City’s financial district since Sept. 17.

Chris Malroy of Marion listens to a proposal Wednesday at the Occupy Carbondale headquarters at the Big Muddy Independent Media Center. Supporters moved the protest inside after a month at the previous site outside Quigley Hall on Highway 51 because of cold weather. Steve Matzker | Daily Egyptian

Advertisement

The Carbondale demonstration at the federal building was the first since the group ended the round-the-clock occupation of the area outside Quigley Hall. Supporters were at the site for a month before they moved inside to the Big Muddy Independent Media Center on Washington Street Saturday because of  colder weather.

Chris Klarer, a Carbondale resident, said he wants to make sure the movement continues and demonstrations are used progressively rather than as a free forum where people speak their minds. He said the concerns voiced during the demonstration should have direction and result in action.

When the group was outside it met twice a day for general assembly, but since the move they have met twice weekly.

A  general assembly meeting Wednesday was held in a small room with a wet cement floor, a leaking ceiling and blankets and mattresses strewn throughout the room. As some supporters painted signs for Thursday’s demonstration, others discussed proposals for the future of the group.

Nick Smaligo, a graduate student in philosophy from Trumbull, Conn., said the space will work well for different people to get together. He said one of the group’s objectives is to support other community activist groups.

Occupy supporters were in solidarity with the faculty who went on strike for a week and have also marched with members of the Peace Coalition of southern Illinois — a group that has stood at Town Square every Saturday for an hour since 2001 to advocate peace and solutions to end war.

According to the Occupy Carbondale website, the group wants to bring democracy to Carbondale and southern Illinois.

Advertisement

Tod Kington, a Carbondale resident, said while the group wants to show support for the larger movements, a main objective is to ensure the people of southern Illinois co-create the way they live without the influence of major corporations.

Smaligo said the movement’s objective is to encourage people to stand up for themselves, their community and against politicians who, he said, benefit from the people not having a voice.

He said many don’t understand the movement because they consider high-powered politics to be something that happens in large cities far away from them.

“We issue demands to these other people to solve these problems for us when we have all sorts of resources at our disposal as a community if we just learned how to put them to work and how to stand against those outward structures that are preventing that,” Smaligo said.

He said his generation has grown up thinking they contributed to the destruction of the world’s economy and environment but have had no venue to discuss alternatives.

“We need strong leaders, and what that implies is people can’t come together and govern themselves,” Smaligo said. “We have lost the skills of really communicating and coming to a consensus, and now we are trying to model a kind of society we want to live in.”

Advertisement