Socialist Worker

Angela Davis speaks out to support Philly protesters

Socialist Worker columnist Alex Callinicos writes on his recent visit to Occupy Philly and Occupy Wall Street in the US

Issue No. 2276

Angela Davis became one of the icons of the radical movement of the 1960s when she was placed on the FBI’s “ten most wanted” list on spurious gun charges. Today she continues to campaign against the US’s vast, oppressive system.

She spoke in Philadelphia on Saturday of last week to an enthusiastic and young audience of over a thousand. Several hundred of us, led by Angela herself, then marched to City Hall, where Occupy Philly has established itself.

The confidence and militancy with which this impromptu march took possession of central Philadelphia was tremendously impressive. As we drew near to Occupy Philly, stewards appeared to guide us and to direct the traffic while the cops looked on.

When we got there Angela Davis addressed the crowd. She told us that Occupy Oakland in California had called for a general strike on Wednesday 2 November. The Philadelphia protest erupted into chants of “General strike!”

On Sunday I spoke in the open forum at New York’s Occupy Wall Street (OWS) on “What’s wrong with capitalism?”.

We had a great discussion, ranging from the lessons of the 1871 Paris Commune to how Marxists should relate to this new movement.

Zuccotti Park, where the occupation is based, is on Broadway, overshadowed by the new World Trade Centre, currently under construction.

It is full of tents and stalls, buzzing with many different activities going on simultaneously.

A lot of the organisational activity takes place a few blocks away at the 60 Wall Street Atrium, a public space in the Deutsche Bank building.

The city’s strategy seems to be to let the weather wear the movement down.

They removed OWS’s heaters on “health and safety” grounds just before a freak October snowstorm swept along the northeast seaboard of the US last Saturday. But it will take a lot more to shift this movement.


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