The Washington Post

OccupyDC: Small numbers, big plans

(OccupyDC organizer Elizabeth Schwartz of Rockville, MD, holds a sign Tuesday morning. (Katie Rogers))

Their numbers are smaller than the much-documented “Occupy Wall Street” demonstrations in New York City, and movements in either city are noted for lacking a centralized goal, but D.C. organizers say a specific agenda doesn’t matter when a set of common goals exist.

“Our central core mission right now is to get people talking about what the problem is,” one of the movement’s organizers, Micah Bales, a 28-year-old web strategist, said Tuesday. “It’s not that we don’t have a specific goal ... but we do have a specific sense that corporate power has to be limited.”

Scott Roberts, 30, chuckled when asked about coverage around Occupy Wall Street and OccupyDC’s perceived lack of focus; he’s been keeping himself abreast of the criticism. Roberts, who is currently unemployed, said that for now his goal is just to spread awareness.

And for the short-term, there are daily plans to do that: OccupyDC’s website directs demonstrators to be at McPherson Square every day, “rain or shine.” It also lays out plans for joining a Thursday protest of similar message: “Stop the Machine” will protest federal dollars continuing to fund corporations and pay for conflicts in Afghanistan.

At McPherson Square on Tuesday, Elizabeth Schwartz, 29, referenced the momentum in New York City when expressing her hopes for OccupyDC:

“The group here is so excited about what’s been going on on Wall Street,” said Schwartz, a spiritual consultant, from McPherson Square. “We have a lot of really pumped-up people.”

Just before lunchtime Tuesday, demonstrators were hoping to have more people attend during lunch or for the group’s 5 p.m. “assembly,” said organizer Jeff Light.


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