By Karen Petree
On the one-year anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, the streets of Manhattan’s Financial District were full of
Beginning Saturday, September 15, members of Occupy began to assemble in New York City to kick off the three-day celebration of the movement’s birthday, culminating in S17, for September 17, the anniversary of the day when protesters first occupied Zuccotti Park last year.
The day before events began, volunteers at an Occupy information table in Union Square explained weren’t sure what to expect in the days ahead. The table is a permanent fixture in Union Square.
Xiomara Hayes was one of three volunteers at the table on September 14.
Sitting in an office chair under a black umbrella Hayes, a special education teacher and self-described whistleblower was handing out information about the movement to passersby.
She didn’t know how many people to expect at protests, but she said that over the last year the movement has matured and gotten stronger.
Another volunteer, Kevin Patten, came in from California to join the celebration protests. He’s a Libertarian and Ron Paul supporter. The movement is important to him, but he doesn’t identify with the majority of Occupy protesters.
Patten’s position reflects the ideological diversity of Occupy, which critics often fault.
Whether this is the movement’s strength or its weakness, the turnout this weekend reflected this diversity and the 99%’s different, sometimes conflicting, grievances.