Occupy Miami asks, ‘Do we live in a democracy or plutocracy?’
Muhammad Malik, an unemployed Miami native who has worked with the ACLU and is the current spokesperson for Occupy Miami, tells The Florida Independent that Occupy members have scheduled an organizing meeting on Sunday at the Miami Workers Center.
Malik says Occupy Miami is an economic and political movement. “The main question that was raised is, ‘What is our role in society?’” he says. “And the response was a critique of corporations. Occupy means to us mobilizing the public to take a role in crafting our economic well-being.”
According to the Miami New Times, “more than a hundred ‘Occupy Miami’ protesters did meet on Saturday in Bayfront Park downtown.” The New Times adds: “With 700 protesters arrested on Saturday in New York, and similar demonstrations underway in a dozen other cities around the country, Miami could soon be a node in a national citizen uprising. But what do protesters here want?”
“All these different people who talked might have emphasized different issues,” Malik says, “but the key issue was: Do we live in a democracy or plutocracy? Do we live in a country where we truly have a say in the economic decisions that lead to our well-being? Or do we have no role whatsoever? I think there is a particular sense of urgency with young people, many living with their parents. Many are unemployed and don’t know what they are going to do.”
“Occupy” groups in Tampa, Fort Lauderdale and Jacksonville say they are joining a populist movement that’s spreading to cities across America.
Organizing via Facebook and Twitter (#OccupyWallStreet), protests are being spawned by a small group of demonstrators rallying in New York City. A gathering of more than 400 peacefully rallied in Tampa last weekend.”
Malik says that Sunday’s meeting is an effort to discuss how Occupy Miami can “refresh political consciousness and nurture a culture of resistance to find solutions to a few local problems.”
He says that most people who attended last Saturday’s event were not experienced activists, but members of the lower middle and working classes, students and the unemployed. Malik adds there were also anti-authoritarian types and progressive Democrats who, due to their economic woes, are ready for “direct action” as a way to “create a community where we can discuss different solutions and make some demands.”
Asked what role political parties might play, Malik says, “I’m not sure what that role would be, it would not be a lead role in Occupy. I think one of the reasons we are slowing down having this second meeting, is because many of us that did participate in the [Free Trade Area of the Americas 2003 protests] are really concerned about the police brutality, particularly about the Miami model of policing. And if any political party that has any influence over the police wants to play a role, we would feel appropriate to raise the question, ‘Will the police behave?’ When we take our action will the police behave or will it be a repeat of the heavy-handed tactics of 2003?”