Friday, November 18, 2011

Occupy Fairbanks Continues To Maintain Outside Vigil Even With Temperatures Approaching -40F

More photos HERE and HERE
Many pundits thought winter would drive the Occupy Wall Street movement indoors. Not necessarily so -- and not even in Fairbanks, where they have a REAL winter. Occupy Fairbanks continues to maintain an outside vigil even with temperatures approaching -40F; while the temperature at their campsite reached -36F on Thursday November 18th, the temperature at the nearby international airport plunged to -41F, a new record low for that date.

Occupy Fairbanks is set up at Veterans Memorial Park, across the street from city hall. They've erected a small, stove-heated wall tent with a sleeping bag on top of cardboard for insulation. One of the spokesman cited by Alaska Dispatch is Brent Baccala, who actually came up from Juneau to join the Fairbanks group. Another person quoted is John Watts, who noted that elements of the Tea Party are starting to connect with the "thinkers", as both sides are wising up to common interests.

And just what are those common interests? Occupy Fairbanks posted a statement of purpose on November 15th which included three broad objectives:

1. Separation of corporation and state; enacting reform in the government to remove the power of corporate lobbyists over our representatives, and to sever the incestuous ties between government and big money.

One way to do this is campaign finance reform, entailing a repeal of the Citizens United ruling. This problem represents issues both in the private sector and the government, and change is not possible without reform to both.

2. Fiscal Accountability and Transparency; corporations as well as the government need to held accountable for their collusive fiscal actions.

A prime example of this is the exorbitant bailout taxpayers paid to banks that were “too big to fail,” who in turn continue to refuse loans to small businesses and carry on predatory lending practices. No one was or has since been held accountable for this problem (except taxpayers). There can be no such thing as “too big to fail.”

3. Creating awareness through the spread of information regarding local and national issues precipitated by these overarching concerns.

The issues we are protesting are relevant to every citizen of our country, and it is paramount that they be informed. Apathy and disinformation are the enemies of democracy, and for too long both have preyed on the power of the individual and the value of the vote. It is high time we took our democracy back.

This graphic also shows the area of common concern between OWS and the Tea Party:

There's a food fight between the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) and the City of Fairbanks over whether Occupy Fairbanks should be allowed to have a tent on the grounds. FNSB Mayor Luke Hopkins doesn't like it, because he defines it as "camping". However, Fairbanks City Mayor Jerry Cleworth doesn't mind it, and since the City of Fairbanks provides the police service in the area, the city gets its way for the time being. The fallback plan for Occupy Fairbanks will be to either move its tents to a nearby church or attempt to find an RV.

Below-zero temperatures are expected to persist through the Thanksgiving holiday, although overnight lows may temporarily moderate to -20F with the passage of a storm system during that period.

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