Monday March 10, 2014
Occupy Wall Street Gets WinterizedSalem-News.com
FDL Members Raise $50,000, Commit 100% of Funds Raised to #OccupySupply Program -
(NEW YORK CITY) - American made hats, scarves, blankets, backets, base lLayer underwear and extreme weather socks will help Occupy Wall Street to persevere through winter.
The Firedoglake Membership Program, with 1500 members across the country, raised $50,000 to start a supply chain of union-manufactured goods that will help #OccupyWallStreet-inspired encampments in their communities survive through the winter.
"The powers that be are clearly executing plans to shut down occupations in warm weather areas, and hoping that they freeze out those in the cold" says FDL founder Jane Hamsher. "It's no coincidence that Bloomberg seized the #OWS generators on the first day of snow. Getting a consistent, reliable supply of cold weather supplies to occupations across the country could mean the difference between the movement surviving the winter or not."
"Every day, more and more occupations were asking us for help" says Brian Sonenstein, FDL's Director of Online Organizing. "It became clear that in order to adequately supply occupations across the country with appropriate cold weather gear to get them through the winter, there was going to have to be an organized supply chain."
With so many FDL members wanting to provide assistance to the occupations, the membership program took advantage of the opportunity and sourced winterization supplies to make bulk buys from American made, union manufacturers. Unions such as the UFCW, Worker's United, the International Association of Machinists and SEIU stepped up to help them quickly build a product line of superb cold-weather gear that can continuously supply occupations throughout the winter.
"Of the $51,000 we have raised to date, we've already spent $42,000, most of it on heavy-duty cold weather gear" says Sonenstein. The line includes thinsulate-lined masks and beanies, wool watch caps, polar fleece scarves and blankets, double base-layer self-wicking long underwear, quilted jackets and vests, fleece pullovers, as well as the aforementioned -40 degree socks. The supplies will all be going out to FDL members who will deliver them to occupations in their communities. Gloves, boots and other supplies will be added to the list soon.
But it was not an easy task to source all of these union suppliers. The garment manufacturing industry in the United States has been decimated by NAFTA -- which leads directly back to the catalysts of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
"As American manufacturing goes, so goes the American middle class -- which was built on manufacturing jobs" says Hamsher.
American manufacturing and the middle class economic stability that went with it have been consistently sabotaged by both political parties. The 18% unemployment that young people now face, the crippling student loans and credit card debt that puts them into indentured servitude to the banks before they're even out of school, the bleak future as a Starbucks barista living on their parents' couch, the constant redistribution of wealth out of their pockets and into those of the one percent -- in short the very factors that have driven #OWS residents into these modern Hoovervilles -- were all prophesied in the WTO protests of 1999, the progenitor of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
"It's tragic to see what we had lost in the past decade — not only the vast majority of American textile manufacturers in the United States, the jobs they provided and the communities they sustained, but also the craft and skill in the products they made" says Sonenstein. "So when we were creating the OccupySupply line of cold weather clothing for the steady stream of people who show up at the occupations, we committed ourselves to using union made goods. To insure that the money would go to support people with sustainable incomes, and won't just cyclically reinforce the problem."
The OccupySupply logo was designed by New Zealand designer Caz, and the line of OccupySupply garments can be seen at the donation page: https://donate.
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