The Schodack Town Hall, just off the interstate, on Schuurman Rd., is modern–concrete and glass. It stands in what was once farmland and is taller than the surrounding houses and businesses. This Monday after successfully plea bargaining a speeding ticket down to what the Schodack town attorney offered, “parking on pavement,” and paying the fine, we drove north and west 15 miles to Albany to re-fill our growler with a craft beer from the Albany Pump Station.
The Occupy Albany protesters, encamped in Academy Park in the shadow of the Capitol building, are demanding economic justice, in sync with their multitude of (and multiplying) Occupy brethren. Yesterday Cheryl in North Carolina told me that there are Occupy Raleigh and Occupy Chapel Hill protesters.
Unlike in both Atlanta and Orlando, where on Tuesday, the police carried out orders to prevent the peaceful protesters from sleeping in the the parks, the mayor of Albany, Gerald D. Jennings, chose not to evict the protesters. His decision was undoubtedly influenced by the courageous, principled stand taken by Albany County District Attorney David Soares, who announced that he would refuse to prosecute anyone arrested for nuisance violations which excercising their First Amendment rights at Occupy Albany.
On Monday, a day before the disgrace in Oakland, the mostly young protesters said that they don’t fear the Albany police. “You can choose to be violent or non-violent and all of us choose to be non-violent. Here the cops know that and respect us.”
Luckier than those in Zuccotti Park toughing it out on cold nights, Occupy Albany has been permitted to erect tents and is settling in for the captial region’s inhospitable winter. A young woman told me, “Before Occupy Wall St., I was wondering when something, a movement, would start. But now that it has, although some might be surprised when it starts snowing, we’ll still be here. We’re not leaving.”
She added that although many people have been supportive, others falsely sterotype the protesters and scream at them to grow up and get jobs. “But if they really think that we’re all unemployed, why aren’t they upset about the situation and trying to help us find jobs?”
In Academy Park there is an orange and blue metal historical marker which reads, “Birthplace of Modern Electricity. Here discovering magnetic induction, Joseph Henry pioneered the telegraph and electric motor, 1829-31.” Something new (and electric) is happening there again.