Much has been written about the future of Occupy: the movement is dead, it is not dead, it evolved into something else, it will experience a resurgence in the fall etc. But what has received less air time are all the ways in which citizens, be they part of Occupy or not, continue to battle budget cuts in their own communities and across the country.
The blasé reception of this ongoing resistance might be explained, in part, by the decline of Occupy’s occupations. Revolution is sexy, but the quiet resistance of low-key direct action lacks Liberty Park’s flash.
Yet the resistance continues, in ways large and small.
A city in central New York is losing its top two law enforcement officers to retirement after lawmakers announced major spending cuts for the police department. Auburn Police Chief Gary Giannotta and Deputy Chief Thomas Murphy both announced their retirement plans this week in response to the city council’s plans to slash $400,000 from the department’s budget.
Giannotta said the cuts to his department will be detrimental to public safety.
In another example, NETWORK, a national Catholic social justice lobby, and the NETWORK Education Program organized fourteen nuns to ride in a “Nuns on the Bus” vehicle through nine states to protest federal budget cuts proposed by Representative Paul Ryan (R-WI).
NETWORK emphasizes that Ryan’s budget will have a detrimental effect on struggling families, and cites tax breaks for the wealthy and decreased funding for health insurance programs for low-income individuals as two of the biggest problems with the proposal.
In a country where citizens are often failed by traditional institutions (even the Catholic Church has criticized the Nuns on the Bus), direct action by these nuns has proven to be pivotal in their communities.
“The nuns have always reached out and provided programs for low-income groups,” said Karen Krause, social justice chairman of Toledo Area Jobs with Justice and Interfaith Worker Justice Coalition, part of a national network that advocates for the rights of working individuals.
“The Ryan budget breaks the circle of protection around the poor and vulnerable,” Ms. Krause said.
Nearly 100 students, parents and coaches gathered in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, Monday evening to protest budget cuts that could eliminate some sports.
“I’m concerned that the school board is cutting middle school athletics; I’m concerned that they’re cutting academic programs; I’m concerned they are cutting field trips,” said Aaron Hajduk, a parent, to KDKA. “I think this is a critical time in a child’s life.”