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As Occupy Wall Street gains momentum in protesting the power of large corporations, its sister movement, Occupy D.C., is just beginning. Of all the potential public spaces in the city associated with federal power, local protesters have chosen to set up camp in McPherson Square.
Why choose a small park with no particular relevance to structural inequality at the national level?
Participant Micah Bales says it’s because the location’s proximity to K Street NW is significant. The group opposes the current system of political representation, which is presumably embodied by the big lobbying firms that line the thoroughfare.
“K Street is synonymous with big lobbying,” Bales says, comparing the location to Wall Street’s association with large corporations.
Occupy D.C., now in its third day, held a general assembly meeting this afternoon to discuss the protest’s structure and mission going forward. Though most in attendance are frustrated with corporate political clout, participant and facilitation team member Eric Sponaugle said the group has not yet decided on a particular focus. “We want to form sort of organically,” he says.
Nonetheless, supporters were charmed by Occupy D.C.’s grassroots efforts. Nicole Aro, the Sunlight Foundation’s organizing director, said this is the first time she’s seen a bottom-up campaign focused on lobbying reform. And Americans for Democratic Action Policy Director William Rice defined the goal of the protest as an effort “to reduce the level of corporate power over our democratic society.”