FRANK FRANKLIN II Enlarge
NEW YORK — Occupy Wall Street is going on the road — a two-week walk to Washington.
A small group of activists plans to leave Manhattan's Zuccotti Park at noon Wednesday and arrive by the Nov. 23 deadline for a congressional committee to decide whether to keep President Barack Obama's extension of Bush-era tax cuts. Protesters say the cuts benefit only rich Americans.
The announcement came the same day that David Crosby and Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, planned an acoustic performance in the park for supports and passers-by.
Kelley Brannon is organizing the 240-mile march through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware and Maryland with a core group of a dozen activists, picking up other marchers along the way — even if for a day, or only an hour, they say.
"Occupy the Highway" — as it's been dubbed — will start from the Manhattan park where the first Occupy encampment was set up, with a ferry ride across the Hudson River from West 34th Street to Elizabeth, N.J.
Brannon likened the effort to the long-distance marches led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. during the civil rights era.
"I mean, I'm not comparing us to Martin Luther King," said Brannon, of Queens, referring to three marches King led in 1965 from Selma, Ala., to the state Capitol in Montgomery. Those marches ranged in size from 600 to 8,000 people.
"That's the premise Occupy is taking to the road: the historic relevance of such long-distance marches for social causes," Brannon said.
They'll overnight by camping or at volunteered accommodations, she said.
They are to join Occupy D.C. protesters in McPherson Square the evening of Nov. 22, then walk to the Capitol and the White House the next day.
The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction must decide by Nov. 23 to cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit; the tax issue is only one bitter bone of contention among politicians. But it's the top issue for the Occupy activists heading to Washington.
New York's multibillionaire mayor, Michael Bloomberg, whom many protesters consider their adversary as one of America's wealthiest "1 percent," has also called for ending the tax cuts.
"Interesting — but I'm not a Bloomberg supporter," said the 27-year-old Brannon. "I'm not really impressed with what he's doing, though we agree on this one little thing."
The march is being funded with an initial $3,000 approved at Occupy Wall Street's "general assembly" — a daily gathering of protesters to make decisions. The money comes from donations of at least a half-million dollars sent to the New York movement by supporters.
The marchers expect to get more support of both money and supplies along the way — an average of about 20 miles a day from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., walking on highway shoulders, where it's allowed, or on local roads.
They'll hold nightly discussions — along the lines of their general assemblies, at 7 p.m. wherever they are, as they pass through cities with an Occupy presence, such as Philadelphia and Baltimore, as well as towns and rural communities not yet involved.