It’s unclear how many will attend, but sympathizers with the Occupy Wall Street movement will be occupying the Hamptons this weekend. Or, perhaps more specifically, they will be occupying Long Wharf in Sag Harbor.
To date there are about 30 “followers” to the Occupy the Hamptons Meet Up page, and about 16 “occupiers going” to attend Saturday’s event, scheduled to start at 4 p.m. Unlike the four-week-old sit-in in New York City’s Zuccotti Park, no one is actually expected to camp overnight, and according to one correspondent the entire event is supposed to wrap up by 7 p.m.
When it occurs, Sag Harbor will be one of dozens (possibly hundreds) of similar demonstrations happening in the United States and around the world.
“We’re mad as hell and we’re not going to take it anymore,” said Sag Harbor’s Jim Monaco, who is one of the organizers of Saturday’s event, paraphrasing the line from the movie “Network.”
Monaco, an author and publisher, initiated the local movement just last weekend, after observing the protests in New York. In fact, he said, he passed by a demonstration two weeks ago on his way to the Manhattan apartment he maintains, and witnessed New York City Police corraling and macing demonstrators.
“I once wrote a book called ‘The Shell Game Economy,’” Monaco said in an interview, “and in the eight years since I wrote it, I’ve just seen the problems intensify.”
While the book was never published, Monaco remains concerned about the nature of banking and the world economy, and believes it is the underlying reason so many are demonstrating today.
There is reason, he believes, to be suspicious about how money is being handled in the country, and Monaco, echoing many in the Occupy Wall Street movement, points to the shoring up banks received two years ago in the wake of the financial collapse.
“Nobody benefited from that except the banks,” he said.
And while the banks continue to be stingy in their lending, and continue to reap profits, he observed, they also continue to charge what he believes are exorbitant rates to their customers.
“How does it happen you have to pay a $40 late fee with a credit card,” he asked.
According to the Meet Up page, the group expects to limit the attendance to Occupy the Hamptons to no more than 50 people. Commenters on the page also suggested organizing a bus to participate in the Manhattan protest, and suggested staging “occupations” at other East End locations, including Meadow Lane in Southampton “where several big Wall Street traders and billionaire polluter David Koch all live…”
“The message is,” said Monaco, “the Tea Party wanted to take the country back. We need to take the country forward.”
Image above from the Meet up page for Occupy the Hamptons.