Under bright sunny skies, environmental activist Pat Kenschaft and about nine other people demonstrated at the corner of Bloomfield and South Fullerton avenues Saturday morning as part of a local Occupy Wall Street movement.
Kenschaft has admitted that the goals of the group are fluid, but the messages conveyed by the group's placards were clear. One sign said "Economic Inequality Destroys Nations" while another said "I'll Believe Corporations Are People When Texas Executes One."
Similar demonstrations have been organized by Kenschaft in Montclair in the past. In November, about 30 people turned out on Church Street, carrying placards. In December, about a dozen people showed up.
On Saturday morning, only about 10 people were on hand at 10:30 a.m. When asked if interest in the movement was dwindling, Kenschaft said she expected more people to arrive as the morning went on.
Although Kenschaft said the overall goals of the movement are fluid, she personally believes that: "We need a much higher marginal tax rate on the rich. When I was young, it was 91 percent; now it is 35 percent. Many of those affected agree; they too suffer when roads are bumpy, bridges fall, and health and environmental codes aren't enforced. Over two dozen people with incomes over a million dollars a year demonstration in Washington, D.C. recently with the motto 'Tax me more.' Requiring the same Social Security rate for all earned income and taxing all income at the same level as earned income would help."
Last month, The New York Times reported that, with donations to the original Occupy Wall Street dropping significantly and money starting to run low, the movement has been forced to implement a partial spending freeze to make sure enough money is available for crucial functions like bailing protesters out of jail.
With the encampment’s eviction from Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan in November and the subsequent decline in activity and visibility, Occupy Wall Street’s fund-raising efforts have entered a dry spell.
By Janaury, the movement had spent more than half of the $700,000 in donations it had received since October, leaving a balance of about $300,000.
Since Occupy Wall Street took over Zuccotti Park on Sept. 17, the movement has spread across the country. But the cold weather has taken a toll on demonstrations.
To find out more about the local Occupy movement, go to the group's Facebook page here.