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Thursday, December 1, 2011

Occupy Wall Street to "Mic Check" Lincoln Center

General Assembly planned for Josie Robertson Plaza
Occupy Wall Street poster by Lalo Alcarez.
© 2011 by the artist.

Concert, opera, theater, ballet and circus-goers attending a performance at Lincoln Center tonight might want to give themselves extra time on their commute to and from the venues. That, or use the underground tunnels.

The Occupy Wall Street movement is coming to Lincoln Center Plaza. 

The group, which protests economic inequality, has targeted the arts complex in a post on their website, as the site of a General Assembly, the peaceful (but loud) nightly meeting where members of the movement are given the opportunity to speak, amplified by the "people's mic": a repetition of their statement by the assembled crowd.

Tonight's G.A. is planned to take place in conjunction with the Metropolitan Opera's last 2011 performance of Satyagraha, the Philip Glass opera that explores the life of Mohandis K. Gandhi. The Mahatma's non-violent methods are an inspiration to the Occupy Movement.

Mr. Glass is planning to join the General Assembly and speak to the occupiers. Presumably, he will come out after Satyagraha ends, which should be about 11:15.

The choice of venue is also calculated to annoy New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg. Mayor Bloomberg, one of the 12 richest men in America, is among the major donors to Lincoln Center.

In November, Mayor Bloomberg personally authorized the NYPD to "evict" the Occupiers' two month old encampment at Zuccotti Park. The action led to citizens, journalists and even a city council member being injured and jailed by the cops. But the clean-out has freed the movement to travel the city and spread ther message.

Another target is  billionaire David H. Koch, the right-wing backer of the Tea Party movement. Mr. Koch recently slapped his name across the former New York State Theater after making a hefty donation to the coffers of the arts center.

If they're blocked from the plaza (as they probably will be, most likely by a combination of Lincoln Center security and NYPD) the Occupiers are planning to stage a hunger strike. According to their website, the strike will continue until they are once more allowed to stage protests in the city's public and privately owned plazas and parks.

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