NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A coalition of groups who say they’ve been inspired by the Arab Spring protests against despots abroad is calling for a large, Tahrir Square-like protest right here in New York City. But what their demand will be is not yet clear.
An online group dubbed “Occupy Wall Street” is calling for 20,000 people to “flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months,” according to the website occupywallst.org.
“Something is going to happen Sept. 17 on Wall Street. What it’s going to be is up to all of us,” said Bill Csapo, who described himself as a volunteer citizen organizer of the event.
Csapo said he is not an official spokesman for the conglomeration of groups.
“Not any more than any of us are,” he said, laughing.
Csapo said he’s focused on making sure there will be enough food, tents and Port-A-Potties at the gathering, if it comes together as organizers hope.
“Once there, we shall incessantly repeat our one simple demand until Barack Obama capitulates,” according to the site.
So what is the demand? Well, apparently that’s TBD and the subject of a Facebook poll.
Csapo said that regardless of whatever the specific demand is, the overall theme of the event will be clear.
“I don’t think anybody that anybody can look at the political and economic landscape we have now in Washington and not come to the conclusion that the system is broken,” Csapo said. “The main focus is the toxic and corrupting effect of unlimited money on the political situation, which would be called a Corporate-ocracy, not Democracy.”
If they don’t have a demand but are going forward with their intention to occupy Wall Street, why do it?
“Because it belongs to us! Because we can!” the group states on its website.
“We need to get government back into the hands of the 99 percent, not the one percent,” Csapo said. “Right now, the law is currently written for the one percent, and we are seeing an incredible amount of wealth being extracted.”
“The aim is getting back to more of a participatory Democracy,” said Csapo.
The Occupy Wall Street website says “We also encourage the use of nonviolence to achieve our ends and maximize the safety of all participants.”
The original call to occupy Wall Street was put out by a group called Adbusters, which describes itself as a “global network of culture jammers and creatives working to change the way information flows, the ways corporations wield power, and the way meaning is produced in our society.”
The hacker/protest group Anonymous has also reportedly thrown its support behind the Sept. 17 protest.
What do you think: Is it a protest for protest’s sake? A social media experiment? Or a genuine expression of something more profound? Sound off in our comments section.