Occupy Little Rock, the local offshoot of the worldwide protest movement that started in New York City with Occupy Wall Street, is getting a $1,000 donation last week from the Arkansas AFL-CIO.
Though OLR's "General Assembly" — the group of protestors who are on hand during their planning meetings — still has to vote on how the donation will be allocated, some organizers we spoke to note that Occupy's camp at Fourth and Ferry Streets near downtown has some winterization needs as the colder months set in, as well as ongoing concerns like food, propane for cooking, securing a larger tent to serve as a central meeting place, and acquiring wooden pallets to use as risers to keep tents from flooding in the rain.
Caleb Baumgardner, a law student who has been with Occupy Little Rock since the first organizational meetings, said that though far-right conservatives have been spreading rumors that the Occupy movement is a front for organized labor since the beginning of the Occupy Wall Street protests, the support from the AFL-CIO, both nationally and at the local level, is simply an acknowledgement that Occupy and union workers share some of the same goals.
"We understand that organized labor is supposed to be a countervailing force to the power of big business in this country so big business can't just run roughshod over everyone and do whatever they want with no accountability and no responsibility," he said. "They understand that we get that, so they understand we have a common cause."
Occupy Little Rock will hold its next large-scale protest march this Saturday, Nov. 5, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Occupy Little Rock camp at Fourth and Ferry Streets.