ST. LOUIS (CBS St. Louis) – The Occupy movement is looking to bloom early this year from hibernation thanks to unseasonably warm weather across much of the U.S.
“The warmer weather brings out larger chunks of the population who are not able to participate in the colder months,” Chuck Witthaus, an organizer with Occupy the Midwest, told CBS St. Louis. “It’s definitely going to help perpetuate [the Occupy movement].”
The weather is merely a coincidence for what organizers are hoping will be the true jumping-off point for Occupy’s 2012 comeback.
Occupy the Midwest, a large-scale convention intended to breathe new life into the movement, is set to take place this weekend in St. Louis. And it was not organized around the early increase in temperatures.
“There was a lull over the winter, a hibernation period where we went into an indoor planning mode for discussing tactics to use when we reemerged in the spring, as a way to strengthen occupations and bring them back together,” Witthaus said.
The weekend will include speeches from respected keynote speakers, seminars and teach-ins to spread information about how to strengthen each community’s respective occupation.
“[Occupy the Midwest] will educate everyone, and get everyone on the same playing field … and offer resources and knowledge to gain perspective and experience – [for each branch] to learn what they were doing right and wrong,” added Witthaus.
The public calendar posted on the official website of the four-day event also makes mention of marches, general assemblies and action planning events.
Rachael Perrotta, a member of the press team for Occupy Chicago and a fellow organizer for Occupy the Midwest, said that a meeting of the minds is crucial to getting everyone on the same page.
“If we’re going to take organizing to the next level, speaking with a more unified voice and taking regional and national action, we first all need to get in a room together … and meet each other,” she told CBS St. Louis.
Perrotta will be teaching a seminar to attendees about effective media and general outreach campaigns, gleaned from Occupy Chicago’s difficulties in finding physical camping grounds within city limits.
“Occupy Chicago evolved differently [as such] … so instead of pulling inward to a camp, we pushed outward into communities since we didn’t have any other organizing option,” she explained, adding that in addition to teaching others about outreach, she also hopes to learn more about how to obtain a space and manage a camp.
Added Perrotta, “We’re all coming together to share what we do best locally,” she said. “[It will] raise the skill level of the entire Midwest Occupation.”