Occupy Tampa holds its first general assembly in months

04/08/13 Lenka Davis
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It has been about seven months since Occupy Tampa pulled up the stakes on their tents. But that doesn’t mean members aren’t continuing activism. Sunday night Occupy Tampa held its first general assembly in months.

It is 7:30 p.m. and about 35 people have gathered for the assembly at Kiley Garden Amphitheater. Pepe Slamdunk remembers times from last year when the turnout was higher.

"Last year the amphitheater was full of people. A hundred people at a time, we'd have people on the sidewalk waiting to get in. At a rally we'd have 1500 people chanting, marching, holding signs. It's good to see the turnout we have tonight. A lot of old faces, a lot of really good people, I'm excited what we're going to do tonight and what's going to happen in the future. We're still here and we're still doing it."

Even though this general assembly had fewer participants than at the height of the movement, most of them volunteer for various groups associated with Occupy Tampa. Jake Vigness called the General Assembly.

"We're all working on a number of different things. There's the Tampa Light Brigade which is pretty simple, you hold lighted signs over highways to catch traffic and get out messages. The other is the Tampa Solidarity Network where basically we try to help people with, who have individual problems with bosses and landlords and so forth to help organize them and organize their communities to stand up to them and fight back and build solidarity within the community. The other thing we've been working with, I think a couple of our people have been working to help clean up this one church in West Tampa that's been doing ( ) posession work. I've been basically trying to help this gentleman that's been having problems with code enforcement in West Tampa. Some people have been doing OT TV which is an internet broadcast they've do every two weeks."

Members of different affinity groups reported on their progress and called for collaboration in future actions. Elisabeth Toms updated the group about weekly public feedings by the local Food Not Bombs chapter.

"Starting at 8 AM Tuesday morning over at Lykes Gaslight Park, typically goes to about 10 AM. We invite everyone out, we realize it's a hard time for people to come out, that's why we're going to have our first Saturday sharing at 3 PM at Borrell Park which is off Neberaska Avenue on the first Saturday of May. The reason we do Tuesday mornings down here is because a lot of other organizations don't do breakfast on weekdays so it's a big hit. If anyone ever wants to donate food, that's cool. We have ended up giving a lot of food to the ( ) Civilian Empowerment Center, we've donated a lot there."

Susie Shannon from USF is involved in the Tampa Light Brigade, Occupy Tampa TV and Tampa Solidarity Network.

"The private sector is sucking all of the wealth out of the nation into their own pockets and it has to stop. So, however way we can do it"

Do you remember any success stories over the course of time that you've tried to bring about change, have you met with the results of your actions?

"The Tampa Solidarity Network was formed for that very thing because we don't usually see results. We agitate, organize and everything but they find their way around anything we ask for or they never intend to do it in the first place so the Tampa Solidarity Network, we took on smaller battles so that we can see actual results."

Later, Shannon pointed out successful activism including resolving the case of landlord who had ordered a tenant to leave the apartment for 6 weeks for bedbug extermination.

Krize Partridge says he will recognize Tax Day this month by giving a video-game face to corporate tax avoidance.

"I've been working with the national Overpass Light Brigade Group to put out an upcoming tax day spectacle regarding tax dodgers and tax evaders as they've kind of dubbed it. There's some exciting stuff, I believe there's an organized action that maybe on the 10th if they can get everybody coordinated across the country, the different Light Brigades, and they'll be doing some projections, displays of light as they're already known for. We've also got a facebook page up there that's also sharing this information with a fun theme that's been developed and I've basically been doing the graphics and set up that page. Come check out find out more information. You can find it on facebook.com/tax evaders."

At the meeting, Occupy Tampa decided to hold a general assembly the first Sunday of every month.

Here are more photos.

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