As temperatures drop and snow begins to fall, thousands of Occupy protesters are beginning to fear the approaching winter while many of their supporters worry the occupations will thin out.
In an effort to combat both dwindling temperatures and participation, collaborative news blog FireDogLake has launched Occupy Supply, an initiative to provide the protests nationwide with enough supplies to survive the winter.
“It’s clear from what’s happening around the country [that officials] are trying to freeze out the cold weather occupations and trying to shut down the warm weather ones,” said Jane Hamsher, founder of FireDogLake. “Keeping people warm through the winter is going to be really key to the success of the movement.”
Occupations that have already been blanketed with snow, such as those in Bangor, Maine, and Denver, have begun to accept donated winter wear and supplies, even taking advice from the local homeless who endure frigid conditions annually. The FireDogLake fund hopes to centralize the donation initiatives and provide truly useful, American-made supplies where needed.
Occupy Supply began accepting contributions through its website on Oct. 21, but the unexpectedly large amount donated — $50,000 in just a few hours — encouraged Hamsher to slow promotion until Thursday so that she could figure out the best way to disburse the growing funds.
Channeling the Occupy movement’s central demands — to reduce the role of corporations in politics and to create much-needed jobs — Hamsher decided that the Occupy Supply goods must be made solely by unionized manufacturers in the United States.