Last week, occupiers in New York City chained open subway entrances and posted official looking notices inviting the public to ride for free. Their innovative action caused an immediate sensation in the Occupy movement suggesting that similar jams will be carried out worldwide in May.
Jammers explained that the fare strike was done to show the connection between the de-funding of public transportation and the financial takeover of democracy: "Instead of using our tax money to properly fund transit, Albany and City Hall have intentionally starved transit of public funds for over twenty years; the MTA must resort to bonds (loans from Wall Street) to pay for projects and costs ... more than $2 billion a year goes to debt service ... by 2018 more than one out of every five dollars of MTA revenue will head to a banker’s pockets." Union leadership agreed.
Authorities in New York City were swift to condemn, even going so far as to release surveillance footage of the occupiers calmly pulling off this audacious jam. It is no surprise that they are worried. This is perhaps the first time that the fare strike tactic has been successfully deployed in America and it is a sign that the I Don’t Pay movement which has been flourishing in Europe is finally leaping to North America. In Greece, jammers routinely occupy toll booths and public transportation entrances allowing everyone to pass for free.
As Occupy matures, it is beginning to learn a few new tricks. If Occupy adopts the I Don’t Pay movement’s fare strike tactic, we just might see May’s uprising snowball into a wildcat consumer revolt–a mass refusal to pay–the likes of which the world has never seen.
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