Given its demographics, Boulder would seem to be the ideal spot for a local version of Occupy Wall Street to flourish.
But while Occupy Denver appears to be building momentum, a similar movement is just getting started in Boulder -- not due to a lack of interest, but because so many different organizations have popped up.
Karen Conduff is a member of a sizable Occupy Boulder group; it's racked up 246 likes on its Facebook page at this writing. But she points out that there are at least two other Facebook groups using the Occupy Boulder name -- this one, which has scored 406 likes, and this one, with 26.
There's also an Occupy CU Boulder and an Occupy Wall Street Boulder, not to mention pages devoted to assorted Occupy Boulder events, two of which presumably already happened (on October 5 and October 8, respectively).
The result is "creating a lot of confusion," Conduff admits. But in another way, she feels like "the more, the merrier."
Conduff stresses that she's not a spokesperson for her particular OB group. "Starting out, somebody has to talk to the press," she says. "But I think the real strength of this movement is a lateral type of decision-making. It's not top down."
Her organization got its start in recent days. "There was an initial group of about ten of us who met last Friday. We were all feeling motivated to do something in Boulder, and we discussed what that something might look like.
"We decided that we see this as a long-term effort," she continues. "but that for our initial effort, we wanted to focus on some of the investment banks in town." Hence, an event at 11 a.m. Saturday, October 15, at the intersection of Broadway and Canyon, near One Boulder Plaza -- a location that has a number of advantages. "It's on a visible street corner," she notes. "And initially, we want to keep it legal, so we're just rallying. We've got a permit for the park across the street, and we'll stay on the sidewalk."
Afterward, however, the group will hold a general assembly at the park, to which folks from the other Occupy Boulder organizations, and any other interested parties, are invited. At that point, she's hopeful "everybody will get on the same page, and we'll be on the same page moving forward."
In the meantime, however, there are other events being planned by other Occupy Boulders, including one at the Boulder Courthouse at 12:30 p.m. tomorrow, and another at 26th and Canyon at 4 p.m. on Friday.
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Still, Conduff's not complaining. Years ago, the 54-year-old was part of the anti-nuclear movement during the Vietnam War era before taking a hiatus from such actions while raising her daughter. Then, in 2004, she got involved with the Democratic Party in Boulder. But of late, she says, "I'm feeling fairly disgruntled and not trusting that electoral politics is really functional in our country anymore." So even though the Occupy Boulder focus is currently split, she's excited by the energy being exhibited by so many others with similar emotions.
"We're off to a little bit of a messy start," she allows. "But after this weekend, and these multiple efforts, we'll band together and move forward."
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