Occupy Mount Pleasant persists despite low turnout

Charlotte Bodak/Staff Photographer Petoskey freshman Traven Michaels stands alongside Marine City freshman Blake Cahill while he raises his sign for Occupy Mount Pleasant as cars pass in front of the Bovee University Center Monday afternoon. "We are a group called Anonymous," Michaels said. " When you wear the mask you're wearing an idea and ideas are bulletproof."

Occupy Mount Pleasant's most recent general assembly meeting brought out a small but inspired turnout.

Only three people attended the most recent meeting Sunday in the Charles V. Park Library's Java City.

Traven Michaels, a Petoskey freshman and one of the attendees, said the local movement helps spread the same messages and issues as Occupy Wall Street and other Occupy movements across the country. The local movement has been in solidarity with the larger movements since being founded last fall.

"We can't make as much of an impact as NYC, but we can get the word out," he said. "That's the main thing."

He said since the group was founded, fliers have been posted about rallies and direct actions have occurred. Michaels said they have held three or four rallies since forming.

A direct action is a non-violent action or protest to draw attention to a particular movement, Michaels said.

The last one was held on Dec. 10 in downtown Mount Pleasant, and he said the response was generally positive, but had some hecklers.

Michaels, along with the other meeting attendees, Illinois freshman Stephen Lokos and Marine City freshman Blake Cahill, all joined about three weeks into the local movement's existence.

"Politics got me into the Occupy movement," Lokos said. "How little control we actually have and how (the politicians) haven't changed how they do things."

Cahill said following the political money trail is interesting to him.

"As soon as you start learning about the government, it all comes back to money," he said.

Cahill said the small group, usually about seven to 10 people every week, have a lot of agreement about the goals of Occupy Mount Pleasant, but differ on the approach as to how to execute them.

The group has a few plans in the works for the early spring. They plan to show the film "Inside Job," about the 2008 financial crisis sometime in February, but other details are still forthcoming.

Michaels said the movement is not going away. This spring it will be back, he said.

As the 2012 presidential election nears, the group agreed they, and the rest of the Occupy movement, will have their work cut out for them to get attention. The local group agreed they try to make it out to larger events when possible.

"You're not going to have a presidential candidate support the Occupy movement" Lokos said.