Occupy Storefront, Protesters Gathering at Debate Site

Ronkonkoma-based activist organization partners with Occupy the East End for planned demonstration at Hofstra University.

Along with the droves of media, pollsters, audience members and political stakeholders descending upon the campus of Hofstra University tonight, the Occupy Storefront movement and its partner Occupy the East End has bussed demonstrators to Hempstead to protest what they call the "dog and pony show" of the Obama-Romney debate.

The organization, which rents a storefront across from the Ronkonkoma LIRR station, sent out a release last Friday urging others to join them.

"This system represents the narrow, selfish, parochial interests of the top 1%—the super rich and transnational corporations, the release states. "The 99% are useful—as consumers and underpaid workers"

The group describes itself as nonpartisan and states that it is not endorsing either candidate. Buses provided by the movement picked up demonstrators in New York City at 3 p.m. today. Organizers are expecting 300 or more attendees.

"[The protest is] critical of the whole system," said Louis Mazzei, a member of Occupy Storefront. "These two candidates are being paid to talk about talking points. They've said nothing about unemployment, nothing about these wars we're fighting, nothing about foreclosures. All the things that have basically gone unchanged in the past four years."

The organization points to corporate interests as one of the principal reasons for what they say is a lack of real change in America.

"Lobbying needs to be  removed entirely from the process," said Charlie Lulay, another member of Occupy planning to protest at Hofstra. "Get the money out of the system and move to a publicly funded system," he said. 

"Both candidates are funded by the same corporations, like Goldman Sachs," Mazzei added. "I think it's all for the elite. The corporations and the investment bankers are the real winners in these elections...This debate is just a dog and pony show."

Lulay said they'll organize first on Front Street and then move as close to the debate site as can be allowed. According to the release, the gathering point was slated to begin at 4 p.m. 


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