MoveOn meeting fails to draw young activists

Local group trying to keep Occupy's protesters engaged


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As Occupy Wall Street camps dissolved around the country, one main concern was whether its various missions would fold with them.

Though liberal activist group MoveOn isn't Occupy, it shares some of its platforms and MoveOn group members, some from the Greater Pittsburgh Council, participated in Occupy events here.

MoveOn groups across the country are still meeting to keep those discussions going. But only six people showed up to the Pittsburgh council's June meeting Thursday night at the U.S. Steelworkers building. And only one person was under 50.

How are they attracting the young people to these meetings, many who stood alongside them at Occupy Pittsburgh and other protests?

Member Joy Sabl, 46, of Squirrel Hill said young people come out for MoveOn events here, but they have better things to do on a Thursday night.

"Young people text, young people Tweet," she said. "They don't need to come to a monthly meeting."

They have come in the past, she said. They usually stop in for two or three sessions, then don't feel the need to come anymore. They show up where it counts, at events and protests.

"I don't think they feel like they left us," Ms. Sabl said.

The group alerts its 20,000 members about upcoming events via email, said Bob King, acting council organizer.

The group maintains that its membership is active. People come out for events they're passionate about, whether it's related to transit, education or energy. Marcia Bandes of Squirrel Hill said she was joined by many young people at the June 8 transit protest.

This group says they keep coming to the monthly meetings because they enjoy the coterie of like-minded people who want to have conversations beyond an email thread.

"I do like the exchange here," Ms. Bandes, 61, said. "It stimulates your thoughts."

Discussion Thursday night concerned Citizens United, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision that allows unlimited political spending for political advertising by corporations and unions. The group discussed the transit protest that left one of its own arrested, the Wisconsin recall election and the history of corporations.

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