CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Like lots of people around the country, Charleston Mayor Danny Jones says he doesn't understand the Occupy movement.
"I'm not sure what their mission is," Jones said of Occupy Charleston. "I'm not going to concern myself with it. I have a city to run. I'm not into their politics."
Local participants in the movement are accustomed to such dismissal. Since taking to the streets on Oct. 15, Occupy Charleston has faced some hurdles, including getting evicted from its camps at Haddad Park and Davis Park.
The group disbanded its most recent encampment at the AFL-CIO Unity lot Dec. 27. Occupy members say it was overrun by local homeless people and drug addicts.
James Files, 59, of Poca, said, though, that the "movement is not dead." The Union Carbide retiree said the Occupy movement gives him hope.
"I'm too old to get out here in the cold, but I'm not too old to bring food and supplies. I'll continue to do so when they reorganize," Files said. "I'll be there to support them."
Occupy Charleston isn't alone in its struggles. Occupy Huntington was evicted from its camp in front of a downtown bank in early December. With scores of city evictions uprooting protesters from encampments across the United States, many observers believe the three months of protest against economic inequality to be over.
As winter settles in, though, Occupy protesters say they're refocusing their efforts, using a new website, InterOccupy.org, to tighten the reins on the widespread and fractured movement.
"We at InterOccupy seek to foster communication between individuals, Working Groups and local General Assemblies, across the movement," reads the site's mission. "We do this in the spirit of the Occupy Movement and general assemblies which use direct democratic and horizontal decision-making processes in service to the interests of the 99%."
InterOccupy uses topic-themed conference calls to connect with others, keeps meeting minutes and uploads the latest happenings within the Occupy movement.
The Charleston group might have left the AFL-CIO building, but Larry Matheney, secretary-treasurer of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, said the union organization fully supports the Occupy movement.
For many people in this country, including veterans, "there's no jobs, there's no place to live. They're somewhat abandoned," Matheney said. "There's a very large community in Charleston suffering deeply as a result of this economy, in the sense that the wealthiest 1 percent in the country have only one concern -- and that is growing the wealth of that 1 percent."
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 46.2 million people were in poverty in 2010, up from 43.6 million in 2009 -- the fourth consecutive annual increase in the number of people in poverty. The October 2011 unemployment rate for veterans who left the military after 2001 was 12.1 percent, leaving about 240,000 veterans out of work, according to the White House.