Picture from protest (on its first day) that I took from the live feed
It was a regular Saturday on September 17th except for one fact. Over 5,000 protesters descended on Wall Street to rally against corporatocracy. But, the New York Police Department (NYPD) had got there first, walling off the street and the iconic symbol: the bull. Even though they had planned to occupy Wall Street, it just wasn’t possible with the police presence so they moved into a nearby park, Zuccotti Park, which they dubbed Liberty Plaza. The peaceful action was called a “Marxist Day of Rage” by some its critics and not radical enough by others. Really most of those participating were progressive or anti-corporate. I’m not saying that socialists, anarchists or anonymous supporters were not attendance but they were not in the majority.
Average citizens across this blue planet are outraged. Corporations, especially huge monopolistic ones, are cheating the people of the world. Governments are siding with these oppressive companies. So people are getting fed up. In the Mideast, people have protested against the authoritarian governments, causing the fall of two dictators, one in Tunisia and another one in Egypt. This fervor extended to Europe in the May15Movement or the European Revolution, which I talked about earlier this year. Europe is continuing a revolution of ideas it started earlier this year, which is now blossoming in America. To jumpstart this process, independent activists are preaching the end of corporate power in politics and organizing events to stop an injustice.
The broad spectrum of differing perspective brings angry citizens together from across the country. In Adbuster’s original message announcing this event, they asked for help in finding their central demand. Since then, Noam Chomskians have taken the upper hand, being the most active and calling for the abolishment of corporate personhood. Others have partially followed Texas Representative Ron Paul’s economic doctrine, calling for the end of the Federal Reserve. The mainstream of the movement is directing the most energy being at big business. The radical nature of some of the attendees like the Democratic Socialists of America, those that say the “rich are killing us” and those that say capitalism are evil and want to overturn the current economic system are in the fringe but some of their more rational ideas mesh with the attitudes of other protesters. In addition, these people are in the fringe because they don’t have consensus of what to replace the current economic system, while most of the protesters just want to modify the current system.
After the first days of protests, a mammoth effort was underway even though only about 500 stayed for the night, sleeping on the ground in sleeping bags. Some say it was even more like the cameraman on the UStream Channel, Mobile Broadcast News who said he counted over “1,000 heads.” No matter what number you choose, one can’t question the fact that people were fired up, walking down Wall Street (on Saturday and Sunday) and shouting their message. Later, they were not allowed on Wall Street during the rest of the week because it was open so they protested from afar. According to one bystander, shouts could be heard two blocks away. While this was happening, the police controlled the situation and protesters were not fighting back, they were following orders. Despite this, I would estimate that about 10 people were arrested a few days ago, but all were quickly released according to reports on twitter. Meanwhile, activists used a twitter account, OccupyWallStNYC to coordinate the buying of food and other supplies for those that remained, which they called (and still call) #needsoftheoccupiers. If there are 2,000 protesters in New York City, I would say that three to four times that are part of the movement on Twitter. Even the official twitter organizing account has over 5,000 followers. Adding this together about 16,000 people on Facebook plus 2,000 on the ground in NYC and maybe 10,000 people on twitter equals about 28,000 as part of the movement! While this movement has blossomed, the group in New York got the most media attention which only fully accumulated after the first day of protests had elapsed.
The Real News Network had the best account of the event, interviewing people at the scene of the protest. I am not saying Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! didn’t do a good job, but she didn’t interview people at the scene, however she provided great independent news coverage. On the other hand, maybe we should start calling the mainstream media the lamestream media, because not once was it shown on TV since the “revolution will not be televised.” Every person was educated and they knew what they were talking about. The same thing was shown on the Colbert Report, where Steven Colbert tried to poke fun at the protest. Instead of getting people who were clueless, there was people who were part of the political stratum. As talked about in Mr. Dahl’s “Who Governs?,” those in this group are deeply involved in the political process, just like activists in this movement.
Checking the twitter hashtags #occupywallst, #antibanks, #occupywallstreet, #ows, #ourwallstreet, #sept17, #globalrevolution, #TakeWallSt, #usdor, #takewallstreet, #usdayofrage, and many others, I was able to read first-hand what activists were saying about the movement for that day. As of now, numerous people are being held by the NYPD with many in the protest calling for their release. Michael Moore and Keith Olbermann, huge media stars have professed their support for the movement and were congratulated on the account of the official organizer of protests (especially those in New York) named @OccupyWallSt. Last night, I watched a clip on Real Time with Bill Maher, where Tom Morello, the former head of Rage Against the Machine professed his support for the movement. Lupe Fiasco, a major rap star has offered supplies and his support as he protests in solidarity with the other protesters in New York. As support spreads, it has become a national movement, spreading to areas across the United States and more prevalent, sparking worldwide protests.
I compiled a map, showing where all the protests are occurring as I write this. I tried to be as detailed as possible, using the sources I had available including takethesquare’s site and Wikipedia’s page that both linked to protest feeds across the world, but Take The Square told people to occupy financial sectors wherever you live:
To close, I am learning that it’s getting violent on Wall Street but because of the NYPD attacking protesters, detaining them or other actions. This was confirmed by what I heard on the livestream when one man said: “it was very violent.” According to a recent Associated Press tweet, over 80 people have been arrested by the NYPD. I just hope that they can hold on there until December 31st as the official Facebook event says because then it can benefit the whole global movement. In the end, I encourage you to protest against or write about the corporations and the governments that have become something that is against the people, not for the people and has caused people-driven government to disappear from the “free world.”
UPDATE: Political Fail Blog wrote in a blogpost about 10 minutes ago: "Yesterday, the NYPD arrested *more than* 95 people who were marching with hundreds of others to the UN, to voice their distaste for the globalist organization, * supposedly* in existence to promote democracy and human rights." That means I was a little off reports that 80 people were arrested, but when its hard to count that many people, it could be easy to make a mistake!
UPDATE 2: I added more protest sites to the ones I had originally wrote about. With the help of #occupychicago I was able to add even more sites of occupation.
UPDATE 3: More and more people support #occupywallst, now called #OWS for short. Chris Hayes, the editor in chief of the Nation supports the movement, as he has had it on his MSNBC show, UP with Chris Hayes for two days in a row. I watched this morning and learned that 700 people were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge. That brings up the total to about 800 who have been arrested so far in these protests (includes the 10 people who were released). There is a number of others that support the movement as well, including Hip-Hop star Russell Simmons, Amy Goodman of Democracy Now!, Cornel West and Noam Chomsky (who was mentioned in my original article). In addition, two days ago, Senator Bernie Sanders said he supported the movement saying on Countdown with Keith Olbermann: "What I appreciate about what's going on in New York City right now is there is a spotlight being focused on Wall Street. We desperately need that. If were going to get out of this recession and create the millions of jobs that we desperately need, we need real Wall Street reform. Right now, a lot of people don't know this, you have six financial institutions, the largest six banks in the country who control 60% of the assets of the United States of America. After we bailed them out because they were too big to fail, 3 out of the 4 largest financial institutions actually became bigger. So if we are going to create a situation so capital is going to flow into the productive economy, into manufacturing, into rebuilding our infrastructure, into transforming our energy system, rather than continuing the casino-type games Wall Street is playing right now, we need a lot of pressure on Wall Street. No question about that...Focusing attention on Wall Street is exactly the right thing to do. Let me give just one other example, Keith. In the Dodd-Frank financial reform bill, we managed to get a provision in there which allowed for an audit of the Fed during the Wall Street bailout. What we learned amazingly enough is the Fed provided 16 trillion dollars. 16 trillion in low-interest loans to every financial institution in this country and to central banks all over the world and large corporations. Now just think of what would happen if the Fed today said: "We have to deal with unemployment. We're going to make billions of dollars in low-interest loans available to small businesses, to those institutions in America which are actually part of the productive economy, producing products, producing services and creating jobs."" I found from some looking on Keith Olbermann's site some other interesting tidbits on a page that puts all of the videos having to do with the Wall Street protests together: http://current.com/shows/countdown/topic/occupy-wall-street.
Its been a while since I updated this article, but I found a bunch of articles on the subject of Occupy Wall Street (#OWS). The press is crazy now. Articles are coming in like wildfire. I even saw one on Yahoo! News, one of the corporate giants. They know they have to cover the movement, even though the protesters are against them! That's what they deserve. Truthdig, now has a whole page devoted to stories about #OWS that they wrote. Anyway, here's a collection of the articles about #OWS in the past two days (If I went back farther it would be hundreds of links):
- http://www.alternet.org/occupywallst/152730/live_blog%3A_occupy_wall_street_protesters_win_battle_against_bloomberg_eviction%2C_at_least_10_arrested_in_clash_with_police/?akid=7710.313315.oSi5Hw&rd=1&t=2 (live blogging about #OWS)
- http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/680264/saturday%3A_solidarity_protests_to_sweep_across_world/ (Protest planned worldwide for this saturday! Another expansion of the movement into even more realms!)
- http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/679931/saturday%3A_huge_global_day_of_action_in_solidarity_with_occupy_wall_street/ (Day of protests, mentioned in the link above)
- http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/679930/occupy_wall_street%3A_why_now/ (Exactly the question I've been asking...)
- http://www.alternet.org/story/152694/occupy_wall_st._prepares_for_crackdown_--_will_bloomberg_try_to_tear_it_all_down?akid=7709.313315.L528Ly&rd=1&t=24 (this crackdown was averted)
- http://teleomorph.com/2011/10/13/lawrence-lessig-at-occupy-wall-street/ (Occupy Wall Street unifying the "left" and "right?")
- http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/tea-party-wall-street/2011/10/13/id/414367?s=al&promo_code=D407-1 (A christian-conservative news source talks about the Tea Party attacking #OWS. The Tea Party should be #OWS as my dad says, but this whole thing just proves they are owned by big business)
- http://godfatherpolitics.com/1483/occupy-wall-street-protesters-made-me-yell-at-my-tv/ (Conservative response to #OWS. I completely disagree with this writer)
Last night, a number of "progressive" groups rushed to the defense of OWS:
- BoldProgressives: http://act.boldprogressives.org/sign/petition_defend_ows/?akid=5499.1180005.bHylCF&rd=1&source=e1-4mo-fin&t=1 (supposedly it was a emergency petition, yet it only got 25% of the people it was supposed to. I find this disappointing. However, over 54% of Americans support the movement, so that's promising
- Progressive Action Fund. They didn't have a link, but they said: "Occupy Wall Street in New York City needs your help today...Don't let anyone try to stand in the way of Americans speaking out. Together we can make sure that everyone's voice is heard. Tell Mayor Bloomberg that if he wants to clean parts of New York City, he should start with Wall Street."
- Left Action, but has a petition by Credo Mobile (the company that has ads in The Nation all the time): http://act.credoaction.com/campaign/ows_4/?rc=LA_OWS_10072011_e1
- MoveOn petition: http://www.civic.moveon.org/defend_ows/?id=31974-19300787-Bm8i%3D_x&t=2 (Petition by MoveOn)
- RootAction's petition: http://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=4882
I went down to Occupy Baltimore and wrote an article about it: "A man at the media table spoke, saying that suggestions would be posted for that day’s “General Assembly.” Every day at about 8:00 P.M. this new method of meeting occurred. Those people in the middle would pass the message to the outside without microphones, only with the human voice. It’s like a game of telephone, except more political in nature and more inclusive. As another...": http://sunpol.tumblr.com/post/11610071354/occupy-baltimore-a-movement-in-action