Saturday, September 17, 2011

It's happening...

I take it back -- I went by earlier, and thought this was a ploy to get NYPD out in force... But they are really doing it! This looks like the best live chat, free of right-wing "troll" spammers: The photo is from CNN -- tourists, unable to get their picture with the "bull"... It's great that this protest gets major coverage in U.S. media. That is, in itself, a victory!
NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets of Manhattan's financial district on Saturday in a largely peaceful protest aimed at drawing attention to the role powerful financial interests played in wreaking havoc on America's economy.
Modeled on the "Arab Spring" uprisings that swept through Egypt, Tunisia, Syria and other countries this year, Occupy Wall Street is a "leaderless resistance movement" orchestrated through Twitter, Facebook and other social media tools. The Twitter hashtags #OccupyWallStreet and #TakeWallStreet lit up Saturday with coordination messages and solidarity tweets. (See CNNMoney's coverage in photos and tweets.)
68421PrintActivist magazine Adbusters spearheaded the event, putting the call out two months ago for participants in a Sept. 17 demonstration in lower Manhattan. Protestors arranged to meet and discuss their goals at the iconic Wall Street Bull statue at noon, as well as at a "people's assembly" at One Chase Manhattan Plaza at 3 p.m.
"The NYPD is aware of various protests and we have planned accordingly," Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told CNN late Friday.
Early Saturday morning, police barricaded off Wall Street, erecting barriers around the bull statue that protestors had planned to make their rallying point. Protestors instead took to the surrounding streets, blocking traffic. By 2 p.m., nearly two dozen uniformed police officers surrounded the bull, while others worked to disperse the crowd.
"None associated with the demonstrations sought permits," Browne said Saturday. "A group that formed at the bull at Bowling Green spilled into the streets on each side of the bull, posed safety issues and impeded vehicular traffic. The streets were re-opened to vehicular traffic and barriers were subsequently erected at the bull to prevent a re-occurrence.
A marching band played as participants held impromptu yoga and tai chi classes in Bowling Green Park. Demonstrators moved their protest to another nearby park as their numbers swelled to around 500.
"Something needs to change," said one protester, who declined to give his name and covered half his face with a bandanna. "We need an economy for the people and by the people, not for the rich and by the rich."
Another protester, Rheannone Ball, chimed in: "It's our duty as Americans to fight for our country and to keep it true to serving its people. When it doesn't do that, it's immoral not to stand up and say something."
A call for 'justice:' Kalle Lasn, the editor-in-chief of Adbusters -- an activist magazine with a worldwide circulation of 100,000 readers -- said the editors there are angry that leaders in the financial sector "had not been brought to justice." Their inspiration came when pro-democracy uprisings broke out in Egypt on January 25 and quickly spread to other countries.
"We thought, why isn't there a backlash here?" Lasn told CNNMoney in an interview before the event. "We need to shake up the corporate-driven capitalist system we're in. To do that, we needed something radical."
Last month, cyberactivism group Anonymous released a video in support of the protest.
"It gave us a nice bit of street cred, some mystique. We lefties need a lot of mystique," Lasn said with a laugh.
That mystique is what drew Josh Dworning, a 20-year-old college student, to shell out $300 for a 24-hour train ride from Florida to New York.
"I heard about the protest through StumbleUpon, and I just really agreed that there's widespread discontent with the banks and corporations," Dworning said. "I'm no crazy radical, just a student who believes in something."
Dworning, who brought a tent for camping near Wall Street on Saturday night, said he's "planning on staying as peaceful as possible" -- though he'll be on alert, because "there's always the chance that someone can get a little too angry and throw a brick or something."
That's what scares Dworning's mom, Jeanne Molle, who said she's "a nervous mother watching her son get involved in a large-scale event in [a huge] city."
Lasn is hoping safety won't be an issue. A "Gandhi-like peaceful protest" is the only way the event will work, he says, though he acknowledges that central control is impossible over a group that organizers hope will swell to 20,000. And "there is a question of legality" around setting up tents and barricades, he admitted.
In a September test run of the occupation, nine people were arrested for disorderly conduct, and later released without being charged.
"It takes a lot to rise up and reform the global economic system," Lasn says. "And maybe this time we fail. But if we do, we're just setting the tone for the next revolution."
First Published: September 17, 2011: 4:18 PM ET
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Andrea Liu sent out this email -- Report on Second Day of Occupy Wall Street
i went down to the Occupy Wall Street Square Sunday night (9/18). it's coalesced since the first day into a relatively cohesive body with mechanisms to debate and decide action. they are calling it a "General Assembly." when i was there at 8:30PM they were trying to decide if they were gonna try to Occupy Wall Street this morning (Mon). people were taking turns giving speeches For or Against moving the protest to Wall Street. they were taking "stack." (i.e. at an activist meeting people get in line to give arguments for or against something).
there seemed to be 2 facilitators who were directing the discussion, they looked pretty young (college kids). then all of a sudden the police came and said that the (protest) signs all over the square had to be removed by 9:30PM, if the protesters didn't remove them the police would do it. then the debate switched to whether they should remove them or let the police do it. then they decided they would let the police do it, and film it. then some person who claimed to be a protester randomly started to remove the posters, and the protesters said he was an undercover cop, and they told him to stop. then they put back all the protest signs the removed, and sat on them.
here is the website for the process happening in the square--called New York City General Assembly:
Wall Street Bison (art project to replace the Wall Strete Bull with a Bison):
"Anonymous" (wikileaks hackers) is posting videos of Occupy Wall Street on its website:
"Celebrities" who have spoken in Occupy Wall Street square:
1. David Graeber, Yale anthropologist/anarchist who was fired for being too political, now teaches at Goldmsiths. parents fought in Spanish Civil War--he spoke around 7PM on Saturday:
2. Roseanne Barr/(Stand-up comedian/TV star)
3. Immortal Technique (rapper)
4. Lupe Fiasco (rapper)
Here are some summaries of what speeches i can remember from the General Assembly:
(speech 1): Isn't it fitting we started the Wall Street March in front of the Musuem of the American Indian? The reason they originally called this Wall Street is because they built a wall to keep out Indians. Now we are the Indians. What is to stop us from calling ourselves Indians?
(people in audience say "white privilege")
(speech 2): Most of get people in this square are not from NY. We have to do outreach to bring more people from NY here, because it is New Yorkers who live here permanently who are going to cause change.
(conversation i had with filmmaker): There is nobody here over 25, and it is all white people. Everybody is from out of town. There are no kids from Williamsburg or Brooklyn here.
(that's all i can remember--unfortunately i didn't have video camera).
ABC story:
Washington Post:
twitter search : #Occupy Wall Street