*FDL’s live blog of Occupy Wall Street here.
For two days now, hundreds of protesters have occupied Zuccotti Park, a private park in and around Wall Street, as part of Occupy Wall Street. (See last night’s live blog here.) The protesters intended to legally assemble and demonstrate on the public sidewalks on Wall Street, but the New York Police Department (NYPD) put up blockades before the planned occupation began preventing any protests from happening.
That more than a hundred have been allowed to sleep in the park for two nights now is quite an accomplishment. Every night they sleep in the park (which has been dubbed Liberty Plaza) and prolong this occupation the protesters are increasing the possibility for seriously calling attention to the corruption perpetrated by Wall Street. Having a site to call home base actually makes it possible to call the action an occupation.
Moreover, the organizers appear to be benefiting from past occupations elsewherre this year. Individuals from all over the world placed orders for pizza last night at a place called Liberato’s Pizza. The orders totaled $2,800 and the place ran out of dough and ingredients, which meant the protesters had to shift to wings orders. The website where orders were being placed crashed and the owner asked people to stop placing orders. As one protester tweeted, a real-life DDoS attack just took place on a pizza place.
The owner reportedly told protesters the place would name a pizza after the Occupy Wall Street action. Protesters are to vote on the toppings that they think should be on such a pizza. The pizza place is excited to be feeding the occupation, as it tweeted, “We’re restocked and ready for orders!” and “Firing up the Ovens, today is gonna be an awesome day!”
The organizers should find it refreshing that what they are doing convinced a number of people around the world to donate pizza. They should be even more energized if they can convince a number of people to donate food for the next days or weeks.
In Madison, Wisconsin, Ian’s Pizza became the pizza place of choice for the occupation at the Wisconsin Capitol, which was challenging Governor Scott Walker’s anti-union bill to eliminate collective bargaining for most public sector unions in the state. The place received orders from Morocco, France, Antarctica, Czech Republic, South Korea, Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Australia, Canada, China, Germany, England, Netherlands, Turkey, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Poland, Mexico, Singapore, Costa Rica, Croatia, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, Armenia, Israel, Hong Kong, Haiti, Iceland, Egypt, Belgium, Argentina, Brazil, Spain, India, Qatar, Taiwan, Lithuania, Afghanistan, Slovenia, Uganda, Nigeria, Ireland, UAE, Kenya, Bulgaria, Bosnia, Hungary, Senegal, Peru, Sweden, Philippines, Greece and Pakistan.
Ian’s Pizza delivered more than 300 pizzas during the first days of the Wisconsin occupation (which many know on Twitter as #wiunion). They, too, received more orders than they could handle. The Wisconsin occupation lasted from February to March.
If all these countries had people donate to an occupation in Wisconsin, surely the world can expect thousands of orders to come from around the world in support of an occupation on Wall Street? Anyone who saw the Academy Award-winning documentary Inside Job knows the reality: the kind of casino capitalism Wall Street engages in has profound impacts upon global economy. (In fact, one might expect most of the pizza orders to come from Iceland.)
There’s some truth to the joke circulating on Twitter that the organizers called for 20,000 to swarm on Wall Street and they did—on Twitter. Right now, the organizers are working on reaching out to unions and universities to increase the number of people engaged in the occupation.
People all over the world are tuning in hoping to see America have a kind of “Tahrir moment” with this action on Wall Street. The amount of world support and the interest that exists in the idea of a long-term occupation of Wall Street may mean the protesters do not have to prove themselves by getting 10,000 to 20,000 people down there to protest. The snark and cynicism on Twitter coming from the Tea Party and some liberal supporters of President Barack Obama may be meaningless in the short-term. Just holding a camp with a few hundred for days if not weeks may be enough to send a message and remind everyone of the excesses of corporate elites, too-big-to-fail banks and how their influence pollutes politics.
Should protesters manage to keep this going for a long period, it could dovetail nicely with a planned October 6 occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC. Organizers could move from the crooks on Wall Street to the political class that enables them but continue all that they started with their Occupy Wall Street action.
The organizers have been inspired by the work of thousands in Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen, Libya, Syria, Bahrain, Greece, Spain and Wisconsin. They have gained insight into tactics and strategy from watching those occupations play out. They want Americans who supported those uprisings to come down and be a part of a US uprising. And, they know every time someone from around the world orders a pizza, the occupation is extended and the possibility of this action actually having a significant impact increases.
*To support the occupation by sending pizza, here is the information: dial (212) 344-3464 or use the website to place an order. Also, if you would like to spread business around (which may be helpful to the occupation), here is a list of places that could deliver food to the protesters.
**For FDL’s running live blog of the action, go here.