The executive board of the New York City’s Local 100 Transit Workers’ Union (TWU) has endorsed Occupy Wall Street. The decision means they will be holding a “coordinating meeting,” according to Lisa Sabater of The Daily Gotham, with community and labor organization to decide how to “come together and better support the Occupy Wall Street campaign.” This is very significant news. It gives the action further credibility and adds to the support New York postal workers and the PSC union of City University of New York have shown to the occupation.
Last night, it was almost like MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell and Current TV’s Keith Olbermann were competing to see who could air the most segments on Occupy Wall Street during their program. O’Donnell won giving filmmaker Michael Moore and the occupiers twenty minutes (almost) for two segments that were broadcast live from Zuccotti Park, where the occupation has been taking place. Then, O’Donnell did a segment on Officer Anthony Bologna, whom the NYPD claims they will now be investigating after he pepper-sprayed protesters (we’ll just have to wait and see if they actually do any reasonable investigation). Olbermann had on Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi and WNYC’s Arun Vendogopal to talk about the nature of the movement. And, in all seriousness, it may have seemed like a competition; really this is the kind of coverage the corporate media should be giving to the story. (See yesterday’s live blog for all video links.)
The NYPD’s treatment of protesters, especially when they do something that is “unpermitted” has certainly changed. Contrast how they handled an issue with the media using a tarp to cover their equipment yesterday:
With how they responded to the protesters’ decision to put up tarps on Day Four, when it had been raining:
The difference in how the police handled the issue doesn’t justify the NYPD’s assertion it has to seize any tarps used to protect media equipment or keep the protesters’ dry. But it does show the evolution of the action, how the occupiers have gained a lot of respect making it really problematic for police who may want to use force on protesters.
It is now raining and raining and raining in New York. And the protesters are limited to using umbrellas to keep anything dry.
Dear Readers and Supporters,
I have gained significant notoriety for blogging Occupy Wall Street since Day One. I have the FDL community to thank. Users in the comments thread have really helped keep me up on everything streaming in that is related to Occupy Wall Street.
Firedoglake has become a leading source for news, updates and commentary on the occupations springing up around the country. I have been a key player in FDL’s increased attention for its coverage of Occupy Wall Street and would like to continue reporting on the occupations from the field instead of an apartment in Chicago. So, I am asking readers and supporters to donate so FDL can bring The Dissenter out to cover US citizens standing up against social injustice in this country.
Now, Firedoglake’s premier live blog continues. Here is a Twitter list to follow for the latest on Occupy Wall Street.
11:32 PM There’s a roving dance party. Report that police on scooters tried to disperse. They moved to another area. Not even sure that the police really care. Might just be standing by monitoring from somewhere.
10:15 PM Chris Hedges: “The Best Among Us”
8:42 PM I believe this is the culture the occupiers are boldly challenging:
8:24 PM Photo from Steve Rhodes shows Occupy San Francisco “occupying” a Chase Bank branch. (h/t TarheelDem)
7:40 PM The Nation has published an FAQ on Occupy Wall Street
7:18 PM “We Are the 99%”
6:41 PM Reactions to NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof’s tweet on his experience at Occupy Wall Street:
No wonder the plutocrats can drink Good Riddance champagne and delight in the fact that “the rich are likely to get even wealthier in the coming years.”
6:08 PM More police brutality — officer punches a protester
5:55 PM Homeland Security visits
5:15 PM Why is TWU getting involved in Occupy Wall Street? TWU Local 100′s spokesman Jim Gannon explains:
The protesters, it’s pretty courageous what they’re doing…and it’s brought a new public focus in a different way to what we’ve been saying along. While Wall Street and the banks and the corporations are the ones that caused the mess that’s flowed down into the states and cities, it seems there’s no shared sacrifice. It’s the workers having to sacrifice while the wealthy get away scot-free. It’s kind of a natural alliance with the young people and the students — they’re voicing our message, why not join them? On many levels, our workers feel an affinity with the kids. They just seem to be hanging out there getting the crap beaten out of them, and maybe union support will help them out a little bit.
But here’s the best part about TWU joining. Village Voice reports:
Marvin Holland, TWU 100′s political director, told us that individual union members have been supporting the movement and down at Zuccotti Park since day one, and that this was “a natural fit for us.” He’ll be meeting with some of the protesters tomorrow to talk about what kind of support they need. Will this help OWS focus their still rather undefined goals? “I don’t think it’s our job to tell them what their demands should be,” he said.
Here’s a good union that respects what Occupy Wall Street participants have built and they aren’t about to try and change it. TWU is the kind of union that should be involved.
5:14 PM Law enforcement humor
5:12 PM FDL user MayDaze has posted this photo in the comments thread. It is a picture of NYT columnist Nicholas Kristof with @Korgasm and @SabzBrach. Anyone following #OccupyWallStreet closely knows these two by now.
3:10 PM For discussion in the comments thread: If Occupy Wall Street doesn’t deal in real-world policy goals, is it just noise?
3:00 PM More on unions and community groups in New York getting involved from Crain’s New York:
A loose coalition of labor and community groups said Thursday that they would join the protest next week. They are organizing a solidarity march scheduled for Wednesday [October 5] that is expected to start at City Hall and finish a few blocks south at Zuccotti Park…
…Some of the biggest players in organized labor are actively involved in planning for Wednesday’s demonstration, either directly or through coalitions that they are a part of. The United Federation of Teachers, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, Workers United and Transport Workers Union Local 100 are all expected to participate. The Working Families Party is helping to organize the protest and MoveOn.org is expected to mobilize its extensive online regional networks to drum up support for the effort
2:58 PM Occupy Chicago is picking up momentum. The police are engaging in more and more harassment (though it seems to be the worst during the day because a few of the cops were talking to protesters last night about various issues in society).
<img src=”http://c0013979.cdn1.cloudfiles.rackspacecloud.com/x2_8865621″ width=”400″>
2:47 PM Nothing the NYPD can do for Brookfield Properties, the park owner that is just about had enough of the protesters.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Wednesday that the department could not bar protesters from Zuccotti Park since it is a public plaza that is required to stay open 24 hours a day…
…Zuccotti Park is intended for the use and enjoyment of the general public for passive recreation,” said Melissa Coley, vice president of investor relations and communications for Brookfield, in a statement.
“We are extremely concerned with the conditions that have been created by those currently occupying the park and are actively working with the City of New York to address these conditions and restore the park to its intended purpose.”
But the NYPD does not have the power to remove the protesters unless they’re breaking the law or park regulations.
2:36 PM Yes Men are involved in an effort to start up an Occupy Wall Street Journal newspaper:
1. The Occupy Wall Street Journal. The title speaks for itself. This newspaper will be printed in 50,000 copies and will spread all over New York City the news of what’s happening right now in the heart of the world’s financial capital. Help the movement grow! And if you’re anywhere near New York and haven’t been to Liberty Plaza, the experience is highly recommended as a treatment for most personal and societal ills.
In June 2010, Detroit hosted the US Social Forum. Organizers published a newspaper each day of the forum, which lasted for about four or five days. It was produced very quickly and brought people the latest news on the activism event. I suspect the Occupy Wall Street Journal would be much like that forum newspaper.
(I also wonder if they would be letting known commentators donate columns to the paper. I’d be willing to donate an editorial.)
1:50 PM Occupy Wall Street protest song
1:45 PM Animal New York asks if the new support from TWU could help transform Occupy Wall Street into a more populist protest instead of a “dirty hippie protest.”