The occupation has rapidly picked up union support in the past few days. The latest indication that big unions are willing to encourage their members to participate in Occupy Wall Street comes from AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who The Nation‘s John Nichols reports has said it is “a valid tactic to call attention to a problem. Wall Street is out of control.”
Understanding that the real power the occupation has is how it could “shift the dialogue,” he added, “I think being in the streets and calling attention to issues is sometimes the only recourse you have because, God only knows, you can go to the Hill, and you can talk to a lot of people and see nothing ever happen.”
Occupy Wall Street owes a lot of its success to big unions like AFL-CIO or SEIU not being involved. The bottom-up nature of the protest is something that big union leaders might have been leery toward permitting. It will certainly be important to follow how organizers of Occupy Wall Street use the new support from union leaders. Big union leaders should not expect to be able to join the occupation and take over the process.
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg in his weekly appearance on “The John Gambling Show” on AM WOR710 addressed the persistence of those participating Occupy Wall Street in Zuccotti Park. It was an example of a member of the power elite voicing his or her contempt for protest. It was also clear that Gambling has scorn for the protest too as the discussion began with the question, “How do you end that thing?”
The protesters are protesting against people who make $40-50,000 a year and are struggling to make ends meet. That’s the bottom line. These are the people that work on Wall Street in the finance sector. Most of these companies are no longer on Wall Street. We just use that as a catch-all term. And people in this day and age need support for their employers. We need the banks. If the banks don’t go out and make loans, we will not come out of our economic problems. We will not have jobs. So, anything we can do to responsibly help the banks do that encourages them to do that is what we need.
A full report on what Bloomberg said can be found here.
Firedoglake’s premier live blog on all things occupy continues. There is a march at 5:30 am ET. Right now, around 2000 people are said to be in the park. Here is a Twitter list to follow for the latest updates.
LIVESTREAM OF OCCUPY WALL STREET VIA GLOBAL REVOLUTION
10:28 PM Occupy Boston marching. Now the account for the occupation tweets cops are coming from everywhere.
10:25 PM Torrential rain. They have tarps and some things are covered. The tarps have caused tension because for some reason codes for the park do not allow the tarps (?) Or maybe the cops just decided they can’t have tarps to cover equipment, etc.
8:25 PM Critical Mass rides by:
8:15 PM Round up of updates on other “Occupy” actions: Occupy Chicago had Critical Mass ride by on their bicycles. They have around 100 out. Occupy Boston is holding first General Assembly. There are
8:13 PM Too big for media to ignore anymore (via @jeffrae)
7:48 PM AdBusters on a movement being born: “People are realizing it’s time to live.”
7:43 PM General Assembly is about to begin with more people than ever.
7:28 PM May be one of the best signs yet. (In fact, FDL should probably be producing a blog post of the top signs so far — post any links in the comments thread). [via Dustin Slaughter]
7:13 PM The people have stood up and are leaving NYPD headquarters. You can hear their chant echoing as they move down the street: “We are the 99%! We are the 99%! We are the 99%!”
7:11 PM African American women speaks: “Twenty years ago, my friend Michael Stewart was beaten to death by the traffic cops of New York. We honor him and his spirit. God bless you Michael Stewart.”
7:07 PM A message to the cops: “It has been ten years since 9/11. We know that you have families. We know that you think you’ve got that job to do. We urge you to find the peace, to find the nonviolence, to find the fun in the First Amendment.”
7:04 PM In a way, there are so many people it is now comical to watch a rally because the speaker must say what he has to say, then the closest people repeat, then the people behind that group of people repeat it and then another group behind repeats it. It’s like a wave.
7:00 PM The rally at the headquarters is against police brutality. Members of Cop Watch in front of the crowd talking about the upcoming annual rally against police brutality on October 22. They say “if we ever want justice, we must continue like this.”
6:54 PM From @AllisonKilkenny, protesters sitting down:
6:36 PM At NYPD headquarters
Report that many of the protesters have sat down in the plaza in front of headquarters.
5:50 PM @DustinSlaughter has this photo, says the march is huge:
5:31 PM Context: David Macaray on how US lags far behind on worker protections.
5:30 PM Somewhere between three and five thousand people marching from Liberty Park to NYPD headquarters (or as close as police will let them get).
5:15 PM Marching to NYPD headquarters. The march is supposed to be a silent march.
4:45 PM Transit Workers Union speaks to the crowd (via @ANIMALNewYork )
3:42 PM No, Radiohead is not playing Occupy Wall Street
3:20 PM There’s a Rosh Hashanah peace gathering at 4 pm.
3:10 PM Senator Bernie Sanders on Occupy Wall Street