As the occupiers in Liberty Park begin to confront the reality that their movement is now mainstream for liberal organizations or groups and something Democratic Party operatives may want to manipulate to help President Barack Obama win re-election in 2012, hundreds of people have taken over Freedom Plaza in DC. Legally, with permits, they hold down the plaza from now until Sunday is over. They are calling attention to corporatism and militarism, using the general assembly to plan out how they will organize and grow the occupation and they are occupying this federally-owned park.
Last night was peaceful. A large pizza delivery happened late in the night. They slept in the plaza. If the park police did anything, they merely hassled them. There was no effort to evict any of the occupiers from the park.
The action, October 2011, was planned well-before Occupy Wall Street ignited a wide movement in this country. There was an Occupy DC group in McPherson Square when this began. Organizers have reached out to them so they are part of October 2011. And, the organizers are incredibly grateful for how Occupy Wall Street and other occupy actions have created a climate much more conducive to carrying out a successful occupation action in the nation’s capital.
Today, DC occupiers will be going to General Atomics, a manufacturer of drones, to protest the “unmanned assassination vehicles” they produce. These are, of course, used to get around affording human beings due process. People are put on a “kill/capture” list and they are taken out without any chance to prove their innocence.
After the drones protest, they will be going to the Ronald Reagan Building for what should be a massive demonstration against the Keystone XL pipeline. The final hearing on the pipeline is today and occupiers have been line-sitting all night for a spot for protesters to attend the hearing tomorrow.
LIVE STREAM OF DC OCCUPATION IN FREEDOM PLAZA
LIVE STREAM OF OCCUPY WALL STREET
4:08 PM Report: After the protest against drones at General Atomics, I headed back to Freedom Plaza to upload photos. The photos in the blog here are the few I took during the march. I have video that will be going up soon.
I uploaded some media and at 1 pm Ryan Cook and Jon Walker joined me for what we thought would be a march to the State Department. The march went by the Ronald Reagan building where the final hearing on the Keystone XL pipeline was being held. When we went by, we saw workers in orange shirts from Liuna, who have been indoctrinated into believing the corporate lie that this pipeline is going to create “family supporting jobs.” 350.org was out and we spotted Bill McKibben. We tried to get Bill for an interview but he walked into the building (perhaps to testify) and we asked someone in a No Pipeline T-shirt to tell us about the hearing.
We rejoined the march and headed past the Washington Monument and down past the World War I memorial. It became clear we were not headed to the State Department and that I had made a mistake. But, it really was hard to tell what was going on. We realized we had followed the march to the Martin Luther King Jr. memorial for a press conference to mark the 10th anniversary of the Afghanistan War. We livestreamed part of that press conference.
We left the press conference and headed back to the Reagan Building to try to find some people leaving the hearing but it was 2:50 pm by the time we arrived so we went back to Freedom Plaza. Kevin Zeese, lead organizer of October 2011, introduced us to some indigenous people who will be greatly impacted if the pipeline is built. They traveled all the way here to testify at the hearing.
You can watch that video by clicking on the player below.
12:48 PM Going to live stream from protest against Keystone XL pipeline
12:45 AM Photos from the march against drone and rally on the steps of General Atomics
12:42 PM Of the encampment this morning:
7:30 AM “Wall Street Protests Disgusted with Both Parties” (from NBC New York)
7:25 AM In case you missed it: Michael Moore telling occupiers “do not let politicians co-opt this movement.”