For about a week, I was in New York City reporting on Occupy Wall Street. I was there taking in the energy and spirit of the occupation and really getting a feel for how powerful it has become. The occupiers have transformed the park right in the heart of New York City’s financial district into an anti-corporate, utopian oasis that criticizes and taunts bank executives, corporate managers and the richest 1% twenty four hours a day. And, they have also gained the strength to win standoffs against the city, the NYPD and the property owner of the park.
I left Occupy Wall Street on Tuesday night and traveled back to Chicago, where I am currently based, on Wednesday. I will be missing what will likely be a great act of civil disobedience in Harlem this Friday afternoon, as Dr. Cornel West, Carl Dix and a number of ministers, professors and activists will engage in an action at the NYPD’s 28th Precinct to call for an end to “stop and frisks.” But, after the October 15 Global Day of Action, I realized it was time to move on.
Occupy Wall Street is a healthy and robust occupation right now. It is swarming with media, so much media that occupiers are likely growing tired of interviews (which means the best reporting is coming from people who just sit there and observe the occupation). Each and every day there is some kind of an action that pulls into focus how poor, working class and middle class Americans are being made to shoulder the burdens of society while corporations and the richest 1% receive tax breaks, bailouts and enjoy increased influence over government. During the night when the occupation is most vulnerable to raids or a forced dispersal, the camp is at peace because the occupation has largely won this struggle. And, if anything were to happen, independent media producers and individuals with their iPhones and cameras would instantly be streaming live from the scene so people could see whatever standoff, showdown or violence was unfolding.
Nearly a half million dollars has been raised to support the occupation so far. Occupy Wall Street could eventually purchase storefront property in the Financial District to help keep the action going through the winter.
That cannot be said for the majority of other occupations in the United States. Here are some of the other occupations in the country that are ongoing and deserve much more coverage: Atlanta, Austin, Columbia SC, Dallas, Denver, Gainesville FL, Houston, Kansas City, Louisville, McAllen, Memphis, Orlando, Raleigh, Sacramento, Savannah, Sacramento, Tampa. They have much more difficulty raising funds to feed occupiers and keep the camp supplied. They also have a much smaller number of people helping to sustain the occupation. There is no reason why each of these should not be as successful as Occupy Wall Street and they should grow into robust occupations just like Occupy Wall Street.
This is why I will be forming a schedule for a tour of occupations that are ongoing. I will be visiting these occupations over the next couple of weeks. I have already seen Occupy DC, Occupy Philly, Occupy Boston and Occupy Chicago. I will be doing more coverage of Occupy Chicago this weekend before hitting the road again.
What occupations should I stop at as Firedoglake’s tour of the occupations presses on?
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LIVESTREAM OF OCCUPY WALL STREET & OTHER OCCUPATIONS VIA GLOBAL REVOLUTION
6:30 PM Stream of Occupy Melbourne being evicted:
12:04 AM Occupy Oakland being evicted – here’s the notice they were just handed (via @OccupyOakland)
11:28 PM So, Occupy Cincinnati was not in danger of being evicted tonight? Or are the police just lurking somewhere and waiting until 2 or 3 am to move in on the occupiers?
11:21 PM Occupy Healthy Twitter account provides health tips for occupiers, like this recent tip: “Reduce likelihood of unwanted outcomes. Clarify your limits, set boundaries, stick to them, discuss w/friends. Take breaks.”
11:02 PM Russell Brand’s perspective on Occupy Wall Street is better and more representative of the true spirit of Occupy Wall Street than any media commentary thus far. There is a reason why, but I won’t say why yet. I encourage readers of this blog to discuss this perspective versus the perspectives of the various pundits.
11:00 PM I made this Chirpstory to document the Community Board hearing. I think the meeting was critical to the occupation continuing,
8:32 PM Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones reports from Community Board 1 meeting. At Manhattan Community Board meeting, President Scott Stringer says the board will continue to support OWS. He notes tensions have risen between board and residents. Council says OWS has not enforced its good neighbor policy, which aims to ensure there are quiet hours in park. OWS drummers says that they are willing to agree to only 4 hours of drumming a day even though CB1 wants it to be 2 hours. OWS representative explains a code of conduct is being worked out.
Harkinson reports that OWS is looking at getting porta-potties and off-site location to store them. A council member lists the following: “1) limit drums 2) arrange for toilets 3) enforce prior agreements 4) work with business 5) get barricades removed.” Actually, barricades are a huge issue with local residents saying they are tired of barricades and helicopters. A 71-year old resident says the only time he hasn’t felt safe was when he was shoved by police. Some residents say, “Let’s stop panicking and open up the streets again.”
A community board member floats the idea of passing a resolution in support of OWS to go along with demands for OWS.
CB1 has supported Occupy Wall Street and, despite complaints from residents over mostly the loud drumming, they have continued to support OWS. But, they have become increasingly stern about the need for Occupy Wall Street to restrict the amount of drumming in Liberty Park. So, from the hearing, many of the complaints from residents who are speaking against Occupy Wall Street have to do with drumming.
7:36 PM Hearing on Spectra gas pipeline happening. Occupy Wall Street participants expected to stage die-in. Actor Mark Ruffalo is present and expected to be part of die-in.
Ryan Devereaux posts updates:
Lucy Kafanov, who has been covering OWS has a short video of occupiers disrupting the meeting (but they had not engaged in die-in yet).
6:25 PM Looking for attention? Show up with a sign that says “I Am the 1%”
5:38 PM Photos of Occupy Minnesota arrests today at a US Bank branch in Minneapolis
5:14 PM Occupy Melbourne (Australia) has put out a press release on a possible eviction at 9 am. According to the Occupy Melbourne account on Twitter, a police presence is growing around the camp.
4:58 PM In case you missed it: Real Estate Board of New York is working to establish universal rules for privately-owned parks that would prohibit any future Occupy Wall Street-style protests. Rules would also include “automatic right to close all spaces at night.” [Cynthia Kouril blogs about this over at myFDL.]
4:38 PM CEOs who became job killers – a slide show
4:30 PM Occupy Louisville is apparently having their permit threatened.
3:33 PM Undercover NYPD infiltration into the Citibank direct action, where people were arrested for closing their accounts last Saturday.
2:43 PM Firsthand account from a Sacramento occupier who was arrested in Cesar Chavez Park on October 15.
2:32 PM NYCLU issues a statement demanding NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly protect Occupy Wall Street protesters’ rights and discipline officers who engage in violence. They also urge the city to allow tents:
…We recognize and appreciate the Department efforts to allow the protesters to remain in Zuccotti Park. Consistent with the views expressed by Mayor Bloomberg, we encourage you to continue to facilitate peaceful use of the park. Specifically, as the weather turns colder and the protest continues, the Department must allow the use of tents, which will be essential to protect protesters. Any effort by the Department to move against those using tentswould seriously undermine the protest and endanger the protesters. We also call on the Department to reverse the recent decision to deny a request to place portable toilets near the site.
Also, NYCLU developing “Know Your Rights” guide specifically geared toward Occupy Wall Street.
My interview with the Plutocracy Files. It’s a lengthy conversation and was recorded October 16, right after the action in Times Square. The interview opens with full account of the October 15 Day of Action in New York and then gets into wider issues related to the “Occupy” movement. I give a shout out to Lisa Derrick for her work covering Occupy LA. I also talk about what I would like to see members here at FDL do to help the “Occupy” movement continue to grow.
1:00 PM Looks like Occupy MN may be relocating.
12:49 PM Given the fact that NYPD has committed some significant acts of police violence, it is surprising that there has been no documented incidents where officers used a taser on an occupier or protester. NYCLU has just published a report on the use of tasers in the state of New York. It finds, not surprisingly, they are often misused.
12:38 PM Someone is putting out demands and claiming to speak for Occupy Wall Street. As far as I can tell, the General Assembly has not passed any demands. Then, there is this set of demands, which is said to be coming from the Demands Working Group. If from a working group though, it would not be official yet at all. I don’t know if the Demands Working Group understands it is gaming the General Assembly by publishing demands before a consensus is reached on this proposal.
12:34 PM New Tumblr website up - Occupy Wall Street Care Packages – shares letters from supporters, which include details on care packages or supplies sent to Occupy Wall Street. An example:
12:30 PM At 10 am, Liberty Park was reorganized. The occupation wanted to make space for a planned family sleepover.