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‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests gain steam, but movement’s goals remain unclear

Staff, Washington Post
“Occupy Wall Street,” a broad movement of protesters who have been gathering in New York and modeled roughly on the Tahrir Square protests held in Egypt, has gained steam in recent days. As Ezra Klein reported :

It didn’t seem that the whole world was watching, at least not then. The next day, I tried to contact the protest’s organizers for an interview, but it didn’t come together. An effort to look up their demands online didn’t yield much. I figured the protests would fizzle. Instead, they’re gaining strength. Almost 1,000 protesters were arrested this weekend on the Brooklyn Bridge, and sympathy protests are spreading to cities all across the country. Occupy Wall Street is leading papers and news shows. The whole world, or at least the whole country, actually is watching.

The protesters are also gaining institutional support. is sending e-mails about “an amazing wave of protest against Wall Street and the big banks has erupted across the country.” They’re planning to join with organized labor to march to the Occupy Wall Street site on Wednesday. A live videofeed from the protests will kick off the liberal Campaign for America’s Future annual conference, and Van Jones’s ‘Rebuild the Dream’ coalition is staging a “virtual march.”

The Occupy Wall Street protests are explicitly inspired by, and modeled on, the Tahrir Square protests in Egypt. And though that’s a tough act to follow, it’s clear the Occupy Wall Street protests are catching a fire all their own. The question now is what they do with it.

… Wonkbook today was about ‘Occupy Wall Street,’ the growing, decentralized protest movement that’s clashing with police in New York City, spreading across the country, and grabbing headlines across the world. It is also, somewhat unusually, a protest movement without clear demands, an identifiable leadership, or an evident organizational structure.

Decisions are made by the NYC General Assembly, which Nathan Schneider describes as “a horizontal, autonomous, leaderless, modified-consensus-based system with roots in anarchist thought,” and thus far, the General Assembly has decided against yoking the movement to a particular set of goals, or even a particular ideology.

Which is all to say that it’s important to try and understand the movement on its own terms, rather than the terms most of us are used to. Here are five places to start …
(3 October 2011)
Nice summary of a complex, breaking story. -BA

Anti-Wall Street Protests Spread to Other Cities

Erik Eckholm and Timoty Williams, New York Times
A loose-knit populist campaign that started on Wall Street three weeks ago has spread to dozens of cities across the country, with protesters camped out in Los Angeles near City Hall, assembled before the Federal Reserve Bank in Chicago and marching through downtown Boston to rally against corporate greed, unemployment and the role of financial institutions in the economic crisis.

With little organization and a reliance on Facebook, Twitter and Google groups to share methods, the Occupy Wall Street campaign, as the prototype in New York is called, has clearly tapped into a deep vein of anger, experts in social movements said, bringing longtime crusaders against globalization and professional anarchists together with younger people frustrated by poor job prospects.

… Publicity surrounding the recent arrests of hundreds in New York, near Wall Street and on the Brooklyn Bridge, has only energized the campaign. This week, new rallies and in some cases urban encampments are planned for cities as disparate as Memphis, Tenn.; Hilo, Hawaii; Minneapolis; Baltimore; and McAllen, Tex., according to Occupy Together, an unofficial hub for the protests that lists dozens of coming demonstrations, including some in Europe and Japan.

In the nation’s capital, an Occupy D.C. movement began on Saturday, with plans to join forces on Thursday with a similar anticorporate and antiwar group, October 2011, for an encampment in a park near the White House.
(4 October 2011)

Occupation: Coming to a City Near You?

Mary Bottari,
The Occupation Is On The Move, Find a Big Bank Protest Near You
U.S. Senator Paul Wellstone used to say “sometimes you have to pick a fight to win one.”

Now Occupy Wall Street has picked one, right in Jamie Dimon’s backyard.

But it won’t stay contained in Zuccotti Park. While Brookfield Properties called the park a “public sanctuary” in 2005, they have apparently changed their minds. Mr. Zuccotti wants his park back and the police are preparing to clear it with new rules barring camping, sleeping and breathing.

They are too late. The train has left the station and the Occupation is on the move. From Manhattan to Hawaii big bank protests are planned. Everyone who cares about creating an economy that works for working people should get on board.

… Find a Protest Near You

A season of “Pay U.S. Back!” actions are planned for October under the banner of the “New Bottom Line” coalition, which among other things is demanding a financial speculation tax on the big banks. Find updates here.

Plus, the Occupation is spreading fast, you can find updates on many of the actions listed below at here.

In San Francisco, hundreds of protesters took to the streets targeting Bank of America, Charles Schwab and Wells Fargo.

In Seattle, hundreds of people shut down a Chase bank branch and 11 were arrested.

In Suncaidia, the Washington Community Action Network infiltrated the annual policy summit of Association of Washington Business, sponsored by Chase bank.

In Boston, 3,000 marched on Foreclosure King, Bank of America, to present their demands to stop foreclosures in the main lobby. More at Take Back Boston. Occupy Wall Street, Move On and organized labor is joining in with a major march planned for Wednesday, October 5.

Occupy LA is underway at City Hall.

Occupy Chicago is underway at the Federal Reserve bank.

Occupy DC starts on October 6 in Freedom Plaza.

Refund California is planning a “home visit to a Wall Street executive” October 4 in Los Angles.

Chicago is planning a Pay US Back Action October 9.

Minneapolis is planning a Pay US Back Action October 10.

New York City is planning a Pay US Back Action October 11.

Occupy Milwaukee starts October 15.

Denver is planning a Pay US Back Action October 25.

Honolulu is planning a Pay US Back Action November 5.
(3 October 2011)