Occupied Wall Street Journal


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Occupied Wall Street Journal

  1. 1. NEW YORK UNITES! W E DNESDAY EDNESDAY The RevoluTion OCT. 5 Student Walkouts Begins aT home Union Marches Wall Street Protests Enter Third Week occupywallst.org W hat is occurring on nystudentsrising.org Wall Street right now is remarkable. For over two weeks, in the great cathedral of capitalism, the dispossessed have liberated territory from the financial overlords and their police army. They have created a unique opportunity to peacefully shift the tides of history like the sit-down strikes of the 1930s, the civil rights movement of the 1960s and the democratic uprisings across the Arab world and Europe today. Our system is broken. More than 25 million Americans are unem- ployed. More than 50 million live Daily marches around Wall Street have launched a movement. Graphic: Adbusters without health insurance. Perhaps 100 million live in poverty. Yet the Meanwhile, the rest of us will have fully formed movement is not going fat cats are showered with billions in to sacrifice healthcare, food, educa- to spring from the ground. It has tax breaks while politicians compete tion, housing, jobs and perhaps our to be created. That is why it’s called to turn the screws on the rest of us. lives to feed the ferocious appetite grassroots. The Wall Street occupation can of capital. Protestors are presenting plenty force those in power to offer conces- That’s why more and more peo- of sophisticated ideas: end corpo- THiS iS WHAT An occUPATion LooKS LiKE: Music and mass democracy break out at Liberty Square, just north of the New York Stock Exchange. Working groups for sions as happened this year in Spain, ple are joining the Wall Street occu- rate personhood; tax stock trad- media, arts & culture, food, childcare, direct action and the democratic General Assembly meet each day to strategize the next moves forward. Photo: Jed Brandt Greece and Egypt. No one can say pation. They can tell you about their ing; nationalize the banks; socialize how many people it will take or how homes being foreclosed, months of medicine; fund government jobs things will change exactly, but if we grinding unemployment or mini- with a real stimulus; lift restrictions Learning from the World unite there is a potential to trans- mum-wage dead-end jobs, stagger- on labor organizing; allow cities to form a corrupt political process and ing student debt loads, or trying to turn abandoned homes into public realize a society based on human live without decent healthcare. They housing; build a green economy. needs, not hedge fund profits. represent a generation of Americans But how can we get broad agree- After all, who would have imag- who are told to believe in a system ment on any of these? If the protest- W ined a year ago that Tunisians e arrived in Greece this Crisis, unemployment, cutbacks The message from egypT, syria, Tunisia, and Egyptians would oust their summer just as street- and police murder. Isn’t this what hoW many Times in life do you geT a spain and england is simple: Join in! dictators? fighting broke over we face here too? chance To WaTch hisTory unfold rise up! our ansWer To Them has To be At Liberty Plaza in Lower Man- Athens. For days the police rained In Greece, we were asked repeat- hattan, thousands gather every day tear gas on the people who occupied yes. and iT has To be yes To each oTher. edly: What is happening in the to debate, discuss and organize what the capital’s main Syntagma Square. United States? Will you join us? to do about our failed system that has that only offers them “Dancing ers came with a ready-made set of People would disperse and reform cutbacks. We are globalizing the everywhere — if you were young What are you doing? allowed the 400 Americans at the top With the Stars” and pepper spray to demands it would have only limited right on the steps of the parliament. rebellion. and a bit active, you couldn’t help Now we can answer: We are to hoard more wealth than the 180 the face. their potential. They would have The subways were turned into med- A young woman who is active in but participate. moving here too. We are learning. million Americans at the bottom. Yet against every description of either been dismissed as pie in the ical centers for the wounded. this Greek movement of the squares “This murder was just the We are reaching out. It’s astonishing that this festival this generation derided as narcissis- sky – like socialized medicine or There is a worldwide movement told us: beginning for people who were We don’t have to accept the world of democracy has sprouted on this tic, apathetic and hopeless, they are nationalized banks – or something of rebellion and resistance build- “I didn’t involve myself with oppressed by the system. After the imposed on us by banks, politicians turf: where the masters of the uni- staking out a claim for all of us – weak such as the Buffet Rule, to be ing. What started in Tunisia and politics directly until 15-year-old 1980s the factories were closing, and and police. We are the future. verse play the tune that both politi- and that’s why we all need to join in: co-opted by a failed political sys- Egypt has shaken and overthrown Alexandros Grigoropoulos was the youth of Greece found it had cal parties and the media dance to. to support this nucleus of a revolt tem that would only undermine the governments, then jumped to Spain killed by police three years ago. An nothing. In 2008 unemployment by eric ribellarsi and jim weill The New York Police Department, that could shake America’s power movement. to Greece to England — and now hour after the murder, riots started reached a critical point.” which has deployed hundreds of structure as much as the Arab world Rather, it is only through com- to New York City and across the officers to surround and intimidate was upended. mon struggle, debate and popular United States. protesters 24/7, could arrest every- Tens of thousands of people democracy that we will create genu- In Greece a generation is waking one in minutes. But they haven’t, need to be protesting the Wall Street ine solutions which have legitimacy. up. They call themselves the Indig- which is also astonishing. elite, who are out driving Bent- And that is what is occurring down nant. They reject old politics and That’s because assaulting peaceful leys and drinking thousand-dollar at Wall Street. the old parties. They refuse to accept crowds in a public square demand- champagne with the money they How many times in life do you the cutbacks and austerity mea- ing real democracy – economic and looted from the financial crisis and get a chance to not only watch his- sures imposed by the global banks not just political – would remind the bailouts as Americans literally die tory unfold, but to come together and the European Union. They are world of the brittle autocrats who on the streets. with multitudes of people who determined, angry and righteous. brutalized their people demand- True, the scene in Liberty Plaza believe in genuine democracy as They had challenges in Greece. ing justice, before they collapsed in may seem messy and chaotic but it’s a reality and not a fantasy, and to Right-wing ultra-nationalists tried the Arab Spring. And the violence also a laboratory of possibility, cre- actively participate in building a to infiltrate the movement. Police has already backfired. After police ating a diversity of ideas, expression better society? attacked. Some tired left parties attacked a march last Saturday and art. If we focus on the possibilities condemned the movement say- that started from Liberty Plaza, the Many people say they support and shed our despair, our hesitancy ing it’s not focused on elections or crowds only got bigger and media the occupation, yet hesitate to join. and our cynicism, and if we collec- minor reforms. interest grew. It’s clear that the biggest obstacles tively come to Wall Street with criti- One popular symbol is the heli- The Wall Street occupation has to building a powerful movement cal thinking, ideas and solidarity, we copter: the people want the Greek succeeded in revealing how corpora- aren’t the police or corporate powers can change the world. government to leave, resign, fly into tions, politicians, media and police – but our own cynicism and despair. For too long our minds have exile. Or just get the hell out. have failed us as institutions offer- The views of some were colored been chained by fear, by division, by And why not here? If the people of ing something positive to humanity. by The New York Times saying impotence. The one thing that most Egypt can run out Mubarak, why can’t Our current leaders tell us they will protestors were “Gunning for Wall terrifies the elite is a great awaken- we run out the American politicians spread the financial pain by impos- Street with faulty aim.” Many of the ing. That day is here. Together, let who serve the banks and brutalize us? ing the “Buffett Rule,” a tax increase criticisms boil down to “a lack of us seize it. The banks are global. They have Economic SHocK, SociAL cRiSiS: Tens of thousands challenge the Greek government and European bankers at the Thessaloniki Expo, Sept. 10. Police deployed military-grade tear gas against the largely peaceful protesters. that asks the wealthy to sacrifice the clear messaging.” globalized their sweatshops and equivalent of a tin of caviar per year. But what’s wrong with that? A by arun guptaOCCUPY_JOURNAL.indd 1 9/30/11 5:50 PM
  2. 2. we occupy NYC — occupy together becau i corporate tax dodgers w n just over ten days, over 40 cities have emerged Meetings are being held almost daily to start a to join the Occupy Wall Street effort. Erupting nationwide Occupy effort in October; already the list in an astonishing way, this movement is bring- of cities that have signed on is jaw-dropping, and sur- bankrupting our econom ing together diverse backgrounds and skills to work prising. Birmingham. San Diego. Las Vegas. Omaha. together to address excessive corporate influence in Boston. Lexington. San Francisco. Philadelphia. Kansas government. Browsing through Twitter, Facebook and City. Washington. Tampa. Denver. Pittsburgh. Buffalo. my daughter deserves a b YouTube, the depth of participation and excitement is Charlotte. Richmond. Austin. Salt Lake City. Asheville. right there. Contrasted to the excruciating politicking Miami. With new occupations popping up every day. of Congress, in which solutions, if they are decided If occupiers cannot get answers and solutions from upon, do not go into affect for a year or two, many are government through the ballot, they will do it through the world is on the cusp feeling the hope that real change can emerge from this the power of their presence in an “inconvenient space.” leaderless movement in which people are leaving their We are at the beginning of a monumental change in change and I plan to he homes to occupy thier communities. this country, and the world. The system won’t change In New York, we have been witness to the generos- itself. It’s up to us: our bodies in the street, our talents scales in favor of all that ity of many anonymous people dropping by Liberty put to work, our passion given life. Systemic change Square with donations of food, medical supplies, tents, requires more than “protesters” and “activists.” You. Your tarps and sleeping bags. Helping the campers is not family. Your friends. Your neighbors. All of us. Now. I trust people who sleep on t unique to NYC. In Chicago, protesters reported the same solidarity in the occupation developing outside trust bankers, traders, or pol WE’RE ALL in THiS: The occupation has spread beyond its first days to include an increasing number of families, the Chicago Federal Reserve. by michael levitin, grim & jed brandt local union workers, teachers and students from across the five boroughs. when I hear “Grandma, wher the American Rising?” I can s Pushed out of our homes stood and said ENOUGH!” @T and into the street the $1 in my pocket is m ExxonMobil paid in taxe i am a 27-year-old journalist living in Crown I moved to New York in January of 2010 and I used to cover border issues in Arizona, and I did Heights, Brooklyn. Journalists, as a rule, do not landed an internship at Thomson Reuters in spite of some immigration work in southern Mexico. Here the “American Dream” is readily identify themselves with organizations or the festering financial crisis. It was originally supposed in New York, I’ve been gravitating towards the police movements. We’re supposed to strive for objectivity. to be an unpaid internship, but I convinced them to beat. Never did I think about covering finance or make people work thems Get the whole story. Look at things from all sides. We change it to an hourly wage. It was also supposed to be national politics. Never did I want to write about our don’t want to have our work undermined by any affili- 20 hours a week, but over time I pushed them to make nation’s financial crisis. ations. We don’t want to advocate. That’s a job for PR it full-time. By the summer they decided to turn my But then Freddie Mac and Bank of America I can’t find a good job even th reps. Advocacy, to us, is the Dark Side. position into a salaried gig. I was ecstatic. pushed my mom out of her home. work hard. @madmike711 But I am announcing my solidarity with the But I wasn’t happy with the work. First of all, it So here I am. Committed. To the dialogue. To the Occupy Wall Street movement. wasn’t journalism. I wrote an internal newsletter. If you movement. To what some of my fellow young men On the morning of Wednesday, Sept. 28, I left were not a Thomson Reuters employee or a program- and women camped out in Liberty Plaza are calling democracy is built, not g for Brussels, Wisconsin. It’s your average Midwestern ming guy at a bank I can guarantee that you never read The Revolution. small town: population of a few hundred, one gas sta- my newsletter. Second, it didn’t feel like I was doing My friends have already told me that I’m crazy. tion, a couple of churches and a few too many bars. good work. I wrote a monthly newsletter for the com- That Occupy Wall Street is nothing more than a I’m sick of my faith being u That’s where my mom and stepdad live. I flew out pany’s global stock network – a complex system that bunch of dirty, jobless kids who have no idea what there to help them move out of their home. shoots trade information from stock markets all over they’re fighting, who are merely beating drums and oppression, injustice, gree Well, technically, it is no longer their home. The the world to banks and brokers and billionaires. barking at cops. But that’s not what I’ve seen. new owner is Freddie Mac, which along with Bank of Our clients were among the most powerful people The movement knows precisely what it is fight- America is kicking my mom and stepdad out of their in the world. ing. It is fighting the astoundingly unfair distribution it’s time they feel how fed home. Comfort the afflicted. Afflict the comfortable. of wealth in our country while 46 million Americans That house has been in my stepdad’s family for That’s what a journalist strives to do. Me? I was com- live in poverty – and that is by federal guidelines that in from well-wishers who cannot occupy the square buy your facade of a dem over 100 years. He and my mom remodeled the place forting the comfortable. says a mom and two kids are no longer poor if they themselves. Doctors are manning the medical station. about 10 years back. My mom had made sure there were enough bedrooms for when my sisters and I came Economist Edward Wolff’s work has shown that, as late as 2007, the top 1% of American households make $19,000 a year. It is fighting the reality that Wall Street and Capitol Hill are one in the same. It is fight- Lawyers are consulting the recently arrested. Elected officials, musicians and other public figures have come NYC schoolchildren deser back home with grandchildren for her to spoil. That’s held 34.6% of all privately held wealth in the United ing, tooth and nail, the disintegration of the American by to count themselves among the Occupation’s ranks. hedge-fund sponsored lotte not going to happen there, now. States. Within this affluent contingent, Wolff notes, middle class. Simply put, it is fighting greed. Things are moving. It is difficult for me to grasp this. I don’t think I the wealth distribution is again hyper-concentrated to I can also tell you that it’s new. That structure If you are a New Yorker, and you haven’t yet good school. @ourschoolsnyc fully will until I am finished clearing rooms and lug- the top .1%. The vast majority of the households in isn’t yet in place the way some might want it to be. stopped by Liberty Plaza – do it. It’s astounding. ging boxes. this bracket include players in the finance and banking That demands have not yet been fully sculpted and The excitement. The empathy. The absolute fortitude It’s hard, and it doesn’t feel right. Didn’t Bank industries. articulated. of these folks. It almost moves me to tears to stand “Every generation needs of America get more than $100 billion in bailouts? This bothered me. A lot. My work went against a But the Occupation is only in its second week, among them. They are there because so many among (Thomas Jefferson). @ash_a Didn’t they receive a tax refund of $1.9 billion from lot of my principles, and this affected my well-being. and it is gaining more momentum than anyone had us continue to struggle. They are there because bad the IRS, alongside the $4.4 billion in 2010 profits? I grew depressed. I started eating less. My sleep cycle dreamed. Numbers continue to grow in that small things are happening to good people. They are there Why do they get saved by the government after hand- started going haywire. I doubled down on my drink- square. Makeshift beds pepper the western end. Pro- for my mother. ing out countless high-risk loans, and then again get a ing habits. test signs line the north. Someone has set up a library And when I return to New York this week, I will safety net from government-sponsored enterprises like Finally, last August, I quit. Since then, I’ve been to the east. be there too. Freddie Mac when recipients of those loans have to freelancing. It’s been great. I’m broke, yeah. But it’s Beyond that, the rest of the world has begun to pay default? How is this okay? been great. attention. Food, supplies and donations are streaming by david kempa EgyPT gREEcE & SPAin Using canvassing, social net- Tens of thousands of protestors TUniSiA working and citizen-made media, WiSconSin gather in Athens after plans were Twenty-six-year old produce organizers launch an 18-day pro- More than 20,000 Wisconsinites announced to cut public spending vendor Mohammed Bouazizi test in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. Vio- protest Gov. Scott Walker’s (R) and raise taxes in exchange for a sets himself on fire in response lence by the regime’s thugs and austerity budget and his attack 110 billion euro bailout. Three weeks to years of petty police harass- the blocking of internet traffic on collective bargaining. Hun- London later, more than 1,000 indignados ment in Sidi Bouzid, Tunisia. His inspire hundreds of thousands of dreds of students are arrested. A 500,000 protestors take to camp in Puerta del Sol, Madrid’s self-immolation sparks a wave Egyptians to join, swinging world protest in Columbus, Ohio against London’s streets in the March central square. 30,000 supporters of protests against the decades- opinion against President Hosni similar attacks on the public sec- for the Alternative, a movement gather for a series of mass assemblies long autocratic rule of President Mubarak’s dictatorial government tor draws nearly 4,000 protest- coordinated by the Trades Union that put forward popular demands, Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. After which falls on Feb. 11. The dual ers. Demonstrators at both rallies Congress. Teachers and public including a greater say in the politi- four weeks, Ben Ali is forced to success inspires an Arab Spring carry Egyptian flags and signs sector workers hold massive cal process and an end to austerity dissolve parliament and flees to of pro-democracy activism from drawing a parallel between their strikes in support of the measures enacted by the Spanish Saudi Arabia. Yemen to Bahrain to Syria. struggles. movement. government. 17 25 17 26 5 dec Jan feb mar mayOCCUPY_JOURNAL.indd 2 9/30/11 5:50 PM
  3. 3. pyause declaration of the occupationgers who we bailed out are a s we gather together in solidar- App roved by c onsensus on sep t. 2 9 , 2 0 1 1 with serious doubts about their guilt.conomy again. @usuncut ity to express a feeling of mass They have perpetuated colonialism At t h e n e w yo r k c it y G e n e r A l A s s e m b ly injustice, we must not lose sight at home and abroad. They have partici- of what brought us together. We write so in o c c u p ie d l ib e r t y s quA r e . pated in the torture and murder of inno- ves a better future. @jstlilone that all people who feel wronged by the cent civilians overseas. corporate forces of the world can know They continue to create weapons of that we are your allies. They have taken our houses through They have held students hostage with They determine economic policy, mass destruction in order to receive gov- As one people, united, we acknowl- an illegal foreclosure process, despite not tens of thousands of dollars of debt on despite the catastrophic failures their ernment contracts. *e cusp of great edge the reality: that the future of the having the original mortgage. education, which is itself a human right. policies have produced and continue to To the people of the world, human race requires the cooperation of They have taken bailouts from tax- They have consistently outsourced produce. We, the New York City General to help tip the its members; that our system must pro- payers with impunity, and continue to labor and used that outsourcing as lever- They have donated large sums of Assembly occupying Wall Street in give Executives exorbitant bonuses. age to cut workers’ healthcare and pay. money to politicians supposed to be ll that is good. tect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals They have perpetuated inequality and They have influenced the courts to regulating them. They continue to block Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power. to protect their own rights, and those discrimination in the workplace based achieve the same rights as people, with alternate forms of energy to keep us Exercise your right to peaceably of their neighbors; that a democratic on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gen- none of the culpability or responsibility. dependent on oil. assemble; occupy public space; createep on the street more than I government derives its just power from der identity and sexual orientation. They have spent millions of dollars They continue to block generic forms a process to address the problems we the people, but corporations do not They have poisoned the food supply on legal teams that look for ways to get of medicine that could save people’s lives face, and generate solutions accessible to or politicians. @critmasspanic seek consent to extract wealth from the through negligence, and undermined the them out of contracts in regards to health in order to protect investments that have everyone. people and the Earth; and that no true farming system through monopolization. insurance. already turned a substantive profit. To all communities that take action democracy is attainable when the pro- They have profited off of the tor- They have sold our privacy as a They have purposely covered up oil and form groups in the spirit of directa, where were you during cess is determined by economic power. ture, confinement, and cruel treatment commodity. spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and democracy, we offer support, documen- of countless nonhuman animals, and They have used the military and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit. I can say “On the first day I We come to you at a time when corpo- actively hide these practices. police force to prevent freedom of the They purposefully keep people misin- tation, and all of the resources at our rations, which place profit over people, disposal.GH!” @Timcast self-interest over justice, and oppression They have continuously sought to press. formed and fearful through their control Join us and make your voices heard! over equality, run our governments. We strip employees of the right to negoti- They have deliberately declined to of the media. have peaceably assembled here, as is our ate for better pay and safer working recall faulty products endangering lives They have accepted private contracts *These grievances are not all-inclusive.et is more than GE, BP and right, to let these facts be known. conditions. in pursuit of profit. to murder prisoners even when presentedin taxes last year. @usuncut No excuses left.am” is a slogan created tothemselves to death. @yarazza iT’s now oR neveR even though I am willing to t, not granted. @reverendmanny e ither you join the revolt taking gamble and speculate and gorge themselves is more. They are disemboweling every lastbeing used to justify place on Wall Street and in the while one in four children outside those social service program funded by the taxpay- financial districts of other cit- barricades depend on food stamps to eat. ers, from education to Social Security, becausee, greed, and war. @protestchaplain ies across the country or you stand on the Speculation in the 17th century was they want that money themselves. Let the sick wrong side of history. a crime. Speculators were hanged. Today die. Let the poor go hungry. Let families be Either you obstruct, in the only form they run the state and the financial markets. tossed in the street. Let the unemployed rot.ow fed up we are. We don’t left to us, which is civil disobedience, the They disseminate the lies that pollute our Let children in the inner city or rural waste-a democracy. @sir_younis plundering by the criminal class on Wall airwaves. They know, even better than you, lands learn nothing and live in misery and choose. buT choose fasT. the stAte And corporAte Street and accelerated destruction of the how pervasive the corruption and theft have fear. Let the students finish school with no ecosystem that sustains the human species, become, how gamed the system is against jobs and no prospects of jobs. Let the prison forces Are determined to crush this.deserve better then or become the passive enabler of a mon- you, how corporations have cemented into system, the largest in the industrial world, strous evil. Either you taste, feel and smell place a thin oligarchic class and an obsequi- expand to swallow up all potential dissent- the ecosystem, dooming your children and clothes are soiled. They have tasted fear,ed lotteries to get into a the intoxication of freedom and revolt or ous cadre of politicians, judges and journal- ers. Let torture continue. Let teachers, police, your children’s children. So either you rise been beaten, gone to jail, been blinded sink into the miasma of despair and apa- ists who live in their little gated Versailles firefighters, postal employees and social work- up and dismantle the corporate state for a by pepper spray, cried, hugged each other, lsnyc thy. Either you are a rebel or a slave. while 6 million Americans are thrown out ers join the ranks of the unemployed. Let the world of sanity – where we no longer kneel laughed, sung, talked too long in general Choose. But choose fast. The state and of their homes, a million people a year go roads, bridges, dams, levees, power grids, rail before the absurd idea that the demands assemblies, seen their chants drift upwardneeds a new Revolution” corporate forces are determined to crush bankrupt because they cannot pay their lines, subways, bus services, schools and librar- of financial markets should govern human to the office towers above them, wondered this. They are not going to wait for you. medical bills and 45,000 die from lack of ies crumble or close. Let the rising tempera- behavior – or we are frog-marched toward if it is worth it, if anyone cares, if they will. @ash_anderson They are terrified this will spread. proper care; where real joblessness is spiral- tures of the planet, the freak weather patterns, self-annihilation. win. But as long as they remain steadfast They have their long phalanxes of police ing to over 20 percent, where the citizens, the hurricanes, the droughts, the flooding, the Those on the streets around Wall Street they point the way out of the corporate on motorcycles, their rows of white paddy including students, spend lives toiling in tornadoes, the melting polar ice caps, the poi- are the physical embodiment of hope. They labyrinth. This is what it means to be alive. wagons and their metal barricades set up debt working dead-end jobs, when they soned water systems, the polluted air increase know that hope has a cost, that it is not They are the best among us. on every single street leading into the New have jobs, in a world devoid of hope, a until the species dies. easy or comfortable, that it requires self- York financial district where the suits use world of masters and serfs. If you do not shake off the 1% very, very sacrifice and discomfort and finally faith. by chris hedges your money, money they stole from you, to The only word these corporations know soon they will kill you. And they will kill They sleep on concrete every night. Their dAy 10 WALL STREET: dAy 1 Protestors continue daily march- 2,000 people rally in response dAy 9 es on Wall Street and join with dAy 13 to a call to occupy Wall Street Occupiers form working groups United Postal Service workers Members of Occupy Wall and march to protest corporate dAy 7 to discuss organizing tactics on at a rally to help protect federal Street stage citywide influence in the political process. Protestors march to Union a national level and to begin pre- jobs. On the same day, over 700 marches, perform guerilla They set up camp in Zuccotti Square, where police arrest 87 paring direct action plans through Continental and United pilots theater and rally the 99% to Park, just north of the New York people for demonstrating in the social networking and community demonstrate in front of Wall take back the streets – and Stock Exchange, renaming it streets, many of whom express outreach. They initiate liasons Street. Over the next two days, their future! Liberty Plaza. Lupe Fiasco do- anger over what they perceive with teachers, union workers and the General Assembly of New nates 50 tents in support of the as the unjust execution of Troy other activists to build towards York City approves a Declaration occupation. Davis three days prior. Saturday ’s march. of the Occupation, see above. 17 24 26 27 30 sep sep sep sep sep OCCUPY_JOURNAL.indd 3 9/30/11 5:50 PM
  4. 4. STOP COMPLAINING ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE STAND UP FOR EACH OTHER occupation for dummies How it came about, what it means, Five Things how it works and everything You Can Do QUESTION: I hear that Adbusters organized Occupy Wall Street? Or Anonymous? Or US Day of Rage? Just Instead, to begin with, they opted to make their demand the occupation itself—and the direct democracy taking of other cities. I’ve heard some people saying, when Lib- erty Plaza was swamped with TV news cameras, “We’ve Right Now who put this together anyway? place there—which in turn may or may not come up with already won!” Others think they’ve hardly begun. Both, in All of the above, and more. Adbusters made the initial some specific demand. When you think about it, this act is some sense, are true. 1. occupy! call in mid-July, and also produced a sexy poster with a bal- actually a pretty powerful statement against the corruption lerina posed atop the Charging Bull statue and riot police in that Wall Street has come to represent. But since thinking Are there cops all over the square? How bad has the Bring instruments, food, blankets, bedding, the background. US Day of Rage, the mainly internet-based is often too much to ask of the American mass media, the police brutality been? creation of IT strategist Alexa O’Brien, got involved too and question of demands has turned into a massive PR chal- The police presence is nonstop, and there have been rain gear, and a sense of justice. did a lot of the early legwork and tweeting. Anonymous—in lenge. The General Assembly is currently in the midst of some very scary encounters with them—which also gave its various and multiform visages—joined in late August. In New York most of the planning was done by people involved determining how it will come to consensus about unifying demands. It’s a really messy and interesting discussion. But occasion for tremendous acts of courage by protesters. The worst incident was last Saturday, of course, but there has 2. spread the word in the NYC General Assembly, a collection of activists, artists don’t hold your breath. been very little trouble since then. A large contingent of and students first convened by folks who had been involved protesters has no intention of getting arrested, and almost Download, print, display, and share flyers: in New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts. But no one person or How many people have responded to the Adbusters call? nobody is interested in taking pointless risks or instigating nycga.net/resources/media group is running the Wall Street occupation. How large is the group? And how large has it ever been? violence against people or property. The more that ordinary The original Adbusters call envisioned 20,000 people people join the cause—together with celebrity visitors like Twitter: #occupywallstreet #occupytogether So nobody is in charge? How do decisions get made? flooding the Financial District on Sept. 17. A tenth of that Susan Sarandon, Cornel West and Michael Moore—the less Facebook: OccupyWallSt. The General Assembly has become the de facto decision- probably ended up being there that day. Despite a mas- likely the police will probably be to try to suppress it. As one making body for the occupation at Liberty Plaza, just a sive Anonymous-powered online social media blitz, lots of sign along Broadway says, “Safety in Numbers! Join Us!” few blocks north of Wall Street. Get ready for jargon: the people simply didn’t know about it, and traditional progres- 3. donate General Assembly is a horizontal, autonomous, leaderless, sive organizations like labor unions and peace groups were If I can’t come to Wall Street, what else can I do? modified-consensus-based system with roots in anarchist uncomfortable signing on to so amorphous an action. Over A lot of people are already taking part in important ways Visit NYCGA.NET/DONATE thought, and it’s akin to the assemblies that have been driv- the course of a difficult first week, with arrests happening from afar—this is the magic of decentralization. Online, you ing recent social movements around the world in places like just about every day, new faces kept coming as others fil- can watch the livestream, make donations, retweet on Twit- Make a tax-deductable donation to the New York City General Argentina, Egypt’s Tahrir Square, Madrid’s Puerta del Sol tered out to take a break. The media coverage after the mass ter and encourage your friends to get interested. People with Assembly. and so on. Working toward consensus is really hard, frus- arrests On Saturday, Sept. 24 and alleged police brutality relevant skills have been volunteering to help maintain the You can also mail a check or money order to: trating and slow. But the occupiers are taking their time. has brought out many more. Now, during the day and into movement’s websites and edit video—coordinating through Alliance for Global Justice When they finally get to consensus on some issue, often the night, one finds 500 or more people in the plaza, and IRC chat rooms and other social media. Soon, the formal 1247 “E” Street, SE after days and days of trying, the feeling is quite incredible. maybe half that sleeping over. At any given time, several discussions about demands will be happening online as well Washington, DC 20003 A mighty cheer fills the plaza. It’s hard to describe the expe- thousand people around the world are watching the occu- as in the plaza. Offline, you can join the numerous similar Please indicate “Occupy Wall Street” in the memo line. rience of being among hundreds of passionate, rebellious, pation’s 24/7 livestream online. occupations that are starting up around the country or start Or CALL at 202-544-9355 to make a telephone donation. creative people who are all in agreement about something. your own. Check occupytogether.org. Finally, you can always What would a “win” look like for the occupation? take the advice that has become one of the several mantras On twitter: #needsoftheoccupiers What are the demands of the protesters? Again, that depends on whom you ask. As Sept. 17 of the movement, expressed this way by one woman at Tues- Ugh‚ the zillion-dollar question. Again, the original approached, the NYC General Assembly really saw its day night’s General Assembly meeting: “Occupy your own If you are in the area come by and drop off: Adbusters call asked, “What is our one demand?” Techni- goal, again, not so much as to pass some piece of legisla- heart,” she said, “not with fear but with love.” Prepared food cally, there isn’t one yet. In the weeks leading up to Sept. tion or start a revolution as to build a new kind of move- Non perishable food 17, the NYC General Assembly seemed to be veering away ment. It wanted to foment similar assemblies around the Vegan and Gluten Free so anyone can eat it from the language of “demands” in the first place, largely city and around the world, which would be a new basis by nathan schneider because government institutions are already so shot through for political organizing in this country, against the over- sweatshirts with corporate money that making specific demands would whelming influence of corporate money. That is starting to A version of this article was originally published on thenation.com sweatpants be pointless until the movement grew stronger politically. happen, as similar occupations are cropping up in dozens socks You can mail packages to us: UPS Store 118A Fulton St. #205 mAP New York, NY 10038 4. follow the occupation nycga.net | occupywallst.org takethesquare.net | occupytogether.org wearethe99percent.tumblr.com Follow on Twitter: @occupywallstnyc | @nycsep17 | @occupywallst 5. educate yourselfOCCUPY_JOURNAL.indd 4 9/30/11 5:50 PM