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Monday, October 3, 2011

Occupy Boston and Occupy Wall Street, LA, Chicago, San Francisco

‘Occupy Boston’ protesters march through downtown Boston 10-3-11

By Brian R. Ballou and John R. Ellement, Boston Globe Staff

About 100 people are marching through downtown Boston this morning as part of the Occupy Boston protest.

Accompanied by Boston Police officers who stopped traffic at key intersections, the protesters first gathered in the city’s Financial District this morning and then marched to the State House where they stood on the steps, chanting slogans and holding signs.

Some of the signs included “capitalism is organized crime” and “where’s my golden parachute?”

Most of the protesters appeared to be in their 20s. As they walked through the streets they called out to passersby.

“We are the 99 percent,” one group would shout.

“So are you,’’ another group shouted in response.

During the walk, a handful of people apparently heading to work, briefly joined the protest. One woman handed over to the marchers the cookies she had made for co-workers.

The group, called Occupy Boston , is inspired by Occupy Wall Street, a demonstration entering its third week in Manhattan’s Financial District that led to the arrest of 700 people Saturday on charges of blocking the Brooklyn Bridge. The effort has spread to dozens of communities nationwide, with tens of thousands of people participating.

In Boston, the protests had been building for several days, and on Friday swelled to about 1,000 in Dewey Square. Police arrested 24 people on trespassing charges when they refused to leave the Bank of America building nearby.

The demonstration, largely fueled by social media, is aimed at calling attention to what protesters call the ‘‘bottom 99 percent’’ of America who are hammered by rising costs for education, housing, and health care.

John R. Ellement can be reached at

Wall Street protest arrests add fuel to fire


NEW YORK - The protesters who have been camping out in Manhattan's Financial District for more than two weeks eat donated food and keep their laptops running with a portable gas-powered generator. They have a newspaper — the Occupied Wall Street Journal — and a makeshift hospital.
They lack a clear objective, though they speak against corporate greed, social inequality, global climate change and other concerns. But they're growing in numbers, getting more organized and showing no sign of quitting.
City officials "thought we were going to leave and we haven't left," 19-year-old protester Kira Moyer-Sims said. "We're going to stay as long as we can."
The arrests of more than 700 people on Saturday as thousands tried to cross the Brooklyn Bridge seemed to pour oil on the rage of those who camped out overnight in Zuccotti Park, a private plaza off Broadway near Wall Street.
The growing, cross-country movement "signals a shift in consciousness," said Jared Schy, a young man sitting squeezed between three others who participated in Saturday's march from Manhattan's Financial District to the bridge.
"We don't care whether mainstream media covers this or people see us on television. What counts are the more than 30,000 viewers following our online live stream," he said. "We heard from a lot of them, and they're joining us now!"
The Occupy Wall Street demonstration started out last month with fewer than a dozen college students spending days and nights in Zuccotti Park. It has grown significantly, both in New York City and elsewhere as people across the country, from Boston to Los Angeles, display their solidarity in similar protests.
Moyer-Sims, of Oregon, said the group has grown much more organized. "We have a protocol for most things," she said, including getting legal help for people who are arrested.
The protest has drawn activists of diverse ages and occupations, including Jackie Fellner, a marketing manager from Westchester County north of New York City.
"We're not here to take down Wall Street. It's not poor against rich. It's about big money dictating which politicians get elected and what programs get funded," she said.
On Sunday, a group of New York public school teachers sat in the plaza, including Denise Martinez of Brooklyn. Most students at her school live at or below the poverty level, and her classes are jammed with up to about 50 students.
"These are America's future workers, and what's trickling down to them are the problems — the unemployment, the crime," she said. She blamed Wall Street for causing the country's financial problems and said it needed to do more to solve them.
Police officers have been a regular sight at the plaza, but NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said the protest has not led the department to assign additional officers to the area. The department won't change its approach to handling the protest and will continue regular patrols and monitoring, he said.
"As always, if it is a lawful demonstration, we help facilitate and if they break the law we arrest them," Browne said.
The Fire Department said it had gone to the site several times over the past week to check for any fire safety hazards arising from people living in the plaza, but there have been no major issues.
The protesters have spent most of their time in the plaza, sleeping on air mattresses, holding assemblies to discuss their goals and listening to speakers including filmmaker Michael Mooreand Princeton University professor Cornel West.
On the past two Saturdays, though, they marched to other parts of the city, which led to tense standoffs with police. On Sept. 24, about 100 people were arrested and the group put out video which showed some women being hit with pepper spray by a police official. On Oct. 1, more than 700 people were arrested as the group attempted to cross the Brooklyn Bridge.
Some of the protesters said they were lured onto the roadway by police, or they didn't hear the calls from authorities to head to the pedestrian walkway. Police said no one was tricked into being arrested, and that those in the back of the group who couldn't hear were allowed to leave.
The NYPD on Sunday released video footage to back up its stance. In one of the videos, an official uses a bullhorn to warn the crowd. Marchers can be seen chanting, "Take the bridge."
Browne said that of the most recent arrests, the vast majority had been released. Eight people were still being held Sunday, three because of outstanding warrants and five others who refused to show any identification.
Gatherings elsewhere included one in Providence, Rhode Island, that attracted about 60 people to a public park. The participants called it a "planning meeting" and initially debated whether to allow reporters to cover it.
In Boston, protesters set up an encampment across the street from the Federal Reserve Building.
For more info:

The 99 Percent Occupy New York And San Francisco

By  |October 2, 2011 from the Bay Citizen

The Canadian culture-jamming magazine, Adbusters, sent word to on-the-ground Manhattan organizers that, starting Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, for several months, 20,000 people should set up camp and occupy Wall Street.  

Organizers receiving the message wanted to use a 2000 Federal Court ruling confirming the legality of sleeping on the sidewalk as a means of social expression.  

This legal test was the unanticipated spark that sent the spontaneous Occupy Wall Street firestorm flashing across America through the entire spectrum of races, ages, and sexual orientations, where it continues touching off sympathy occupations in cities nationwide.

The Manhattan protestors marched on Wall Street, occupying New York's financial district.  They self-identified as the 99 Percent who came to call a halt to bank theft and corporate corruption perpetrated by the One Percent: The 400 families hoarding U.S. wealth, the fat cat bankers and corporate CEOs receiving enormous bonuses while the poor, unemployed, and unhoused starve.

Eyewitness and Occupy Wall Street participant, Ryan, excited by the potential of this massive protest, organized by consensus decision-making, drove cross country to the Occupy San Francisco sister protest.  He reported that, “On the morning of the 19th, the first Monday after the action started, we actually had a moving picket in front of Wall Street that slowed people from getting to their jobs by the opening bell, and the Stock Market took a hit that morning.”

Soon the NYPD brutalized the marchers and moved them two blocks away to Zuccotti Park where they get free food and medical care and are building an unstoppable social movement.

Holding the area night and day has been massively successful. Crowds grow daily.  Notables have visited and spoken, encouraging the occupiers.  Roseanne Barr, Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore and Cornell West  appeared in the park and on occupiers live stream videos posted on their daily blog.  

Wall Street Occupiers are ever-aware of Tahrir Square, while sympathy occupations happen globally.

According to Michael Moore on Current TVs Countdown with Keith Olbermann, “Mayor Blumberg said last week – If we don't provide jobs right away there are going to be riots.” 

This is Mayor Blumberg, the billionaire talking.  This is not Michael Moore saying this.   

The smart rich know they can only build the gates so high, and sooner or later history proves that people --- when they've had enough --- aren't going to take it anymore.” 

The Occupy Wall Street blog posted a video of The great Professor, Cornel West, telling the crowd who used the People's microphone, repeating each phrase of his speech to all around them, “There is a sweet spirit in this place --- everyday people, who take a stand with great courage and compassion because we oppose the greed of Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who squeeze the democratic juices out of this country and other places around the world.” 

A similar story happened” in San Francisco,” observed Ryan.  On Saturday, Sept. 17, “People tried to occupy the Federal Building and 555 California Bank of America.”  The police moved them out to Justin Herman Plaza for their nightly 6:00 p.m. meetings, then two blocks down to a park where homeless people regularly sleep.

The growing band of occupiers became honored participants at a Make Banks Pay rally marching angrily down Market Street on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011, to banks along the way.

Milling around 555 California plaza waiting for the gathered group to march, a balding blue collar worker joked. “I am a broke, unemployed 'drone' with Occupy San Francisco, a grassroots movement.” He spent his last dollar buying a plane ticket to attend the October 6, 2011 Washington, D.C. protest.    

Pat Gray, a retired teacher handed out flyers. “I am so upset with the political system! Congress is 100% corrupt.  Our Congressional members listen to their contributors, not their constituents.”  

She announced that from 3:00 to 6:00 October 6, 2011 at the 7th and Mission Federal Building, a group named 'The 99% Coalition,' who can't afford to go to Washington on October 6 will speak “loud and clear, and tell them what we want.”  

Supervisor, John Avalos, Mayoral candidate launched the protest, nodding toward the Bank of America skyscraper.

This building is a symbol of the incredible greed and wealth accumulated into fewer and fewer hands in our country.”  B of A got a $230 million dollar bailout. 

They are firing 30,000 workers across the Nation.  Our economy's in shambles; (we have) joblessness and homelessness in San Francisco.  

You strong, union, community, small business people fighting back give me hope.”

Avalos reported Bank of America and Wells Fargo each hold 3 billion dollars of San Francisco's 6.8 billion dollar budget.  “If we pooled our money from Bank of America and Wells Fargo, and created our own bank, we would have control of our own tax dollars.  We could leverage that to build our local economy,” support small businesses and property owners, create more services, and build more houses.

To resounding cheers, he called, “Can we create our own municipal bank in San Francisco? Yes we can!” 

Chanting, “Who bailed the banks out?  We bailed the banks out!”  “Make Them Pay!”  “The People United Will Never Be Divided!” thousands of marchers stormed Market street banks, massing before police lines outside Charles Schwab and Citibank doors.  Protestors who got inside were arrested, notably a Viet Nam Vet's widow, Brenda, whose mortgage was sliced and diced, then Citibank tried to evict her.  She spoke to the crowd vowing they'd never get her home.

Unemployed Tom Komita trudged down Market.  “I currently can't find work.  My situation is part of this larger situation, so I'm here in support of everybody.”  

Slender, graying marcher, Paul Larudie, a shirtsleeved business type, yelled, “All banks are responsible for the home foreclosures.  We're the ones that kept them in business.  They need to re-negotiate in good faith, reduce the principle, and make payments affordable to people who lost incomes.”

Charles Schwab employees on upper floors standing behind protective glass scoffed at protestors below.  Someone pointed out “these arrogant people up there!”  Another remarked, “Before her head rolled, Marie Antoinette said, 'Let them eat cake.”

Picking up the eating meme, a man recalled the video, 'Eat the Rich.'  “Ted Turner predicted in a few years the rich will have to cannibalize human beings,” he sneered.

An upraised sign announced,  “Abraham Lincoln.  John Quincy Adams.  Benjamin Franklin would not approve!”

Chris Tully walked past saying, “They played a shell game and brought down the economy.  We've been robbed.  We've still got the collapse of the dollar coming.  Let's come out, be aggressively non-violent, and make our point.”  He marched to the 6:00 p.m. Occupy SF meeting at Justin Herman Plaza.

Erica from Ukiah camps with Occupy SF in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, “so the One Percent (won't) hold onto all the money of the 99 Percent anymore. If we join together little by little, the One Percent will have to pay attention to the 99 Percent.  We are the people, and we are that 99 Percent.”

Erica reported San Francisco occupiers have been gathering for regular 6:00 meetings in Justin Herman Plaza.  “The City likes to hose the park down, so we can't sleep there.“ The group peacefully complies with requests to move.

This beautiful San Francisco evening across from the Embarcadero waterfront, a group of about fifty at the 6:00 General Assembly circle sat on the concrete passing a microphone to each speaker.  New attendees funneled in from the march fleshing out the numbers, which thirteen days ago had been only 6 to 8.

Ryan speculated that the General Assembly would discuss, and hopefully come to consensus, on “whether we're going to move our occupation to an actual place like the B of A or the Federal Reserve,” make a stronger statement, and  make something bigger happen.  This move would be inevitable in an ever-evolving Occupation that is in San Francisco to stay.

Day Eight At Occupy Chicago, October 1, 2011

CHICAGO--(ENEWSPF)--October 1, 2011 - 11:41 AM CST  

ENews Park Forest

A layover at Chicago’s Union Station has me walking the streets, and I stop for an hour in front of the Federal Reserve Bank, where fifty or so men and women are now in their eighth day of protests. A young man in a Guy Fawkes mask is happy to explain the details. Occupy Chicago, in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, is a leaderless (but committee-heavy) movement aimed to “fight corporate abuse of American democracy.” “How long will you stay here?” I ask him, and he takes off his mask to look at me. Brown eyes, heavy brows. “Until Congress meets our demands,” he says. “They’re still on the streets in Egypt, and we’ll stay on the streets here.”

At the time I happen in, discussion among the core group—twenty or so people sitting cross-legged in a circle—has to do with image. What kind are they presenting? “We should wear khakis,” someone suggests. “Khakis and polo shirts. A suit if you have one. It’s one thing to see hippies in the street—,” a few mutters, “—but it’s better if some businessman can walk by and think, hey, that guy looks like me.” Modest applause.
“But that’s the whole point,” someone says, “that we’re not suits. We’re the people. This is what the people look like.” This being sweatshirts, jeans, beanies, hand-rolled cigarettes. More cheering. And a third suggestion: that there’s no need for one uniform, it’s better to have a variety of looks. This gets the most cheering of all.
The cheering, I should mention, is silent–there’s a whole system of hand signals that I’m just beginning to catch on to. Wiggling fingers means approval. A triangle formed between the thumbs and index fingers means a point of order. This quietness, I gather, is part of a thoughtful system of self-policing, the goal being to strike a balance between attracting attention and irritating passers-by. Protestors draw each other out of the way of pedestrians, and reprimand each other for littering. One man, realizing that his smoke is blowing towards me, apologizes at length and pulls me in front of him, towards the center of the group. “You should be able to listen without getting gassed,” he says, disgusted, despite my objection. “God, I am so sorry.”
The quiet lasts until a city bus passes and the driver honks, two long beeps—sure, there’s a lot of wiggling fingers, but even more whooping. When the ruckus fades, a man pumps his fist. “She’s in a union!” he says.
More discussion: The protest now has 5,000 Twitter followers, and its website,, got a record number of hits. $1,100 raised in donations, plus more food than they can eat before it spoils. What they really need are ponchos and socks. Someone’s going to lead a meditation class. Someone else is teaching yoga. Another bus drives by, and everyone cheers even louder than the first time. Nobody cares that it didn’t honk.
There are committees: a treasury committee, a press committee, an art committee, a bicycle committee. “If anyone asks you why you don’t have a job,” someone says into a megaphone that doesn’t work, “hand them your resume and ask them for one. And if you have a job, tell them! But if you don’t, join a committee and really put your time in. Your new job is to make a change in this country.”
How do the police feel about this? “They brought us coffee and food at the beginning,” says Guy Fawkes. “But now that they know we’re serious–well, let’s just say I haven’t seen any donuts lately.”

'Occupy LA' sets up camp outside City Hall

A couple hundred demonstrators remained in downtown L.A. Sunday as the ongoing protest dubbed "Occupy Los Angeles" began to settle in outside City Hall.
Protesters set up about 30 tents along with a makeshift library, first aid tent, food tent, and generator-powered media tent that hosts a number of computer stations.
The event began Saturday morning as a crowd of nearly 1,000 marched down Broadway to City Hall, chanting "We are the 99 percent," and holding signs that called for everything from class war to global peace.
As the night progressed, protesters were asked to leave City Hall's lawn, but remained in front of the building.
"Unfortunately city parks close at 10:30 p.m.," said Callie Little, one of those who stayed overnight. "So we moved the entire operation to the sidewalks."
Demonstrators and their tents were allowed back on the lawn at 5:00 a.m. Sunday morning.
Organizers of this weekend's protests say they've set up a whole series of teams– including a security, sanitation, general assembly, facilitation, and a crafts team to create banners and schedule music and events.
Little is on the finance team. On Sunday, she sat behind a plastic table welcoming new initiates into the camp.
"We're sort of the hybrid welcome center and donation center," she said. "When people come who are new, that are off the street, they'll kind of come here and be like, 'Well, what do I do?"
It's Little's job to find them a place to go and to take donations of food, medical supplies and cash.
By Sunday afternoon, demonstrators had formed clusters across the City Hall lawn, some discussing politics, others holding CPR and other classes, many just taking in the sun.
Michael Ulrich, an educator who spent Sunday in front of City Hall next to a handmade sign reading "Teachers are pissed," said he decided to come out and join the demonstration after seeing the protests on New York's Wall Street.
"Over the past few years I've been feeling more and more abused, I guess," he said. "It's just really exciting to see people fed up to the point they've had enough. They don't care anymore. They're willing to go to jail. That's a powerful thing."
Steven Laux, one of those who patrolled the ground on Saturday night as part of the security team, said his team is working with police to make sure their protest remains peaceful.
"I think things went as well or better than any one could have hoped for. It was very quiet," he said of Saturday night's events. "There's been a little tension around the grass – where we can sleep exactly, but after a day it's been fine. We'll see how things go tonight."



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