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Wed. morn update: Occupy Wall Street protest

There is a brief update for Wednesday 10/19/2011: here
(Mostly – it is raining!)
______________

It is Wednesday morning, at 7:11am, live video shows that there is still an encampment.

At 7:21am, they say “Welcome to Wednesday”. The Live Feed says there was a record number of campers in the park, about 200 people. They are claiming numbers during the day at 400 or 500.

The speaker believes that there are still two people in jail, one from the “Stream Team”.

Business people are walking by and looking at the protesters’ signs.

At 10:16am: People marching in financial district with drumming, chanting “power to the people”. Speaker on live stream says that when the video was off, one person got arrested. There is also discussion that a 17 year old girl named Mariel was arrested yesterday, and that no one knows what is happening with her in custody. It seems to me to be at intense rumor situation. I will look for clarification and keep posted.

Where to observe live video (and sometimes arrest videos and loops) –
http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution

Occupy Wall Street is getting some mainstream press. Along with the actual coverage, there are many critique articles and dismissive articles out there.

A lot of the spin in regular media has been to criticize the group because it does not have “a clear message”. This is an old propaganda trick to play on activists and leftists who are trying to exist in a more grassroots, less authoritative, less top-down, egalitarian existence with diversity and diverse ideas. Though, another tension is that the group that started it, Adbusters, had the idea to say “we will vote and have one message”. Though, once a protest gathers, its voice does not only belong to the initial organizers. Still, it appears that the “one message” that keeps bubbling up is to “end corporate personhood”. A very profound strategy that has been percolation in progressive groups many years, and expressed by think tanks such as POCLAD.

A demand reported on Wed 9-21, is related to the government and Obama changing decision-making so that 99% of US citizens do not suffer from the decisions of 1%

The police tactic is to say that the park is public/private space, but the trees and railings are off limits. So, the police have done things such as remove an umbrella hanging from a guardrail.

Here is an excellent interview of an Occupy Wall Street protester, who is a member of Code Pink. She explains the facts of diversity of points of view, and she hints at some of the message: Interview on PressTV.ir

I heard a story yesterday about a protester saying he had asthma. This is a story that I found in only a couple of places:
Protester in critical condition

I stumbled upon this very deep article about religion and the Occupy Wall Street protest, and religion and the stock market. Worth a read to anyone thinking about social investing, too: Pitfalls At The Corner Of Church And Wall Street

____________________________________________

FAQ & Summary
Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Do the protesters have any demands?

Answer: See below

Question: What is the one demand of the protesters?

Answer: One of the top demands that has been mentioned is to “end corporate personhood”.

The idea of ending corporate personhood has been part of the discourse in progressive politics for many years. It would be a law or court decision that stopped giving businesses/corporations the same rights as people. It would give corporations less rights and means to donate to political campaigns. It might mean that there is a “death penalty” for corporations who do horrible things and get caught.

Also, by going to Wall Street, the protesters are making a clear statement about the nature of their concerns and demands. They are concerned about inequity in the financial system. They want more corporate responsibility, and less government indulgence of the banks and businesses, instead of people.

A demand reported on Wed 9-21, is related to the government and Obama changing decision-making so that 99% of US citizens do not suffer from the decisions of 1%

There is an excellent interview with an Occupy Wall Street protester, who is a member of Code Pink, which very articulately explains some of the demands of protesters, and also, the conundrum that there is usually not one demand in a grassroots movement. The interview is listed above, and: here. Below is an excerpt:

Press TV: Could you remind us of the protesters’ main demands…

Butler: Well, it is very important to remember that this is a popular movement; this is a grassroots movement that is coming from the ground up. So there is no one main demand that unites everyone in the square who have been protesting.

The initial call did come from the Canadian magazine Adbusters and initially it was said that we would unite to insist on one clear and unified demand. However, the people that have been organizing on the ground are very clear that we are all there for our own reasons. We are representing the 99 percent who do not control the wealth which is owned by the one percent and we are fed up.

Personally I am there as the representative of CODEPINK, a women led and women-initiated peace organization, and we thought that it was very important to stand with the protesters occupying Wall Street to demonstrate our solidarity and to express our dissatisfaction with that how the economy is being run and I think that it is a popular sentiment within the square that people are fed up; they are upset that we are living in a situation where our government is putting the needs of corporations before the needs of the people and specifically that we have spent trillions of dollars on wars abroad in Iraq and Afghanistan and giving money and giving tax dollars to Israel and there are crackdowns on Palestinians.

When we do not have money to spend on basic needs of our own people here at home, we are constantly being told that we need to cut back on social services like healthcare and education and housing. We want to flip that. Why do we need to cut down on those basic needs instead of cutting down on our military spending which right now makes up about 50 percent of our Federal Budget?

It is a travesty and our priorities are completely in the wrong order and we need to bring those war dollars home to invest them in our communities; to build strong communities and to build strong social services that are desperately lacking in this country.

So that is why I am personally there not only as someone who is opposed to the wars that my tax dollars are funding but also as a New Yorker. We, as an organization, CODEPINK, were able to draft a resolution which went to the National Mayors Conference in Baltimore this year and it was passed overwhelmingly by the mayors at the conference to bring our war dollars home…

Question: Who started this protest?

Answer: Adbusters, a website related to a Candian magazine, was the first to call for this protest. Their website is: http://www.adbusters.org/

From the Adbusters’ “About” page:

The Media Foundation

We are a global network of artists, activists, writers, pranksters, students, educators and entrepreneurs who want to advance the new social activist movement of the information age. Our aim is to topple existing power structures and forge a major shift in the way we will live in the 21st century.

Adbusters Magazine

Based in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, Adbusters is a not-for-profit, reader-supported, 120,000-circulation magazine concerned about the erosion of our physical and cultural environments by commercial forces. Our work has been embraced by organizations like Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace, has been featured in hundreds of alternative and mainstream newspapers, magazines, and television and radio shows around the world.

Question: Where is the encampment?

Answer: The encampment seems to be at Zucotti Park, which has been renamed “Liberty Park”. Though, the marching is happening on “Wall Street” itself, and other streets in the financial district.

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