Editor: The protests in and around Wall Street in New York City are still going on, and have now entered their eighth day. “Occupy Wall Street” efforts have now been endorsed by three unions. Here are two reports by Chaz Valenza who has been monitoring the demonstrations, one from Friday, Sept 23rd, and the other from today, Sept 24th. There have been between 150 and 250 people occupying and sleeping at a park a block from Wall Street, which they have re-named Liberty Park.
By Chaz Valenza / OpEdNews.com / Sept. 23, 2011
I need to start with a correction to an earlier report but it also leads to a very important point as Occupy Wall Street (OWS) completes its first week of occupation of Zuccotti Park, a.k.a. Liberty Plaza. I said about 1,000 occupiers were staying each night. I was mistaken and I apologize.
The correct number it is more like 150 – 250 and growing. Whatever the number, it should not be interpreted as small or insignificant. Allow me to explain.
I reported from the event on day one last Saturday, the kick off. Thousands attended. The UK Guardian said 5,000. I said 2,000 – 3,000. The naysayers said hundreds; more police than protesters, but that’s just not true.
Here’s the thing, OWS isn’t a 10 block march. It isn’t a 3 hour rally. It’s not just a day long march/rally, it ain’t no Woodstock. It is an occupation. And until you’ve experienced it you have no idea how serious and difficult it is. Yesterday I got a taste.
Occupation is a high risk protest tactic because so many things can bring this to a halt including the police, the elements, resources and the logistics. Right now, most of these factors are working against the occupiers.
Overnight occupiers are the keystone. They bear the brunt of the sacrifice and inconvenience. If the space is not held overnight the occupation is over and failed. This aspect of the occupation will be at greater risk with fall weather.
So far the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg have not allowed the occupiers to raise tents and have gone as far as confiscating plastic traps protecting computers and the communications equipment that provides the live internet video feed.
(I don’t want to give more detail on how the occupation sustains the necessary human functions to support the overnight occupiers or how they are maintaining the logistics of meeting the police demands. If any of these are interfered with by the opposition it would create more problems and cost money the OWS General Assembly does not yet have in hand.)
At 7:40 p.m. protesters from a Troy Davis rally in Union Square marched down Broadway and join the OWS effort. That easily raised the crowd to well over 5,000. It also raise the tension with the police. On the subsequent solidarity march to Wall Street six were arrested.
OWS protesters arrested: 21
Wall Street Banksters: 0
NYC Labor Unions in Solidarity with OWS: 3
Yesterday the occupiers marched four times: the Wall Street Opening Bell March, the Closing Bell March, an extra End of The Work Day March at about six o’clock, and then the Troy Davis Solidarity March at eight. Each march is about a 1.5 miles of chanting and takes about an hour.
(I arrived at OWS at two o’clock, did two marches, organized a dozen people to announce 2,300 signatures and comments from supporters around the country and world, did my reporting work and left the city at 10 o’clock. I was exhausted, limped home from the bus stop and found I’d lost 2 pounds this morning – protest diet, try it!)
Add meeting the daily needs of hundreds of sustaining occupiers, plus the work of democratically forming the legal & ideologically underpinnings of this movement and working tirelessly to make it grow.
It’s grueling. Occupiers platoon. Some march. Some maintain the space. Some rest. Some work. Some are doing it all.
Here’s the good news: despite the adverse conditions and the MSM blackout, OWS growing. Busloads and cars full of people are known to be coming this weekend.
But it’s not about just this weekend. OWS needs you to help it grow everyday until the system starts to pay attention. Plan a day and come. Show up for yourself.
9:00 AM – Two NYC Labor unions are now joined in solidarity with OWS: Teamster Union local 814 with 1,300 members, IWW NYC, and today Professional Staff Congress, a union of 20,000 employees from the City University of New York.
11:00 AM – NYPD again takes rain protection tarps shutting down Occupy Wall Street live feed.
12:01 PM – One person arrested by NYPD for bandana wearing.
4:33 PM – Lawyer Sam B. Cohen of Wylie Law still working on NYC throwing-out no tarps rule.
4:35 PM – Occupy Wall Street live video feed returns with Closing Bell March. Media team water-proofing equipment.
4:30 PM – Closing Bell March still happens after rain drenched day.
Correction from previous report: No protester lost a tooth in an NYPD arrest.
7:00 PM – Occupy Wall Street mail drop for donations has been established: UPS Store 118 A #205 New York, NY 10038 – RE: OCCUPY WALL STREET
7:42 PM – General Assembly meeting in the rain.
7:45 PM – NYPD provides big picnic umbrella to protect OWS media Equipment. Media team shouts-out thanks to the NYPD for providing them with an umbrella.
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I support the Occupy Wall Street – We Must End the Inequality and Economic Crisis Now
September 24, 2011 Report by Chaz
11:55 AM – Occupy Wall Street receives eviction notice.
Crowds during the day were thinned by rain but the Closing Bell March went off as schedules at 4:30 p.m.
Last night, the NYPD provide the OWS media team with a giant picnic umbrella to protect the live video feed and other communications computers from the heavy rains. The media team did a live video shout-out of thanks to the NYPD for their help.
Tarps and tents are still not allowed in Liberty Plaza at this time.
Several protesters claim to have overheard individual police officers discussing tacit personal, not official, support of the protest.
The occupiers are generally trying to maintain working relations with the police though some are totally opposed to the police presence and are quick to voice their distrust.
MSM Media Blackout: Commentary
I am a pessimist by nature, yet I’m beginning to wonder if the MSM black-out of Occupy Wall Street this past week isn’t a glass half full. Here’s my thinking.
This movement, symbolized by the current occupation of Liberty Plaza (Zuccotti Park) near Wall Street in NYC, is a real grass roots movement and organizing such a movement is difficult and takes time.
In the next few days Occupy Wall Street will have more and more going for it and be better prepared the inevitable MSM close-up and scrutiny.
What’s better? a) The occupiers have been here 6 days; or b) The occupiers have been here 8, 15, 21 days, have raised $X tens of thousands in donations, their numbers are growing daily and they intend to stay indefinitely.
No confirmed arrests yesterday as Occupy Wall Street protesters end their first week of occupation and settle into Zuccotti Park a.k.a. Liberty Plaza in NYC.
What’s better? a) Their numbers have grown over the past 7 days; or b) without any significant media coverage Occupy Wall Street held a march Saturday with thousands arriving from all over the country.
What’s better? a) We’re in the process of developing our Working Principles of Solidarity and our Demands; or b) These are our Principles of Solidarity, this is what we stand for and these are our Demands.
What’s better? a) They’ve occupied NYC’s Zucotti Park for 7 days and are expecting more supporters and participants; or b) Occupations are now also under way in X, Y and Z cities.
What’s better? a) The occupiers have joined in solidarity with three labor union locals and a few others groups; or b) After just X number of days the list of other organizations joining this effort is too numerous to mention, they include…
As an old public relations man, I know “just spell my name right” is only half the job. When you start getting serious local, regional and national coverage, both print and TV, you want to do your best to get your message out and prevent the media from perverting it.
I believe Occupy Wall Street will definitely have a better message and be better equipped to deliver it in the coming days. Stay authentic. Stay honest. Keep working on your core beliefs and when show time comes, you’re going to be great.