Protest and Occupation in 12th Day at “Occupy Wall Street” – Mainstream Media Finally Wakes Up, Blacklash Against Weekend Police Violence and “Occupy” Actions Spread Across America

by on September 28, 2011 · 12 comments

in Civil Rights, Popular


Meeting to be held in San Diego at park near fountain at 1st Avenue and East Harbor Drive, 6pm.

The “Occupy Wall Street” protests and occupation of a small nearby park, dubbed “Liberty Park”, continues into its 12th day in downtown Manhattan in New York City.  The protests began on Saturday, September 17th, and while activists initially wanted to surround the banks and other symbols of Wall Street, they were blocked by the ever-ready presence of the NYPD.  So the protesters took over a small park a block from Wall Street and have been occupying it ever since.

A mass arrest last Saturday, the 24th,  of over 80 demonstrators by police during a march appears to have back-fired.  There is now more corporate and mainstream media coverage since the arrests, and particular official disgust has been directed at one officer in particular who pepper-sprayed protesters for no reason.

Well-known celebrities have either stopped by Liberty Park or have sent their support.  Rosanne Barr was at the site earlier last week, Alec Baldwin spoke out about the police violence, Susan Sarandon dropped by, as did Michael Moore – who gave an emotional speech in support.  Noam Chomsky has issued his solidarity message and the Teamster Union has declared its support of the demonstrators as well.

“Occupy” events and actions are either happening in other places around the country or are in the planning stages, including San Diego.

These include Chicago, Los Angeles, Denver, Philadelphia, San Francisco,  …. There’s a general Occupy site that directs people to the various actions being planned, and there’s the Occupy Wall Street site itself.

The “Occupy” movement actual events staged in Los Angeles (a march), San Francisco (small encampment and march), Chicago (a march and encampment at the Federal Reserve) and Denver (noon gatherings at the Statehouse). In other places, twitter feeds and Facebook pages are starting up for Occupy Atlanta, Occupy Boston, Occupy Brisbane, Occupy Cincinnati, Occupy Cleveland, Occupy DC, Occupy Dallas, Occupy Glasgow, Occupy Houston, Occupy Kansas City, Occupy Manchester, Occupy Nashville, Occupy New Orleans, Occupy Philadelphia, Occupy Phoenix, Occupy Portland, Occupy Tampa, Occupy Richmond, Occupy San Jose, Occupy Seattle and Occupy Youngstown.

 ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Fighting Bankster Greed and the Surveillance State

By Sarah Jaffe / AlterNet / September 27, 2011 |

Over a week in, and despite mass arrests, the protesters are still camped out around the corner from Wall Street, and the Internet is watching.

The crackdown on the Wall Street protesters this weekend seems to have backfired. The campsite-cum-experiment in radical democracy is still there, holding general assemblies just shouting distance from Goldman Sachs and the Wall Street bull. It even appears to be growing.

The complaints that the media has ignored the sustained protest seem to be resonating—the park has cameras aplenty today, and food trucks line one side of the plaza. (Local eateries have been taking out-of-town orders for protesters.) Tourists seem to be catching on that this is something, as they snap pictures of protest signs.

While even theoretically like-minded folks had been a bit dismissive of the Wall Street occupation before Saturday, the heavy-handed moves by police to control a small march have brought worldwide attention to Zuccotti Park, formerly Liberty Plaza. The Guardian has broken stories ahead of the New York media, outing the police officer caught on tape pepper-spraying penned-up protesters as the same officer named in a wrongful arrest lawsuit from 2004’s Republican National Convention protests.

Techniques honed from the “Battle in Seattle” in 1999, including penning up protesters with temporary fences or an orange mesh net, were deployed in 2004 and then exported to the UK in the past year, as student activists fighting their government’s attempt to impose fee hikes on university attendees found out when they were trapped outside in so-called “kettles” for hours in the cold, unable to leave.

The orange mesh net came out on Saturday and the #OccupyWallSt Twitter hashtag was filled with warnings from those who had been there in 2004. “Anyone who finds themselves on the wrong side of the net, even if they were just out buying milk, is going to be arrested,” New York blogger and activist Phillip Anderson said.

The anger in 2004 stemmed from two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the GOP’s politicization of the September 11 attacks, while the protests now are aimed squarely at Big Business and indeed at least some of the protesters would be happy if government would take action against the big banks. Camille Raneem, who has been at the occupation since the beginning, told me that she voted for Obama in 2008, but found herself getting involved in activism when the things she’d hoped to see didn’t happen.

“I’ve been waiting for this for three years,” she said. And like many in 2004, she was angered by Guantanamo Bay, and the crackdowns on civil liberties of the Bush administration—things she sees continuing under Obama, and proved this week when many of the Wall Street protesters were arrested.

Many of the overzealous police moves in the past have been around political rallies or events where there were diplomats, politicians, world leaders involved that police could perhaps be justified in claiming a need to protect. Who was being protected in Union Square from girls behind an orange mesh net?

But though the police overreaction caught everyone’s attention, crackdowns on political protests are nothing new—anyone who remembers Chicago in 1968 could tell you that. What’s new now is the way information is both being spread, lightning-quick on Twitter and Facebook, videos uploaded instantly from smartphones to YouTube to go viral, and the way that same information is being suppressed, or used against people.

From Hacktivism to the Streets

Imagine Bull Connor, the infamous Birmingham, Alabama Commissioner of Public Safety, who authorized the use of fire hoses and attack dogs against civil rights protesters, in the age of YouTube and Google. Imagine videos of peaceful activists zapped around the world at the touch of a button, uploaded in seconds from a smartphone in Martin Luther King Jr.’s pocket.

That’s what protesters in New York and around the country are counting on as they risk arrest.

The protests were organized on the Internet; they weren’t taken seriously by many. The crowds at Zuccotti Park were shrugged off as dirty hippies, angry kids, incoherent. So were Anonymous and Lulzsec, two of the most prominent hacker “collectives,” until they showed that they could take down Visa and Mastercard.

The gradual politicization of Anonymous and the other hacktivism groups has seemed incoherent at times, but they’ve always stood for a loose sort of Internet freedom, jumping to the defense of WikiLeaks against both government and corporate attacks. In June, LulzSec and Anonymous declared Operation Anti-Security, making explicit the link between government power and big banks:

“Top priority is to steal and leak any classified government information, including email spools and documentation. Prime targets are banks and other high-ranking establishments.”

What they are opposed to is power and control. Which is why it makes perfect sense that hacktivists from Anonymous are supposedly down in Zuccotti Park, the Guy Fawkes masks they cribbed from Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta as a badge of identity (and occasionally an excuse to arrest them). They are fighting the power out from behind a computer, putting their bodies on the line.

The Internet, after all, was a military invention, paid for with government dollars. It took the form we know it by now because the people creating it couldn’t stop using it to talk to one another. Like the surveillance state itself, the ‘net moved from the military to corporations, a center for profit. Yet despite the intentions of the tech companies who may or may not be intentionally obstructing the attempts of the Occupy Wall Street movement to get the word out (accusations of censoring emails have been raised against Yahoo and many have complained that Twitter is preventing #occupywallstreet from becoming a trending topic despite the frequency of tweets using the hashtag), the Internet still works best as a way for people to talk to one another, and it has been these protesters’ ally, allowing them to get their message heard.

And after the ability of Hosni Mubarak’s regime to effectively shut down the Internet during Egypt’s revolution, a group of scholars and activists have been working on creating alternative networks to use in case of a similar government or corporate crackdown:

“At the heart of the movement is the idea that seemingly mundane technical specifications of Internet routers and social-networking software platforms have powerful political implications. In virtual realms, programmers essentially set the laws of physics, or at least the rules of interaction, for their cyberspaces. If it sometimes seems that media pundits treat Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg or Apple’s Steve Jobs as gods, that’s because in a sense they are—sitting on Mount Olympus with the power to hurl digital thunderbolts with a worldwide impact on people.

Instead of just complaining, many of those heading to New York next month believe they can build alternatives that reduce the power of those virtual deities and give more control to mere mortals.”

Marisa Holmes, a filmmaker who has been part of the media team at the occupation and who was one of those arrested Saturday the 24th, told me, “We know we’re going to get shut down eventually. We’re preparing for a long-term occupation, that includes not only physical space but digital space. Occupy the media.”

Their systems are not ultra-sophisticated but they are impressive for a week’s worth, for something that was planned very loosely on the Internet. They have a power source and wireless Internet access in the square, a media team huddled around laptops all day long making sure the word gets out, keeping in touch with supporters around the world. They’re making long-term plans, testing ideas, building community.

For the remainder of this article, please go here.

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

avatar Dead Mariner September 28, 2011 at 8:31 am

Godspeed protesters. Wish I was there.


avatar Brittany Hogan September 28, 2011 at 8:52 am

Really surprised that the protests haven’t gained more momentum here in SF. That old 60’s spirit has completely been co-opted by Silicon Valley, turning this once free-thinking, free-loving city into a bastion of techie Lexus Liberals, sipping Chai and hanging out in the Marina district. Bring Back the Haight!!!


avatar Dickie September 28, 2011 at 12:25 pm

Good luck to San Diego . . . we are in the east and will be looking for actions to visit . . . this is very exciting . . . my fingertips tingle with anticipation and delightful uncertainty . . .

thank you Rag for bringing this to me and for all the great links. By the way I heard a very good segment on NPR last night about Occupy W Street.
[from Orono, Maine]


avatar Brandt Hardin September 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm

The movement is gaining momentum after a week and a half and Occupy movements are popping up all over the country! Stand up together and use your voice to give to those without. Tax the rich and feed the poor- you are the 99%! See my Occupy Wall Street painting and Anonymous homage on my artist’s blog at where you can also see videos of the protests and police brutality as well as get other sources for real coverage of the movement.


avatar Jackie McElveny September 28, 2011 at 1:53 pm

Some good coverage by the UK Guardian! And FYI: Michael Moore will be on Lawrence O’Donnell tonight from Liberty Park. Not sure if he has the whole show or not.


avatar scallywag September 28, 2011 at 4:17 pm

Sometimes a picture says more than words…


avatar Dave Chase September 28, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Right Fuckin On!


avatar Chris September 29, 2011 at 7:22 am

What the ONLY two parties (we have to choose from) tell us that they stand for is for the sake of differentiation only. They have to look different so that the masses, which they think are dumb, think their vote counts. The two parties simply take turns at winning elections. They don’t want a revolution Marie Antoinette style “Let them pay attention to Hollywood, so they don’t notice that they are being scammed.” They don’t believe in any principles other than enriching themselves. They are grossly overcompensated, overbribed, tenured, career politicians doing whatever their political campaign contributors tell them to do. The Wall Street protests should have happened a long time ago.
Also, there is no “Religious Right.” They are using that term to get the votes of those who go to church. A true Christian would NEVER get involved with politics, because Jesus never did, and even stated: “Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasars, and unto God what is God’s. Don’t vote — support Wall Street protests instead — each and every time they get out of line. Pay less attention to Hollywood and more attention to the Wall Street – Congress connection. If you go to church, pray for the protestors; this is a battle against a powerful force called Greed.
Wake-up people: China’s economy is booming; not because the Chinese government budgets a lot of money for education, but because they have lots of unskilled, cheap labor! The corporations that have offshored jobs, and, on top of that, replaced jobs here with H1B-immigrants, are using the “uneducated Americans” line as an excuse to not hire here in the U.S.


avatar Joe Hill September 29, 2011 at 10:21 pm

“The one thing the elite fear most is a great awakening.”

One of the best commentaries I’ve seen so far on the new Occupy Wall Street protests is by Arun Gupta, founding editor of The Indypendent newspaper. I found it at AlterNet at


avatar Dickie October 2, 2011 at 8:26 am

Occupy Wall Street was on the front page of the New York Times yesterday . . . I guess it is finally getting the media’s attention . . . good luck to San Diego on the 7th. We’ll be calling in meals . . .
[Westminster, Vermont]


avatar Kevin Fielder October 3, 2011 at 7:17 am

You guys are insane. This protest is counterproductive. Why is being wealthy a bad thing? And why are any of you entitled to speak about another human being’s good fortune? This is truly insane.


avatar Marshal Kline October 8, 2011 at 5:39 pm

In 1950 my Father’s mortgage was $ 12.50 a month for the FARM. Today you’re lucky to get a dinner for that price. This just shows you the value of the dollar has declined, not the value of the real estate. The price of real estate today is; over inflated, and immoral, because of the Greed and Criminal Action of Bankers and Real Estate agents. They were not put in jail for there were no laws governing their actions. If this is a government OF the People why do Coorperations rule Congress? Coorperations do not have a belly button. When a new candidate goes to Washington they are told the way they are to vote or they will be Black Balled by the entire Congress and they will not get any bills passed for their district.


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