The “Occupy Wall Street” movement has definitely spread to San Diego, and local organizers are planning a peaceful occupation of the San Diego Civic Center Plaza this Friday, October 7th. The action – which starts with a march that is to reach the Plaza at 4:30 – will be in solidarity with the Wall Street protesters. (Marchers will gather at First and Harbor at 4pm.) The occupation is viewed as a “protest of the global financial corruption currently invading politics, media and corporations”. They call themselves “the 99%”.
Every night at 6pm Occupy San Diego organizers have been meeting at a local downtown park – the Children’s Park at First Street and Island. Organizers and the folks they’ve attracted all sit around a large grassy circle and hold discussions during the nightly General Assemblies. A different moderator each night tries to guide the crowd – which ranges from 50 to over a hundred (like last night – Sunday) – through the reports and over a wide range of issues.
What unites the group is a willingness to resist the corporate takeover of the country. This is basic, and the group tries to remain non-partisan, democratic, and “leaderless”. During the General Assemblies, the group bends over backwards to ensure everyone gets a chance to speak or to object to a motion. The individual counts in this leaderless movement. And the General Assemblies – GA’s in the parlance of occupation – works on consensus.
The San Diego group has been meeting since Tuesday, September 27th, and each night there are dozens of new people, mostly young, but increasingly older locals show up, including some well-known peace and justice activists. Sunday night, October 2nd, there were 60 newbies. And all new people go through an orientation, where non-verbal hand signals are explained, and the process of how Occupy San Diego works is described.
The people at these nightly meetings have organized themselves and the tasks they’ve taken on into committees, such as Logistics, Outreach, Media, Food, Resources, Security, Medical, Legal – even a Process Committee.
Several San Diego organizers went up to Los Angeles to join the occupation of City Hall in LA. They returned to the General Assembly full of exciting reports of what went down up north and lessons learned from their experiences of sleeping out with the LA occupiers.
Yesterday, on Sunday, over 50 people marched around downtown San Diego, distributing fliers of the upcoming Friday action.
Up until just recently, there has been a corporate media black-out of the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and occupation in New York City, going on since September 17th. When up to a hundred activists were arrested last Saturday, September 24th, mainstream media started to to take notice. And then this weekend, over 500 were arrested on Brooklyn Bridge. The LA Times broke their silence a couple of days ago. The San Diego U-T finally recognized the Occupy Wall Street actions in today’s issue (the paper version included one sentence about Occupy San Diego).
New people are encouraged to join the planning for the occupation. The GA meets at 7pm each night while the committees meet at 6pm. First and Island. On a personal level, I have joined this gathering of San Diego humans as has Patty, and the OB Rag has been covering the national and local Occupy news since the beginning. Working with the young people of the Occupy movement is so inspiring and energizing – I come home exhausted but feeling connected to the livewire circulating this country and even the globe.
Official Press Release of Occupy San Diego:
Occupy San Diego
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Kayla Ward or Kali Katt
949-480-4229 / 619-916-1304
Organizing & Media Groups
Citizens Join Occupy Wall Street at Civic Center Plaza, San Diego
Occupy San Diego Seeks Economic and Social Justice
SAN DIEGO (Oct. 3, 2011) – Standing in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street NYC, hundreds of San Diego citizens will peacefully occupy the Civic Center Plaza in downtown San Diego, adjacent to San Diego City Hall (1200 3rd Ave.), starting on October 7, 2011. This nonviolent occupation is in protest of the global financial corruption currently invading politics, media and corporations, exemplified by the recent financial industry meltdown and following recession.
The occupation will continue indefinitely until a list of demands in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street NYC are met by all levels of government, including the City and County of San Diego, the state of California, the Federal Government, and by private and public banks and corporations.
The long term and overnight occupation will include marches, sit-ins, educational programs, practice of the democratic process, and General Assembly meetings wherein solutions to overlapping issues are identified, to name a few. This diversified group makes decisions via consensus.
Participants are requested to meet at Children’s Park (1st Ave. and Island Ave.), by 3:30 p.m. on Friday, October 7. At 4:00 p.m., the group will march to Civic Center Plaza. Children’s Park is adjacent to the Convention Center Trolley Station and is two blocks south of Nordstrom Horton Plaza.
“The Occupy Wall Street movement is sweeping across the country. People from all walks of life, political persuasions and occupations are joining together to demand that our economic system become more just,” said Ray Lutz of Occupy San Diego. “Join our movement. With you, we can bring about change.”
We, the American citizens, must claim our country and put ourselves on the line for peace and justice. It is time for us to discover both who we — the other 99% — are and what we believe and want. Now is the time for us to act. Unless we do, we are nothing. When we do, our nation will be restored.
Occupy San Diego is reaching out to existing political groups, active military personnel, veterans, activist groups and labor unions in the San Diego community to participate in the occupation. The United Steelworkers Union (USW, 1.2 million members), the Laborers’ International Union of America (LIUNA, 500,000 members), the Transport Workers Union (over 200,000 members), and National Nurses United (NNU, 170,000 members) – have already announced their support for the Occupy Wall Street protests.
The top 1% control nearly a majority of the wealth in this country*. This lopsided distribution of wealth, coupled with outsourcing of jobs, bailouts, secret loans, subsidies, and profiteering in the financial sector have resulted in massive foreclosures, retirement and investment fiduciary failure, job losses, and homelessness.
About Occupy San Diego:
We are the 99%, and we will be quiet about this economic inequality no longer. We will take back for the people what already belongs to the people – our country. For more information, visit http://occupysandiego.org and for Occupy Wall Street please visit http://occupywallst.org. Twitter: @OccupySD; Facebook: OccupySanDiego
Bring what you need to LIVE — or nothing, we will take care of each other! Some suggestions:
1. Pack lightly, keep valuables to a minimum, keep compact backpack/tote with you most of the time.
2. Wear layered clothing, prepare for possible rain or hot sun (hats, sunglasses, etc.)
3. Feel free to bring food, water and supplies to share!
4. Tents, compact bedroll / sleeping bag, pad/air mattress, blankets
Participants are advised to check the occupysandiego.org web site for further details, including legal advice and instructions and what to expect and how to behave if arrested.
Occupying participants are advised to get rides to the site or use the Coaster or trolley and park in free station parking lots outside the downtown area.
If you are a company or individual who can donate or loan resources such as food, water, porta potties, power supplies, Internet hotspots, media equipment, or almost anything else, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
* The top 1% control over 40% of the wealth in the country, and the top 20% control 93% of the wealth.