Living

‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protest Heads Into a Two-Week Stance

Written by Becky Villaneda

Today is Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011 and the 13th day of “Occupy Wall Street.”

Little has been reported by mainstream media about “Occupy Wall Street” because of varied excuses. Some cite the lack of a unified message on the part of the protestors as the reason, another, that the protest is drawing small numbers, and there’s also the thought that Corporate America could threaten larger Media outlets with decreased advertising spending.

Occupy Wall Street began on Sept. 17 with about 3,000 people gathering at Battery Park in New York City. Now protestors have organized themselves at Zuccotti Park, around the corner from Ground Zero. According to a Times article, the park has become a semi-permanent home, complete with a medical station and a distribution point for food and water.

“The protesters have organized themselves into committees to remove the garbage, roam the camp to enforce a ban on open flames (an evictable offense in the eyes of the NYPD) and engage with the people in the area,” reports the Times.

The way the protest was conceived is reminiscent of the Egypt-organized protests that began Tuesday, Jan. 25, which continues to this day. Millions of demonstrators gathered in Cairo, calling it an uprising, and it ultimately forced long-time president, Hosni Mubarek, to resign. Demonstrators used Twitter to organize with the key search “#Jan25” at the helm. Today, that same search on Twitter results in up-to-date Tweets in different languages.

Even the more recent London riots in August notoriously used Twitter to evade police officers. Social media is empowering youth activists and it’s the only way some are even able to hear about “Occupy Wall Street.”

One organization seems to be at the center of “Occupy.” Adbusters, a nonprofit organization founded in 1989 that publishes an anti-consumerist magazine, created the Facebook event titled, “OccupyWallstreet.” The protest was created with the intent to work at finding a central message that they wanted to deliver to Big Banks and even President Obama. A work-in-progress type of message.

“Beginning on September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Wall Street for a few months. Once there, we shall incessantly repeat one simple demand in a plurality of voices.

“The beauty of this new formula, and what makes this novel tactic exciting, is its pragmatic simplicity: we talk to each other in various physical gatherings and virtual people’s assemblies … we zero in on what our one demand will be, a demand that awakens the imagination and, if achieved, would propel us toward the radical democracy of the future … and then we go out and seize a square of singular symbolic significance and put our asses on the line to make it happen.

Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof), New York Times columnist and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner said the NY demonstration reminds him of Tahrir Square in Egypt.

“Wall St protesters like Tahrir in social media savvy, carnival mood, and deep sense of frustration & disenfranchisement,” he Tweeted today.

Actress Susan Sarandon has visited the site and so has Michael Moore, a documentary filmmaker.

Entrepreneur Russell Simmons addressed the pepper spray incidences that seem to be making more headlines than the actual protest itself.

“SHOCKING 2nd angle of NYPD pepper spraying protesters at wall street bit.ly/q4rTX0 PLS RT #OccupyWallStreet,” Simmons tweeted today.

Cornel West, an American philosopher, author, civil righst activist and a professor at Princeton University, sent a photo via Twitter of him holding a sign that read: “If only the War on #Poverty was a real war, then we would actually be putting money into it. #OccupyWallStreet.”

The demonstrators plan on being there for at least two months, and already there is news that Chicago residents are organizing a sister protest.

To get a bird’s eye view of the situation, there are plenty of websites, including MoveOn.org that are streaming video of the action. And if you agree with the demonstrators, but can’t get to NY, read this article from AlterNet.org that gives you 11 examples of what you can do to help move along the “Occupy Wall Street” message, for instance: “move your money from a big bank to a credit union.”

 

Click below to get a live stream:
www.livestream.com/globalrevolution

References:

Rawlings, Nate. “Occupy Wall Street Protest: 12 Days and Little Sign of Slowing Down – TIME NewsFeed.” TIME NewsFeed – Breaking News and Updates. 29 Sept. 2011. Web. 29 Sept. 2011. .

January, 29. “2011 Egyptian Revolution.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 29 Sept. 2011.

“Adbusters.” Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Web. 29 Sept. 2011.

“#OCCUPYWALLSTREET | Facebook.” Welcome to Facebook – Log In, Sign Up or Learn More. Web. 29 Sept. 2011.

“Nicholas Kristof (@NickKristof) on Twitter.” Twitter. Web. 29 Sept. 2011.

About the author

Becky Villaneda

Becky is a Los Angeles-born writer educated in southern and northern California. She became a writer to raise awareness of social and environmental issues and because her mother’s passion for the written word was contagious. In early 2011, Becky and three other journalists teamed to write their first book “Stories4Women,” which is a collection of true short stories. This project has given her the courage to explore other book ideas … stay tuned. She recently moved to Santa Barbara and works at Hispanic Business Magazine and is happily exploring the city’s sights and sounds.