From Coast to Coast, ‘Occupy Wall Street’ Protests Spreading and Growing Across America
Too big, and too many, to ignore. That’s how you could describe the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests that began three weeks ago in Lower Manhattan, demonstrations which have now spread from coast to coast as fed up citizens take to the streets to (peacefully) rail against corporate greed and a host of other injustices.
According to the Associated Press, similar protests have gotten underway in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Seattle and Columbus, Ohio. Agence France-Presse reports that 300 people have been demonstrating in Los Angeles since Saturday. About 100 people are camped out in Boston, and 50 protesters are encamped in Chicago’s financial district. Demonstrations have also taken place in San Francisco, Miami, Portland (Maine), Denver and elsewhere. The Guardian reports that ‘Occupy Wall Street’ says demonstrations will take place in 147 U.S. cities this month. Occupytogether.org says protests are planned beyond America’s shores in places as far-flung as Canada, Britain, Germany, Sweden, Finland, Australia, France and Japan.
The arrest of more than 700 protesters on the Brooklyn Bridge last weekend has not deterred the demonstrators. If anything, it has brought more people out into the streets.
“It took Vietnam to get people my age into the street and we changed things,” 61-year-old Eleanor Buckley told AFP. “I’m seeing the same thing happening here. It always starts small, but time will tell. All great movements start from scratch.”
Support for ‘Occupy Wall Street’ is spreading far beyond the dozen or so college students that started the protest in Zuccotti Park– renamed Liberty Plaza– in Lower Manhattan three weeks ago. More than 700 uniformed commercial airline pilots, some of whom make as little as $21,600 a year, rallied and marched near Wall Street over the course of two days at the end of September. They held signs with images of U.S. Airways Flight 1549, which was skillfully crash-landed in the Hudson River by Chesley Sullenberger in 2009, with the caption “WHAT’S A PILOT WORTH?”
In New York, the Transportation Workers Union (TWU), Local 100, is seeking a court injunction to stop the New York Police Department from forcing city bus drivers to transport arrested protesters. “We’re a pretty mainstream blue collar union,” spokesman Jim Gannon is quoted in the Daily Beast. “We view the protests as young people who are articulating the same kind of things that we’ve been trying to articulate.”
Tomorrow, the United Federation of Teachers, the Service Employees International Union and the TWU will march with ‘Occupy Wall Street’ as well. The Communications Workers of America today became the latest union to voice its support of the demonstrations.
The Marines are coming to Wall St…(to PROTECT the protestors)
I’m heading up there tonight in my dress blues. So far, 15 of my fellow marine buddies are meeting me there, also in Uniform. I want to send the following message to Wall St and Congress:I didn’t fight for Wall St. I fought for America. Now it’s Congress’ turn.
My true hope, though, is that we Veterans can act as first line of defense between the police and the protester. If they want to get to some protesters so they can mace them, they will have to get through the Fucking Marine Corps first. Let’s see a cop mace a bunch of decorated war vets…
We all took an oath to uphold, protect and defend the constitution of this country. That’s what we will be doing.
Marine veterans were also spotted in Lower Manhattan holding a cardboard sign reading: “2nd time I’ve fought for my country. 1st time I’ve known my enemy.”
Support is coming from other unlikely sources as well. Billionaire financier and philanthropist George Soros expressed his solidarity with the protesters, saying that obscene bonuses paid to Wall Street executives sparked the demonstrations. “I think I can sympathize with their views,” Soros said of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement.
Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz joined the New York protest, speaking to a crowd in Liberty Plaza Sunday. Stiglitz said that Wall Street enriched itself by “misallocating capital” and by “socializing losses and privatizing gain.” “That’s not capitalism,” he asserted. “It’s a distorted economy.”
Various celebrities, including Radiohead, Michael Moore, Russell Simmons, Noam Chomsky, Cornel West, Naomi Klein, Lupe Fiasco, Roseanne Barr, Susan Sarandon and Alec Baldwin, have also expressed support for ‘Occupy Wall Street.’ Baldwin called the police brutality against some of the peaceful demonstrators “unsettling.” Sarandon spoke to the protesters and decried the “huge void between the rich and the poor in this country.” She also implored them to focus on a single cause: “Your weakness is that there are so many issues. You’re gonna be easy to be dismissed if you don’t concentrate on a single cause,” she said. “You don’t want the face of your movement to look like discontented people that don’t know what they’re talking about.”
Much of the mainstream media is portraying the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement as exactly that, though, and Fox News deserves special attention for the way they’ve demonized the protesters and made them seem like utter morons devoid of purpose or point. Where Fox News positively lionized the Tea Party protests whenever and wherever they happened as a glorious and legitimate uprising of patriotic Americans with valid beefs against the free-spending, “socialist” Obama administration, the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protesters are dismissed as know-nothing losers. Stephen Hayes, a writer for the über-conservative Weekly Standard and a Fox News contributor, said this about ‘Occupy Wall Street’: “There’s no political movement there,” on Fox News. “They wouldn’t have the backing of the American public.” Kimberly Guilfoyle, co-host of Fox News’ “The Five,” appeared on Sean Hannity’s Fox program and bashed the protesters as dirty and useless: “It’s Woodstock meets Burning Man meets people with absolutely no purpose or focus in life,” she said. “They have nothing but free time to be down there, they make up a slogan or cause as they go along, and they’re just looking to go out there and dirty the streets. And they really don’t have any idea of what they’re doing there.” Wall Street Journal reporter Stephen Moore appeared on Fox’s “America Live” and said: “Listening to those commentaries by those young people is sort of an indictment of our education system, isn’t it? These kids just don’t understand how the world works.”
Funny, since whenever an ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protester articulates the movement’s rationale and goals to a Fox reporter, the footage always seems to end up on the editing room floor. Witness this exchange between a Fox journalist and protester Jesse LaGreca, in which the Fox reporter actually admits that LaGreca has valid gripes with the conservative “news” network:
Of course, this interview never aired on Fox News.
And for the record, ‘Occupy Wall Street’ has very clearly stated goals, which you can read on their website. They include: the investigation, arrest and trial of Wall Street criminals; the reversal of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission ruling; action on the Glass-Steagall Act; Congressional passage of the Buffett taxation rule; a Congressional revamp of the Securities and Exchange Commission; reestablishment of the public airwaves and Congressional checks on the military-industrial complex.
Laudable goals, every last one of them. And that is precisely why the corporate owners of this country and their mainstream media lackeys are going out of their way to try to delegitimize the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement.
But this time, it’s not working.
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