Skip to main content.

September 17, 2012 (Excerpts Posted 20 Sept 12) Quoting from Alternet

If you have wondered where the spirit of America has gone, the following may give you an answer:

10 AM ET — New York by Sarah Jaffe

“There is no longer an Occupy Wall Street.”

“That's what all the mainstream outlets are saying this week, and they're right in one way. What started as a couple hundred people in a park with no plan has turned into a decentralized, distributed network of activists, affinity groups, organizations and organizers, working on everything from free education to fracking. And so as New York's financial district was choked with glitter, balloons, dance parties and a whole lot of police, Occupy's anniversary feels less like a celebration of what was and more a demonstration of what's becoming.” .....

“The NYPD, meanwhile, had set up its own occupation, more thoroughly shutting down and annoying the residents of the financial district than Occupy ever did. Barricades closed off all access to Wall Street and many other locations as well as encircling Zuccotti and lining both sides of Broadway. We spoke to one woman who was headed to her first day of work on Wall Street and was not allowed through the barricades because she did not yet have an ID--she struggled with tears as she told her story.“ .....

“Today isn't about mass movement-building, though. That's the work these groups are doing day in and day out, off the streets, in their communities, with friends they met in and out of the park. Instead, these days now serve as a moment for the diverse parts of left movements to come together, to remind the enemy--financial firms and other big corporations--that they haven't forgotten.” .....

11 PM ET — San Francisco by Alyssa Figueroa

“In San Francisco, activists, some who held various rallies throughout the day, convened at 5 P.M. in the city's Financial District. About 3,000 people gathered at 555 California St., a building, which used to be a Bank of America and is a symbol of the commercialization of the city. The action began with activists awarding the city's Foreclosure Fighters, a group that has worked tirelessly this past year to help fight against foreclosures. These Fighters have helped save 52 people's homes from foreclosure eviction and have stopped 300 homes from being auctioned.”

“The Foreclosure Fighters then led a march throughout the city's streets, shutting down many of them along the way, including Market St. The thousands of protesters marched in a celebratory, but still serious fashion - dancing to the live music, but also making sure to shout and chant.”

“Occupiers ended their march in front of the Wells Fargo building on Montgomery St., where they had planned to symbolically burn their debt. Police warned that they would interfere if the protesters used flames, so the debt was ripped up instead.” .....

“Occupy SF Direct Action Working Group member and MC for the night, Amy O'Hair, said she was happy that more people showed up than she expected.”

“’It looks like we got 3,000 people out, which is fantastic for a Monday evening, and lots of people came forward to tear up their debt,’ O'Hair said. ‘I think people were in a celebratory mood. It felt really good to be in the streets.’” .....

“So today Occupy is a year old. And even though it's a year later, we're still facing the same hooligans we were a year ago. And San Francisco is a playground for the 1 percent, it always has been,” he said. “But in San Francisco, people are concerned about what's going on. And I think Occupy actually has created some real community discussions about decolonizing from this capitalistic state.”

11:30 PM ET — New York by Sarah Jaffe

“Though rumors abounded that the unions and community groups had abandoned Occupy, in New York at least, that wasn't the case. While the overwhelming presence of May Day or even October 14 wasn't to be seen, a few hundred union and community group members braved the barricades at Zuccotti Park to come out in support. A crew from ACT UP, VOCAL-NY and Housing Works, many dressed in Robin Hood costumes, called for a tax on Wall Street to pay for health care, including AIDS care, and community group members from United NY, Strong Economy For All, and New York Communities for Change rallied with workers from companies that have been preyed upon by Bain Capital (and the now-famous and continually-terrifying Bain 15-foot puppet).”

“But even while the rally went on in Zuccotti Park, impromptu marches and actions went on in Lower Manhattan. One group spontaneously shut down the West Side Highway briefly on the way to Goldman Sachs and the World Financial Center. A group, including several CodePinkers wielding hot pink bras, held a brief mic check outside of the Bank of America location adjacent to the park--until a quick, violent arrest left the NYPD holding a fifteen- or twenty-foot perimeter around the bank's entrance for no visible reason.”

“The financial district felt alive with protest in a way that even the early days of Occupy didn't; it was impossible to keep a count of the people around because they simply never stayed still.”.....

“While the big march didn't make it to the stock exchange, a few intrepid college students did. A group of students from Middlebury College in Vermont, a liberal arts school that sends many graduates to work in finance, visited New York for the Occupy anniversary and were disturbed by what they saw as racial disparities in the people who were being harassed by police as they attempted to cross the barricades. They witnessed people of color being stopped, asked for ID, held up, while well-dressed white people crossed easily.”

“Barrett Smith, dressed in a shirt, vest and tie, was the first to try crossing the line. ‘I held up my Middlebury ID, said 'I'm from Middlebury,' and they let me right in,’ he told AlterNet.”

"’We wanted to make a point about getting through the checkpoints,’ Anna Shireman-Grabowski explained. So the group of them went in with their student IDs--9 of them, men and women, all white. Then they held a mic check at the foot of the stock exchange, calling attention to how easily they were able to cross, and the white privilege that allowed them to do it. ‘The police did come at us and ask us to move along, but didn't arrest us,’ Katherine Murray noted.”

"’We were able to exercise our rights, which are protected by the Constitution, but there are people in New York City who can't walk down the street without being arrested,’ Smith said.” .....
“The movement isn't what it was, and who can blame it? As many have pointed out, a year into the Civil Rights movement, the bus boycotts were still fighting. Other tactics had barely been thought of.”

“The mainstream media, and indeed much of the progressive media, is eager to pronounce this movement over, to return to business as usual, to the latest Romney gaffe or poll. But for too many Americans, business as usual ended in 2008 with the financial crash, or was never tolerable to begin with. Occupy opened a space to discuss those problems and to dream of something better, and there's no going back from that.”

Occupy is alive and well. Regardless of political or religious persuasion, these folks share the same views our founders did. Ours is a country rooted in justice, freedom and liberty for all, not just for the one percent who have already eroded our founding values.


No comments yet

To be able to post comments, please register on the site.