Occupying Wall Street – What’s It All About?

3 Oct

“#OCCUPYWALLSTREET is a people powered movement for democracy that began in America on September 17 with an encampment in the financial district of New York City. Inspired by the Egyptian Tahrir Square uprising and the Spanish acampadas, we vow to end the monied corruption of our democracy … join us!”

I went downtown yesterday to Liberty Plaza to check out “Occupy Wall Street”.

I am so impressed with what I saw to be a very organized, respectable, peaceful, articulate, committed protest.

The crowd was large, and grew larger as the day went on. Many people have been camping out there for 2+ weeks; others go home at night and come back the next day.

In the park, they have “rooms” – a “kitchen” area (donated food, prep stations and pizza delivery location)

a “media” area (laptop stations)

a “camping” area

a “General Assembly” area (where schedules are posted, daily meetings are held, and all processes voted upon prior to any action)

an “art/signs” area

(They keep making new signs, as it rains almost daily, and the protesters have no protection other than a few umbrellas)

a “library”

They are even printing their own newspaper!

They are diligently working, despite the crowds, to sweep and keep the park as tidy as possible

The protesters are young (one kid’s sign said he’s 4 years old)

and old

but mostly college-aged kids.

The media is there in full force, and everyone there has cameras. This is a very well-documented event.

Here is Geraldo Rivera interviewing a protester

and other crews at work

The cops are there (of course), and despite 700 protesters having been arrested the previous day as they marched across the Brooklyn Bridge, and earlier reports of protesters being pepper sprayed, yesterday I saw no signs of hostilities between the protesters and the police.

I went to the nearby Whole Foods and got some groceries which I took back and donated.

The Whole Foods is located at 270 Greenwich Street, in Tribeca, in case you’re in the area and want to donate food.

Liberty Plaza (where the protesters are camping out) is downtown below City Hall, on Liberty Street between Broadway and Trinity.

I’ll let these other pictures speak for themselves:

If you’ve made it through all of these pictures, you may be interested to learn more.

Go here.

And here.

The movement has a neighborhood PO box, where they can accept donations – money, food, blankets, etc:

UPS Store 118A, Fulton Street #205, New York NY, 10038

Or, you can donate here.

And, this Official Statement was released today:

“Official Statement from Occupy Wall Street – this statement was voted on and approved by the general assembly of protesters at Liberty Square:

Declaration of the Occupation of New York City
As we gather together in solidarity to express a feeling of mass injustice, we must not lose sight of what brought us together. We write so that all people who feel wronged by the corporate forces of the world can know that we are your allies.

As one people, united, we acknowledge the reality: that the future of the human race requires the cooperation of its members; that our system must protect our rights, and upon corruption of that system, it is up to the individuals to protect their own rights, and those of their neighbors; that a democratic government derives its just power from the people, but corporations do not seek consent to extract wealth from the people and the Earth; and that no true democracy is attainable when the process is determined by economic power. We come to you at a time when corporations, which place profit over people, self-interest over justice, and oppression over equality, run our governments. We have peaceably assembled here, as is our right, to let these facts be known.

They have taken our houses through an illegal foreclosure process, despite not having the original mortgage.

They have taken bailouts from taxpayers with impunity, and continue to give Executives exorbitant bonuses.

They have perpetuated inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, the color of one’s skin, sex, gender identity and sexual orientation.

They have poisoned the food supply through negligence, and undermined the farming system through monopolization.

They have profited off of the torture, confinement, and cruel treatment of countless nonhuman animals, and actively hide these practices.

They have continuously sought to strip employees of the right to negotiate for better pay and safer working conditions.

They have held students hostage with tens of thousands of dollars of debt on education, which is itself a human right.

They have consistently outsourced labor and used that outsourcing as leverage to cut workers’ healthcare and pay.

They have influenced the courts to achieve the same rights as people, with none of the culpability or responsibility.

They have spent millions of dollars on legal teams that look for ways to get them out of contracts in regards to health insurance.

They have sold our privacy as a commodity.

They have used the military and police force to prevent freedom of the press.

They have deliberately declined to recall faulty products endangering lives in pursuit of profit.

They determine economic policy, despite the catastrophic failures their policies have produced and continue to produce.

They have donated large sums of money to politicians supposed to be regulating them.

They continue to block alternate forms of energy to keep us dependent on oil.

They continue to block generic forms of medicine that could save people’s lives in order to protect investments that have already turned a substantive profit.

They have purposely covered up oil spills, accidents, faulty bookkeeping, and inactive ingredients in pursuit of profit.

They purposefully keep people misinformed and fearful through their control of the media.

They have accepted private contracts to murder prisoners even when presented with serious doubts about their guilt.

They have perpetuated colonialism at home and abroad.

They have participated in the torture and murder of innocent civilians overseas.

They continue to create weapons of mass destruction in order to receive government contracts.*

To the people of the world,

We, the New York City General Assembly occupying Wall Street in Liberty Square, urge you to assert your power.

Exercise your right to peaceably assemble; occupy public space; create a process to address the problems we face, and generate solutions accessible to everyone.

To all communities that take action and form groups in the spirit of direct democracy, we offer support, documentation, and all of the resources at our disposal.

Join us and make your voices heard!

*These grievances are not all-inclusive.”

How will this end? Only time will tell. But yesterday, I experienced an electric, peaceful, determined, powerful energy permeating downtown Manhattan.




6 Responses to “Occupying Wall Street – What’s It All About?”

  1. Johnny D October 3, 2011 at 8:59 pm #

    Good report and great photos! I didn’t realize how organized the protesters were.

    • sallanscorner October 5, 2011 at 11:59 am #

      I know, they are pretty amazing! I wish them all the best of luck that they can continue getting attention and ultimately results…

    • Jeffrey Webb October 9, 2011 at 6:36 pm #

      Please stop with the color correction on the photos…it’s extremely distracting and doesn’t add anything to them.

      • sallanscorner October 10, 2011 at 7:38 am #

        Hi Jeffrey – thanks for reading the blog, and I really appreciate your comment. I’ve had an on-going debate about the HDR processing that I use on a lot of my photographs. I know that some people like the process, and others do not at all. Please check back with me, I am going to investigate this further in an upcoming post, and I’d love your additional feedback.
        Thanks again,

  2. Ellen Girone October 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm #

    You captured the essence of it all! If I were well I’d be there right now!

    • sallanscorner October 5, 2011 at 12:00 pm #

      Thanks, Ellen – a little better every day, in more ways than one! 🙂

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