Occupy Wall Street Continues to Grow in Fourth Week

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Occupy Wall Street movement is entering its fourth week and showing no signs of slowing down. What began as a loosely organized protest against corporate greed and the growing gap between rich and poor Americans has increased dramatically in terms of supporters, media coverage, and online discussions. Thousands of people have turned out for protests in lower Manhattan, and in dozens of other places across the country, including Boston, Miami, and the District of Columbia. Many media outlets have declared the leaderless Occupy movement to be the left's answer to the Tea Party movement, and others have likened it to the Arab Spring.

Celeste Headlee is spending the morning touring the Occupy Wall Street camp at Zucotti Park with protester Frank Williams. Celeste also speaks with Brandon Hunt, who has been camping out at Zucotti Park for the last two weeks, and Comrade Shahid, who joins the protesters before and after he goes to work.

Ben Johnson/WNYC
Two occupiers share a sleeping bag in the predawn hours.
Ben Johnson/WNYC

Police keep a watchful eye over the park at all hours. Protester Brandon Hunt, who works as part of Occupy Wall Street's volunteer security force, said that the relationship between occupiers and police was friendly in Zuccotti Park, though during marches and other planned action they often became more contentious. 

Ben Johnson/WNYC

During the night protesters sleep, but their signs, and their art, don't, forming a sort of moat of expression around the group.

Ben Johnson/WNYC

In a very "New York" interaction, some food cart owners have set up shop around the park, and early-rising occupiers are giving them business. 

Ben Johnson/WNYC
Sunrise at Zuccotti park.
Ben Johnson/WNYC
A protester begins to create a more timely protest sign for Monday's activities.
Ben Johnson/WNYC

Nearly 650 people spent the night in Zuccotti Park Sunday. The number of sleepovers--the largest of the movement's three-week history thus far--was given by an organizer named Jacob, who with two others walks through the park every morning clicking away on small counters. The three people meet afterwards each morning and compare numbers to come up with an average. 

Ben Johnson/WNYC
"Good Morning."
Ben Johnson/WNYC

Breakfast at the camp's all-volunteer kitchen gets underway. On the menu: various forms of bread in various states of freshness, regular and "NOT VEGAN!" cereal, peanut butter and jam. 

Ben Johnson/WNYC

While populated by mostly young people, the the Occupy Wall Street protests also take cues from earlier movements: this man sits next to a painting of Beatle John Lennon and a popular slogan and quote usually attributed to Ghandi, though it's origins aren't immediately clear. 

Ben Johnson/WNYC

On Sunday, OWS protesters marched around a paper machet replica of the Wall St. bull with a sign that said "False Idol." This large creation, a megaphone which will likely be completed Monday, appears to represent a commentary on the fact that amplification is not allowed in the park.  

Ben Johnson/WNYC
As the morning progresses, signs go from the ground into protesters hands.
Ben Johnson/WNYC

A statue in Zuccotti Park, of a man in a suit opening his briefcase, has also been "occupied."

Ben Johnson/WNYC

As other New Yorkers make their crowded morning commute through lower Manhattan, many will pass by the protesters. A man from Veterans for Peace gives a cheerful "hello" to many who pass his corner of the park. 

Guests:

Brendan Hunt and Frank Williams

Produced by:

Hsi-Chang Lin and Mythili Rao

Comments [25]

Jo Ann Vincent from Fair Haven NJ

OWS - Hurrah! Citizens are fed up ! Healthcare system is outrageously expensive,misused ,abused & IS NOT the "best in the world". Our stores & food outlets are filled with so called food from agri - businesses that harm the land.water, animals& us! We are in endless wars that make us More Enemies. Common denomenator? Corporations & a weary or cynical citizenship. Corporations run these con-games, own our politicans . Their top execs & largest shareholders rake in obscene profits . Thank you OWS for waking us up.

Oct. 14 2011 07:39 AM
Alan Nakamura from Denver, CO

8:20 PM MST 10.13.2011 -- It's exactly 2h 40 min. until "Zero Hour" here in Denver, CO when the curfew at Lincoln Park goes into effect; today the Mayor, Governor and Atty. General toured the encampment and told the people there that they could not camp overnight in the park anymore (which violates a municipal statute), and that there could be steps to remove the protestors from the park tonight. We'll just have to see what happens; stay tuned...

Oct. 13 2011 10:24 PM
Angel from Miami, FL

We're reviving the period of the robber barons. There might not be newspapers around to call them out by name but these people exist today. Through the funding of campaigns or the congressional ignorance of most things Wall Street the new robber barons have managed to get their game deregulated. They made up and new "products" with new rules as an elaborate plan to make money out of thin air (also known as productive industries). Then when the screen inevitably fell the convinced the government to clean up the mess with someone else's money.

We can all return to the late 1800s where a few made an insane amount of dinero and the rest worked like peasants, with no tiers in between to keep us hopeful. On the good side we'll put an end sprawl, rediscover streetcars, pay less to healthcare, and keep our personal suffering to a minimum with shorter lives.

I know journalists are supposed to report on just what they observe but it's sad they don't have the wherewithal to interpret the data and figure out the big picture.

Oct. 13 2011 02:06 PM
Shop For Tea

Tava tea is becoming very popular all over the world as people are exposed to information about its high antioxidant content and the way that it helps you to lose weight and burn fat. Many people use this drink to lose weight, and it has also been shown to help clear up your skin. Looking over the tava tea reviews, it seems like a lot of people are hopping on the bandwagon to agree that it was useful for them.

Oct. 13 2011 05:37 AM
Rich Minton from Boston

Something not mentioned in the discussion of the arrests in Boston is that the number of protesters had grown so the original space could no longer hold them. They took over more space because it was inevitable and necessary. The number of protesters looking to participate had grown to exceed the ability of the original space to hold them. I walked through both spaces last night from 9:30 to 10:30 and both were quite full of people, tents and services tables. There are soundbites for sure, but the level of true discussion that happens between people is remarkable. Anyone who criticizes the "bromides" hasn't been there to talk to the thoughtful, well-informed people who are there. I happened by in time to watch a real democratic process as people gathered to discuss and vote on whether to occupy the additional area, including very civilly responding to a "block" - not the secret kind senators use to anonymously prevent presidential nominations from coming to a vote, but an open discussion of the reasons opposed. Very much more democratic and less contentious than our politicians.

Oct. 11 2011 09:35 AM
anna22 from new york

"One of your guests quoted Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you, as what you can do for your country."

Maybe that is exactly the sentiment behind the OWS movement."
No, it isn't. When something starts as fascist it probably will remains problematic even if it attracts the naive, the brain washed or just the desperate (there are reasons to be) ... and uses them.

Oct. 11 2011 07:48 AM
anna from new york

Well, Susan,
We actually know who started "Occupy Wall Street" - forces as dark as it can be.
Hitler also addressed unemployment and promised jobs.
Not a good beginning for a movement even if some people try to correct it and modified.

Oct. 11 2011 07:42 AM
another listener from Queens

I marched on Wednesday.The demands seemed clear to me - end the wars, tax the rich, create jobs. The money currently being wasted in Iraq could fund a major job creation program. People (including me) feel that government is placating big business, which cares nothing for the average person.

Oct. 11 2011 06:53 AM
Gustaf from Waltham, MA

One of your guests quoted Kennedy: "Ask not what your country can do for you, as what you can do for your country."

Maybe that is exactly the sentiment behind the OWS movement. Maybe they are protesting from a sense of patriotism and are doing this for the sake of the country. I think you could say the same for Sam Adams and the original Tea partiers, who were also labeled a mob at the time.

Oct. 11 2011 06:27 AM
anna from new york

Correction:
In my last comment the last words should be
"and who looked like a Muslim cleric (?)"

Oct. 10 2011 03:10 PM
anna from new york

"Don't know who is behind the Occupy Wall Street, but I am pretty sure they aren't funded by the Koch Brothers, or organized by Karl Rove!"
Susan, I don't know either, but I am pretty sure there are many other "nice" options. Ron Paul and La Rouche are of course "charming" possibility?/reality? Personally, I am intrigued by a guy who was in the group of leaders? founders? in the first hour of the event and who looked like a Muslim (cleric?)

Oct. 10 2011 03:05 PM
Louise from Denver, CO

To make a real statement, protesters should burn their credit cards and schedule a global event for all of us to join them. That will hit Wall Street where it hurts. Between bank fees and distance shopping, credit cards are destroying small businesses, and destroying jobs. Bring shopping home and create jobs by using cash in person. What's more important, convenience or jobs?

Oct. 10 2011 02:44 PM
anna from new york

"Sent by a middle aged Upper East Sider who thoughtfully and meaningfully spent Yom Kippur at Occupy Wall Street"
I can assure you that spending "meaningfully and thoughtfully" Yom Kippur at Occupy Wall Street is NOT possible.
How interesting can be anything produced by a totally confused individual?

Oct. 10 2011 02:36 PM
EdwardBurke

How heartening to hear Hockenberry, Smiley, and West discuss poverty in America. I have to assume that all three bring in six-figure salaries, and in the cases of Hockenberry and Smiley, to do so by virtue of their service to--PUBLIC BROADCASTING! They do not yield their microphones and cameras TO the poor, we notice, just as we see they themselves do next to nothing to alleviate poverty. --The fascinating angle to the Occupy Wall Street protests studiously being missed: a distinct pity that no protesters are showing up outside of major league baseball parks to protest exhorbitant player salaries, a pity that no one protested widely at NFL stadiums over the weekend over millionaire player salaries. It continues to baffle me why protests have not wormed their way into Hollywood and Beverly Hills: how DARE our leading actors and actresses, directors and producers accept multi-million dollar salaries for their paltry work! (Mr. Sheen just negotiated a $multi-million compensation for not working at all and for being a jackass, to boot.) Our other public entertainers--musicians, media whores of both genders, talk show hosts and hostesses (the successful ones, I mean, the ones who make more than a million in a year) are not being picketed by OWS types yet, either, a curious omission. --The Takeaway: OWS does not have a serious problem with six- and seven-figure annual incomes; or would such a plunge into consistency betray small-mindedness? Curious listeners want to know.

Oct. 10 2011 10:50 AM
Chandan from Jersey City

After a month of protesting, two on-air interviews and a weekend talking with John Hockenberry, Frank Williams still cannot articulate what he and friends are protesting, what they want and how they plan to go about getting it. All we get are bromides about 'the system is broken and somone has to fix it.' Who? How? All Mr. Williams can provide by way of answer is that the 'occupation' is about a 'discussion'. Meanwhile, Celeste Headlee reported this morning (10/10) that parents of the protesters were bringing them fresh clothes and supplies (and presumably spending money and food). Add to this the fact that Brendan Hunt, another protesting worthy interviewed on air, said that he had an 'entry level' waitering job for 10 years (!).

I don't know if John and Celeste are deliberately showcasing the worst examples of the protesters but if these two gents are representative of the protesters in general, then no amount of government intervention, Wall Street regulation, income redistribution is going to help them. I'm afraid that if Brendan can't rise beyond an entry level waitering job after 10 years, he should take personal responsibility for his failure and stop blaming everything and everybody around him.

Oct. 10 2011 10:27 AM

I finally heard a Tea Partier say something I agree with this morning on your program: there is no common ground between the Occupy Wallstreet protesters and the Tea Party Express folk. Occupy Wallstreet is effectively protesting the message of the TPE: We want our government back. We want our shot at the economy back. We want the "pledge" to never raise taxes enforced by the TPE to be thrown in the garbage where it belongs.

Oct. 10 2011 10:07 AM
listener

It seems some laughably gushing reporters with a clear agenda had the very positive conclusion of their Occupy Wall Street report already written. Did they seek out people and things to prove that conclusion and ignored people and things that contradict that conclusion? Is this journalism or is this something else?
It is as if the hundreds of mass arrests, hateful accusations, disgusting conduct, extremist rants and infantile demands for free stuff never happened and will be ignored or excused if it does.
Any journalists interested in who is funding this "organized" protest?

Oct. 10 2011 09:52 AM
Melissa from ft lauderdale

Finally, after three weeks, you have decided to send someone in your team to investigate what's going on there in NYC. It is shameful that you waited this long. Regardless if your pro or against the movement, the media should be fullfilling their only job descriptionn: to keep the public informed. Like so many others,The Take Away and NPR was Buying information from someone else.

Oct. 10 2011 09:43 AM
Joyce from UES, NYC

There is a statement of purpose. Here is the link:
http://nycga.cc/2011/09/30/declaration-of-the-occupation-of-new-york-city/
Sent by a middle aged Upper East Sider who thoughtfully and meaningfully spent Yom Kippur at Occupy Wall Street and is glad of it. Never participated in protests before.
PS, please ask the next Tea Party Rep you interview the history of tax reductions on the wealthy and resulting employment rates. Ask for specifics.

Please also ask whether they think the family budgetary decisions of a family earning $100,000 per year and paying 15% ($15,000) in taxes are comparable to a family earning $1,000,000 and paying 30% ($300,000). Ask which situation they would prefer to be in, $85,000 after taxes or $700,000? Comparable?

Oct. 10 2011 09:19 AM
shaun nethercott from detroit

Occupy Wall Street is a national movement focusing on the corporatism that has invaded every part of life and is the toxic idea and practice that sacrifices our environment, human dignity, our polity, and justice to the service of greed.

it is also a demonstration of a different way or organizing and decision making. It is important BOTH for content and process.

Oct. 10 2011 09:08 AM
Cynthia Crane from New York City

Occupy Wall Street isn't going away. It's up to us.

Oct. 10 2011 09:01 AM
Susan from Michigan

Don't know who is behind the Occupy Wall Street, but I am pretty sure they aren't funded by the Koch Brothers, or organized by Karl Rove!

Oct. 10 2011 08:27 AM
anna22 from new york

OK, I've figured it out and I am planning to write "The Tale of 2 and 98% "
Thank you, Paul (Krugman) for inspiration. When a TENURED professor and multi-multi-multi (many more multis) tells the 98% that there was no problem with Jobs (Steve), one gets inspired.
OK, we have 1% (not exactly the one the second 1% points finger at) and we have the second 1% which loves, loves, loves the "Occupy Wall Street" for ... its distractive power.
Poor multimillionaires envying the billionaires and raised on Hollywood production (by Stones and Gibsons) have no contact with reality (and no interest in).

Again, the real American problem now is outsourcing/exploitation, a problem overfed and overprivileged "liberals" (themselves more often than not "exploiters") prefer to ignore.

The remaining 98% is all alone.

Oct. 10 2011 08:14 AM
Ralph in CT

Is the reason the protesters message not getting out a failure of the protesters or a failure of the media. There is a lot wrong today(housing,jobs the war...). The media can't digest the protest into a soundbite.

Oct. 10 2011 07:01 AM
david ots from Gardner NA

I admire and pity these kids. The protest is well intentioned but makes as much sense at yelling at the crocodiles in the river that they eat too much. What we need is a constitutional amendment that prohibits big banks and other groups of people like unions corporations and interest groups from making political contributions.

Oct. 10 2011 06:25 AM

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.