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The OccupyUSA Blog: Special Weekend Edition! | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

The OccupyUSA Blog: Special Weekend Edition!

I’ve been nearly live-blogging Occupy since October 1. For yesterday’s blog, click on my name at top. All times ET. E-mail epic1934@aol.com. Here’s my new book vs. the death penalty and other current book on Hiroshima and Atomic Cover-up.

GO TO MONDAY'S BLOG HERE.

10:20 Another good Occupy piece from Tom Watson, on continued growth and a new kind of “entrepreneurial” spirit. Also manages to work the great Richard Thompson into it .  Well, he did “Pharaoh” about all this.

10:05 The Daily Show’s John Oliver at Zuccotti today interviewing folks. NYT: “One interviewee, Will Frankfort, was dressed in a Viking costume, complete with a helmet, a plastic ax and a plastic war hammer. ‘Do you feel your cause is hurt by the fact that you’re dressed like a Viking?’ Mr. Oliver asked Mr. Frankfort, 30. ‘When I came out of the house dressed like a Viking, I expected some snickers,’ said Mr. Frankfort, who lives in Montclair, N.J. ‘I just want to express my support for these people protesting.’ ”

Also, Russell Simmons says Jay Z told him, sure, he’d be willing to pay higher taxes.

9:55 Occupy in NY seems to have decided to switch main GA’s to Wash. Sq. Park and at 5:30. Means a schlep from Zuccotti but better location for many not camping there.

8:50  Today’s song pick for Occupyers everywhere (a daily feature), and to mark MLK Jr. memorial dedication: the greatest song of the past half-century, Sam Cooke’s “Change Gonna Come.” Includes commonly excised verse. “Somebody tell me / don’t hang around.”

8:25 @SalmanRushdie just now: “Again:I found protesters at intelligent, caring, idealistic, thoughtful. Much of the hostility they face is the antithesis of all that.” He had earlier backed Zuccotti campers vs. forced exit.

8:00You may have heard of arrest of Cornel West at Supreme Court today re corporate influence, here is more.

7:50 Big Occupy GA debate tonight in NYC—occupy Wash. Sq. Park at all? During legal day, or illegal night?

7:40 Just back from the Clooney/Gosling Ides of March: actually, surprising amount of what you might call “Occupy” rhetoric from candidate Clooney. He is, as you may have heard, flawed in other ways…

7:30 Read about/watch yesterday’s protests in Iceland.

3:00 Hey Bo Diddley! Not fade away! Just came across this: the son of great early rocker Bo Diddley arrested in Gainesville, FL—in Bo Diddley Park! “After the city authorities refused the protesters’ request to extend a permit that allowed them to remain in the park overnight on Wednesday, police moved in on Thursday night and ordered about 50 occupiers to leave. Diddley’s son, Ellas Anthony McDaniel, 56, was among four who were picked up. McDaniel told the Independent Florida Alligator: ‘This is my father’s park. For them to arrest me in that plaza is ludicrous.… I’m an American. This is freedom of assembly.’ ”

2:05 Paul Krugman with blog items today on Occupy.

1:10 Billy Bragg, who was an OccupyLondon yesterday, responds to Painter piece on Occupy, in comments section. Includes: “The last two major elections in the UK have produced results that suggest the centre ground of British politics is shifting to the left. In 2010, the Westminster elections, designed to deliver a clear majority, failed to give the Tories victory despite the unpopularity of New Labour. In Scotland, a system designed to ensure coalition government delivered a majority of seats to a party to the left of New Labour. If Labour continues to triangulate to the right in the face of public anger over the financial crisis, then it will find itself in the same boat as the PSOE, shut out of power by the distrust of the people who want to live in a fairer society.”

Then people respond to him and he replies, closing with: “If people here would like to engage in that democratic conversation, then a little less condemnation and a bit more understanding might help.”

12:30 To show scope: nearly as many arrested in Phoenix last night as in Times Square—forty-six, according to police sources, we are told.

11:50 Famed writer Jimmy Breslin on NY and cops “blinking” as he hails Occupy. In a whole other dimension, Suze Orman has done the same.

10:40 I noted it earlier, but here is amazing video that must go viral, shot by Josh Harkinson of Mother Jones, of arrests in Wash Sq at midnight. As a huge Woody Guthrie fan (I have pushed for “This Land Is Your Land” to become anthem of movement), it is incredible to watch the small group sing the song—with fiddler—as they waited for arrest in the dark, alone, and then kept tune going even while cop negotiating. Also wild to hear cop say he understands their cause, great that they voice it, and man, he just wants to go home! So please avoid arrest. Meanwhile, one kid is reciting the First Amendment. Then Josh nearly gets busted. Should be video of the day. And see down below for contrast—half a million in Madrid with Beethoven.

10:35 Man arrested in Times Sq last night—video appears to show police entrapment. He asks for permission to exit down street, when he does, a few steps from first cop, he is busted as crowd chants.

10:25 Reports that Martin Luther KIng III mentioned Occupy at memorial dedication just now. As did Jesse Jackson.

10:20 Another one of my photos from Times Square below. The little girl was was even chanting.

10:10 NYT on use of social media yesterday around the globe on protests.

9:45 Yes, Chicago arrests making me flash back to my experience at ’68 Democratic convention (forgive grandpa here)—in very same area. When “The Whole World Is Watching” was born.

9:35 Amazing from LA Times: a one-woman protest in Alaska, with dog—Occupy The Tundra.

9:30 If you missed my 5 photos (so far) from yesterday in NYC. (includes Naked Cowboy protest).

9:25 Nick Kristof of NYT in new column hails “America’s Primal Scream.”

9:20 Josh Harkinson, who has done stellar work for Mother Jones throughout, nearly arrested at Wash. Sq. Park last night, now has video of the midnight arrest scene (and see below)… Much attention being paid to new tactic of police flashing strobes to flind cameras… If you missed video of Citibank customers arrested while people were closing accounts.

9:15 Humorist Andy Borowitz reveals schedule: “Sunday Morning TV Roundup: Occupation Wall Street is explained by a diverse panel of middle-aged white men.”

9:10 SNL covers Occupy last night, with Bloomberg mockery etc. Meanwhile, OccupySesameStreet interrupts Murdoch speech in San Fran.

9:05 Note from little-covered Texas: “fort worth tx had four arrested and two citations issued. Our tents were torn down and confiscated.”

9:00 As anticipated when we closed last night, more than 150 arrested in Chicago after camping began.

12:20 am Indeed, a dozen or more stayed behind in Wash. Sq. to be arrested. Others left but many stuck around to witness—and, moved by the bravery, maybe sitting down, blocking police vehicles, whatever.

SATURDAY

11:55 Wash. Sq. protesters vote to exit but some stay behind and probably to be arrested now. At this hour, Chicago facing many arrests. Maybe Seattle.

10:50 Some may know that I am a Beethoven freak and I am even writing a book now on the Man with friend Kerry Candaele, who is directing a major documentary on the global cultural and political influence of the Ninth Symphony—which is massive—and its assertion “all men are brothers.” Nothing less than the global anthem. So it warms my heart to see this video below of truly massive rally in Madrid today which featured segment of the Ninth sung or played or whatever, ending in huge cheers. Beethoven: the original rebel who would occupy everything, everywhere. More views of the Ninth used there today here and here and here.and here—note the hand wiggles in air from crowd signalling approval.

10:40 Occupy LA live-blog.

10:18 Elsewhere in USA… eighteen arrested at OccupyRaleigh… tents set up in Minneapolis, may or may not remain… More than 1,000 reportedly in Phoenix… and about 1,000 in Denver… big crowd in not-big Santa Rosa, CA, they claim 2,500… nice turnout in Milwaukee, despite baseball fever… claim of more than 500 in Little RockNYT on protests “sweeping the globe”

10:15 Much discussion in Wash. Sq. Park, I’m told, about whether to occupy there overnight, which would possibly bring police action—firm midnight closing there…

9:35 I’ll start posting some of the photos I took tonight at Times Sq. That’s top story on ABC ticker below.

9:00 Mass arrests reportedly averted in Times Sq., as cops open barricade, backing down. Let’s hope true. Hundreds at after party in Wash. Sq. Park already. But will face city closing deadline there before long.

8:30 NY Daily News counts seventy-one arrests in NYC so far… Note: aerial shots of Times Sq. numbers don’t do justice, there were about five separate large triangles filled, I was in each one—stretched for three blocks so photos hard to capture.

8:20 NY livestream back… Michael Moore tweets: “Arrests have begun. (I mean, of peaceful citizens. Still no banker or CEO in jail.) Now we’re watching people being dragged away”… Exiting Times Square a little bit ago I passed the famous Naked Cowboy in his undies and w/ sign saying he is unemployed, no health ins. etc. Photo to come.

8:15 Meanwhile, police arresting Occupy Denver protesters sitting in at Civic Center par.

8:05 From tweets it appears many left Times Sq. with me, some gathering in Wash. Sq. Park for the after party, but many remain and angry at cops, so far from over… More arrests reported, some violating archaic “no mask” law… Some are penned in by barricades and facing arrest. As crowd thins, cops can be bolder (it was ever thus). Michael Moore still tweeting from the middle of it.

8:00 pm Folks, just back after leaving Times Square exactly one hour ago. What a day. Started by marching up to Wash. Sq. Park, there for rally, then up to Times Square early, 4:00. Then went to all the police-created triangles that kept the crowds separated, but on the other hand, created half a dozen different environments. All kinds of people, including lot of folks with kids. Calling for tourists to “get off the bus and join us.” I took some photos of the headline “Occupy Protests Go Worldwide,” which was top story on ABC elecronic ticker, with people in front cheering. Then cops, always a big presence, were joined by riot cops, cops on horses, and I saw a couple young men given perp walks right in front of me. Then many of us shoved out to side streets and not allowed back in. I am now catching up on what’s happening now…

11:20 Folks, you are now on your own for a few hours (though hardly alone), as I head to NYC for various protests, back and posting tonight, good luck to us all!

11:05 Audio of Assange speaking in London today and photo, after his near-arrest, plus he then tossed candy to crowd, or something. Video here.

11:02 Fun animation here via Daily Kos.

11:00 E-mail from guy in Toronto: “OWS can’t get near Wall Street but crowd here, still growing, at intersection where the four of five largest CDN banks face each other at King & Bay - TD, Bank of Montreal, ScotiaBank and Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. Fifth big bank. RBC Royal Bank, is one block away.” He says 2,000 there already.

10:50 Michael Moore links to global wrapup… and apparently police have charged protesters in Rome, violence there for sure.

10:35 Livestreams from numerous protests today.

10:30 Big crowd still growing in Toronto, see #OccupyBayStreet… only one arrest reported by police in London despite tensions… Smoke reported in Rome earlier allegedly protesters setting cars on fire… I will be on Bob McChesney’s radio show tomorrow, BTW.

10:00 The Guardian has global pictures… Deepak Chopra tweets: “Today is a massive day of Global Occupation . Let’s do our part to help create social justice.” Hashtags to follow include #O15, #Oct15 and of course #OWS.

9:55 Here and there: actions in USA underway in some spots, some places don’t peak until evening, such as Chicago at 6:30 pm… full day in NY includes action on Wall St. at noon, giant student meetup in Wash. Sq. Park, demo at military recruitment stand in Times Sq. at 4 and then all-out demo/party in Times Sq. at 5. I will be at most of this… and Occupy Boardroom here.

9:45 Plenty of reports on Assange speaking. Tells crowd, we are all here today because of ‘a culmination of greed.’ CNN guy tweets: “Assange stands on the steps of st pauls like a leader speaking to his flock.”

9:15 Further update: Assange released, photo of him now speaking at LSX.

9:00 Update on below, lawyer now tweets tha Assange detaine but not under arrest: he says “can’t wear masks and be anonymous but swiss bank accounts can be.” Update on that: she tweets, “Assange being kettled, can’t get through to speak.”

8:50 Julian Assange taken into custody in London for wearing mask to the demo. His attorney Jen Robinson just tweeting police refusing to let her through barricade so Assange can have lawyer. “Crazy.” She is @suigenerisjen. Witnesses claim it was, indeed, a Guy Fawkes mask…

8:45 Massive demo in Rome—Sky News reports “smoke billowing” there… OccupyIreland here… Biggest police action so far vs. Sydney camp.

8:40 Brief AP story on European protests underway, and confirming 5000 in Frankfurt… for all follow #O15 hashtag, altho others also.

8:25 Kettling in London apparently already underway.

8:15 Billy Bragg tweeting the London action. Very large police turnout. Latest: “At St Pauls. Protesters trying to get into Paternoster Sq. Mounted police blocking the way.” Previously: “Oh well… time to switch of the rugby and head to St Pauls.” Picture here. Billy below:

 

8:05 First report on start of Oct. 15 worldwide protests from abroad, at NYT site. Lot of action in Far East and multiple spots in Australia, some with “We Are the 99%” signs we see here, though turnout often modest. On Twitter we learned of encampments in Sydney and Melbourne, one already torn down. @OccupyFrankfort claims 5000 protesters. Big doing at London Stock Exchange, Billy Bragg promises to be there with thousands, follows @OccupyLSX.

8:00 NYT print edition features large photo of post-victory march on Wall Street yesterday at top of front page, along with story (posted last night, below).

From late Friday

11:10 Full NYT story just posted on why Brookfield and Bloomberg backed down. But it sounds like Brookfield not likely to remain in standdown mode for long.

11:05 Rep. Peter King tells Laura Ingraham “we can’t allow” media to keep covering OWS so much or the country is lost, comparing it to the ’60s.

11:00 Bill Maher’s show had some fun faked signs at a rally by the One Percenters. Such as: “More Blood for Oil’ and “You Missed a Spot.”

9:20 Check out twitter feed on tonght’s GA in NY right now for Mother Jones writer Josh Harkinson, who has been covering OWS closely. You will learn: (1) lot of friction with drummers who are driving many “crazy” but refuse to be controlled; (2) OWS has $125,000 on hand, though unclear if that is grand total or from new donor; (3) they are sticking with UPS deliveries because union shop though maybe could do cheaper; (4) many feeling the GAs need to be “streamlined,” going on far too long, probably could get working groups to send one rep to each one and report; (5) someone moved to spend $2,000 on subway cards for people to get up to Times Square tomorrow at 5; (6) vote on the subway cards very close, neds 90 percent approval, so discussion of whether to count hands, divide into groups… touchy.

Update: Subway card idea failed… Then moved on to allocating $1,700 to build fleet of puppets, such as Wall St. bull, to go with new Lady Liberty. Someone says they should use money to pay for someone’s rent.

6:50 Following Tom Morello’s advice, I am maintaining my daily “playlist” here, even twice today, so here is another: the late great Bob Marley and “Get Up Stand Up For Your Rights.” Don’t give up the fight. You can fool some of the people some times but not all the people all of the time. And now you’ve been the light. Don’t give up the fight. Never give up the fight.

9:10 Sean Penn on Piers Morgan show on CNN even as we speak (type), backing Occupy but calling for more “organization,” though not sure exaclty what he means. Says he’s not much of a joiner of such things but lone actor, as it were. Calls for Obama to sit down and talk with Occupy protesters, probably in NY. Hits US in Iraq and Afghanistan. Points out if we had waited a few years Saddam’s own people, it’s now clear, would have brought him down by now. And so on.

8:25 Strong, extra-long segment on Lawrence O’Donnell’s MSNBC show just now with Michael Moore. Moore reminded viewers that Lawrence was first TV guy to go down there and air live show. I’ll remind you that O’Donnell, whatever his faults (see: Herman Cain interview), was brave enough last year to tell his viewers that he was proud to call himself a “socialist.” They also aired thirty-second ad spot for Occupy for free. I posted it a few days ago here, sent by filmmaker.

7:35 This video took awhile to surface or at least gain traction: NYPD “white shirt” supervisor punches out protester—was said to be a woman at first but now many report it was a man—today.

6:25 Great combo for Yankees haters: e-card with the Babe noting “small park near Wall St. more occupied than Yankee Stadium” this October.

4:40 Tomorrow: more than 900 cities in eighty-two countries.

Greg Mitchell’s new e-book vs. the death penalty is Dead Reckoning: Executions in America (and just $2.99). His other current book: Atomic Cover-Up, on the censorship of film footage from Hiroshima and Nagasaki for decades.

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