I’ve been live-blogging OWS since October 1. For yesterday’s blog, or to bookmark the daily blog, click on my name at top. All times ET. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter @gregmitch. My recent books here.
--Please go HERE for the Friday editon of this blog, now running. Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose.
10:50 What a mess. Oakland mayor, after saying she'd speak at GA tonight (see down below), now exits, saying would send recorded speech! Not sure whether she backed out, or told not welcome (that's what she says), but hoo-boy.... Award offered via Paste Bin for info on police officer who cause Olsen's injury... Vigils all over the country, to many to mention.
9:30 There has been, and will be, a lot of confusing chat about this or that Occupy site and the Oakland General Strike, set for next Wednesday. Note that some may "back" or "show solidarity with" or get behind or groove with or otherwise endorse but that doesn't mean they will necessarily call for a strike in their cities. Or they may. But check out details before assuming.
9:20 Update on Scott Olsen's condition just now from NYT's Malia Wollan: "Highland hospital says
#ScottOlsen's skull is fractured. After seizure he was induced into a coma. Now alert. Speech impaired. Parents here."
9:15 Hair on fire: Donald Trump on CNN's Piers Morgan tonight charges that a lot of the protesters down at Zuccotti "for dating purposes."
9:05 @OccupyArrests update places total at 2693 so far... Latest eviction notice: Nashville tonight about midnight.... Update: NYPD did NOT seize books from library at Zuccotti. They asked that major tarp be removed and it was.
8:20 Oakland mayor to speak at Oakland's General Assembly tonight, according to reports. She will wait in line for her turn like everyone else, they say. Yesterday she promised "minimal" police presence for now and said city basically supported OWS ideas. Tom Morello tweets: "In aftermath of police brutality Oakland's mayor addressing Occupy Oakland tonite. Will Occupy Oakland arrest the mayor??"
7:10 Off the radar? Perhaps biggest little-told OWS local story is the massive number of arrests for OccupyTucson. Another 20 yesterday boosts overall total to an astounding (for the size) 351. "On any given weekday, there are about 100 'occupiers' demonstrating in city parks. On Tuesdays -- when City Council meetings are held -- and on weekends, that number increases to up to 1,000 demonstrators."
7:05 Yesterday, as some may recall, I posted a very RTed item on the "press gaggle" on Air Force One as the president returned from California. It seemed none of the reporters asked the press secretary, Jay Carney, about violence the night before in Oakland or any other OWS-related questions. A couple of White House reporters complained to me that this was unfair because this was a small group, and I replied that, gee, they did manage to ask 17 questions in all.
Today there was a full-scale press briefing at the White House and this time (perhaps sparked by my item?) a question and a followup were posed. Carney could not say if Obama had seen any images of the Oakland violence and then he seemed to blame it on the demonstrators in pointing out that they had the right to protest but needed to stay within the law (do the police?). The rest was mainly boilerplate about understanding the "frustrations." Here is the full exchange:
Q Has the President seen the footage from Oakland this week of violence between protesters and the police? And is there a concern in the White House or from the President that these Occupy protests become -- lead to violence in some way in the coming months?
MR. CARNEY: I don’t know that he’s seen that specific footage. He certainly is aware of the news in general and there are TVs on around here and when we travel.
We, as the President has said, understand the frustrations that have led to these demonstrations. There’s a lot of concern out there about our sluggish economy, the need for it to grow faster, the fact that our unemployment rate is much too high.
There is also a lot of concern about the perception that Wall Street, writ large here, acted in a way that helped precipitate the worst financial crisis and worst economic crisis that we’ve seen since the Great Depression, and now, after we have passed into law and signed into law reforms that would both protect American consumers, in their dealings with financial institutions, and would ensure that the kinds of reckless actions that were taken could not be taken again, we see a lot of efforts in Congress from Republicans as well as by lobbyists for Wall Street to try to undo those reforms; to stop, for example, the confirmation of our nominee to head the Consumer Financial Protection Board -- our consumer watchdog.
As to the violence, we obviously believe and insist that everyone behave in a lawful manner, even as they’re expressing, justifiably, their frustrations.
Q Jay, sort of to follow on that, obviously the most graphic images we’ve seen have come from Oakland, but there’s a lot of cities where leaders are becoming frustrated with the movements -- and not because of violence, but because of sort of the persistent nature of it and how it sort of disrupts I guess business and that kind of thing. There’s a lot of talk of getting rid of -- pardon me, there’s a lot of talk of sort of cracking down arrests, that kind of thing. Does the President think that’s appropriate, or does he see that as putting a limit on expression?
MR. CARNEY: I haven’t had that discussion with the President. I think, again, I would just go back to what I said to Michael. We understand the frustrations that are being expressed, specifically with regard to the need to make sure that Main Street and Wall Street operate by the same set of rules, and the general frustration with the need for jobs and economic growth that creates opportunity for middle-class Americans. And certainly we have a long and noble tradition of free expression and free speech in this country.
6:35 What a shock! Heavily armed neo-Nazi who attended OWS event -- inspiring rightwingers to label OWS as super-radical and anti-semitic or somehow worse, not like the Tea Party, they said -- turns out to have attended or even spoken at Tea Party events, Media Matters exposes.
5:45 Bad news (if unconfirmed) from Zuccotti people's library: "Update: We're hearing that the tents protecting our
#OWSLibrary books from rain have been removed by the police." An hour ago tweeted: "CALL TO ACTION - Police at #owslibrary ! Help defend books!" And: "We need bodies!" Hey, I donated a couple of my books there.
4:35 OccupyRaleigh under assault right now.
4:15 Song sets OWS declaration of principle to gospel-inflected music. Complete with "Mic Check" refrain.
4:10 Further update on Scott Olsen's condition.
2:20 Yesterday I reported MoveOn trying a "rapid response" ad targeting Oakland mayor and raising funds. Guess they succeeded. Powerful TV /video spot just out:
1:55 Michael Moore tweets: "I am saddened & angry at your treatment by the police. I will come tomorrow to Oakland & stand with you." ... Oakland police: The new "Bash Brothers?"
1:40 Wall Streeters back OWS--under certain conditions (spoof video).
1:05 Scott Olsen condition upgraded to fair today.... 10 Questions Pollce Must Answer. ... Yikes: over 11,000 comments on Oakalnd mayor's FB page. And then there was Keith Olbermann's "Special Comment."
12:50 A few details on Oakland General Strike 2011. It's been 65 years since last one.
12:45 Today's song for Occupyers everywhere (a daily feature) : Jefferson AIrplane, late-'60s, "Volunteers (of America)." Look what's comin' up the street....Gotta revolution.
11:50 L.A. mayor said last night occupation there could not last "much longer." OWS said, huh? Or was that, meh? Today's L.A. Times asks: How much longer?
11:45 Egyptians say they are marching from Tahrir Sq to U.S. Embassy tomorrow -- to support #OWS and in solidarity w/ OccupyOakland (which is having vigil tonight for Scott Olsen). Here's Democracy Now! segment on Olsen today.
11:30 If anyone has anything solid on this let me know: Much speculation and alleged info last night out of California on DHW (Homeland Security) behind the crackdowns this week at camps across country. This would explain why mayors, such as in Oakland, appear weak and unable to halt attacks. Although not true in SF last night etc. Like a said, could just be rumor or something to it. In any case, too little attention has been paid to role of DHS in probing / spying on Occupy through all this.
11:25 Another fun rap video, shot around Zuccotti Park, hits Wall Street. Title says it all: "Tap Dat A$$et." (h/t Barbara Bedway)
11:20 Mother Jones' "chart of the day": The government and the rich.... Zizek to protesters: Don't fall in love with yourselves.... Michael Moore on life among the 1%. ... OccupyBoston seems to have dealt with it financial controversy, one guy barred.
10:30 New from official @OccupyWallSt "Wow amazing! People are really open to the
#generalstrike idea." I should note that my award-winning book The Campaign of the Century -- about one of the greatest mass movements in U.S. history, End Poverty in California, and how it nearly carried ex-Socialist Upton Sinclair to victory in the California governor's race -- is set in 1934, the year of the fabled General Strike in San Francisco. See my lengthy article on this.
Now, can someone else with this? Book was published by Random House, went out of print, re-published a year ago, publisher went belly up. I should be able to create Kindle edition easily--but problem with file. Write me at email above if you can help, thanks. And see video below.
10:10 Three from OccupyTampa arrested for trespassing in park... during the day.
10:00 SF Chronicle on police backing down. As we noted all night (see below) they amassed forces, even arrived at scene, and did nothing. Why not? No statement yet, but pretty obvious. And city supervisor, key labor leaders, others were ready for arrests.
9:45 Dahlia Lithwick at Slate: One of best things about OWS is that it ignores the mainstream "pundit" class. "I confess to being driven insane this past month by the spectacle of television pundits professing to be baffled by the meaning of Occupy Wall Street. Good grief. Isn’t the ability to read still a job requirement for a career in journalism?"
9:20 Greg Sargent at Wash Post apparent failures so far to marginalize OWS and paint as kooky radical. New poll finds whoppping 82% of New Yorkers are okay with the protests -- and they back them by 2-1 margin. So Bloomberg: beware!
8:50 If you missed below, key and overwhelming vote last night by Oakland #OWS for General Strike next Wednesday. Just for Oakland but idea could spread.... Salon: Four key questions about #OWS that will determine if it can sustain itself.
8:45 See Jon Stewart down the page on Oakland attack.... Russell Simmons pleads for protesters to remain nonviolent. ... Occupyers to join NY's fabled Halloween Parade. Expect some going as Hipster Cop. And Bloomberg, Geithner. Maybe Tom Morello. Expect Fox News followup today: ACORN to pay homeless to march with Occupyers in parade. Maybe dressed as James O'Keefe.
8:30 AND....we're back, to find that the police raid never happened. Perhaps West Coast version of the Zuccotti attack that did not happen due to arrival of fresh troops. Now I'll catch up.
3:30 Still no cops, though kids on skateboards whizzing by. Turning in after 36 hours of liveblogging out of past 42. Good luck to all
3:10 "Cops on the way." People in SF texting along the route, apparently.
2:40 Oakland people barred from BART, considered marching across Bay Bridge, then BART re-opened... Frankly, after many rumors tonight, I still worry about raid on Zuccotti. See you all too soon.
1:55 And now the inevitable instructions in SF on how to safely get arrested in a blockade, and where to go if you don't want to do that. Photo of human blockade courtesy of Josh Harkinson, the Mother Jones scribe who did such good work in NYC, now returned to SF.
1:40 "General Strike" already trending at Twitter worldwide. Dark humor already circulating, e.g. "Peanut butter good source of fat & protein. Should delay necessity cof annibalism during
1:30 Oakland cops blocking BART entrance, preventing people from joining pals in SF. So they are marching through states as tensions rise (see livestream below on right)..
1:05 My livestream (below) now switching back and forth betwen Oakland and SF, awaiting police raid. Hearty partying in both spots.
1:00 Oakland GA just voted, with 96%, for General Strike next Wednesday. This should be amazing and needed inspiration / catalyst for others. .. The deadline for leaving area now here at 1 am. Many will now head to SF but will others go home or force confrontation?
12:45 Fellow writes to me from Denver: "Occupy Denver has had to contend with inclement weather as an early winter storm blew through last night and today, leaving the city blanketed with snow. Since the occupation was evicted from Lincoln Park two weeks ago, Denver Police have made it clear that they will enforce ordinances against erecting any kind of 'structure'. Last night several occupiers were hospitalized with symptoms of hypothermia. Tonight will be even colder and so tents have gone up and a few enterprising souls have appropriated the snow to their own purposes and built an igloo. Special Forces veteran Billy Reno was arrested earlier this evening after putting up a tent and the police have announced their intention to return for the igloo and other shelters at 11pm, when curfew begins."
12:30 At the livestream below on this page: Oakland GA about to vote on General Strike proposal.
12:20 Oakland mayor at press conf just now said "low" police presence next few days while she tries to talk with OWS. Will be tested in a few minutes, however. Police Chief Jordan, asked if his men used excessive force last night, replies they had right to defend themselves from urine and feces tossed their way....Man, I heard that in Chicago in 1968.
12:10 Yet another pro-OWS column by NYT's Nick Kristof. It focuses on "crony capitalism" but I love the opening: "Whenever I write about Occupy Wall Street, some readers ask me if the protesters really are half-naked Communists aiming to bring down the American economic system when they’re not doing drugs or having sex in public." Concludes: "So, yes, we face a threat to our capitalist system. But it’s not coming from half-naked anarchists manning the barricades at Occupy Wall Street protests. Rather, it comes from pinstriped apologists for a financial system that glides along without enough of the discipline of failure and that produces soaring inequality, socialist bank bailouts and unaccountable executives."
12:05 I propose motto for OWS: "We don't need no stinkin' badges."
12:00 am Many heading to SF from Oakland to help out vs. planned police action in about an hour. Meanwhile, Oakland mayor with another press conference about now, with rumors that she may allow campers to return to spots. .. Rumors remain of possible police action in NYC and presence of COBRA units (called out when tear gas to be used), but very unconfirmed.
From late Wednesday.
11:50 Jon Stewart tonight questioned Oakland police crackdown.
11:40 Oakland GA told that San Fran needs bodies for expected raid and any who want to help should leave NOW... Also speakers there keep proposing a General Strike. Makes me recall my research on great San Fran General Strike of 1933 or 1934.
11:30 NY Daily News blog has photos of arrests and more in NYC, running account, even the visit to "Gossip Girl" set.
11:20 Occupy San Fran sends out word that eviction surely coming tonight., probably 10 pm out there. Reports that Oakland police will try to clear crowds also at 10. ABC copter camera is back. Hey, folks, remember, I am on East Coast time!
11:10 NYT: After Oakland, some mayors elsewhere say they are at breaking point on protest. Hoo boy. Comments from Chicago, Providence, Boston, Atlanta, Philly, San Francisco, more.... NY marchers heading back to Zuccotti after report that lot of riot police gathering down there (very unconfirmed). Word that Marines led march uptown.
10:30 Boston marchers reached City Hall tonight.... NY marchers occupy "Gossip Girl" set, shooting in Village, yell "join us," move on. Seem headed for Union Square. Guy punched in face. Meanwhile, very large crowd in Oakland, 2000 more...The mysterious Mike Czeck seems to be everywhere tonight.
10:25 New police fencing in Oakland plaza already torn down tonight.
10:20 Scattered reports from NY marchers: Police netting taken away, thrown in trash...people getting out of cabs to join march... Sports chant of "Let's Go Oakland Clap-Clap-Clap." Keith Olbermann tweets: "Some Marines have spontaneously joined
#OWS solidarity march with #OccupyOakland& saying #ScottOlsen is 'One of our own'"... Cabbies high-fiving protesters...
10:10 Malia Wollan of NYT reports on press conf with Oakland mayor: "Oakland is a very progressive city. We support the goals of the Occupy Wall Street movement," Mayor Quan said. "Yesterday you saw some of the best parts of the city and some of the
worst." Police Chief Jordan denies use of rubber bullets but investigating what other police agencies used. Says investigating Scott Olsen case top of their list.
10:00 @OccupySaltLake says City Council just passed treating tents as form of speech. Celebrates.
9:40 NYC march right now . Police ready for kettling, Bagpipes (may inspire a bagpipe circle and push out drums). Two arrests so far at least. Police ordering marchers to sidewalk, they loudly ignore. Wild.
9: 30 NYT piece: "What to Expect When You're Protesting" -- Making a visit to OWS a "teachable moment."
9:15 Rightwingers will hate this: OWS in New York reveals it is for "share the wealth" and "income re-distribution." Votes tonight to send $20,000 and 100 tents to Oakland in solidarity!
9:10 Could be long night. Protesters in Oakland already trying to knock down new barricades--chain link fencing. Photo here. But city has said will tolerate demo until 10 pm (but maybe not fence ripping)....Meanwhile, solidarity march in NYC already pretty tense.
8:55 OccupyOakland (saw this on livestream) just called for vigils for Scott Olsen tomorrow night--terming what happened to him "the shot heard 'round the world."
8:50 We covered a wedding proposal two weeks ago at Zuccotti Park, and now an actual Occupy Wedding in Portland.
8:43 On Countdown tonight, roomate of injured vet Scott Olsen (still trending on Twitter) tells Keith O that at least Scott "would be glad to know his injury at least served to illuminate the cause," Keith writes. Meanwhile, in moving tribute, marches in dozens of cities tonight, from Portland to Boston.
8:00 Mondo bizarro: Rightwing filmmaker linked to James O'Keefe in the past caught at Zuccotti Park passing out bongs and Che Guevara rolling papers in effort to get "money shot" (probably for Fox) showing drug-addicted young Occupyers. Watch video as it happens. Rats, foiled again! Isn't it funny how so many boomers have visited park and remarked on relative absence of marijuana smell compared to past protests....
7:40 MoveOn just sent out email appeal for donations for major "rapid response" ad to run in Oakland "as part of our efforts to fight back and defend Occupy protesters' rights to peacefully exercise their first amendment rights....urging the mayor and the police to end their brutal tactics and respect the protesters' rights. We want to make sure everyone in Oakland sees the footage of the crackdown for themselves."
7:35 The always quotable Charles P. Pierce at Esquire: "Make no mistake about it: The actions of the police department in Oakland last night were a military assault on a legitimate political demonstration. That it was a milder military assault than it could have been, which is to say it wasn’t a massacre, is very much beside the point. There was no possible provocation that warranted this display of force. (Graffiti? Litter? Rodents? Is the Oakland PD now a SWAT team for the city’s health department?) If you are a police department in this country in 2011, this is something you do because you have the power and the technology and the license from society to do it. This is a problem that has been brewing for a long time. It predates the Occupy movement for more than a decade. It even predates the ‘war on terror,’ although that has acted as what the arson squad would call an “accelerant” to the essential dynamic. Basic law enforcement in this country is thoroughly, totally militarized. It is militarized at its most basic levels."
7:30 OccupyPortland fears it has lost $20,000 in donations after one member took control of PayPal account.
6:30 At today's press "gaggle" aboard Air Force 1, not one reporter asked Jay Carney about Oakland, transcript shows. (h/t Sean Quinn). We did get this: "Jay, do you have a comment on the State Department spending $70,000 on President Obama’s books?" And how did that meeting with Hollywood execs go. Etc.
Greg Mitchell’s 12th book is new e-book vs. the death penalty, 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. He's also recently written books about WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning. His book The Campaign of the Century: Upton Sinclair's Race for Governor of California and the Birth of Media Politics won the Goldsmith Book Prize.