Wall Street protesters coalesce; movement spreads nationwide
The Occupy Wall Street protests have been spreading in Los Angeles, California and across the country.
October 5th, 2011
12:00 PM ET

Wall Street protesters coalesce; movement spreads nationwide

The few hundred people camped out at Zuccotti Park in New York’s Financial District in an entrenched protest loosely focused on corporate greed and big business’s involvement in government will see their numbers bolstered by thousands this afternoon.

A half-dozen labor unions, including the local Transport Workers Union are joining Occupy Wall Street for a march through Lower Manhattan today. The demonstrators plan to leave their encampment and join the union members at Foley Square about a mile north of their location. Then, together, they’ll march back down to Zuccotti Park.

Listen to the full CNN Radio report here:

As the number of protesters grows the movement shows no signs of letting up. It has spread to several other cities across the country. An Occupy Philadelphia protest began this week.

Time.com: How Occupy Wall Street echoes the 'Indignados' of Spain

The movement is leaderless and lacking an organizational structure. But that doesn’t mean it’s disorganized.

“We didn’t set up a clear set of goals to begin with because we felt we were trying to bring people together and start a conversation, and from that conversation … the goals and demands will become clear,” said Lorenzo Cerna, one of the volunteers working in Occupy Wall Street’s ad hoc media center.

Open Story: Are you there? | Photos

The process for facilitating the conversation revolves around what the demonstrators call a General Assembly. It meets daily, sometimes twice a day, and anyone can stand up and voice an opinion. Those listening nearby then repeat what the speaker said, amplifying it so that everyone else can hear the message.

They’re trying to create a consensus around a clear objective through a group process.

“It takes some time. So we have to be patient,” Cerna said. “A lot of people want a specific thing to be said. But I think that specific thing will eventually be said.” As he looked at the diverse group of people around him he said, “This movement is very much about bringing people together and for getting people to start talking to each other and start working together.” In that regard, he believes Occupy Wall Street has been successful.

Opinion: Just a phase? You don't get it

While they figure out what their goals are, they’ve organized different volunteer groups tasked with keeping the park clean, distributing food donated by people sympathetic to their cause, and dealing with medical and legal issues.

They even have their own internal security force, although, they didn’t want to be called security. They settled on the term "De-escalation." They call out people violating the group rules of no drugs and alcohol and respecting each other’s property.

Who are the voices behind the protests, movement to #OccupyWallStreet?

While the people who make up Occupy Wall Street figure out how they want to focus their message, no one can say how long it will take and where this is all heading. As more people join the protest they get to have their opinions heard, too, drawing out the process.

You can also listen to the CNN Radio Reports podcast on itunes or subscribe to the podcast here.

soundoff (946 Responses)
  1. david anderson

    Wall Street needs to bail out the American people.
    They should give to those who have not.
    Also, the American people should refuse to buy products from corporations that out-source American jobs.

    October 5, 2011 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ness1

      Well said! Also they shouldn't have gotten those bailouts, they should have gone bankrupt, after all, Wallstreet doesn't care if ordinary people go bankrupt.

      October 5, 2011 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      LOL....Silly Hippies.

      October 5, 2011 at 2:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jakester

      @rob – hippies – really?

      How about those of us who are simply sick of 0 regulation and accountability in the financial sector. I'm trying to get time off tomorrow (yes I'm still employed and paying my taxes) to join this group in Tampa. I'm about as far from a hippie that you can get, VP – Sr. Data Analyst in the Risk Management world. Wall Street (the banking sector in general) needs to have to answer to the same type of corporate governance and transparency as they demanded on the private sector with Sarbanes Oxley.

      Just for the record – NO ONE should ever use the words "creative" and "finance" in the same sentence. That's how this whole mess started.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sir Hugo Drax

      I have a plan that was foiled by 007. Who's in?

      October 5, 2011 at 3:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xi Kathleen Walls

      Erin Burnett: there has been protests in Detroit this past summer~ Thxs.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geronimo

      @Rob – your age is showing, Old Man. Go have some prune juice and you'll feel much better.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geronimo

      Wall Street doesn't have to bail us out, they just need to pay us all back what they've stolen.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill


      I am a rebuplican and I tend to agree with you! How many time will the banks be bailed out. But, really think about the affect on us as people if the bank were to fail and go into bankrupcy. People would have lost huge! Failure of the banks would lead to a huge failure of the economy. Remember, the depositors in the banks are FDIC insured, so the Feds would have had to step in anyway and cover the lost money!

      October 5, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  2. chrissy

    Ultimately, we all hope it ends up at the white house, dont we? Look out Romper Room, you are about to meet your match!

    October 5, 2011 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Hoofin it

    Cannot be at the Occupy rallies, speak with your dollars-Made in America only for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Hard to find but can be done. Our votes in dollars till the next election. Made in the good ole USA.

    October 5, 2011 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geronimo

      Fantastic idea. I'm in and will do my best. And if you have to buy a computer or electronics – mostly made in China – buy yours used or refurbished rather than new so as not to create more demand.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. chrissy

    Well put david! Too bad more ppl dont share that thought. But if nothing else it may remind the fools running this nation exactly who they work for! One can hope anyway.

    October 5, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. chrissy

    We the people, By the people, and For the people!!!

    October 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pliny

      Amen Chrissy.

      Goldman Sacks is NOT A CITIZEN.

      GE is NOT A CITIZEN.

      These corporations and banks are here in OUR country because WE LET THEM BE HERE.

      And we, as CITIZENS, can tell them that they are no longer welcome in OUR country.

      It's about time that we kicked them out of Washington DC....no more lobbyists.

      It's about time we imposed term limits on our elected officials.

      October 5, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Carl Peter Klapper

    I have tried to interest the protestors, via a supposedly official web page, in my single goal for their protest: getting President Obama to tell the Treasury to stop issuing debt and start issuing United States Notes, the Money of the People. By this simple act of policy, the President can:

    1. Make our credit rating as a country moot;
    2. Unleash the effect of his and his predecessor's stimulus on the economy by freeing up money currently tied up in T-bills, T-notes and T-bonds; and
    3. Allow for further tax decreases AND spending increases for as long as we are in this Great Depression.

    I have many other ideas in the second edition of my book, "Popular Capitalism", but this one idea would get our economy moving again.

    October 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      you need to actually learn how the credit markets work before spouting such drivel. An economics class or two might help as well. Granted, you'd have to cut back on all those sociology and women's studies classes, but it might help your credibilty a bit.

      October 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO ) "right end fanatic"

    So almost 800 people get arrested for obstructing traffic on a bridge because they refuse at large to obey the law to live amongst other people in society, but yet their theme is based on believing in each other and whinning about "greed on Walstreet".
    Seems like they no nothing about the abolishment of the Social Security system and IRA's that are supported by thier "greedy Walstreet theme".
    Occupy this, occupy that. Instead of spending thier time marching, looking for "free money". They ought to march looking for work. Even better yet, since this is a free country, start thier own businesses.
    O.K. left wing idiots. Now you can come up in here and text beat me. Am I wrong or what?

    October 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ness1

      Wallstreet should not have gotten tax money from the bailouts George Bush gave them. People keep saying, "Oh, the protesters want handouts, well guess what? Wallstreet walked away with the biggest handout in the history of the US. Are you going to keep defending them or what?

      October 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Eric Roberts (Independant Liberal - IL)

      Yes...you are wrong...but no one needs to textually beat you up, you are doing a fine job of doing it yourself with your own words.

      October 5, 2011 at 2:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pliny

      You are wrong.

      In about 100000000000 different ways....you are wrong.

      You were born wrong.

      And you'll die wrong.

      Hopefully, soon.

      October 5, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Geronimo

      You're not only wrong, you are deluded. Try taking the tinfoil cap off. Might help.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Carl Peter Klapper

    For those wanting a consumer angle, maty I suggest boycotting all national stores and the malls? This gets back to the old Populist dictum of prohibiting alien ownership. If you make alien ownership useless at the local level, by insuring that shops owned by interests outside of your local community get no business, they will have to sell their storefronts to you and your neighbors who are, in turn, more likely to sell products made or grown in your community. Make the rallying cry:

    No Wallmart. No Target. No Federated Stores.
    No Safeway. No Pathmark. No A&P.
    We will buy our clothes from the seamstress down the street.
    We will buy our milk and eggs from the local farm.
    We will open our home shops to sell what we make
    and never work for an out-of-town boss again.

    October 5, 2011 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pliny

      I kinda like buying my eggs and milk from aliens.

      They have such cool spaceships!

      October 5, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carl Peter Klapper

      Every time I see a Walmart store, I half expect it to lift off and return to the home planet.

      October 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Carl Peter Klapper

    Jeff, as I understand it, the protestors are mostly unemployed and not by choice. I am sure they would get a job if they could.

    October 5, 2011 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jeff Frank ( R - OHIO ) "right end fanatic"

      What some companies forget, is that some of the most congenial and intelligent and hardest working people are unemployed, and would give anything to have a job no matter how menial. A good chemistry to work up a business plan to get an SBA loan...then hire thier unemployed friends. Gotta go.

      October 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mustang

      Nope, most are Students and recently graduated, people in their early 20's.
      The group is *not* primarily composed of long-employed workers that have recently become unemployed.

      October 6, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Hoofin it

    Take back our country.

    October 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Cult of Personality

    Ughhh...If it weren't for my hectic work schedule, I would love to make it out to one of these Occupy Wall Street rallies in support of this protest !!!! I am 100% totally in favor of Occupy Wall Street !!!!

    October 5, 2011 at 1:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. janice


    Clean sustainable jobs for future generations!!!!!

    the tea party does NOT represent the average person,
    are you kidding, we're way smarter then THAT bigotry... PLLEEASE

    October 5, 2011 at 1:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cult of Personality

      @ janice – Couldn't agree more and 100% right behind you on your remarks :o)

      October 5, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Julie

      .......smarter *THAN that bigotry.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Allya

    We Are The People
    (sung to Dylan's Times Are A-Changin)

    The time has come
    To march again
    To raise up our voices
    In choir to defend
    The rights of the many,
    The broken and bent
    Who bore all that
    They were able
    Now crushed by the weight
    Of the one percent
    You’ve forgotten that we are the people.

    The waters of fortune
    Have not trickled down
    We can’t reap a harvest
    From such arid ground
    With your head under water
    You can’t hear the sound
    As we drown in the dust
    Of your fables
    The lost generation
    Cries to be found
    You’ve forgotten that we are the people.

    You’ve bailed out the boats
    But flooded the rafts
    Now you sail to safe waters
    While we cling to aft
    Your captains are laughing
    Fat from the graft
    Forgetting that names
    Are just labels
    That those who are first
    Can quickly turn last
    You’ve forgotten that we are the people.

    When the fleecing was done
    You bloodied the shears
    Penning your sheep
    With shadows and fear
    Then ran us in circles
    ‘Til it was no longer clear
    How to enter
    Or leave the stable
    When the middle is broken
    The end’s surely near
    You’ve forgotten that we are the people.

    You’ve taken our homes
    So we’ll occupy yours
    We’ll carry the signs
    To your golden doors
    We don’t need a handout
    But a way to ensure
    That you can’t steal our place
    At the table
    Your bombs have been dropped
    Now prepare for the war
    We’ve remembered that we are the people.

    October 5, 2011 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |

      Good lord, get over yourself. People do what is in their best interests. Period. It is WE the people that elected politicians and didn't hold them accountable. WE the people who didn't protest as legislation was changed to benefit big business. WE the people who supported WalMart while our neighbors' jobs were outsourced. Please, it's easy to scream inequity & point to business people screamin' evil greed when you wake up poor. But if you were in their shoes, you'd do the same thing.

      October 5, 2011 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pliny

      Nice lyrics.

      But you can't dance to it!

      October 5, 2011 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |

    This should be in DC; otherwise, it's a social media circle-jerk in a few cities being hosted and massed by people that up until recently, weren't engaged in the political process & understand nothing of the system they protest. Businessmen will do what the market allows–we supported WalMart, WalMart pushed manufacturers to outsource jobs, we bought more cheap shi'it from WalMart. Businessmen buy politicians because the power's in DC. These costume parties are a joke until they move to DC.

    October 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carl Peter Klapper

      The pivotal way in which we the people supported alien retail like Walmart was through our zoning laws. These laws only allowed home shops, particularly mom-and-pop stores, to be grandfathered in, so that none of the closed mom-and-pop stores could be replaced by new mom-and-pop stores, except at the same location. This assured the decline of those stores and the dominance of national five-and-dime stores and supermarket chains. It was then only a short step from there to a behemoth like Walmart.

      My current ltown of Edison, New Jersey is a stark example of the damage of the local zoning laws and how it favors national over local retail. Walmart was able to open up its big-box store in our town over the objections and law suits of our then-Mayor and my fellow residents. However, my fellow residents and I are unable to open shops in our homes without the seldom-granted approval of the zoning board. If we even get considered, we are expected to provide umpteen parking spaces for what we expect to be primarily walk-in traffic.. What is it with that? We are not allowed the natural advantages of our location and forced to bear the costs of an alien store or give up because of what? That the Walmart business model should always be followed? That there should be no possibility that a single customer end up parking on the street when the residential uses already assure that there is not a spot to be had? In truth, the zoning restrictions and parking requirements are nothing but excuses for the zoning board to keep us from opening up home shops and - heaven forbid! - compete with alien retail chains. We are not talking about leveling the playing field. We are talking about BEING ALLOWED ON THE PLAYING FIELD AT ALL!

      October 5, 2011 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • trxstr

      ..take the time to look into the issues...as with the WalMart Zoning fiasco, there are deeper issues to consider..

      October 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Hoofin it

    We are just getting started, give us a chance, to pounce on DC and give them a dance. We will be more organized, and give what they take, into the winter we speak with our dollars, into the summer the voices will hollar. Louder and louder we will go till next year, until they fear, the wrath of us, who we hold dear. Next election will follow, we will be there to hollar, you with us or against, with the honest we protest, give us our country and we will give it a rest.

    October 5, 2011 at 2:05 pm | Report abuse |
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