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. panson

    Erin Burnett of CNN does not get it and is very arrogant and patronizing on her reporting. Please watch her video today and send her a clear message that her style and operating philosophy does not fly anymore.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex Winter

      Not Erin's fault she interviewed a protester who had no idea that "Wall Street" paid back all TARP loans which our government made a profit on. She was condescending because some (not all) of the protesters are idiots.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kweg Yung

    Stop calling it corporate America! Former American corporations are all in China now and pay zero tax in the U.S. But they do pay tax in China- supporting the communist government. Republicans don't get it, their representatives sold us (U.S.) out.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Guest

    "Exactly what are the goals and how are they to be reached? I won't waste time on some street party to vent frustration. Big business and big banks aren't going to pay attention unless specifics are demanded of them through congress so start demanding specific actions from congress or shut up and go home."
    And that my friends, its the bottom line.
    Well stated, Pat.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Brian K. Miller

    I don't understand. For the first year or two CNN completely ignored the Tea Party movement, then when they finally reported it they tried to paint it as some kind of weird, racist fringe element. Even now, CNN constantly trumpets their poll that shows the Tea Party is losing favor, despite the fact that every poll in existence outside the CNN poll shows exactly the opposite, and now they are ballyhooing and applauding a group of rich kids pretending to be displaced victims of capitalism?

    The "Occupy Wall Street" movement is just the opposite of grassroots. It is nothing more than bored rich kids making excuses for their own personal failures.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Dumont

      Really Brian? Have you read the article? I do agree with you CNN was condescending to the TP, but Burnett kinda prove that they are far from supporting this event ("Really"). I am currently employ in a rather nice function serving the interest of some rather large corporations, I am however of the position that the government SHOULD have regulated the markets and kept an eye on it. Country with stricter regulation swam through the recession while the Wall Street and Washington barely survived it. It got nothing to do with political stripes (Reagan and Clinton did the most damage and their administrations are the ones to blame). But as long as we sit and accept that "consultant" and "lobbyist" run the show it is not going to get any better. Those protesters not might know what exactly they protest, but they are sure targeting the good people.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Gotcha

    It's beyond bizarre that 5 US Supreme Court Stooges, er, uh, Justices ruled that corporations are people too. It truly boggles the mind. The sheer hubris that these conservative justices have displayed that is undeniably contrary to the good of the people of the United States. I hope this movement keeps growing until there is a national vote to overturn the Supreme Court's raping of our rights as individual citizens and selling out our country to big business and lobbies (lobbying should be illegal).

    October 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. mangoz

    When it comes to my city...and its coming...I'll be out there with the others. Not on here pointing fingers at each party. I did it in the 60's and I'll go out and protest in 2011. Pay attention America and get off your lazy a$$ and stop letting others fight for you. Do your part.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
  7. GeorgeGray

    Here are the suggested demands for Occupy Wall Street and 99% Strong:
    1. The U.S. Government must stand surety over "at will" employment nationwide. We'll never pay off a thirty (30) year mortgage with a job that can end anytime, for no reason.
    2. For every week a currently unemployed individual is unemployed over the EUC maximum, the individual is paid $1,000 in damages. This will be paid for out of the $2T in cash currently sitting idle on corporate balance sheets.
    3. An individual will be paid $75 for any job interview, by the interviewer. This will address the "rooting through the melons problem."
    4. Any corporation that produces less than 50% of output in the state of incorporation, loses corporate status in that state. Any corporation that produces less than 50% of output in the United States, cannot be a domestic corporation. This will address the "off-shoring problem."

    October 5, 2011 at 4:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • BALLzDEEP

      1 & 4 have definite merit. 2 & 3 are silly. You might as well try and legislate a happy-ending into all job interviews.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • agree

      I like 2, 3, and 4. #1 needs to be modified to account for lazy/incompetent workers.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  8. redwine9991

    Times are changing. Are you ready for it?

    October 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Susan

    Wow. How condescending and dismissive can you get? She's not one of the disappearing middle class, so it's a carnival to her...

    October 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
  10. BALLzDEEP

    I waved to my neighbors as I drove to WalMart to buy a cheap HDTV. I believed that I could get an expensive house with no credit history. I didn't bother to read the fine print and signed up for an ARM mortgage which I couldn't afford even before the rate adjusted higher. I went over to my neighbors house and bought his furniture for cheap after he lost his job–it was outsourced. I didn't bother to do a budget or understand how to manage credit–but I have really cool shi't. I am part of the 99%, but it's those dam 1% that are greedy, thoughtless, and the cause of my misery.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      Your screen name, alone, deserves a shout-out. Brilliant!

      October 5, 2011 at 4:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • BALLzDEEP

      Thank you. If I was a super hero, this would be my moniker.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • working-girl

      I agree!! Great post.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  11. superfudge1

    You don't matter. You won't make a difference. You don't know 5% of what you think you know. You are being herded like sheep because it makes you feel good. You don't have facts just talking points that have been fed to you by the Obama administration. You can't think for your self. You go along with the crowd because it seems cool and because your socialist college professor who has about as much life experience you told you to blame someone else for your problems other than taking any responsibility for your own life. You will get no where and when the weed and food runs out you will walk back home and whine about what you didn't get...and then soon you will forget and be forgotten.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • M

      I'd have to agree with ya.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex D

      Would you suggest they would be better off believing in trickle down economics?

      October 5, 2011 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  12. CNNuthin

    I am sorry to say but it appears we were all tricked by the Obama Administration...At least that is what Republican Presidential Candidate Herman Cain is saying. "What do they want?" Cain asked when asked about the protests in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. "I don't have facts to back this up, but I happen to believe that these demonstrations are planned and orchestrated to distract from the failed policies of the Obama administration." It looks like the politicians are not listening or just brushing off the protests. No one in Washington wants to accept blame for the economy.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
  13. James

    What's even more impressive are the "Occupy Wall St." supporters not present at these protests who are in much greater numbers. This Wall St. movement has the potential to greatly influence upcoming congressional elections so Pres. Obama can finally do his job of correcting the mistakes of the previous presidency. Count me in.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      You mean the regulatory practices that began during the Clinton Administration.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alex D

      @Dean: and the deregulation practices that started under Reagan? This is not a question of which party as done the worst job, the reason they are on Wall Street might not be exactly known, but they found the center of the problem. Look at the lobbyist and the higher up in banking regulatory positions. They are pretty much the same peoples.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  14. M

    Ban all forms of public employee unions (cops, teachers, public trans, dock workers, all of them), force all elected individuals and anyone working for them to take the same retirement (social security) and health insurance we get or shove it.

    It is all conflict of interest.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Bob

    How ironic? The Baby boomers that now run wall street are being protested against by young people.. Meet the New Boss same as the old Boss!

    October 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • BALLzDEEP

      Everyone wonders what happened to the peace movement after 1972–they graduated from college. They are ones in politics, corporate America, and finance. They were 80s Yuppies. It's always amazed me how liberal people become more conservative after they have accrued enough of something to fear losing. It's easy to point and shout inequity when you're lapping from the trickle of wealth–most people can't speak with their mouths full.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      If you're in your 20s and not a liberal, you have no heart. If you're in your 40s and not a conservative, you have no brain.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Spunky

      THis is actually to DEAN. I am in my 40's and am a liberal and proud of it.!!! I believe in the People of this country NOT the corporations. I believe ALL PEOPLE should live or have a chance to live the american dream, Not just those on wall st and their target base. So I am a 40 something year old LIBERAL and I can assure you I have a brain but I also have a heart to go with it. I make my decisions based on whats right, Not how much money it will net me.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Xi Kathleen Walls

      Erin Burnett: there has been protests in Detroit (Corktown/ FESTABO/ Love out) and Ann Arbor (Peace Movement/ PEACE IN this past summer~ Thxs.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:02 pm | Report abuse |
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