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. Jake Solov

    Of course Erin would say what she said because she is a wall street goon herself! She comes from the greed and corruption that created this economic mess to begin with! So, the man she interviewed was unemployed! So, can you get him a job? Have you tried to get a job without your wall street corporate background, dear? I took me 2 years plus to get another job to support myself and my family. Why? Because there are TONS of qualified people unemployed and why is that? Because corporate greed has taken all these jobs abroad! Let me put it this way . . . we in the middle class are the engine of this economy . . . we are stalling . . . and the more we get hit . . . the engine will give out. No matter how luxurious the top might be . . . without the engine they will fail too and join us in the ranks!

    October 5, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • linda


      October 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kenny on Long Island

      No skills (Bluffing, being angry, protesting do not count) = no job, except those farm jobs all these whining babies are too middle class to do.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tony - Mocksville, NC

    It's hard to take these clowns seriously. To them, this is some kind of picnic in the park protest, certainly not equivalent to the kind of movements that really get things done; like the recent Arab Spring or the Civil Rights Movement. Can't take these guys seriously when they keep acting like a circus.

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

      You try camping out in the middle of a city sometime. I've done it, in freezing rain, as part of a human rights campaign. It is not easy at all.

      You try being clubbed by habitually ruthless NYPD white shirt goons. The kind of people known to shove nightsticks into peoples' rectums until they bleed.

      This is no walk in the park. It's people fighting and sacrificing to save the republic you clearly don't deserve to inhabit.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Georgia Hull

      Well perhaps you should explore more of the information available. Rather than hating. I support the protesters. I am a land owner and business owner in Kentucky.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Loss4Words

    46 degrees tonight...time to turn on the fire-hoses and soak these peons. Let them see what cold and hungry really feel like. That will send most of them back to their nice warm basements under mommy and daddy's house. These insignificant gnats really think change can be demanded by protest in this country. Executives are too well insulated and our government won't allow that to happen on their watch...regardless of who is in the White House.

    October 5, 2011 at 5:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • what 401k

      The Port Huron Statement 50 years on

      October 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  4. mountain made

    To all of you people telling the protestors to get a job: THERE ARE NO JOBS! Wall Street and the politicians have gotten rich off of the hard work of the rest of. They fed us that bs of the American dream and used it to line their pockets while systematically robbing us of legal protections and rights. The government, both parties, are bought and paid for by corporate America. They get loans and bailouts while we get called whinners and deadbeats because we can't find work, can't feed our families and don't see any future if things continue this way. WE are the majority. I worked 35 years, raised 2 kids without any assistance and lost my house because I got hurt. HURT! Just when I got back to work the economy went down the tubes and eventually my job, my home (30 year fixed at good rate), my retirement accounts, my credit rating, my healthcare benefits, all disappeared. Get a job? PAY YOUR FAIR SHARE AND SEND YOUR KIDS TO DIE ON FOREIGN SOILS! From the 99% of peasents that are coming for YOU!

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

      Actually, there are a lot of good-paying jobs at all levels in the financial sector, the very sector you goons are protesting. Too bad you went for that performing arts degree instead of a degree in the physical sciences or econ, finance, or business.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Harley1

      Vote Republican in 2012. It's the only way to turn this country around. Socialism will fail when you run out of other peoples money...

      October 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • wial

      Well said, and ignore the lies below. I've worked in the financial sector and I've seen with my own eyes the empty abandoned floors in their arcologies. Anyway, the financial sector itself is a house of cards made up of lies and corruptions. Economics is not ecology. It is just a way for ancient vested interests to stay on top of everyone else, for no better reason than no one has ever stopped them - until now.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kenny on Long Island

      what kind of skills do they have?

      October 5, 2011 at 6:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • confused

      people keep saying the top 1% needs to pay their fair share. they already pay 40% of the total taxes collected. the top 50% pay 98% of the taxes. how much more are you asking them to pay? and lets say they pay all the taxes and you pay 0, how is this money going to come back to you and help? through hand outs and welfare? corporations and rich people paying more taxes won't create jobs, in fact, more jobs might be lost since businesses will want to cut expenses.

      also, you can't just "create" jobs, there has to be a demand for it, thats what economics is about. companies aren't going to hire people they don't need to produce products americans won't buy because they can get it for cheaper overseas. wouldn't that just bring our economy even further down. there are 3 million open jobs right now, there just aren't people with the right skills to fill them. thats what you go to school for if you're looking for job security. you can't expect there to be a job out there to fit every major ever studied.

      and people keep saying college should be free. if college was free, and everyone who wanted to go could, that degree would be devalued, turned into a commodity, then grad school would be the new standard, which will only further elevate the even richer people.

      October 5, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Chthys

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

    And it also lacks financial backing by major billionaires such as the Koch brothers.
    And it does appear that this movement will be overtaking the Tea Party in size.
    I guess that's why we have FEMA camps.

    October 5, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Frank

    People of the United States of America and President Obama,
    Mr.President,these Protests are spreading Natiionwide on your Watch.
    All that Hope and Change that was promised is not working out for these people.You continue to take in Millions in Campaign Contrbutions from the Super Rich and Mega Corporations.Here is and Idea.Why not donote 60% of your Campaign fund to the Unemployed,Poor and Homeless?Then you could really be called a Robin Hood and your Re-election would be assured!

    October 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. nathan

    The right is getting nervous and Im loving it.

    October 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  8. lynn

    glad to see protestis alive and well , i think it skips a generation.

    October 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bob


    October 5, 2011 at 5:28 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Dana

    wish i was there...

    October 5, 2011 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Aaron

    I think it is a grave mistake to stereotype OWS. They are all there for their own personal reasons, and to identify them as "pot-smoking, lazy, jobless hippies" is absolutely ridiculous. A lot of them have worked for years in college, and are wondering what they are supposed to do now that they have graduated. Sure, they can get a job at some low-paying business, but most of them have been doing that for years already to pay for college, and even then, when are the jobs supposed to arrive? How long should they wait for their politicians to get it right, while they make barely enough to get by? Their goal, just like everyone else's, is to move up in the world. The problem? There is no place to move up to, thanks to big business.

    October 5, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
  12. downinfront

    Wonder how many comments are from people being paid to do so...

    October 5, 2011 at 5:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. skit11

    its about time american protest we tell other contries to stand up and do now we will start to do it not over one thing there is alot wrong it all has to be fixed simple ha not so much

    October 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  14. nc_mike

    Wow, the vitriol from the Right! Guess what? This IS America, these ARE Americans and this is what THE AMERICAN PEOPLE want – economic justice. As the protesters across the country grow in the millions it will be fun to see if the Republican candidates start to flip-flop or solidify their extreme right minority tea party positions. Choosing the latter would be alienating the majority, especially the middle, and they can't win the general election playing only to to the base.

    October 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Aritza

    Really? The American tax payers made money.... Please stop CNN. Too many of us know that you are not going to side with protestors because of the fact that you are under corporate rule. But keep up the fallacies and you, too, one day will fall from grace. There may not be enough people right now to understand that these protestors are trying to cry out. Would you rather sit around and hope to for things to get better or use your rights as a citizen to voice your opinion? This isn't just about the fact that wealth is being kept at the top but there are a lot of underlining problems that keep this nation from actually being the best it can be. First we start with taking the corporate criminals to justice.. demand heavy regulation... stop giving tax breaks to the wealthy (they earned most of their money by screwing people over anyway) and then we move on to tackle other problems. This is a great opportunity for the masses to become organized.

    October 5, 2011 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • MAKO 10

      American Spring seems to be coming. This I predict is a first wave of things to come. If things don't start to change and jobs start coming in massive numbers things will just get worse. Millions of Americans take to the streets, rioting, marshall law, the military will side with the people not the government who owns them. America is slowly crumbling, let's take back our land.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:50 pm | Report abuse |
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