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. Alfredo Fla.

    Erin Burnet is a moron.

    October 5, 2011 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Jay

    The exact truth about what is the biggest problem in the US right now is that our politics is at a standstill due to john boehner, paul ryan, and the republican party that bought them. They are not motivated by what is the best interests of the country, they are only motivated by political gains. They are against anything that would begin to straighten out the massive inequity of income, and also wealth in this country. The inequity we experience is that of a dictatorial regime, not a democracy. Job creators? Taxes on the so-called job creators has never been lower than over the last 20 years and still there have been no jobs created. The republican party is the problem and if they want to keep talking about class warfare there are a whole lot more of us that have military warfare actual experience than them. The percentage of middle-class americans that know about warfare is much much greater than that of the ultra-rich interests that want to pay less taxes than we middle-class peasants that fight and die at a much higher number so that you can receive rich man's welfare which is called "bailouts for the rich", "tax loopholes for the rich", "bush tax cuts for the rich", "mortgage fraud money making for the rich", etc, etc. All of this is at the expense of the middle-class. The middle-class gets no welfare. Only the upper-class and the lower-class get welfare. A duck is a duck whether it's a rich duck or a poor duck. It doesn't matter what you call it because it's still a duck.

    October 5, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      All politicians seek political gain.... your foolish if you think its only the republicans. Obama is a prime example of this

      October 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Spirittoo

    If you really want to know what Occupy Wall Street is all about you are not going to find out from CNN or any other corporate news outlet. OWS is a serious threat to corporate media as well as the Wall Street trash and criminals they protect.

    Americans are getting fed up with the lies and propaganda coming from corporate news and the government. Those Patriots out there protesting know why they are their. Corporate news tries to play it off like they(the protesters) have no idea what their demands are. Corporate news pretends what is happening is nothing. But they are sweating bullets because they know this is something big and it's going to grow.

    Don't look to corporate news like CNN for what is really happening ... and why ... on Wall Street and the rest of the nation. Go to the blogs and get the real scoop.

    October 5, 2011 at 6:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rachel

      How bout you just go ahead and inform us...you seem to know soooo much.

      October 5, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. jerrycc

    They have a leader....Obama. His plan was to destroy America and take over through by anarchy all along. It has begun.

    October 5, 2011 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • yuhmad

      Republican plans are to destroy the middle and poor classes of the USA. They do not have any job creation plan but to cut taxes to make the millionaires, oil companies and billionaires richer. Republicans should be living modestly just like the middle and poor classes, all benefits should be cut from them including a modest salary just like the middle and poor classes and lets see what they will do. They tongues should be hung like a dog panting when it needs water....

      October 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Vetman

    So basically groups of people get together over an extended period of time...and accomplish...nothing. Sounds like Congress in the park!

    October 5, 2011 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse |
  6. joe

    "75.1% of....... from household income less than $65,032 per year". Impressively accurate! Much more informative than a mere "75%... from $ 65,000 (and some change)"

    October 5, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Aaron

    Tea Party calls these people Loonies. Can you believe it????

    October 5, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • meathead

      And the Dems and Unions called the tea party "terrorists" ... Do you believe that?

      October 5, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      Considering Republican administrations are the ones that usually train terrorist like the Taliban.

      October 5, 2011 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  8. meathead

    The only problem with the protests is that most of the "zombies" never had a job or had to worry. What happened to the days of sweeping the floor first and making your up to the top. Thats what I did! And I am in the top 10% of income and pay for a lot or the "zombies" food, shelter, and health care... So I hope they are dressing for the weather so I dont have to pay for their doctors visit. Thanks

    October 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joseph

      So you enjoy paying your taxes so the rich can buy pools?

      October 5, 2011 at 7:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cogito

      And you know that these people never had jobs how, exactly? You interviewed them? You know them all?

      Back it up, otherwise it's just B.S. rhetoric...

      October 5, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jordan Hofer

    Erin Burnett, you are condescending and arrogant. Make fun of our kids all you like, but they are angry, confused, and scared. You think that's funny? They're kids. Try some compassion from your high-horse job.

    October 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  10. julianpenrod

    There is a good opportunity for a point to be made here. Look at pictures of Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and TEA Parrty demonstrations. Compare the two. Occupy Wall Street demonstrators are generally scruffy; thin; not well dressed; carrying placards that look torn from paper boxes and hand written with straightforward denunciations. TEA Party members are well coiffed; well scrubbed; well fed; well dressed, even tom the point of the all but universal gifure in an expensive Colonial outfit; with printed placards on poster board, carrying "sentiments" aimed more at being quotably pithy than actually stating facts. And Occupy Wall Street demonstrators look sincere, genuinely concerned about the palpable threats to their welfare and the welfare of the country; TEA Party thugs always have the trace of a smirk behind their designer shades, as they contemplate that, whichever way the tide goes, they're still going to make obscene amounts of money, they're only complaining about the fact that they're are being threatened with being allowed to take home only a fraction of the money none of which they legitimately and honorably earned!

    October 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  11. David FL

    Oue economy can not grow, until banks start lending again. If banks are unwilling to go back to making home loans, I think we should take what money of ours they do have. Close all our accounts throughout this country, & see if having no opperating cash on hand gives them a change of heart.

    October 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Joseph

    Let see the rich get themself out of this one.

    October 5, 2011 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  13. John Hulburd

    It all STARTED with the big lies of Ronald Reagan. His economics have been thoroughly discredited, but the "Government is the enemy" mantra is still alive with most Republicans. It's only the enemy when we abdicate our civic responsibilities of voting and being involved in government. The OWS movement shines light on our collective numbness and disenfranchisement about big government because of the influence of Corporate money and lobbyists. Thank you Erisian for your honesty: it's time for us to wake up, talk with one another and end the corruption! I'm excited!

    October 5, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. filip27

    where should i go to find accurate information

    October 5, 2011 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. marma

    Oh my gosh. She is a jerk. Yes, you have a job Erin. Maybe you won't pretty soon.

    October 5, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Agreed

      I have to agree – she is SERIOUSLY horrible. And I see she has her own show coming. Why?

      October 5, 2011 at 7:42 pm | Report abuse |
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