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. Glaziers930

    I am just wondering why people are on Wall Street.They should be outside banks demanding that those crooks with the sub prime lending.Go to jail they caused this and they are living well off the money.Advice to all crooks steal with a pen not a gun nothing will happen to you except a goverment bail out.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Weix

      This would be an ideal time for you to organize just that! You can easily flash mob the banks. Next Monday, Oct. 10, is Columbus Day and would be a great day to do it. Perhaps Columbus Day could be then be remembered as the day Americans rediscovered and retook America.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Adam

      You realize it wasn't the actual sub prime lending that caused this mess, right?

      It was wall street hedgefund managers betting on those loans. A handful of people defaulting on their loans is nothing. When banks and insurance companies have to pay out huge sums of money due to the bets, that in turn causes economic uncertainty, which results in layoffs, which results in more defaults, which results in more payouts, which results in more layoffs, etc etc etc.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glaziers930

      Yes I do relize that but the loan officers were pushing loans they knew people could't complete and still pushed them.So why isn't the people who started the mess going to jail.I am a builder I knew one fellow threw First Homes in Ft. meyers florida.Who got a loan after 7 bankrupicies in 10 years.You can still tell me that the people pushing the loans to creat the hedge funds aren't lieable and should not go to jail.I think I know what you do or did for a living Adam

      October 6, 2011 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. Arthur Lombardi

    How can Erin Burnett claim to be objective about the protests when she professionally and personally identifies with Wall Street?

    October 5, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim Weix

      Just watched her video clip. She sounds like a complete air head, complete with an annoying nasal chirpy like voice. Don’t they make announcers take basic voice lessons?

      October 5, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jim Weix

    This is so great to see! This country can only be saved by ridding it of our entrenched and corrupt politicians and major financial leaders. Maybe, just maybe, Spring in America is finally coming. Hopefully we can undo some of the damage done in the past 50 years. Both Republican and Democratic parties are useless, as they too are just a group of corrupt people that represent nobody, and the Tea Party is just old, brain dead morons. Get rid of them all and let God sort them out when the time comes.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Glaziers930

      hey moron read my replie.Like I didn't know oct 10th wasn't a bank holiday.It was the people pushing the loans to start the hedge funds that started this mess.Can you be honest are you a banker?They are who to blame I built a house for a guy who got a loan after 7 bankruptcies in 10 years.Now who are the crooks who started this mess?

      October 6, 2011 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
  4. the prophet

    Yes it's time to tame America back to the people lets do it spread the word. Let's all not go to work on Monday just to sand a message and show solidarity in a cause long forgotten since the industrial revolution

    October 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Nick

    All for this, class warfare is very real! While the middle class fights to hang on the poor and unemployed are just suppose to be happy that the large corporation who just cut another 500 jobs is willing to extend unemployment benifits... gee, thanks, glad your not posting a profit or anything.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. callahan

    As long as the 99% continue to vote for democrats & republicans, nothing will change regardless how many cities are occupied.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • CentralFLBoy

      If you're familiar with Chaos Theory, you'll find that equilibrium persists 99% of the time, then one slight change occurs and the status quo collapses entirely. Not saying that you're wrong – in fact, I agree with you that both parties are puppets of the same puppet master – but the masses of demonstrators in the street is growing larger by the day. If the government ignores them, the crowds will continue to grow; if the government tries to contain it with force, all hell will break loose.

      October 5, 2011 at 9:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • callahan

      Yes, I am familiar with chaos theory. I understand your reasoning. If this movement does take hold, I see the first stage as special interest groups and our two major parties as co-opting the movement. Just as the tea party movement was co-opted by the republicans. The genesis looks promising, but contamination by outside forces is inevitable. I'm with the movement - I believe the country is headed in the wrong direction - but how do we right the ship and set the new course?

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

    Throughout the course of our lives, from grade school on up, parents and teachers have perpetuated the idea that our individual ideas, opinions, and concerns are important. Occupy wall street is comprised of individuals who collectively understand that idea; and, in conjunction with action that voice can be heard. It must be understood that in relation to politics, casting a vote is not voicing an opinion. It simply feeds an antiquated Two-Party system that has failed to represent a majority of Americans. Changing the political structure of this country is the only plausible way to eventually reconstruct what some would characterize as a failed economic model. We need to move away from the ideological labels that have polarized our society – liberal, conservative, radical, reactionary, whatever... constructive dialogue is the only way to resolve our differences and find common ground. I'm glad to see that these young people have come together to start this "discussion".

    October 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  8. forreal89

    This is just wasting tax dollars on firs responders. We have people dressing up like monsters and dancing. I work and do not have the luxury to do this. Grow up retards

    October 5, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • CentralFLBoy

      You are missing the point: you work and 50% of the fruit of your labor goes to support corrupt international bankers. Imagine if you had twice your current lifestyle – you should, because you've worked and have earned it. You don't, because people like the Rothschilds and Rockefellers who control the global banking systems have confiscated 50% of your assets and you don't even realize it. These protesters are not people who want something for nothing – they want accountability, integrity, and transparency in government. They want the government to represent the 99% of the people's interests – not the interests of global banks and corporations who buy and sell our legislators with the dollars they steal from you.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Eric

    What surprises me the most is the lack of coverage by the american media outlets. I couldn't agree more with this movement, its about time we stand up to corporate greed and their relationship with our government, a government by the corporations, for the corporations. The best media coverage on this issue can be found on aljazeera...go figure.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  10. oscar

    You want a job? : Stop sending jobs to India and China Let's consume what America produces !!!!!!

    October 5, 2011 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Patriot to the end

    Another Vet, I thank you for your service, your service allowed these "idiot kids" to stand up and have a say for where this country is heading. But you have to ask yourself: Is it a liberal agenda that makes a recent college student look at the huge debt that they have accrued to get a public education, which is required to get a job doing anything besides flipping burgers. Is it a liberal agenda to realize that our government's in-fighting caused a downgrade in our credit rating, and higher long term debt. Is it a liberal agenda to see that Wall Street was given $7 trillion as a bailout, against the interests of the country, for the fraudulent and greedy acts that they committed. Needless to say that not one person has been arrested for their transgressions, instead they gave themselves lavish bonuses and raises, while at the same time laying off millions of americans, sending jobs overseas, and foreclosing on those same americans that they laid off. Our government is finally transparent. Republican or Democrat, they are just the left and the right wings of the Corporate party. This game of monopoly needs to end because in the end only one person has all the money.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Marc Daniels

    People are frustrated because of the gridlock in Washington, the depressed economy. More frustrating than the problem at hand is the detachment that affects othering caring individuals to do selfish things. We live and exist within a weedpatch sucking the spiritual life away from us. We need to weed out this kind of hate

    October 5, 2011 at 9:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Valerie Lynne

    I am SO proud of my fellow Americans, finally UNITED in such an important cause!!! It's time we finally started utilizing the tools put in place for us to let our representatives know they are not operating in the will of the people ... If it had happened just days ago I would have my tent and supplies and be out there in the capitol of my state also making noise and pushing for Congress to stop taking time off and start taking action!!!!

    How is it that they make $174k a year and get more vacations than most do after putting in 20 years on a job?! Their supposed to be running a nation?!! This is NOT the purpose of congress!!! These party lines are just excuses to bide time while they make deals under the table with their high profile lobbyists that assist in providing them their comfortable lifestyles and cushy jobs when and IF they ever leave office.

    It's time to stand up to Congress and make them do what "we the people" want!!!

    I'm asking each that reads this to email to a minimum of twenty people on their address list; in turn ask each of those to do likewise.

    In three days, most people in The United States of America will have the message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

    Congressional Reform Act of 2011

    1. Term Limits.

    12 years only, one of the possible options below.
    (I'm not sure I agree 12 years is enough, maybe up to 20, but current lifetime is just too long.)
    A. Two Six-year Senate terms
    B. Six Two-year House terms
    C. One Six-year Senate term and three Two-Year House terms

    2. No Tenure / No Pension.

    A Congressman collects a salary while in office and receives no pay when they are out of office.

    3. Congress (past, present & future) participates in Social Security.

    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.

    4. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all Americans do.

    5. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    6. Congress loses their current health care system and participates

    in the same health care system as the American people.

    7. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American people.

    8. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective 1/1/12.

    The American people did not make this contract with Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.

    Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s), then go home and back to work.

    If each person contacts a minimum of twenty people then it will only take three days for most people (in the U.S. ) to receive the message. Maybe it is time.

    LET'S FIX CONGRESS!!!!!

    October 5, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • callahan

      I like your suggestions. It will never happen, but it is nice to dream.

      October 6, 2011 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  14. the prophet

    There is a solution that will put the Government out of business it's very simple( don't go out to vote in protest) if the respective party's don't receive any electoral votes no one can assume the power to govern thence the Government is put out of business. Ho yeah baby!!!

    October 5, 2011 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  15. stephen sivonda

    She's a dork...she could have spent 1/2 hour looking at some of the earliest videos to see and hear what exactlly they OWS group stood for. Plus – that 10-20 billion she thought was so great ...that the taxpayers got from the bailed out banksters is chump change . All the bogus loans they put into CDO's – Credit default swaps and various derivitives add up to Trillions. Those for the most part are still out there, like a time bomb that is ticking. God save the Republic.

    October 5, 2011 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • duque

      This article is a joke– "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,”-- what in the world are these people thinking? What is all these nonsense? and Soros behind the curtains, CNN are like dumb blind game, The media and liberals are playing with fire. In wall street is the retirement money of many people. You don't play stupid political games with the future of the people of these country.

      October 5, 2011 at 10:00 pm | Report abuse |
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