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.

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soundoff (946 Responses)
  1. RaKa

    Unions and movie stars joining the protest? The 1% protesting the 1%? This is too funny.

    October 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • frank

      unions are not part of the 1%, but overpaid actors are.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  2. LizardKing

    U.S. received $854 million from foreign aid when katrina hit...Only 40 million was spent

    October 5, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lancelot Link

      What kind of drugs are you on ?????? Over $ 142 BILLION FEDERAL DOLLARS was spent on Katrina.

      October 5, 2011 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  3. wayne

    The best and the brightest of Obama's troops march on. I don't see anyone who has kicked off their slippers though.

    Really amazing when people protests but don't know what they are protesting about. Thought the union goons would have told them when they handed out $20 and new tent to each of them.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. suzanne

    It is about time that people realize that corporatism is not capitalism. It is pure greed that hinders people of getting their fait share of the pie.The movement will be growing due to the leniency of the governments to deal with the issue. We do not need corporations, they need us.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jenny

      Amen sister!

      October 5, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |
  5. BillO (R-Insanity)

    Crush this movement with any force necessary. It worked in Iran and China... not so much elsewhere but, this is America - force and electronic diversions are proven pacifiers.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. RaKa

    Hmmm. I wonder ifghe unions will now start a protestor union and collectdues while their there?

    October 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cony007

    Class warfare has been going on since the Reagan era. FDR curtailed it for awhile. But the gilded age is back and stronger then ever. 47 trillion $$$ strong. Very difficult for simple folk to stop this sickness. It is called decadence and greed.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Matt

    Somebody needs to turn some hoses on these stinky hippies –

    October 5, 2011 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • 23LoneStar

      @Matt – They're fighting YOUR battle for you. While you're content to bend over and say "thank you" to BOA, Big Pharma, and those proponents of the Gordon Gekko School of Economic Anarchy, these people are actually in the game. Unless you are anxious to face an army of people wanting to wash you windows at freeway (sorry, TOLL ROAD) entrances, you'd better re-evaluate what this country is all about. Suggest a quick refresher read of The Wealth of Nations to start. Adam Smith will remind you about the basics of Capitalism. BTW, "hippies" is dated and does nothing for your credibility. It just makes you seem, well, out of touch.

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

      OK Cartman...uhh, I mean Matt...

      October 5, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Jacob Marly

    How much is "enough"? The greedy never have enough and always want more and more and more while the rest of the 99% do without to support these greedy, soul less em eff ers.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Kweg Yung

    With half of America aging (ready for retirement) and the other half being non-white, it was fairly easy for the Republican party to decide to sell out... In their eyes we're all just expensive liabilities. Communist China is the new place of opportunity! With few regulations and government underlings cheaply bought, it's the new Mecca for Corporate America to exploit ... But not to worry, ye lowly Americans: After the GOP finishes destroying us (U.S.), the rich will be back in droves buying up what's left for pennies on the dollar. When that time comes the GOP will be there again, arms outstretched again, fists filled with cash again...

    October 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ed Burke

    The protesters' goals need to be more clearly defined. One very worthwhile goal would be bring about prosecution of criminal charges against those Wall Street denizens guilty of knowingly peddling the worthless paper that, in large measure, brought the world's economy to where it is today.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:05 pm | Report abuse |
  12. 23Lone Star

    What you're witnessing is the inevitable clash of two disparate economic philosophies: the popular Gordon Gekko School of Economic Anarchy and Adam Smith's brilliant, time-honored formula for Capitalism. When "shareholder value" as a business objective is thrown under the bus and replaced with an insatiable desire to get and keep customers, all the impediments to righting this economy will disappear. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth among bankers, brokers and opportunists when their wings are clipped, but order and discipline will be restored and the US economic engine will be unleashed. Sometimes you need to look into the maw before it becomes clear what must be done. Welcome to the American Spring!

    October 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  13. David Crosby

    We really need this to end Wall Street..period...Sorry New York..but you are the problem...

    October 5, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
  14. NonZionist

    If unions take over, they will destroy the movement, as surely as Republicans and racist fundamentalists destroyed the libertarian Tea Party movement.

    Unions exist to promote selfishness. They encourage working people to be just as selfish as the greedy elite. But selfishness is a dead end.

    We rise or sink together. We need to think of the whole society, instead of just ourselves. That's something unions have been failing to do for the last 90 years. Unions need to add a new word to their vocabulary: Solidarity!

    October 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm | Report abuse |
  15. John

    GAB, deregulating is what got us into this mess. Unfortunately there are a lot of people in the banking business, Wall Street, etc. who are neither nice nor honest and will take us for everything we have without proper regulation. And government action does not kill jobs – just the opposite. When Roosevelt undertook the New Deal, Eisenhower built the interstate system, and Kennedy and Johnson launched the New Frontier/Great Society, America prospered – at least until we got sidetracked into the disasterous Vietnam War. Active, smart government contributes to growth, and proper regulation prevents the bankers and speculators from taking us all to the cleaners, as they did in the years after 2000 when the regulations that protect us were weakened far too much.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • John

      You actually believe the myth of Bush-era de-regulation? The government grew bigger than ever under Bush, in every sector. It's regulation that puts certain companies ahead of others.

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