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. Pat

    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.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • gvince

      but if this was possible, to truly lobby your congress to push for you agendas and your goals, wouldn't this already have occurred? I just don't understand how you can sit there and say the statement that you say and expect something to happen. How many groups are out there lobbying for their own agendas and goals to congress, don't you think that our political system doesn't easily allow for truly any one person to push their concerns and goals to their congress. I just can't understand how you would dismiss this protest and conform to an idea that I don't think holds well in lobbying for your ideas.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
  2. irock

    I guess I have been mis informed, I thought the protest was over 4.6 million dollars being given to the NYPD.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kweg Yung

    Corporate America's expansion into China was paid for by the American taxpayer. Bush's “tax cuts for the rich” policy helped to fund this transition. That's why no American jobs were created but a lot of Chinese jobs were. Republican politicians represent the corporate rich, the 'job creators'. When was the last time you saw a job created in the U.S.? The rich don't pay tax in this country and their corporations are physically based in communist China; where, by the way, SOCIALIZED healthcare and SOCIALIZED education are the norm. Republican politicians sold us (U.S.) out.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Think

      Umm..so you are a Chinese protesting creation of jobs in China?

      October 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • jean2009

      As a multi-cultural society we certainly have citizens with Chinese names.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Fleming

    I too am part of the 99%. This revolution has been a long time coming. We can't let the sociopaths continue to run the economy. Pay your fair share or find another island. Occupy everywhere.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. awake

    social and economic equality: from the people, for the people and by the people.

    waking up. . . .
    elite beware. . . . .

    October 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Think

      So welcome to the new World. Communist USA! And after all those years of terror of Soviet and Communist take over. This has got to be totally hilarious!

      October 5, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Trampas Graham

    I am ashamed of the American media's lack of coverage on this demonstration, as well as its inability to understand and communicate the issues being demonstrated against. It's almost as if the media does not want this story to really break. What would happen if most Americans actually understood how they have been robbed by corporate greed? Perhaps the media would lose its sponsors.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Think

      Hmm, did your Bolshevist supervisors ask you to say that?

      October 5, 2011 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Brian

    It took long enough, but the people have finally risen up. Incoherent message? Seems coherent to me: Cut the inappropriate ties with the financial sector and giant corporations, quit giving corporate welfare. The oil and financial companies have had enough of my tax dollars. It's time for them to stand on their own two feet, using only the dollars I CHOOSE to give them (should I choose to at all).

    I plan to bring my local protestors some pizzas this weekend, and join them for some discussion. I am one of the other 99%, have NEVER had a handout of any kind, work more hours than my father did, am more educated, yet live less well, and am on the verge of, apparently, losing my social security to which I have contributed my entire 20-year career. Sorry rich people... I am tired of contributing to YOUR cause.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Will

      Hmm...who's giving you your paycheck anyways?

      October 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      None of your business is who.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Rob Stankley

    All we need is a snowstorm and this little hippy inspired protests will be over...God knows these people living under the tarps could use a bath

    October 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • jean2009

      You know this how?

      October 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Larry

    Don't forget the "fees" big business arranged for the poorer in place of taxes.
    Such as: The long distance "access fee". Before the "access fee", long distance users paid for the local telephone users to be able to call long distance. This was because smarter regulators reasoned that without the local users being able to call and receive long distance calls, the long distance service was worthless. Of course, business used the long distance more than you & I, and paid the majority of the cost. After "access fees", long distance was much cheaper allowing most of the unwanted long distance marketing and sales calls. You & I now pay for that service if we want it or not. (Like taxes)

    October 5, 2011 at 3:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Common Loon

    Wow! Burnett solved the crisis! That was easy!
    And I love her in-depth reporting and incisive commentary.
    Is her daddy a banker or what!!!

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

    If i were in the top 1%: I would be happy (AND HONORED) to give most of it back, to make history, together with arab spring. Global revolution!

    October 5, 2011 at 3:41 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Kevin

    How long is the news media going to give attention to these bums and losers? This is a liberal circle jerk that is only exposing how stupid these people are.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Terry Brookman

    They are protesting the wrong people, protest the ones who were guarding their own investments. It was after all the political party's on both sides that led the charge to deregulate the banks and Wall Street, they were also some of the biggest investors. Not that we will ever know who and how much is in the off shore banks. The trail of money leads to their door, it just passed through the hands of the brokers and they did what they are hired to do, make money. The Fed, Obama and all those below him owe the American people thirteen trillion dollars. The worst part is three quarters of that money never made to the American people, it went to prop up the Euro.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. poopyonastickmakesmesick

    Do you guys work or look for work? Do you know how an economy runs. Who is going to hire you for work when they take their business overseas to countries that let them run their business. The problem with this country is not wall street. Wall street is made up of people like you and me. If a few people are entrepreneurial enough to pull ahead and make money then why are you pulling them down? These are the people who create business and jobs, and invest in other ventures. Corporations pay lower taxes to incent them to stay in the US and hire US employees. The problem is lazy people like you who sit around eating up my tax dollars to protest hard working people. Get off the sidewalk, recycle your cardboard sign, and save your rhymes for a Starbucks daily specials chalk board. There are jobs out there if you want one. Better yet, think of something innovative, sell your idea, and invest the money in something American, while the lazy people sit on the sidewalk rhyming ways to bring you down.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • naturesmeds

      richard wolfe (sp?) finance teacher and nobel peace prize winner gave a great speech in liberty park yesterday – man, you shoulda been there!

      October 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • poopyonastickmakesmesick

      Liberals come in lawyers, Dr's, and even Finance Teachers. I'm sure the USSR had Finance teachers too.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Laughing hard

    As part of the 99% I know the solution is very easy... Vote...
    Trouble is 50% of us our too lazy to vote and 25% of the rest were brainwashed into thinking Gay Marriage or abortion rights are the primary issues.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Barry Osama

      Well stated!!! Abortion and gay marriage are irrelevant issues. They're just used as a smokescreen by Democrats and Republicans to steal votes. At their core Democrats and Republicans are no different from each other.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe

      People are voting... www dot census dot gov/prod/2010pubs/p20-562.pdf

      October 5, 2011 at 3:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • woodstocker

      voting is not the answer the elected humans have no power. dump the federal reserve and get off fiat money.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tim, San Diego CA

      Voting doesn't work because you're left with a choice between two candidates that typically are further to the left or right than the typical voter. It becomes an exercise in choosing the lesser evil. While I'm not a big fan of Wall St. these protesters sound pretty far to the left. Which means they don't represent 99% of the people.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlie

      The problem is we need educated voters. Too many people vote just to say they voted and they vote for the pretty guy.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Voting is Futile

      As long as the 1% hold the power, voting will do you no good.

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