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. Jakester

    For those who think the only people who will be out there are hippies, or unemployed and looking for a handout... Think again...

    How about those of us who are simply sick of 0 regulation and accountability in the financial sector. I'm trying to get time off tomorrow (yes I'm still employed and paying my taxes) to join this group in Tampa. I'm about as far from a hippie as you can get, VP – Sr. Data Analyst in the Risk Management world. I'm also white, middle class and have children serving in the Army.

    Wall Street (the banking sector in general) should have to answer to the same type of corporate governance and transparency as they demanded of the private sector with Sarbanes Oxley.

    Just for the record – NO ONE should ever use the words "creative" and "finance" in the same sentence. That's how this whole mess started.

    And for those that beleive that this should be taken to the White House and Congress. I've taken the time to write not only my congressional leaders but those in other states and the White House. Besides you don't think they watch CNN?

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

      I work in the financial sector. We are constantly dealing with more laws and regulation from the Federal government. Like the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999 which many economists agree lead to the mortgage crisis.

      So yes – this does need to be taken to the Federal Government. Their policies caused a lot of the mess we're in right now.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jakester

      @Dave, What type of policy reform do you think we need to correct this. I personally feel more transparency is at the top of the list. I don't work directly in the financial secotor and I've not read or worked with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act of 1999. However, I'll be reading up on it. If it's as dry as SOX, ugh!

      October 5, 2011 at 4:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boomer in Mo

      Most of the true hippies are retired, or close to it. We got the U.S. out of Vietnam, we got environmental regulations passed, we can halt Wall Street and banking greed. I'm already taking steps to move my money to a small, community-owned bank because of all the fees the big boys are tacking on.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • trxstr

      ..@ Dave..sounds like a classic case of shifting blame...y'know a glimour of dignity and restraint from your community would do wonders to restoring my faith in humanity, but..I wont hold my breath..

      @ Jakester...the reason why it doesnt seem clear to 'the Media' and the right, is because its not what they want to hear...If nothing else YOU should be a clear message..this is a movement of the PEOPLE of ALL kinds...

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

      Sorry Jake, but there is accountability in the financial sector. They have to answer to the board and the stockholders. As for regulation, it is the interference and regulations that caused the housing melt down.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevin

      Well said. I will be there in Tampa too.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jakester

      @Boomer in Mo, my husband and I had that talk last night. He's your typically, follow the leader, kind of guy and his line was "it's too much work to change banks, what about our direct deposits and all our on line banking". To which I answered that's exactly what BofA and the other big banks wants us to say and like nice, blind, little mice scuttle back to our holes... I've never protested outside of letters, calls and a couple of trips for meetings with my state reps in Tallahassee ! I'm rather excited! I've still not heard if I can take the day off... Do I get points taken away if I have to keep my cell phone and black berry on me?

      October 5, 2011 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      @trxstr – I assume that handle stands for, "Trickster?" How appropriate. Folks like you who try to incite emotional ignorance over calm critical analysis of facts are the reason we're in this mess.

      You really should learn at least a little about the financial sector before making any more comments. But I'm not holding my breath either.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      @Jakester

      I tried to respond to your question but it didn't post. Not sure why.

      In short, more transparency will be meaningless if the people of our country don't actually take the time to absorb and understand the information. Right now almost everything about large financial transactions in our country is public knowledge from the laws and regulations which affect the banking industry to the quarterly returns and tax returns of all publicly traded companies. The fact is, it's incredibly time consuming to go through all that data and understand it. So most people just look at whether or not they are personally satisfied with their lives. When they aren't, it's often easiest to blame someone else for that.

      The financial sector of our country definitely needs some changes, but it won't be immediate and more knee-jerk laws and regulations will only make things worse.

      Personally I'm a Warren Buffett fan and I like the president's jobs plan a lot but that's just me.

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

      @Dave, Thank you for your response! We have some common ground here! "Personally I'm a Warren Buffett fan and I like the president's jobs plan a lot but that's just me." Me too, I would love to have a conversation with Mr. Buttett! We as a nation should have been keeping the repairs up on our roads, public works and the grid from the beginning! I will try to get through the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, any other light reading I should try!

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

    Honestly all this shows me is that too many people have way too much time on their hands. It's really tough to take people seriously when most of them act like lunatics and none of them actually know why they're there other than, "we're unhappy."

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

      So... like the Tea Party.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ness1

      Wall Street took the biggest payout in history- 789 BILLION tax payer dollars. What about that handout?

      October 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mittens

      Why do they have too much time on their hands? They have no jobs. The jobs have gone to the east, the bankers have stolen their retirement, and the middle class is dying a protracted death.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tek

      This sums it up pretty well I think:

      "I don't want you to write to your congressman cause I don't know what to tell you to write, I don't know what to do about the depression or the inflation or the crying in the streets... all I know is that first, you've got to get mad! You've got to say 'I'm a human being god damn it! My life has value!'"

      -Network 1976-

      October 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dave

      @Jamie

      Yes – exactly.

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

      @Ness1

      Actually it was more like $356 billion, of which $118 has been paid back. Not all of that went to the financial sector, but a lot of it did.

      http://money.cnn.com/news/storysupplement/economy/bailouttracker/

      October 5, 2011 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ness1

      @Dave – Regardless, Wall Street f-ed up and they asked for a handout, and George Bush just gave it to them. People are fed up with their tax loopholes and their special treatment, all for what? For them to offshore jobs? No wonder there aren't any jobs available, they're being shipped overseas.

      October 5, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Zam Zalmer

    What happens when one of the wall street execs walks out of his/her building and offers one of these zombie wall street occupiers a job?

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

      I hope we get the chance to see...

      October 5, 2011 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dean

      Impossible. None of them are qualified...they need a degree first.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. justathought

    The Battle Cry needs to be: "BRING HOME the JOBS No matter what the protest is a about, they will not have any jobs until the jobs are brought home. I know the poor Chinese will have no jobs, but niether do we.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
  5. mehmet.cas

    It's only ONE WAY for the world economy. Money must have real PARITY. Amen.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
  6. jb

    jakester, hope you don't work for any company that I do business with. Go to work, your employer does not you to take a day off to go to downtown Tampa.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • raquela2020

      You're still not getting the point. There's many of us that DO work, HAVE an education, PAY taxes, and yes, WE DO HAVE THE FREEDOM to take off of work and voice our opinion....He EARNED that time off by his employer's rules, so guess what? He gets to do what he wants with it!

      October 5, 2011 at 3:59 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bh

    This video clip of Burnett visits Wall Street is stupid. Come on!. You're totally missing the point. These banks and wall street all profited big time during the collapse and after it. So what if the government made some money after the bailout. The fact of the matter is that tons of people lost jobs and peoples retirement funds tanked. Our houses are worth less and pension funds were hit hard. The whole point of the protest I think is that these bankers and wall street turned profits on our backs while a lot of people lost jobs and are taking pay cuts. Get a clue.

    October 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. woodstocker

    this was predictable. what do they want? what does any sane American want? to stop paying people they do not know for things that they never receive!

    October 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Another American who is FED up!!

    POWER TO THE PEOPLE!! THEY FINALLY WOKE UP!! AND JUST IN TIME

    October 5, 2011 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boomer in Mo

      Right on. I demonstrated in 1970, we need to take to the streets again and get big money out of politics so commonsense approaches can be used to rein in run-away greed.

      October 5, 2011 at 3:58 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Barry Feldman

    IIt's time for Wall Street to finally take its turn, do its part, pay the country back, and generate investment in homeland jobs and rebuilding.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Decker

    What a bunch of clowns. Guess what? Nothing will happen, nothing. I would say waste of time, but these people only have time to waste. YOU'LL NEVER CHANGE ANYTHING YOU LOSERS!!! NEVER. GET A LIFE, you bunch of lazy pigs.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BALLzDEEP

    Angry at the rich man
    For his overflowing till,
    Angry at the oil companies
    For fracking & oil spills.
    Angry at the banker,
    For making money w/out sweat,
    Angry at the companies
    Outsourcing jobs w/out regret
    Angry at the politicians,
    Changing laws to suit their friends
    Angry at everyone else,
    but all of us who let it happen.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • trxstr

      this is generations of issues compounded by political economic and social stress...if you see the problems, be a aprt of the solution...they have gotten up and made a stand..find your spine and make yours..

      October 5, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • BALLzDEEP

      When they do it in a way that makes sense, I'll join in. Right now this is a grabastic clusterphuck protesting the wrong place and the wrong people. The fact that none of these protests were organized for DC is indicative that the people involved in them do not understand how to implement change. I'll stay at my job that I worked my azz off to get and maintain (I'm a multilingual computer geek, so it's not getting outsourced) before I'll stand with this grabastic mass.

      October 5, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jack

    We need a mobility revolution! Please help out by answering this survey on e-bikes
    http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/X9NSRXB

    October 5, 2011 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Dyermoe

    The middle class is the engine that drives the economy. They usually live from paycheck to paycheck putting their money back into the economy. The upper class is a drain on the economy. They sure aren't rich because they're spending their money. They're driven by greed. Right now their best bang for their buck is investing in China. They can pay a Chinese worker $5 a week for the same job that would cost 100 times that for a US worker. The economy is tanking because the jobs have gone overseas, so now the middle class is shrinking in the wrong direction.

    October 5, 2011 at 4:03 pm | Report abuse |
  15. patti

    I am the 1% – but quite frankly, I am right behind you – nudging you along. I would be out there but I'm too old. It's your turn..your generation...your world! Get organized! My generation did it 50 years ago and yes! it worked. Don't worry...the news people may not be reporting.... but the world is quietly listening and waiting. Sooner or later, the media will have to respond... This is what America is about! And by the way my dear Millennials, get to know the candidates and VOTE!

    October 5, 2011 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • diana

      thank you, patti!

      October 5, 2011 at 4:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lauren

      Well said patti. Well said.
      BTW – everyone who is saying this is Obama's fault needs a CT (catscan) for Alzheimers. Obama inherited this mess. Remember that – he inherited – he didn't' create it – he wasn't even in office. People are so ignorant and idiotic is kills me.

      patti – I am the 1% – but quite frankly, I am right behind you – nudging you along. I would be out there but I'm too old. It's your turn..your generation...your world! Get organized! My generation did it 50 years ago and yes! it worked. Don't worry...the news people may not be reporting.... but the world is quietly listening and waiting. Sooner or later, the media will have to respond... This is what America is about! And by the way my dear Millennials, get to know the candidates and VOTE!

      October 5, 2011 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
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