Thursday, September 29, 2011

Reasons for Optimism re: #OccupyWallStreet

They're getting a few celebrities to turn out (Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Russell Simmons), but - much more importantly - Unions and other community groups are jumping on board at a pretty good clip:

The city's most experienced agitators—the labor and community groups that typically organize
local marches, rallies and sit-ins—have been largely missing from the Occupy Wall Street protest that is in its 13th day at Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan.

But that's about to change.

A loose coalition of labor and community groups said Thursday that they would join the protest next week. They are organizing a solidarity march scheduled for Wednesday . . . .

Despite the common cause, the city's established left did not initially embrace the protest, which began Sept. 17 and has been made up mostly of young people angry about the widening income chasm in the country, the growing influence of money on politics and police brutality, among other issues.

But as the action nears the start of its third week, unions and community groups are eager to jump on board....

“It's become too big to ignore,” said one political consultant.

Some of the biggest players in organized labor are actively involved in planning for Wednesday's demonstration, either directly or through coalitions that they are a part of. The United Federation of Teachers, 32BJ SEIU, 1199 SEIU, Workers United and Transport Workers Union Local 100 are all expected to participate. The Working Families Party is helping to organize the protest and is expected to mobilize its extensive online regional networks to drum up support for the effort.

Also, Matt Taibbi thinks it could be the start of something big (and I would classify him as pretty much completely jaded and not prone to optimism - so, when he's hopeful, it definitely perks my interest):

And let me just say once more, that I loved the posture Mike Konczal took. Most of the time there's a legitimate question of whether the progressive blogosphere is good for anything, but this is an opportunity, a very rare opportunity, for bloggers to actually be useful. Konczal jumped right in with constructive ideas and basically said: "Hey, I've been thinking about these issues for a long time. Here are some ideas for concrete demands." Bravo Mike Konczal. And for the blogosphere cynics on the Left (Mahablog, Yglesias), it's too soon to tell for sure, but I think you're on the wrong side of history.

Here's Michael Moore speaking to the crowd via the People's Mic (the police confiscated microphones, bull horns, etc. so, the Occupiers came up with this method, which they call the People's Mic):

Update: Here's Digby reporting something's happening here:

Evidently 500 of these guys showed up to protest on Wall Street today. They've been getting screwed on their pensions for years and these mergers are killing them.

This is the first sign of a real middle class revolt.

Update 2: Pepper-spray Bologna slideshow.

Update 3: Just going to gather some of the opinion pieces (with the intent to write about these later: con (here, here, here, here here and here); pro (here, here, here, here and here).

Cross-posted at Daily Kos.


  1. Is it just me or does Mr. Pepper-Spray Bologna look like Bull Connor?

  2. Update 2: Pepper-Spray Bologna sildeshow:

  3. I'm with you on Taibbi. arguably the best journalist publishing today.