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September 23, 2011
Occupy Wall Street Day 7: One More Arrest - Three Unions Locals Join
By Chaz Valenza
Box Score - Arrests: Occupy Wall Street protesters: 21 - Wall Street Banksters: 0. Each morning reinforcements show up from the metro NYC area. These daily participants swell the occupation from a few hundred into the thousands, growing as the day progresses. After working hours yesterday the crowd grows to well over 4,000.
September 23, 2011: I need to start with a correction to an earlier report but it also leads to a very important point as Occupy Wall Street (OWS) completes its first week of occupation of Zuccotti Park, a.k.a. Liberty Plaza.
I said about 1,000 occupiers were staying each night. I was mistaken and I apologize. The correct number it is more like 150 - 250 and growing. Whatever the number, it should not be interpreted as small or insignificant. Allow me to explain.
I reported from the event on day one last Saturday, the kick off. Thousands attended. The UK Guardian said 5,000. I said 2,000 - 3,000. The naysayers said hundreds; more police than protesters, but that's just not true.
Here's the thing, OWS isn't a 10 block march. It isn't a 3 hour rally. It's not just a day long march/rally, it ain't no Woodstock. It is an occupation. And until you've experienced it you have no idea how serious and difficult it is. Yesterday I got a taste.
Occupation is a high risk protest tactic because so many things can bring this to a halt including the police, the elements, resources and the logistics. Right now, most of these factors are working against the occupiers.
Overnight occupiers are the keystone. They bear the brunt of the sacrifice and inconvenience. If the space is not held overnight the occupation is over and failed. This aspect of the occupation will be at greater risk with fall weather.
So far the NYPD and Mayor Bloomberg have not allowed the occupiers to raise tents and have gone as far as confiscating plastic traps protecting computers and the communications equipment that provides the live internet video feed.
(I don't want to give more detail on how the occupation sustains the necessary human functions to support the overnight occupiers or how they are maintaining the logistics of meeting the police demands. If any of these are interfered with by the opposition it would create more problems and cost money the OWS General Assembly does not yet have in hand.)
At 7:40 p.m. protesters from a Troy Davis rally in Union Square marched down Broadway and join the OWS effort. That easily raised the crowd to well over 5,000. It also raise the tension with the police. On the subsequent solidarity march to Wall Street six were arrested.
OWS protesters arrested: 21
Wall Street Banksters: 0
NYC Labor Unions in Solidarity with OWS: 3
Yesterday the occupiers marched four times: the Wall Street Opening Bell March, the Closing Bell March, an extra End of The Work Day March at about six o'clock, and then the Troy Davis Solidarity March at eight. Each march is about a 1.5 miles of chanting and takes about an hour.
(I arrived at OWS at two o'clock, did two marches, organized a dozen people to announce 2,300 signatures and comments from supporters around the country and world, did my reporting work and left the city at 10 o'clock. I was exhausted, limped home from the bus stop and found I'd lost 2 pounds this morning - protest diet, try it!)
Add meeting the daily needs of hundreds of sustaining occupiers, plus the work of democratically forming the legal & ideologically underpinnings of this movement and working tirelessly to make it grow.
It's grueling. Occupiers platoon. Some march. Some maintain the space. Some rest. Some work. Some are doing it all.
Here's the good news: despite the adverse conditions and the MSM blackout, OWS growing. Busloads and cars full of people are known to be coming this weekend.
But it's not about just this weekend. OWS needs you to help it grow everyday until the system starts to pay attention. Plan a day and come. Show up for yourself.
9:00 AM - Two NYC Labor unions are now joined in solidarity with OWS: Teamster Union local 814 with 1,300 members, IWW NYC, and today Professional Staff Congress, a union of 20,000 employees from the City University of New York.
11:00 AM - NYPD again takes rain protection tarps shutting down Occupy Wall Street live feed.
12:01 PM - One person arrested by NYPD for bandana wearing.
4:33 PM - Law Sam B. Cohen of Wylie Law still working on NYC throwing-out no tarps rule.
4:35 PM - Occupy Wall Street live video feed returns with Closing Bell March. Media team water-proofing equipment.
4:30 PM - Closing Bell March still happens after rain drenched day.
Correction from previous report: No protester lost a tooth in an NYPD arrest.
7:00 PM - Occupy Wall Street mail drop for donations has been established: UPS Store 118 A #205 New York, NY 10038 - RE: OCCUPY WALL STREET
7:42 PM - General Assembly meeting in the rain.
7:45 PM - NYPD provides big picnic umbrella to protect OWS media Equipment. Media team shouts-out thanks to the NYPD for providing them with an umbrella.
Chaz Valenza is writer and small business owner in New Jersey. He earned his MBA from New York University's Stern School of Business. His current feature film project is "Single Point Failure" an insider's account of how the Reagan Administration caused the greatest tragedy of the space age based on Richard C. Cook's book "Challenger Revealed." He is a former Director of Public Information for Planned Parenthood of NYC. His website is: www.WordsWillNever.com