What’s up with Occupy Wall Street?

Excerpts from an article published on Truthout.com on October 10, 2011

Why the Elites Are in Trouble

by: Chris Hedges, Truthdig

On Leaders

“There was a woman [in the medics unit]. This guy was pretending to be a reporter. The first question he asks is, ‘Who’s the leader?’  She goes, ‘I’m the leader.’ And he says, ‘Oh yeah, what are you in charge of?’ She says, ‘I’m in a charge of everything.’ He says, ‘Oh yeah?  What’s your title?’ She says ‘God.’ ”

On Groups

At 9:30 they break into work groups:

  • Contingency group had to decide what to do if they kick us out.
  • Bedding group was to find cardboard for people to sleep on.
  • Arts and culture group
  • Food group was going dumpster diving.
  • Direct action committee plans for direct, visible action like marches.
  • Security team against the cops that might hurt us. They keep people awake in shifts.
  • Work groups make logistical decisions.
  • General assembly makes large policy decisions.
  • Internet work group – The comments are moderated on the live stream. There are moderators who remove racist comments, comments that say ‘I hate cops’ or ‘Kill cops.’ They remove irrelevant comments that have nothing to do with the movement.
  • Open source technology working
  • Media working group
  • Welcome working group for new arrivals
  • Sanitation working group go around the park on skateboards as they carry brooms.
  • Legal working group with lawyers.
  • Events working group
  • Education working group
  • Medics
  • Facilitation working group, which trains new facilitators for the general assembly meetings
  • Public relations working group
  • Outreach working group for like-minded communities as well as the general public.


  • Speak Easy caucus for a broad spectrum of individuals from female-bodied people who identify as women to male-bodied people who are not traditionally masculine.
  • People of color Caucus

On Meetings

The heart of the protest is the two daily meetings in the morning and evening,  which last about two hours, start with a review of process, which is open to change and improvement, so people are clear about how the assembly works. Those who would like to speak raise their hand and get on “stack.”  The stack keeper writes down your name or some signifier for you.  A lot of white men  raise their hands. So, anyone who is not apparently a white man gets to jump stack. The stack keeper makes note of the fact that the person who put their hand up was not a white man and arranges the list so that it’s not dominated by white men. People don’t get called up in the same order as they raise their hand.

Who’s running the show?

There’s two co-facilitators, a stack keeper, a timekeeper, a vibes-person making sure that people are feeling OK, that people’s voices aren’t getting stomped on, and then if someone’s being really disruptive, the vibes-person deals with them.

There’s a note-taker.

We keep the facilitation team one man, one woman, or one female-bodied person, one male-bodied person. When you facilitate multiple times it’s rough on your brain. You end up having a lot of criticism thrown your way. You need to keep the facilitators rotating as much as possible. It’s a priority to have a strong facilitation group.

The most important rule adopted by the protesters is nonviolence and nonaggression against the police, no matter how brutal the police become.

“The cops, I think, maced those women in the face and expected the men and women around them to start a riot,” Ketchup said. “They want a riot. They can deal with a riot. They cannot deal with nonviolent protesters with cameras.”

Occupy Elections, With a Simple Message

Occupy Wall Street protesters stage a demonstration at Foley Square in New York City, November 17, 2011. (Photo: Richard Perry / The New York Times)

George Lakoff, Truthout | Op-Ed

28 November 2011

What’s next? That’s the question being asked as cities close down Occupy encampments and winter approaches.

The answer is simple. Just as the Tea Party gained power, the Occupy movement can. The Occupy movement has raised awareness of a great many of America’s real issues and has organized supporters across the country. Next comes electoral power. Wall Street exerts its force through the money that buys elections and elected officials. But ultimately, the outcome of elections depends on people willing to take to the streets – registering voters, knocking on doors, distributing information, speaking in local venues. The way to change the nation is to occupy elections. [Read more]

The Irony of Thanksgiving

There may be a little more history about the Wampanoag Tribe that you need to know: http://mashpeewampanoagtribe.com/timeline.html

It’s not so warm and fuzzy a history. As the great grand daughter of a Cherokee Indian Chief, I find the celebration of Thanksgiving a little unsettling, since it is meant to present the history of Europeans and Native Americans in a delightfully neighborly light, when Europeans ravaged the lands of indigenous people to make it their own. Surely, Caribbean people understand this activity but it may not be completely the same, since Africans did not inhabit the Caribbean but were shipped their by slave traders. We really need to see colonialism in its true light.

1616 Traders from Europe bring yellow fever to Wampanoag territory. The geographical area affected was all of the 69 tribes of the Wampanoag Nation from present day Provincetown, MA to Narragansett Bay; the boundary of the Wampanoag and Narragansett Nations. Fully two thirds of the entire Wampanoag Nation (estimated at 45,000) die. This also represents a loss of as many speakers of the language. Hardest hit are Elders and small children; critical age groups for any language. European disease would also place in jeopardy each tribes ability to sustain a population for defense of its territory and culture.

1655 Harvard Indian College opens for the purpose of educating Indian youth. Harvard was in financial troubles during this time and felt that if they opened an Indian College they could secure more funding from those benefactors in England. If the Wampanoag population were assimilated to Christianity and moved away from traditional life, the ease with which land could be appropriated would prove profitable.

1742 The Mashpee Wampanoag send a petition for help to the Commissioners of Boston requesting assistance with a myriad of grievances; being beaten by English when fishing or hunting their own Wampanoag territory, having the White neighbors lease out their lands without their permission, the English selling Wampanoag land to one another without the consent of the tribe, of ‘These English neighbors of ours being in our trees, wood, and marsh without our consent’.This document goes on to remind the Commissioners that Mashpee had been legally set aside for Wampanoag only as long as Wampanoag Indians lived. The petition further states: ‘Truly we think it is this way; that soon we poor Indians here in this Indian place of Mashpee soon shall have no place to live together with these poor children of ours’. The problems with the document were that it was written in Wôpanâôt8âôk and the Commissioners most assuredly did not speak the language. Even if there was a translator the Mashpees were asking the very same group of English oppressors to protect them from that oppression.

1763 The State of MA appoints two White overseers to conduct all business pertaining to the Mashpee Wampanoag on behalf of the tribe. The tribe is stripped of the right to negotiate the lease of any of its’ lands or have control over any of the natural resources thereon. Letters of complaint in regard to the overseers misappropriation of tribal resources and funds go unanswered by the State.

1776 Wampanoag men are held in debtor’s jail in Barnstable. Massachusetts offered early release to Wampanoag men provided they agree to fight in the Revolutionary War.

1776 Early release of Wampanoag prisoners rescinded due to the fact that the prisoners, once free, typically ‘take to the woods and are not seen again’.

1776 Of those Wampanoag that do go to war; a census shows that less than ten return home to Mashpee. This leaves a majority of families in the tribe with widows and few men.

1833 The tribe catches Whites poaching wood from within its boarders and dumps the cartload of wood over and runs the poachers off of their land. News stories hit papers all over the State of Massachusetts declaring, ‘Wood Lot Riot’ and ‘Indians in Revolt’. [Source]

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