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.

Caucuses

  • 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]

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