Growing pains and a spreading movement generated a ‘back-handed’ reaction from a few of our nation’s 1% (the HAVES), at a Chicago protest. (1:20 minutes)
If that video does not anger you about the 99% and the 1 %, you should not bother to read further.
Jonathan Willson, a 21-year-old student who attends Johnson State College in Vermont, found himself in New York City’s Foley Square on Wednesday night for a solidarity rally. No union member himself, he was surrounded by thousands from the labor movement and wore a DC 37 Local 372 trucker hat he’d been given the night before.
Since Monday, Willson had camped out with friends from school, alongside several hundred other occupiers in Zuccotti Park
The Occupy Walls Street (OWS) protest has developed from a few hundred protesters in mid-September to over 10,000 in the New York yesterday. The New York location is important because it was the birthplace of the ‘grass roots’ movement.
As with all births, hatch-lings or ground breaking seedlings, if they are fed properly they grow. OWS is growing almost exponentially. Most major cities across the United States have ‘seedling’ groups; some have developed into larger groups, while others have developed such that protest marches are taking place. As of this writing, a comprehensive listing of OWS locations would be fruitless because new locations have gone public each day for the past two weeks. The following list of regions have active links that show cities with groups or that have experienced protest activity. The total number as of this writing seems to be in the range of 900 locations. Less than five weeks ago, there was one location. after the police brutality of late September the number of locations have increased.
Find an Occupy event organizer near you: (OWS live feed)
INTERNATIONAL (as of this posting, includes organizations in Canada, Australia, UK, Europe, Japan and Mexico. More will be added as they get organized.)
Two significant things are taking place as the OWS spreads across the globe: Right-Wing demagoguery has increased and caution for the OWS manifests (as well it should).
Concerns with affiliation…
During a recent segment of The Last Word, Lawrence O’Donnell sat with Van Jones, Founder and President of Rebuilding the Dream and former White House official. Jones mentioned that his organization has plans to join in national protest and I got the impression he was hopeful of a close affiliation with OWS. He did not specifically state that he wanted to blend any aspects of his organization with OWS, but he without a doubt would like to leverage the success of the OWS as a liberal movement. I have complete respect for Van Jones as an American liberal who has the wherewithal to start an organization, add structure, and ‘call for action’ against those in opposing political and social ‘camps.’
Earlier in the week, OWS got full support from a number of unions in the New York City Metro Area, as well as from the AFL-CIO and at least one union from Vermont. Union support is critical as collective bargaining has historically aligned with the Democratic Party and progressive policies. Support for unions tends to spread outside of the scope of ‘card-carrying’ membership; often complete families support unions based on the membership or job security of even a remote family member. Despite less union membership across the nation, collective bargaining remains a solid basis of organizational support for progressive policies and practices. (Sidebar: Dwindling union membership tracks directly along with reduced benefits offered by corporate America). Unions are bastions of organizational structure and actually derive (and leverage) their power via that structure. Union support, again has been good for the growing OWS.
Van Jones’ newly formed Rebuilding The Dream and unions have reached-out to join in the OWS grassroots movement. It is the right thing to do for progressive groups.
According to an OWS spokesperson, the OWS is cautious of affiliations.
HUFFPOST Business Reports….
As labor unions and some Democratic Party politicians express support for the Occupy Wall Street movement, the core group of occupiers themselves are increasingly facing the question of whether too much mainstream support could dampen their radical message.
Protesters seem generally appreciative of the increasing union support for the movement — but more wary of Democrats and establishment figures getting involved.
“We’re very excited to have our union brothers and sisters march on the heart of greed,” spokesman Patrick Bruner told HuffPost before a 10,000-strong Wednesday march organized in coordination with labor.
“We don’t necessarily think that the way they’re structured is the best,” Bruner said, referring to the unions’ top-down organizational style. “But we believe the 99% needs a voice, and they’re one of the few remaining.”
Occupy Wall Street has steadfastly denied a central leadership structure. OWS clearly has a group of highly focused intellectuals who are providing guidance and making behind the scene decisions. I think their decisions and their methods of guiding the protests are commendable. Good decisions led to the creation of the OWS, and would not be touching the minds and hearts of other frustrated people otherwise. It has passed one test; that of not shrinking after the recent brutality of the NYPD. It has not been tested for endurance (loss of excitement, weather, and coming Right-wing malfeasance).
Unions have been tested from the early 1900′s until today. They know how to withstand the inevitable and the have a voice (politically and socially). Van Jones and Rebuild the Dream will tap into minority organizations almost immediately. Jones needs OWS to leverage his Rebuild the Dream; Jones knows that fact as well as he knows his mission.
OBSERVATION and COMMENT: For OWS, it is wise to retain its autonomy while sharing progressive or far left views. Its ‘anonymous’ leaders obviously recognize value in support from unions. A question remains about how OWS will affiliate with Rebuild the Dream. My thoughts are the three entities will coalesce in some way while maintaining their separate organizations. The greatest question is how they benefit each other and what is mutually beneficial towards a common goal.
Do they have a common goal?
It is till fuzzy but shaping as time passes. That will have to change. Wall street is not going away, fact. Well, how do the three organizations want it to change? How can the collective priorities result in jobs? If they fail and do not help secure jobs for people, they will fade and the GOP will have better opportunity to take-over federal governance in 2012. How do they impact next years elections. A third-party?
Last comments. Notice, both unions and Rebuild the Dream seem to have structures that are hierarchical. How will OWS avoid hierarchy–will they? Hierarchy can be very harmful due to it’s top-down structure because it can draw the worse from many people. Maybe, just maybe they (OWS) know that and are bound to reject it.
I noticed today that the Las Vegas OWS is having problems coming together. A member of the movement has written on an OWS website about problems ‘forming’ when there is no central structure to give guidance. New York and the very populated East Coast provides opportunity in numbers; small cities do not offer same opportunity. OWS will need to provide structure in remote locations.