Nov. 17 - Tens of Thousands March in New York for the 99%
and for Democracy
1. Occupy Wall Street Returns To The Brooklyn Bridge (Lila
Shapiro and Matt Sledge in Huffington Post)
2. Occupy Wall Street's Student Supporters Walk Out Of Class
In Solidarity (Amanda M Fairbanks in Huffington Post)
3. #N17: Bridge Actions Cross The Country (SEIU New Media)
4. Facebook posts on today's actions in New York (Rick
Brown, Faye Moore, Stephanie Luce, Jo-Ann Demas, The Last
Occupy Wall Street Returns To The Brooklyn Bridge
by Lila Shapiro and Matt Sledge,
Huffington Post staff reporters
November 17, 2011
Three days ago, Zuccotti Park was a functioning home for
hundreds of demonstrators at the center of what has become a
world-wide movement protesting economic injustice. Thursday
afternoon, it was ringed by police in riot gear and
barricades, dozens of police vans, and legions of media
documenting those who remain.
After two days of chaos following an early morning raid
earlier this week, when nearly 200 people were arrested,
Thursday's string of protests, beginning at 7:00 a.m.,
served as a powerful rallying cry for thousands outraged by
the eviction. They streamed to Foley Square and across the
Brooklyn Bridge, where they projected a 99 percent logo onto
the nearby Verizon building. Approximately 250 were arrested
on Thursday, according to the NYPD, but few of those arrests
occurred on the bridge itself.
Among the most dedicated protesters, there were many mixed
emotions. Despite all of the problems -- such as drugs and
assault -- inherent in life on the streets of New York, the
park had provided the movement with an anchor, coordinating
capacity, and public face to the world. But there was also a
substantial amount of relief: simply sustaining life in the
park -- handling security, providing food, preparing for
plunging temperatures -- took a massive amount of energy.
Looking out over the thousands gathered in Foley Square on
Thursday night, Daniel Zetah, 35, said he felt galvanized by
what he saw, and also relieved.
"I keep trying to tell people that the occupation was just a
strategy," Zetah said, looking out past a group of reverends
on stage addressing the crowd, to a sea of union signs from
the United Auto Workers, the United Federation of Teachers
and the Service Employees International Union. "I saw first-
hand how many thousands of hours it took to keep it going,
keep it safe. Now that it's gone, we finally get a break."
Zetah, who had been living in Zuccotti Park and is now couch
surfing, said he believes that the amount of energy that
went into sustaining life in the park will now be spent
elsewhere. Although there are a number of upcoming events
planned, precisely where that energy will go remains largely
Krystin, a 19-year-old protester from the Bronx who declined
to give her last name, said she had been sleeping in
Zuccotti Park for weeks -- until the eviction on Tuesday,
when she was arrested. Upon being released around 4 p.m. on
Tuesday, she said, "I walked right from 1 Police Plaza to
Zuccotti Park with my release papers in my hands."
Standing on the Brooklyn Bridge, in the middle of a
precession of thousands, she said she thought Mayor
Bloomberg made a strategic mistake in evicting the occupiers
when he did. "I think we owe Bloomberg a big thanks. It's
been big since the raid, and our numbers continue to grow."
One strategy for the movement's post-Zuccotti growth took
place Thursday afternoon, underground. Sixteen groups
planned to "Occupy the Subway," beginning at different
points throughout the five boroughs, to converge at Foley
Around 50 or so occupiers rode from 125th Street in
Manhattan down to Chambers Street, and then marched
together, picking up protesters as they traveled. One man, a
60-year-old named Reggie, had not planned to head to the
square, but decided to set aside his previous plans when he
heard the protesters' stories shouted via the people's
microphone from the subway cars.
"My intention was not to come down here, but this is
important," Reggie said. "It's winter, it's cold, they need
to know that people appreciate what they're doing."
Others were angered by the protesters' vocal presence on the
subway. "I gotta go pick up my kids and you're holding up
the fucking train," a man shouted above the voice of
occupiers. "Who's going to fucking pay for the babysitter
when I'm late? You're holding everybody up."
"He doesn't understand," a woman responded. "This is about
economic injustice, and apathetic people like him are the
reason this country is in the toilet."
The group left the subway and began marching toward Foley
Square, shouting, "We are the 99 percent! This is what
democracy looks like!"
The mostly young group of core occupiers were joined by
thousands of well wishers, union members and community
activists of all ages in the largest demonstration in Foley
Square since the last large-scale meeting there on Oct. 5.
The spirit of Oct. 1 -- when more than 700 were arrested on
the Brooklyn Bridge, launching the movement into the media
spotlight -- was echoed Thursday night, this time by more
traditional left activists. Mary Kay Henry, the president of
SEIU, and Jumaane Williams, a city councilman from Brooklyn,
were arrested with a reported 100 others in what was an
apparently planned act of civil disobedience. As one
protester put it Thursday afternoon, "99 arrests for the 99
Another protester on the bridge, 24-year-old Michael
Pellagatti, was carrying a memento from his arrest on Oct.
1: plastic flexicuffs used in his arrest. He said he was
moved to march by a belief that the big banks are profiting
off of America's wars abroad.
"I'm not getting arrested today!" he exclaimed as he held
the cuffs aloft on Thursday night. The last time he was
marching across the bridge, he said, he had been tricked.
After watching others jump off the pedestrian walkway and
onto the road deck, he followed suit. "I said oh, I guess
Pellagatti, who works as a concierge for a financial
services firm, said he has been crashing at friends' houses
since he lost his primary residence, Zuccotti Park, on
"I actually slept in the park during the day because I work
the night shift," he said. So he was working when he heard
about the raid. "I said, no way, my house is being evicted."
[Lila Shapiro is a Business Writer at the Huffington Post.
She previously worked at Talking Points Memo, editing
TPMCafe. She lives in New York City and can be reached at
[log in to unmask] Follow her on Twitter @lilapearl.
Matt Sledge is a writer for the Huffington Post based in New
York. A graduate of Brown University, he was previously the
Rhode Island director for FairVote. He can be reached by
emailing [log in to unmask] ]
Occupy Wall Street's Student Supporters Walk Out Of Class In
by Amanda M Fairbanks,
Huffington Post staff reporter
November 17, 2011
NEW YORK -- On a damp Thursday afternoon, several hundred
students walked out of class and gathered in Union Square
Park to demonstrate continued solidarity with the Occupy
Wall Street movement.
As they have during previous demonstrations, many students
expressed outrage over the increasing cost of tuition and
rising amounts of student loan debt, not to mention a dearth
of decent job prospects for many in their peer group.
Protesters also voiced disdain over Tuesday morning's
surprise raid on Zuccotti Park, when the New York City
Police Department evicted and arrested protesters.
"We need to send a message to Mayor Bloomberg that his
cowardly and violent raid in the middle of the night will
only fuel our movement," said Caitlin MacLaren, a 20-year-
old sophomore at New York University. "Today is an
opportunity to demonstrate that the movement is not only
still viable, but that it's still very much alive. This
movement exists not only inside Zuccotti Park, but beyond
MacLaren is part of the New York City Student Assembly,
which helped organize Thursday's student-led strike in
defense of education. The group convenes weekly in
Washington Square Park and comprises students from the State
University of New York (SUNY), the City University of New
York (CUNY), Columbia University, the New School, New York
University, Pratt Institute and the Juilliard School, among
Thursday's protest in New York was part of a formal week of
student-organized action that began on Nov. 14 and will last
until Nov. 21. Next Monday, the week's activities will
culminate in a rally at Madison Square Park followed by a
march to Baruch College, where the CUNY Board of Trustees is
meeting to vote on a potential tuition increase.
Since the Occupy Wall Street movement began exactly two
months ago, college students from all over the nation have
organized four formal nationwide acts of support.
Thursday's demonstration by New York City college students
occurred alongside similar strikes on nearly 100 campuses in
cities nationwide. Occupy Colleges, a student-led initiative
based in Los Angeles, reports that 93 campuses pledged to
convene at 3:00 p.m EST.
Natalia Abrams, 31, who lives in L.A. and helps to organize
Occupy Colleges, booked a red-eye flight to New York
immediately following the raid on Zuccotti Park.
"To me, it felt like they were tearing down our capital, the
symbolic icon of this whole movement," said Abrams, standing
in the middle of throngs of students in Union Square Park.
"While they might be able to take away our camp, they can't
take away our idea. It's imperative that students keep
And show up they did. "Students and workers, shut the city
down," chanted the impassioned crowed gathered in Union
Square. After convening an hour-long public assembly, the
group marched to Foley Square to meet up with other Occupy
Wall Street protesters participating in an all-day citywide
show of support.
Rugan Lewis, a 28-year-old student at the New School's
Eugene Lang College, held up a sign that read: "Economic
justice and education." Over the past month and a half,
Lewis has walked out of class on three separate occasions to
express his growing discontent.
"I came back to school to try and find better job
opportunities," said Lewis, a history major who will
graduate next spring with about $30,000 in student loan
debt. "But since I became a student, there are even fewer
job opportunities available."
In a related effort, next Monday also marks the formal
launch of a "student-debt refusal" campaign. The debtors'
pledge asks that signers refuse to make their student loan
payments after one million signatures have been procured.
"There's a crescendo building around this topic and this
sense that this is really the right moment to push for
something to finally be done about it," said Andrew Ross, a
professor of social and cultural analysis at NYU. Ross is
also a member of the Occupy Wall Street Education and
Empowerment working group, which is spearheading the
As a professor, Ross sees himself as directly implicated in
the issue of education-related debt. The average NYU student
finishes school owing $35,000. It's among the highest
reported debt loads in the nation.
"It's been soul-destroying to see my students sagging under
this heavy burden and knowing it will follow them for
decades," said Ross. "There was a point at which I realized
my salary was debt-financed and paid in part by the
willingness of my students to go into debt in order to
finance their education. It seems to me not only immoral,
[Amanda M. Fairbanks is an education reporter at the
Huffington Post. She most recently worked as education
editor of GOOD Magazine. Prior to that she worked in the
editorial department of The New York Times and taught sixth
grade in New York City as part of the Teach for America
program. She is a graduate of Smith College and spent two
years at Columbia's Graduate School of Journalism.]
#N17: Bridge Actions Cross The Country
by SEIU New Media
November 17, 2011 - 8:35 PM EST
We're declaring an Economic Emergency for the 99%.
Despite months of demands by our community, despite millions
of people out of work calling for change, Congress and the
Wall Street banks continue to maintain the status quo,
enriching themselves at the expense of the rest of us.
Today we are saying enough is enough.
Our bridges need repair. Fixing them could put unemployed
people back to work. These actions are a powerful symbol of
our leaders' failure to pass a jobs bill or do anything to
help the 99%, while the richest 1% keep getting richer.
We're live-blogging throughout the day as these actions take
place in dozens of cities, including New York, Los Angeles,
Portland, Detroit, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, DC,
Seattle, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Houston and Miami.
You can also follow us on Twitter at @SEIU for breaking
news, photos and lots of live updates.
[ go to
for reports from Augusta (ME), Baltimore, Chicago,
Cleveland, Detroit, Great Falls (MT), Hartford, Houston,
Iowa City, Kalamazoo (MI), Los Angeles, Milwaukee,
Minneapolis, New York City, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh,
Portland, Richmond, Saginaw (MI), Seattle, Washington, DC
Facebook posts on today's actions in New York
Home safe and sound but tired after a full day of Occupy
Wall Street actions. Attempts to shut down NYSE this morning
exhilarating in spite of police brutal over-reaction -
protestors good humor and tactical agility impressive. Large
turnout for evening rally and march over Brooklyn Bridge was
beautiful and fun. Most thrilling was stumbling into student
strike and rally @ Union Square. When we left to march to
Foley Square to join other groups, cops were taken by
surprise when we went 16th street and down FifthAve. IN THE
STREET and were cheered from windows by workers. 5th Avenue
shut down at 4PM was quite a feeling... More to come.
My toes are still cold, my fingers have finally warmed up,
I'm coughing up a storm but I was where we belonged walking
across the Brooklyn Bridge with the rest of the 99%. Can't
wait to see the mainstream news coverage. They spent the 12
hours prior to the rally alternately scaring people and
minimizing the impact of our actions. Anywhere you looked on
the bridge it was "what democracy looks like...
While marching on the Brooklyn Bridge we saw that someone
had found a way to project light messages on the Verizon
building, including "99%," "Don't be afraid." "We are
winning," messages in support of Verizon workers, and
messages supporting Occupy camps all over. Then, "We are
unstoppable, another world is possible." It was amazing.
After an amazing morning, the afternoon got only better. I
met with XXX and XXX who came from Western Mass to join the
protest. We joined the student strike at Union Square, then
took off on an unpermitted march through the city. We went
about 3 miles, all the way to Foley, on the streets. A few
nights ago I stood with Penny Lewis at 2 a.m. feeling
completely powerless and enraged as the police raided
Zuccotti and totally outnumbered us. And then today we just
took over! We had so many people they couldn't catch us, and
we just kept going - sometimes running to keep our lines
closed. The police diverted parts of the crowd, and pushed
some onto sidewalks, but we kept on the streets almost the
whole way, as motorcycle cops got closer and closer behind
us. It was exhilarating!
is with thousands of the 99% at Foley Square/Brooklyn Bridge
area for Occupy Wall Street. The spirit is amazing. I've
never seen such diversity and unity. Best chant I heard:
"Students and unions marching together."
The Last Internationale
NYPD, overlord of these streets
They surround us with guns
Then they say that we are free
They might take you in
But if you're nice they'll let you go
But all it takes is a badge to make Napoleon tall
Good cop, bad cop
It don't mean shit to me at all
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