Zennie Abraham, a blogger at Veterans Today, has lived in Oakland since 1974 and believes that the crowd estimate of the Occupy Oakland General Strike provided by Oakland police is way off. Abraham claims the crowd was much closer to 100,000 than the official count of 7000.
You can’t take a snapshot of an event like this, because of its time length; you have to think of it as a dynamic. In any population there are births, deaths, in-migration, and out-migration. For the Occupy Oakland General Strike, there were no births, thankfully no deaths, but a lot of in-migration and out-migration.
What was so amazing about the size of the crowd both inside the plaza and just outside of it, then marching to the Port of Oakland, was that it did not decrease in size; it increased. And that was with some people leaving it, and others coming in from BART and from around Oakland via foot or other parts of the Bay by car.
For that to happen all day long and considering the capacity of the plaza and the crowds outside of it points to 100,000 people. I’ve never seen anything like that in the entire history of this city.
And that is why it must be said that much of the media should be drawn and quartered for the most irresponsible coverage I’ve ever seen. Many outlets just waited for something bad to happen, or looked for it. But there were so many people more having a great time, that whatever happened was far away from downtown Oakland.
The Whole Foods Oakland Facility is on 27th and Harrison and outside of downtown Oakland, and a good mile away from City Hall Plaza. But to the media eye, the vandalism that happened there made headlines. Let’s just get this out of the way: it should not have happened, but that’s no excuse to get the whole story wrong.
The video below is all the proof anyone would need that the official numbers were way, way off, but 100,000? Oakland’s population is around 300,000, even accounting for the folks who came in from the rest of the Bay area (population 4.5 million) to march, that’s still probably too high a number to be realistic. Still, I’m willing to go along with a tally that’s several times higher than what the Oakland police—and the mainstream media—told us.
What’s important to remember as you watch the size of these marching masses, is that less than two months have passed since Occupy Wall Street began. It’s only going to get more interesting from here on out.
Above, a bird’s eye view of a static crowd of 90,000 people at the Rose Bowl posted by redditter BdotTS.
Remember the straight-talking gentlemen whose rant ”Irish Wanking Bankers” went viral a few months back?
Here’s the sequel, his take on Wall Street shenanigans and the financial system in general. Delightful!
Though he may look like Moe from The Simpsons, Max Keiser is no slouch. A former equities-broker, Max is a colorful and outspoken commentator, whose show, the Keiser Report on Russia Today, is fast becoming required viewing. Of late, he has been hitting major home runs with his astute assessments of current financial and political events.
In the latest edition, “Financial Rape, Financial Pornography”, Max discussed with political analyst, Stacy Herbert, how Goldman-Sachs has a gun to the world’s head, and how banks implement with impunity, a shadow banking system, which is used to get away with stealing money - something Herbert compared to the punishment meted out to a starving mother who when caught stealing a $5 sandwich to feed her child, was sent to prison. As Herbert pointed out, when the top 1% “commit fraud, it is a called an error, a simple accounting error. When a normal person does it, they end up in jail.”
Keiser also talked with James Howard Kunstler, about how the Occupy Movement is changing the world and what affect it will have on next year’s Presidential election. Plus Max asks if corporations are “individuals”, and if so, should they be tried, like “individuals”, and if found guilty, executed?
Thanks to New York photographer Robert Chin for videotaping this and uploading it to Youtube.
Recorded November 3, 2011, 10.15am. The People vs. Goldman Sachs mock trial people’s hearing held at Liberty a/k/a Zuccotti Park with fiery commentary by Dr. Cornel West, eloquence by Chris Hedges, and testimonies from people directly affected by Goldman Sach policies.
You can keep up-to-date with the always compelling Cornel West at his website.
Chris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize winning human rights journalist who writes a weekly column for Truthdig .
This is the kind of street theater we need to see in cities all across America. In addition to marching and occupying public places, we need to explore creative and provocative ways to capture the attention of the media. In our ADD culture, we’ve got to keep things interesting. West and Hedges are taking a page from the Abbie Hoffman play book.
Hedges was arrested along with 15 other protesters following the “people’s trial” when they staged a sit-in outside the headquarters of Goldman Sachs.
The Gothamist reports:
Over a dozen Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested today outside Goldman Sachs, where they had marched with 300 others after holding a mock trial of CEO Lloyd Blankfein. Among those arrested were performance artist gadfly Reverend Billy and author and columnist Chris Hedges, who is a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. Hedges and the Rev joined several others in a direct action protest outside the firm, sitting down on the sidewalk, linking arms, and refusing to leave. It seems clear the activists intended to be arrested; earlier today Reverend Billy tweeted, “I’ll spend the afternoon in a police van with Chris Hedges and come out ten times more READY for the miracle! Revolujah!”
Take your money out of the Evil Empire today! Image via @SKYENICOLAS
Today is Bank Transfer Day, the day to take your money (should you still be lucky enough to have any), transfer it to a credit union, close down your accounts with the big banks and starve them of the oxygen they need to survive: YOUR HARD-EARNED MONEY.
Not everyone can be in Zuccotti Park, but YOU CAN DO THIS!
It’s Saturday. Do you honestly have something better to do than fucking over the big banks? I didn’t think so…
DailyKos blogger frustrated1 told a tale of closing his or her bank accounts, along with her sister under the title “The bank said ‘You’ll Be Back.’” I encourage any of you who are doing this today to post your own first person stories in the comments.
One thing I should probably mention is that my sister is a very successful medical doctor. She makes a ton of money. She also had a ton of money in each of these banks. She decided to close these accounts out of solidarity with OWS protesters.
At Wells Fargo, my sister walked up to the teller and politely asked to close her account. The teller said, “No problem.” She pulled up her account and saw the balance and told her that due to the amount she had to speak with the branch manager. The branch manager came out. He was probably 30 years old and was very arrogant. He asked my sister why she wanted to close her account and my sister told him she thought Wells Fargo was part of the problem with the economy. He went thru some talking points about why she shouldn’t move her money, but my sister didn’t back down. When he asked her where she was going she told him that she would be banking at the North Carolina State Employees Credit Union. She isn’t a state employee, but anyone can join if you are related to a state employee. It turns out her husband is. Anyway, the bankster told her “You’ll be back. Credit unions can’t provide the services you need.” We’ll see about that. She withdrew over $200k from Wells Fargo.
Next we went to Bank of America. I closed my last account with hardly any questions asked. Of course, I had taken most of my money out so there wasn’t much left to take. My sister on the other hand had a large balance in multiple accounts. They actually refused to cut her a check for the full amounts. They only gave her 1/3 of her money and told her she’d have to come back to withdraw the rest. They claimed they were only allowed to make checks for a certain amount, and that they had no authority to cut additional checks on the same day. Stupid BofA. She had her check in hand and politely told off the branch manager when he told her she had to come back another day or two to withdraw the rest.
At BofA, we weren’t the only ones closing accounts. There was a line of people. Most had small accounts because they weren’t even being challenged, but she actually had to wait in line to speak with a branch manager.
At SunTrust, the branch manager went off his rocker. He just kept asking her “is there anything I can do or anything I can say to change your mind?” He asked probably twenty times. He even offered to have the market executive meet with her and hear out her concerns. She told him she wasn’t interested. He really looked nervous about it.
We then took the deposits we had to NCSECU. The people there were busy. There were 5 people in front of us in the line to open an account. When my sister got to the front she learned that the credit union actually has a trust company and wealth management services. Neither of us knew that. She is now considering moving her Merrill Lynch (owned by BofA) accounts to the credit union as well. She’s been with her financial advisor for 15 years, so that’s the biggest reason she hesitates.
How do I move my money out of a big bank? (Mother Jones)
There is an absolutely GENIUS FUNNY missive regarding “what to do” about Occupy Wall Street from one of the “morans” at Tea Party Nation that’s getting passed around this morning and it’s a fuckin’ doozy of dumb, a blizzard of idiocy and slightly more than a soupçon of BALLS TO THE WALL, AGGRESSIVE IGNORANCE. But what did anyone expect? (Even if you had the lowest expectations wait until you get to the “rape camps” section).
It’s a classic in its own demented way. This post was also apparently emailed to members of the Tea Party Nation yesterday and posted on Reddit by postirony. This is good shit. Savor it. Oh and by the way, the TPN poster goes under the nom de plume of “Jane Galt.” Just thought I’d throw that out there, it’s an amusing detail. Here’s an excerpt:
On GBTV this past Monday, Glenn Beck and his guests were discussing Occupy Wall Street ( Which has gone global, as a general socialist-globalist occupation movement now. ), and one of them said that the only way to stop socialism from taking over a country at a point like this, is just to have the police shut them down - break up their demonstrations and riots.
And I was thinking about this. We all have the right to free speech, which anyone can do at any time. We all have the right to petition the government for “redress of grievances”, which anyone can do at any time. And we all have the right to hold a rally, like the Tea Party movement has done on several occasions, though we were totally ignored by this socialist administration and most of the Congress, and even lied about, smeared and called names by the Marxists, as they continue to borrow, spend and tax this country into an eventual Great Collapse.
And meanwhile the Fed continues to devalue our paper and digital currency by constantly expanding the money supply and “loaning” ( more accurately “giving it away”, because so many in the EU can’t reasonably ever be expected to repay it! ) it out all over the world!
(How many of you have noticed a general climate of depression (malaise), especially in the business world, after the August 2nd deadline passed and it became clear that they had no intention of taking any serious steps to correct this, and balance the budget now - not in “10 years or 20 years”, which is meaningless?)
But I digress…
What they don’t have the right to do, and Glenn’s guest was right about this, is to stage - not a demonstration or rally, but an occupation, meant to “bring down” our relatively free market system, capitalism and our individual rights along with it. ( “Capitalism” is, after all, simply the right to own your life and property. )
They don’t have a right to trash things and make parts of these cities uninhabitable in the process. This is an insurrection and these are the kinds of dangerous mobs that led to socialist/communist collapses in eastern bloc countries during the rise of the Soviet Union, and the people in those countries never knew what hit them, until it was too late!
So yes, these people have said their piece, they’ve held rallies and demonstrated, but an Occupation should not be tolerated and they should now be “read the riot act” by the police, and be told to disperse and leave! And if they refuse, the police should force them to disperse!
Update 11-4-11: When I wrote the above blog, I was a little behind on my GBTV. On Tuesday, Glenn Beck reported ( with several video news clips! ) that these “Occupy” Marxist globalist insurrectionists are in fact running their occupied areas as rape camps!
Women, as well as even one man, have been raped, and they’re preventing it from being reported, “for the good of the revolution” and “for the collective good”, which of course outweighs the rights of the individuals being raped and the laws that say that felony crimes must be reported! These crimes would absolutely not be tolerated if the right were doing them, especially the Tea Party movement! Yes, these camps should be shut down, and they should be shut down now and these Marxist revolutionary insurrections should be dispersed immediately!
Rape camps? Wait a minute, “rape camps”?
Yes. Rape camps.
It’s all they’ve got. Bless their pointed little heads.
With today being the first day that recall petitions can be filed in Wisconsin against officials who were elected in November 2010—like say extremely unpopular Republican Governor Scott Walker—we’re happy to report that the first paperwork has indeed been filed with state elections officials to get this sleazy son of a bitch out of office.
WI’s Government Accountability Board confirmed that the request was filed Friday, the first possible date to file a recall petition. Now it’s up to the unions and Democrats in WI to gather 540,000 in the next 60 days to force the recall election. Walker is able to engage in unlimited fundraising now that this initial petition has been filed. The game is on.
The first petition to recall Walker was filed by David Brandt of Muskego in Waukesha County. It’s suspected by some WI Democrats that Mr. Brandt is a Walker supporter who filed the petition today so that Walker’s fundraising could begin immediately. Whether that’s true or not hasn’t been determined, but apparently Brandt gave Walker’s campaign $50 in 2010. It doesn’t rule out that he came to loathe Walker like many others in the state (and nation!) came to loathe this stupid-faced scumbag.
But who cares anyway? It’s not exactly like Walker has the wind at his back or anything, so why wait even one more day? The Republicans are on the run in WI and they are very well-aware of it, too, so why not just get down to the business of ending Scott Walker’s political career ASAP?
GOP efforts to hamstring recall efforts with a plan that would require each recall petition to be notarized were defeated earlier this week and so was a motion to have recall elections take place under a new legislative map favoring the GOP. The Republican efforts to hinder the recall efforts have been moot.
With the threat of these procedural roadblocks now behind them, Wisconsin Democrats plan to file separate recall petitions against Scott Walker and Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch soon.
Below, hapless Reichwing goofball Scott Walker gets a “mic check” in Chicago:
Teargas at 14th & Broadway in Oakland, October 25 2011
This may strike some as trivial, but it can have important implications. YouTube user BLKPXLS brings us a bit of footage from the evening of Occupy Oakland’s General Strike, about which he notes:
This how to properly engage with police when they do suspicious things. We were riding by on bikes and noticed hes hiding his name and has no badge number. SO we decided to ask him. He did not answer, we asked a ranking officer is that policy? The LT. quickly went about fixing his attitude. This is a common practice among cops at occupy’s around the US .That way he/she cannot be named or referenced if he participates in police miss-conduct . Its in most police departments policies that all officers in uniform must show some form of identification. OPD does not wear badges with #‘s, how do we hold anyone accountable?
THANKS OPD LT C.WONG for stepping up and holding the officer accountable on camera!
This might remind us of the extremely salient fact that as investors in society and our police departments, we have a right to know the identity of EVERY officer enforcing the law.
Unfortunately, depending on the general temperament of the PD in your area, this could be a risky move. So be careful, and big up BLKPXLS and all camera-armed cop-watchers on the ground.
The footage in the video below recalls some of what I was witness to and part of during the People’s Park protest and riots in May of 1969 in Berkeley, California.
I’m a pacifist but I understand there comes a point when the destruction of the symbols of oppression and exploitation that represent the institutions that have robbed us of our freedom and human rights becomes an inevitable part of any political insurrection that has as its goal radical social change. We need to pour some sugar in the gas tank of the fascist limousine. Systems need to be derailed. You can start by dropping a steaming turd in the night deposit box at your neighborhood Bank Of America. Consider it customer feedback.
Insurrection is the unwelcome guest at the party none of us were invited to but we all intend to crash. Revolution wears a tank top and shows up at your door with a chainsaw and a peace sign.
Revolutions are vital but unpredictable.They’re in a constant state of updating themselves and we never know just what form they’re gonna take. They’re human and in constant flux. Change changes. And revolution is change. It can come as an organic spontaneous eruption hitting as much as it misses or as a mystical constellation of galvanizing points of energy that no one comprehends but everyone understands. Perhaps it will come in the form of methodical, precise, surgical strikes that cripple the components that animate the machinery of tyranny. However it comes, its intent should be to send a clear, uncompromising and fear-inducing signal to the powers that be that we will no longer tolerate injustice or continue to feed the insatiable appetite of the greed-driven 1% as they systematically corporatize our planet, consume our resources, and control our lives.
It is important to recognize that the attention violent actions generate, even when the targets are inanimate objects, is not automatically the kind of attention that benefits a protest movement in its infancy.
Finding the balance between fucking the system and fucking ourselves is the art of revolution. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing regimes topple with minimal damage done to the activists who put their lives on the line to restore the vestiges of what is left of our dwindling humanity. Martyrdom may be the stuff of myth but it’s no substitute for the liberating joy of being alive and dancing on the graves of the dictators and tyrants we’ve toppled. I’d rather live in a tipi on the front lawn of the former White House than have my dead face silk-screened on a t-shirt.
Berkeley/Oakland has a long history of “taking it to the streets” and with that activist spirit comes the risk of non-violent demonstrations turning into riots. In my own experience of almost 45 years of being a political activist, I’ve seen protests escalate into riots when cops, working in tandem with undercover agitators planted among the protesters in carefully orchestrated scenarios, incite violence to discredit and demonize legitimate non-violent protest movements. Add to that volatile mix a bunch of shit stirrers claiming to be “anarchists” and you have the chaotic situation that occurred on November 2 in Oakland.
Abby Martin of Media Roots was on the front lines of the war in the streets of Oakland during the aftermath of the Occupy Oakland general strike and shutdown of the port on November 2, 2011.
Over 10,000 peaceful protesters successfully shut down the Port of Oakland, the fifth largest port in the country at 8pm earlier that night. About two hours later, the anarchist “Black Bloc” came to downtown, smashing windows of banks and setting trash cans on fire.
The Oakland PD in full riot gear lined up and marched toward the now out of control rally. They started firing smoke grenades and tear gas into the crowd of people, to which people starting throwing bottles and other objects back to the police.
After the crowd scattered, the police lined up and starting to close in and arrest the remaining protesters at the Occupy Oakland camp.
The OWS movement is getting to that point where mere words and picnics in city parks must and will be replaced by militant action. Those actions need to be well-thought-out, organized and the product of a democratic process. We need to apply steady and continued pressure on our so-called government to either align itself with the people or get the fuck out of the way. It is also essential that we realize there are systems in place that are just waiting to crush this movement. One critical thing that is working in our favor is that while the cops may have the guns I think they’re starting to realize they don’t have the power - they’re on the wrong side of history. When they start seeing their neighbors, children and parents standing in the front lines of the OWS movement, their loyalties will shift and shift swiftly. Pigs are the most intelligent of the barnyard animals.
And to the “anarchists”, I say “fuck off!” You’ve never figured into any successful social uprising at any point in history, now or ever. You are to the revolution what porn is to sex.