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Today is a national Day of Action, with direct actions and other demonstrations happening across the country throughout the day. The date marks the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. We will include in tomorrow’s round-up a compilation of actions across the country. OWS has created a new map of actions and incidences, similar to the one created by Mother Jones, and a Wiki page that includes information about projects, groups and resource needs.
Day of Action, Briefly
The Day of Action started with hundreds of OWS protesters marching through New York’s financial district, sitting on the ground, and blocking traffic, bringing taxis and deliveries to a halt. At least a dozen have been arrested. (USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Associated Press, LA Times, ABC, CBS). In downtown Los Angeles, hundreds of protesters plan to shut down streets during the morning rush hour (ABC-affiliate). Members of Occupy Los Angeles and Good Jobs LA are calling on Congress to hold Wall Street accountable and targeting Bank of America for taking bailout money while paying its CEO a hefty salary.
Two dozen millionaires stormed Capitol Hill on Wednesday demanding lawmakers raise their taxes, reported CNN Money. The millionaires want Congress to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire. They planned to push lawmakers to reject any deal that the Supercommittee delivers that doesn’t raise taxes on millionaires. The group includes several current and former Google employees, economist Nouriel Roubini, “The Sopranos” star Edie Falco, and others. Herman Cain cancelled an appearance at his Iowa campaign headquarters because of OWS protesters, according to Politico. About 100 Occupy San Francisco protesters swarmed into a Bank of America branch on Wednesday and tried to set up camp in the lobby, chanting “money for schools and education, not for banks and corporations” (CBS). Local filmmaker and star of HBO series “The Neistat Brothers” Casey Neistat has set the NYPD’s raid of Zuccotti Park and the events that followed it on Tuesday to music – Frank Sinatra’s iconic “New York, New York” in a video, reported DNA News. The music contrasts with the harshness of the visuals.
More stories about Oakland Mayor Quan’s comments that suggested that mayors around the country may be coordinating their evictions of Occupy protesters (Mother Jones). Occupy Philly protesters have been told to move because their permit expires, according to the Wall Street Journal. The story noted that relations between Philadelphia city officials and protesters have been largely cooperative, although the relationship has frayed recently with the Mayor taking a harder line on the group. A Slate story noted that the D.C. Council stated that they don’t view the Occupy DC encampment at McPherson Square as a danger.
THE OWS BIG PICTURE
Working Class Voters, Dems
Washington Post’s Greg Sargent argues that the battle over what OWS means actually represents a larger battle over winning over working class swing voters. His piece features a chart and accompanying report by Working America that demonstrate how “crucial and volatile” this constituency is. In Florida, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, working class voters went from a big margin for Obama in 2008 to a negative or equal margin for Dems two years later. Of the national vote that swung between 2008 and 2010, the largest segment, 44%, is made up of these voters. Sargent posits that if a genuine populist message is resonating among these voters next year, Democrats have a better chance of winning them back. For this reason, conservatives and Republicans continue pushing the same negative memes about protesters’ behaviors and violence and exploiting the long running cultural fault line between working class voter and middle class liberal activists.
OWS Moving in New Direction?
A Slate story noted experts who think Occupations were good start, but that the movement should now move in new direction – e.g. direct actions against banks. However, occupiers are still intent on continuing occupations. Similarly, dozens of organizers maintained the movement had already reshaped the public debate and no longer needed to rely solely on seizing parks or other acts of street theater, according to a New York Times story. The story noted the movement may be starting a new chapter that involves broadening the movement’s influence through community coalition building, direct actions, and considering like-minded political candidates. Josh Eidelson offers up 5 directions OWS may go next in his piece for The American Prospect, including working more closely with Organizing for Occupation, an anti-foreclosure group; further joining with the labor movement; organizing more creative direct actions; organizing rolling occupations that move from space to space; and continuing strikes in New York all winter.
Yesterday, media stories picked up on speculations that the White House shooting suspect Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez spent time with Occupy DC protesters, e.g. stories from ABC, Politico, conservative paper Washington Examiner and conservative blog Powerline. Subsequently, it became known that authorities had no evidence that Ortega-Hernandez was part of the Occupy DC.
Bracing for today’s day of action, conservatives have renewed their efforts to push the meme of the violent, dirty, unintelligent protester (conservative blog Hot Air. Conservative blogs have also scoffed at yesterday’s action on the Hill by the two dozen millionaires Daily Caller).