On September 17, 2011, Occupy the San Francisco Financial District kicked off at 555 California Street, outside the Bank of America building, aka the “Wall Street of the West.” Approximately 150 people participated in the opening rally. Members of US Uncut and the Revolutionary Poets Brigade were present, as well as people of all ages and international students. Independent media documented the event with photographs, tweets and video. We shared the megaphone with people in the crowd to hear stories of how they have been affected by corporate greed. US currency was set on fire.
After a couple hours the rally split up into one group who marched to Wells Fargo and down Market Street, and another group who stayed and met in a public assembly. Plans were made to meet again in Union Square the following Saturday. A small group of campers formed and stayed the night, including a couple travelers who had intended to leave San Francisco when they saw a flyer for the event and were compelled to stay, and a young man who had taken a train from Vancouver, Canada to support the movement.
The camp is continuously growing and we have been protesting and organizing ever since. There are now daily meetings at the camp at 6PM and General Assemblies every Saturday in Union Square at noon. This is a leaderless movement that operates on a very democratic and open consensus basis. We developed a process for measuring consensus during our meetings. Raised hands with moving fingers indicate agreement with what is being said, arms crossed over the chest in an X indicate disagreement with what is being said, rolling your forearms over each other indicates disinterest in what is being said. The General Assemblies on Saturday attract about 60 people, this week will likely bring more. The daily meetings at the camp have had up to 20 people.
We want an end to corporate personhood, to corporate greed. That is our main focus right now. Ultimately our demands are the same as the Occupy Wall Street demands.
This is really a global movement. There are people organizing like this in Israel, Egypt, Spain, Iceland, and beyond. We have had involvement by young people from several of these countries here in SF. Also, I received a phone call from a doctor in Uganda one night when I was meeting with some people from the occupation in a Starbucks planning a newsletter. He left a message saying: "we are all waiting for and anticipating" the success of your movement to "wrestle from that evil government" your "just demands" which will "remove the pressure" from the "millions suffering under the yoke of American Imperialism." "I have a radio station and will" report on what is going on there. "One day justice will be done." He said he would call again.