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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: San Francisco | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism
Global Revolution Marches Through San Francisco
Occupy Wall Street Comes To Occupy San Francisco
GLOBAL REVOLUTION MARCHES THROUGH SAN FRANCISCO
The Canadian culture-jamming magazine, Adbusters, sent word to on-the-ground Manhattan organizers that, starting Saturday, Sept. 17, 2011, for several months, 20,000 people should set up camp and occupy Wall Street.
Organizers receiving the message wanted to use a 2000 Federal Court ruling confirming the legality of sleeping on the sidewalk as a means of social expression.
This legal test was the unanticipated spark that sent the spontaneous Occupy Wall Street firestorm flashing across America through the entire spectrum of races, ages, and sexual orientations, where it continues touching off sympathy occupations in cities nationwide.
The Manhattan protestors marched on Wall Street, occupying New York's financial district. They self-identified as the 99 Percent who came to call a halt to bank theft and corporate corruption perpetrated by the One Percent: The 400 families hoarding U.S. wealth, the fat cat bankers and corporate CEOs receiving enormous bonuses while the poor, unemployed, and unhoused starve.
Eyewitness and Occupy Wall Street participant, Ryan, excited by the potential of this massive protest, organized by consensus decision-making, drove cross country to the Occupy San Francisco sister protest. He reported that, “On the morning of the 19th, the first Monday after the action started, we actually had a moving picket in front of Wall Street that slowed people from getting to their jobs by the opening bell, and the Stock Market took a hit that morning.”
Soon the NYPD brutalized the marchers and moved them two blocks away to Zuccotti Park where they get free food and medical care and are building an unstoppable social movement.
Holding the area night and day has been massively successful. Crowds grow daily. Notables have visited and spoken, encouraging the occupiers. Roseanne Barr, Susan Sarandon, Michael Moore and Cornell West appeared in the park and on occupiers live stream videos posted on their daily blog.
Wall Street Occupiers are ever-aware of Tahrir Square, while sympathy occupations happen globally.
According to Michael Moore on Current TVs Countdown with Keith Olbermann, “Mayor Blumberg said last week – If we don't provide jobs right away there are going to be riots.”
“This is Mayor Blumberg, the billionaire talking. This is not Michael Moore saying this.
“The smart rich know they can only build the gates so high, and sooner or later history proves that people --- when they've had enough --- aren't going to take it anymore.”
The Occupy Wall Street blog posted a video of The great Professor, Cornel West, telling the crowd who used the People's microphone, repeating each phrase of his speech to all around them, “There is a sweet spirit in this place --- everyday people, who take a stand with great courage and compassion because we oppose the greed of Wall Street oligarchs and corporate plutocrats who squeeze the democratic juices out of this country and other places around the world.”
“A similar story happened” in San Francisco,” observed Ryan. On Saturday, Sept. 17, “People tried to occupy the Federal Building and 555 California Bank of America.” The police moved them out to Justin Herman Plaza for their nightly 6:00 p.m. meetings, then two blocks down to a park where homeless people regularly sleep.
The growing band of occupiers became honored participants at a Make Banks Pay rally marching angrily down Market Street on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2011, to banks along the way.
Milling around 555 California plaza waiting for the gathered group to march, a balding blue collar worker joked. “I am a broke, unemployed 'drone' with Occupy San Francisco, a grassroots movement.” He spent his last dollar buying a plane ticket to attend the October 6, 2011 Washington, D.C. protest.
Pat Gray, a retired teacher handed out flyers. “I am so upset with the political system! Congress is 100% corrupt. Our Congressional members listen to their contributors, not their constituents.”
She announced that from 3:00 to 6:00 October 6, 2011 at the 7th and Mission Federal Building, a group named 'The 99% Coalition,' who can't afford to go to Washington on October 6 will speak “loud and clear, and tell them what we want.”
Supervisor, John Avalos, Mayoral candidate launched the protest, nodding toward the Bank of America skyscraper.
“This building is a symbol of the incredible greed and wealth accumulated into fewer and fewer hands in our country.” B of A got a $230 million dollar bailout.
“They are firing 30,000 workers across the Nation. Our economy's in shambles; (we have) joblessness and homelessness in San Francisco.
“You strong, union, community, small business people fighting back give me hope.”
Avalos reported Bank of America and Wells Fargo each hold 3 billion dollars of San Francisco's 6.8 billion dollar budget. “If we pooled our money from Bank of America and Wells Fargo, and created our own bank, we would have control of our own tax dollars. We could leverage that to build our local economy,” support small businesses and property owners, create more services, and build more houses.
To resounding cheers, he called, “Can we create our own municipal bank in San Francisco? Yes we can!”
Chanting, “Who bailed the banks out? We bailed the banks out!” “Make Them Pay!” “The People United Will Never Be Divided!” thousands of marchers stormed Market street banks, massing before police lines outside Charles Schwab and Citibank doors. Protestors who got inside were arrested, notably a Viet Nam Vet's widow, Brenda, whose mortgage was sliced and diced, then Citibank tried to evict her. She spoke to the crowd vowing they'd never get her home.
Unemployed Tom Komita trudged down Market. “I currently can't find work. My situation is part of this larger situation, so I'm here in support of everybody.”
Slender, graying marcher, Paul Larudie, a shirtsleeved business type, yelled, “All banks are responsible for the home foreclosures. We're the ones that kept them in business. They need to re-negotiate in good faith, reduce the principle, and make payments affordable to people who lost incomes.”
Charles Schwab employees on upper floors standing behind protective glass scoffed at protestors below. Someone pointed out “these arrogant people up there!” Another remarked, “Before her head rolled, Marie Antoinette said, 'Let them eat cake.”
Picking up the eating meme, a man recalled the video, 'Eat the Rich.' “Ted Turner predicted in a few years the rich will have to cannibalize human beings,” he sneered.
An upraised sign announced, “Abraham Lincoln. John Quincy Adams. Benjamin Franklin would not approve!”
Chris Tully walked past saying, “They played a shell game and brought down the economy. We've been robbed. We've still got the collapse of the dollar coming. Let's come out, be aggressively non-violent, and make our point.” He marched to the 6:00 p.m. Occupy SF meeting at Justin Herman Plaza.
Erica from Ukiah camps with Occupy SF in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, “so the One Percent (won't) hold onto all the money of the 99 Percent anymore. If we join together little by little, the One Percent will have to pay attention to the 99 Percent. We are the people, and we are that 99 Percent.”
Erica reported San Francisco occupiers have been gathering for regular 6:00 meetings in Justin Herman Plaza. “The City likes to hose the park down, so we can't sleep there.“ The group peacefully complies with requests to move.
This beautiful San Francisco evening across from the Embarcadero waterfront, a group of about fifty at the 6:00 General Assembly circle sat on the concrete passing a microphone to each speaker. New attendees funneled in from the march fleshing out the numbers, which thirteen days ago had been only 6 to 8.
Ryan speculated that the General Assembly would discuss, and hopefully come to consensus, on “whether we're going to move our occupation to an actual place like the B of A or the Federal Reserve,” make a stronger statement, and make something bigger happen. This move would be inevitable in an ever-evolving Occupation that is in San Francisco to stay.