Occupations take root across the country, attract growing support

By LeiLani Dowell , NYC FIST

Following the lead of Occupy Wall Street, occupations are growing in size and number across the country, with actions taking place in hundreds of cities. The following reports from Workers World correspondents give a flavor for some of those demonstrations.

Boston: More than 100 arrested

Philadelphia
WW photo: Joseph Piette

At 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 11, hundreds of state, transit, city and riot police tore into the second campsite of Occupy Boston, dragging and handcuffing participants and arresting 100 of them. The cops also stole tents and removed them from the site.

The previous day an estimated 10,000 union members, students, veterans, fami­lies, women and men of all ages had marched from the Boston Common to Dewey Square, and then to the North Wash­ington Bridge, to demand economic justice. Police stopped these protesters at the bridge, and one person was arrested. Later the demonstrators joined Occupy Boston, which expanded to fill the second site.

Rochester, N.Y.
Photo: Josie Clancy

At the General Assembly the evening before the arrests, Pat Scanlon of the Smedley Butler Brigade of Vets for Peace received a big ovation after offering words of encouragement and a brief history of the Vietnam War movement. The Brigade has been critically supportive of Occupy Boston. Continue reading

Youths occupy Wall Street

By G. Dunkel
New York

Youth see no future in capitalism,try to clog up Wall
Street. Pictured, Sister Rain from LupeFiasco’s Street
Team along with John Jon Gregory from
Hip Hop Caucus.  WW photo: G. Dunkel

“Occupy Wall Street” was a demonstration rooted in tweets, Facebook messages, and email exchanges. There was no call to kick it off, no list of endorsers, and no office with a director and staff. There were lists of Web pages, some of which had links to files to make leaflets, and certainly meetings occurred where issues and tactics were considered.

The models the organizers explicitly listed were the youth occupations in Spain, particularly Madrid, and Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt.

Nearly 1,000 people showed up on Sept. 17 starting at noon in lower Manhattan in the Bowling Green Park, which is just off Wall Street. On the weekends, this area is a popular tourist destination. Most of the demonstrators were young — some observers suggested that 85 percent were less than 25 and 95 percent were less than 35 years old. Many had bedrolls and were planning on staying in the streets to make their protest clear. Continue reading

Protesters to counter racists at 9/11 rally in NYC

By LeiLani Dowell
New York

As the 10th anniversary of 9/11 approaches, activists and community members are organizing to confront a racist rally being planned by anti-Muslim forces on that day.

The Emergency Mobilization Against Racism, War and Anti-Muslim Bigotry, a broad coalition formed in 2010, has reconvened and is holding a series of meetings in New York City. The group successfully held a counterprotest of some 10,000 people on Sept. 11, 2010, drowning out a much smaller hate- and fear-mongering rally protesting the building of an Islamic Center in the vicinity of Ground Zero.

This year — with all the fanfare surrounding the 10th anniversary — the Mobilization says, “It is more important than ever that we do not allow these racist hate-mongers to be the only voices speaking to the media and to the world. It is especially important to counter, in this period of economic crisis, the forces that want to blame immigrants and Muslims for the growing cutbacks in social services, rising unemployment and continuing wars.” Continue reading

‘Stop privatization of education’, General strike in Chile unites students, workers

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators across Chile supported the second day of a general strike on Aug. 25 as protests against the privatization of education escalated into demands for sweeping governmental and social change.

The government of right-wing billionaire Sebastián Piñera responded to the two-day general strike with repression and violence. This included mass arrests and the killing of at least one youth.

The 14-year-old boy, Manuel Gutiérrez Reinoso, died early Aug. 26 from a bullet wound in the chest. Witnesses said he had been shot by police. Dozens of others were injured and as many as 1,400 detained or arrested.

Police in full riot gear have used tear gas and water cannons against blockades that protesting youths set up. Cops also shot 18-year-old Mario Parraguez Pinto in the eye; he is in critical condition at a hospital in Santiago, the Chilean capital.

Gutiérrez Reinoso’s death followed a demonstration of some 600,000 in Santiago and protests in other cities throughout the country. Protesters are demanding free public education, increased taxes on the corporations and the wealthy, and better pensions and health care for workers.

The Workers’ United Center of Chile (CUT) and the Chilean Student Confederation (Confech) called the two-day strike, the first of its kind since the end of dictator Augusto Pinochet’s rule in 1990. Continue reading

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