The Occupy Wall Street movement has spread to cities all over the country, and beyond. To make sure people of color are represented Rhaasan Malik has started Occupy The Hood. (See box below left) In Oregon, Monday, protesters are planning to march and rally at the the Oregon capitol in Salem. Organizers plan to camp at Wilson Park.
In Portland, the Occupy Portland demonstrators have been camping in Chapman Square, since Thursday's march and rally. The Skanner News Video: Occupy The Hood
About 5000 people gathered at Waterfront Park Thursday afternoon for the Occupy Portland protest. Occupy Portland came together in support of the New York protesters 'Occupy Wall Street'. The protests aim to highlight the growth of wealth and income inequality in the United States. Across the world protesters are turning out to protest inequalities in their own countries. Individual protesters brought other issues to the march, including the continuing U.S. military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Occupy The Hood
New Yorker Malik Rahsaan was dismayed that few Blacks and Latinos were represented at the occupy Wall Street Protests. That led him to create a movement aimed at including people of color: Occupy the Hood.
Rhaasan interviewed Dr. Cornel West who said:
"The hood ought to be the first community to be here because we have been suffering than any other community with the exception of our indigenous brothers and sisters on reservations. In terms of education, housing, not enough jobs with a living wageand the refusal of people to really come to terms with the suffering of the children. We have 42 percent of Black children 42 percent of Brown children and 42 percent of Red children living in poverty. The richest nation in the history of the world: That's a moral disgrace."
Also on board: Al Sharpton California Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Georgia's Rep. John Lewis.
Follow on Twitter at #OccupytheHood
The Skanner News Video
The diverse and good-humored crowd carried signs signaling the issues causing most anger. Corporate tax avoidance, the Wall Street bailout and wealth inequality were the most common grievances – many expressed with humor. "If we can't tax the rich, can we eat them?" said one sign. The Skanner News Video: Short video of protest A press release from organizers said: "This is in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street, where thousands have been staying near the Wall Street stock exchange to protest the corruption of Washington politicians, misdeeds of big banks, and the cancerous reign of corporate lobbyists."
Also in evidence at the march were masks, such as the so-called Guy Fawkes mask adopted by the hackers group Anonymous.
After meeting at the Waterfront, Occupy Portland protesters marched through the city center, stopped off at Pioneer Square, then came to rest at Chapman Square. About 600 committed Occupy Portland protesters spent the night in two parks near City Hall: Chapman Square and Lownsdale Square. This morning, Friday Oct. 7, both squares were scheduled to host organizers for the Portland Marathon. Protesters decided to leave Lownsdale square, but attempted to remain in Chapman Square. UPDATE: Police, protesters and marathon organizers agreed that protesters could remain in Chapman Square and would not disrupt the race, scheduled for Sunday. Two young men were arrested, Friday and charged with spray painting slogans on walks and a police vehicle.
The protesters are organizing as a grassroots movement with no chosen leaders. Everyone's voice is equal, an organizer told KBOO radio. Decisions are made by concensus, meaning everyone has a right to speak and as much as possible agreement is sought. Without loudspeakers, the crowd repeats every statement made so that everyone no matter how far from the speaker can hear. General meetings are held daily at 7pm. If police allow the protesters to remain at Chapman Square the meeting will be held there. If not, it will proceed at Waterfront Park under the Burnside Bridge.
Organizers stress that this is a peaceful protest. If police ask protesters to leave Chapman Square, they say they will not leave, but will allow police to remove them. Similar non-violent tactics were pioneered first by Ghandi and the independence movement in India seeking freedom from British colonial rule. Later the U.S. civil rights movement used nonviolence tactics successfully.. Several protesters carried signs quoting Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Van Jones, the former Obama advisor now working to create a left alternative to the Tea Party through the American Dream movement, says the Occupy Wall Street protests are the American Autumn, similar to the Arab Spring. Van Jones told Alternet: "… as the economic crisis gets worse -- it ain't gonna get better -- the formal economy is going to continue to contract. That means you're going to have a lot of people suffering due to the economy. That's going to create a need for a response. What are we going to do? How can we address the ways in which people are hurting -- immediate needs? That's going to be a driver of innovation, the economic crisis. People have to eat. People have to live indoors. People aren't going to just lay down and die because Wall Street wants to hold up the economic recovery."
Wealth inequality has been growing in the United States, according to The Economic Policy Institute, which publishes the website inequality.org Figures for 2009 showed the top 1 percent of the U.S. population own 35.6 percent of the wealth, whereas the bottom 80 percent of the population share just 12.8 percent of the country's wealth. Protesters carried signs saying "I am the 99 percent and so are you," to draw attention to the disparities.
Follow the protests on twitter at #OccupyWallStreet #OccupytheHood and #OccupyPortland
Follow on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/#!/OccupyWallSt
More: The Guardian reports that American Spectator journalist Patrick Howley pretended to be a protester and allegedy escalated problems at the Air and Space Museum. According to the Guardian, the Spectator published an account detailing his actions, but later removed it.
Several commenters are saying the demonstration lacks clarity.
The Skanner News Publisher Bernie Foster says it's clear to him. "People want to stop Wall Street and corporate lobbyists from driving our economic policies," he said. "You can't keep people unemployed and have children hungry and homeless without raising a lot of questions about who is benefiting from our economic system."