Wall St. to West B St.Around the Nation, Feature Story, This Week Monday, December 12th, 2011
How the Occupy movement came to San Diego
Influenced by the protests and removal of former Egyptian president Muhammad Mubarak, Canadian anti-consumerism group Adbusters (best known for its self titled magazine) makes a public proposal to occupy Wall Street Sept. 17 with the demand for President Obama to create a presidential commission to end the influence of money on politics and government. Less than a month later, two New York City groups, including the “New Yorkers Against Budget Cuts” joined together to organize the occupation. On the day of the event, police barricaded most of Wall Street off from protestors, yet an estimated 1-5,000 protestors rallied and demonstrated in nearby parks and plazas, with Zuccoti Park (renamed Liberty Plaza) becoming the main hub. Over the course of weeks, other cities in and outside the U.S. followed suit.
The “Declaration of the Occupation of New York City,” which Occupy San Diego’s general assembly has accepted, gives a list of grievances against corporations; the Occupy movement generally seeks economic justice by stopping the influence of corporations and money on government, politics and society more generally. It also gives a list of grievances that it believes corporations have perpetrated, including perpetuating inequality and discrimination in the workplace based on age, race, gender and sexual orientation, among others.
San Diegans began their occupation at downtown’s Civic Center Plaza, renamed later by occupiers as Freedom Square, Oct. 8, a day after 1,500 marched from Children’s Museum Park to the square and back holding signs “Wake up 99%” and “End the Fed Ponzi scheme,” chanting “We got sold out. They got bailed out.” From that day forward, police have increasingly restricted protestors’ ability to occupy the square. For example, one week into the occupation, police cleared the “tent city” that emerged at the square. Two weeks later, after several tents re-emerged, police again clamped down on the occupation, arresting around 50 people. At this point, late November, occupiers are not allowed to sleep, or even, as some have reported, set a book bag down on the ground. Even though, occupiers have been restricted, the occupation continues with demonstrations, marches, teach-ins, and daily general assembly meetings at the square.
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