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2011-10-10

Occupy Wall Street Spreads: 32 Arrested in Iowa; Right-Wing Editor Infiltrates D.C. Anti-Drone Protest

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Protests inspired by the "Occupy Wall Street" encampment in New York City continued to expand this weekend with protests taking place in Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, San Francisco and Oakland, among others. Many of the protests have led to arrests. After about 500 protesters gathered during the day in front of the Iowa Statehouse in Des Moines, renaming the capitol complex "People’s Park," police arrested 32 people after they spent the night in the park. Also over the weekend, in Washington, D.C., the National Air and Space Museum was closed Saturday afternoon after security guards used pepper spray to repel more than 100 demonstrators protesting an exhibit on drones. Afterward, an assistant editor with the conservative publication The American Spectator wrote online he had infiltrated the group and provoked guards to pepper spray the crowd. Back in New York City, thousands of protesters marched from their base in the Financial District, where the "Occupy Wall Street" encampment is entering its fourth week, to Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village. Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek addressed demonstrators Sunday at Zuccotti Park. "They tell you are we are dreamers. The true dreamers are those who think things can go on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers," Žižek says. "We are the awakening, from a dream which is turning into a nightmare. We are not destroying anything. We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself." [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Protests against corporate greed and economic inequality continued to expand across the country over the weekend. Parallel gatherings inspired by New York’s "Occupy Wall Street" took place in cities including Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Cincinnati and Indianapolis, San Francisco, and starting today, Oakland, California. Many of the protests have led to arrests.

An offshoot of the "Occupy" movement also took place in the heartland: close to 500 protesters gathered during the day in front of the Iowa Statehouse in Des Moines late Sunday night, renaming the capitol complex "People’s Park." Police arrested 32 people when about 100 demonstrators tried to spend the night in the park. Among them was Ed Fallon. He’s an Iowa state legislator for 14 years, now hosts a radio talk show. He spoke to Democracy Now! this morning shortly after he was released from jail.

ED FALLON: So there were about 25 tents pitched, and about 200 people showed up. And at 11:00, the state patrol came by and told us to leave. And when we wouldn’t, they began arresting people. It just seemed remarkable to me that the center of public attention in Iowa, the center of government, couldn’t even stand to have citizens gathered peacefully to discuss how to fix our government.

It was pretty amazing to me, and to many others, too, I think, that they were so extreme, that there was definitely some confrontation. And then there was a guy who was—he was not even intending to get arrested, who was dragged on the ground. He was in the cell with me in jail, and his knees were both cut up. His elbows were bruised. He was roughed up pretty bad. And, you know, quite frankly, when I served in the legislature, the state patrol were very good people to work with. I was surprised that they were this aggressive and this inappropriate in terms of how they responded to the protesters.

AMY GOODMAN: That was former Iowa lawmaker Ed Fallon. He says Occupy Iowa will continue on capitol grounds and could lead to more arrests.

Meanwhile, here in New York City, thousands of protesters marched from Zuccotti Park, where the Occupy Wall Street encampment is entering its fourth week, to Washington Square Park. They held their own general assembly there. And publishers of the Occupied Wall Street Journal passed out the second edition of the newspaper, now printed in both English and Spanish. Police were present in large numbers in an effort to block protesters from establishing a second base of operations. Also Saturday, protesters gathered in the historic Morgan building on Wall Street for an art show comprised of work created by the protesters.

Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek addressed the Occupy Wall Street demonstration Sunday at Zuccotti Park. Since organizers do not have a sound permit, megaphones and any other kind of electronic voice amplifiers cannot be used. Instead, protesters rely on crowd phrase repetition, so everyone can hear what’s being said.

SLAVOJ ŽIŽEK: They tell you we are dreamers. The true dreamers are those who think things can go on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers. We are the awakening, from a dream which is turning into a nightmare. We are not destroying anything. We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself.

AMY GOODMAN: Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek speaking yesterday at Occupy Wall Street.

Also over the weekend, in Washington, D.C., the National Air and Space Museum was closed Saturday afternoon after security guards used pepper spray to repel over a hundred demonstrators who were told they could not enter the building while carrying signs. The protesters from the "Stop the Machine" occupation targeted the museum because of an exhibit on drones. Afterward, an assistant editor with the conservative publication The American Spectator wrote online he had infiltrated the group. Patrick Howley said he had provoked the guards to use pepper spray.

Well, to discuss the latest developments, we will be joined to talk about the Occupy Wall Street protests and around the country by Kevin Gosztola, writes for a blog called "The Dissenter" at Firedoglake website. He has covered the Occupy Philly, DC and Chicago movements and has been blogging about Occupy Wall Street since it began. And we’re joined by Dorian Warren, assistant professor of political science and public affairs at Columbia University, a fellow at the Roosevelt Institute. We’re going to go to break; when we come back, we’ll have a discussion about this growing movement around the country and around the world. Stay with us.

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