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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

  • Occupy Wall Street Organizer: Protest Expands Despite Police Effort to "Silence" Demonstrators

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    Now in its fourth week, the Occupy Wall Street encampment has attracted thousands of demonstrators who continue to tackle the challenges of self-organizing and building a movement. As their numbers swell and the media debates who they are, the Democracy Now! team packed up our gear and headed to Zuccotti Park in Lower Manhattan to hear people speak for themselves. We first talk to Justin Wedes, an organizer with Occupy Wall Street. He describes how New York City police have arrested people for peacefully demonstrating and exerting their free speech rights. "The reaction has been—and I think the whole world sees it now—that every time that you try to silence peaceful protests, you just get an explosion of new support. And I think that’s what’s happened. And it really bares sort of naked the truth about who the NYPD serve and protect. And if that’s not the people… then we have a problem." [includes rush transcript]

  • Hip-Hop Artist Immortal Technique: No More Free Passes for Our Government

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    Among the many artists supporting the Occupy Wall Street encampment is the hip-hop artist Immortal Technique. He shares his impressions of the protesters’ demands and performs his song "Toast to the Dead." "People say, 'You know what? I want concrete solutions. I want people held accountable for what they did wrong,'" Immortal Technique says. "'I want governments to realize that they're not just going to get a free pass for their horrific record of human rights, even if you’re supported by America, because we have deals to exploit your natural resources.’ I think that that’s what people are genuinely concerned with here." [includes rush transcript]

  • Colombian, Korean and Panamanian Activists Condemn White House Support for New "Free Trade" Deals

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    Organizers held a teach-in at Occupy Wall Street on Monday about "free trade agreements" with Colombia, Panama and South Korea now pending in Congress that will expand the market for national corporations and financial corporations from the United States. "Essentially, it tries to institute once more the things that caused this financial crisis in the first place," says Sukjong Hong, an organizer with Nodutdol for Korean Community Development. "It also opens the door to outsourcing more American jobs." Carlos Salamanca, member of AFSCME Local 372, adds that the Colombian free trade agreement is "the continuation of what’s going on in Colombia, supporting the government who are not doing anything to stop the killing of workers in Colombia, the union members, the human rights activists, and the persecution against the indigenous and Afro-Colombians’ leadership over there." [includes rush transcript]

  • Iraq Veterans at Occupy Wall Street Decry Financial Crisis Soldiers Face Returning Home

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    Protesters at Occupy Wall Street include veterans of the U.S. military, many of whom are struggling with their multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, mental and physical trauma and illness, and the hardships of pulling their lives back together when returning to civilian life. "It’s no secret that a lot of veterans are facing unemployment, homelessness, and a lot of other issues that are dealing with the economy," says Jose Vasquez, executive director of Iraq Veterans Against the War. [includes rush transcript]

  • Iraqi-American Musician Stephan Said Performs at Occupy Wall Street

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    We speak with Iraqi-American singer-songwriter and activist Stephan Said, who joined Occupy Wall Street after working with the the antiwar movement since the 1990s. "I have been raised an all-American guy who had to deal with the fact that my family was being bombed in the first and biggest war of globalization," says Said. "I had to realize from the very beginning that the only way to stop it was to create this movement that all humanity has always waited for, for a more equal world." He also performs his song "Take a Stand," from his new album. [includes rush transcript]

  • Indigenous Groups at Occupy Wall Street Mark Columbus Day as Day of Mourning

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    As the nation marked Columbus Day on Monday, indigenous groups led a rally at Occupy Wall Street exposing the history behind Christopher Columbus and the impact his "discovery" had on the Americas. "We’re here to say that Columbus is not a day," said Roberto "Múcaro" Borrero of the United Confederation of Taíno People. "We’re here to join with other people’s voices in saying there needs to be an end to the cycle of colonialism and greed." [includes rush transcript]

  • Independent Media Stalwarts Katrina vanden Heuvel & Danny Schechter Speak Out at Occupy Wall Street

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    "The moral clarity of this movement is what I think has moved people to get up and walk and be in motion," says Katrina vanden Heuvel, editor and publisher of The Nation magazine. "And what’s so interesting to me is—I was here last Wednesday for the march to Foley Square—that so many groups, which have been trying to get some energy, are finding the spark in here and coming together." [includes rush transcript]

  • Dr. Gabor Maté at Occupy Wall Street Details Link Between Financial Crisis and Medical Illness

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    On a trip from Vancouver, Dr. Gabor Maté stopped by Occupy Wall Street on Monday. He observed: "50 percent of American adults have a chronic medical illness, and much of that has to do with stress. And if you look at the literature on what causes stress, it’s uncertainty and lack of information and loss of control and lack of expression of self. And the uncertainty that has been forced upon the American population by the recent economic crisis, the loss of control as power has flown into the hands of very, very few people, and the absolute powerlessness of the many in the face of all that, and the lack of expression through the ordinary political process, people are totally disempowered and deprived of their voice. This protest addresses all those issues. So I can only say that this is an extraordinarily healthy thing to happen. People who participate here will be healthier for it as a result, and maybe society, in general, as well." [includes rush transcript]

  • Jeff Sharlet: Occupy Wall Street Shows an "Incredible Display of Political Imagination"

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    Journalist and author Jeff Sharlet has spent days at the Occupy Wall Street encampment watching the movement grow. "This is the most incredible display of political imagination I have seen in my lifetime," said Sharlet, author of the book "C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy." "And I say that as a person who’s spent years immersed in the right wing." [includes rush transcript]

  • With a Kitchen, Library, Medical Area, a Community Emerges at Wall Street Encampment

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    In New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg suggested on Monday that protesters at Occupy Wall Street could stay encamped in Lower Manhattan indefinitely. He told reporters: "The bottom line is, people want to express themselves, and as long as they obey the laws, we’ll allow them to." We talk to a group of activists about how they have helped turn Zuccotti Park into a community where hundreds sleep and thousands congregate every day. [includes rush transcript]

  • From Madrid to New York City: Spanish Protester Joins Occupy Wall Street Protest

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    The Occupy Wall Street protests have inspired activists across the United States and overseas, but many see the roots of the occupation in the public squares of Cairo, Athens and Madrid. On Monday, we spoke to one Spanish protester who traveled from Madrid to New York City to support the budding movement. "I came here just for this, because we started our movement four months ago, on 15 of May," Monica Lopez said. "I decided to come to support you and to try to help you, like giving you the advices so you don’t waste the time we lost and make the same mistakes." [includes rush transcript]

  • Wall Street Trader Praises Occupy Wall Street: "This is a Real Democracy"

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    Over the past 24 days, New Yorkers of all walks of life have taken part in the Occupy Wall Street protest near Manhattan’s Financial District. On Monday, we caught up with a trader walking through the protest encampment. "I like the fact that everybody is organizing from a grassroots level. And, you know, I think that the people that have had all the power need to even it out a bit and let these people speak their voice," said Joe Mancini. "This is a real democracy. This is what it means to be an American in a true sense of being in a democratic place." [includes rush transcript]

  • Civil Rights Pioneer, Olympic Medalist John Carlos & Sportswriter Dave Zirin at Occupy Wall Street

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    In 1968, Olympic medal winner John Carlos became an international icon when he and Tommie Smith raised their fists in the Black Power salute during the national anthem at the Olympic prize ceremony as a protest against racism in the United States. The photo of the men has become one of the most iconic images of our time. Carlos has just published a new memoir with assistance from sportswriter Dave Zirin. The two spoke to a crowd at Occupy Wall Street on Monday. "To come down here [is like] déjà vu, to think that there’s so many people that has a concern about society, not just oneself, but all individuals on this planet," Carlos said. "They’re concerned about the fact that many people are losing their jobs. Many people are being moved out of their homes. Many individual students that got loans to go to school to get that education to be one of the workers in this great country we have, and then to know that now they’re hounded for their student loans and can’t pay them. Everyone is in a quandary." [includes rush transcript]

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