Occupy Wall Street Activists Differ On Organization’s Direction

NEW YORK (AP) — A day after police broke up a rally at Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park and arrested dozens, Occupy Wall Street protesters said Sunday that their movement for economic justice would pick up momentum with the spring.

Activists listed issues including student debt, the environment and the November elections as priorities going forward. But some observers who watched workers hose down the now-barricaded park that was Occupy’s home wondered whether a movement so diffuse could accomplish anything.

“I’m really grateful to be part of a generation that wants change, ’cause we should all want change,” said Jennifer Campbell, a graduate student in documentary filmmaking at Hofstra University. “But I’m not sure what that change is, or if they know what that change is.”

The crackdown at Zuccotti happened late Saturday after hundreds of activists had gathered to mark the sixth-month birthday of the movement.

“There was a lot of silliness and just kind of singing and dancing and really very jovial,” said Chris Casuccio, who works for a nonprofit organization. “We had some banners up. There was one tarp that was up but it was tiny. It could fit like five people under it.”

But Detective Brian Sessa of the NYPD said protesters had started breaking park rules against setting up tents and tarps.

Police said 73 people were detained. It was unclear how many were still in custody Sunday.

Occupy activists said the officers moved in with little warning and beat some protesters. Police said Sunday they had no information about any protesters being injured.

“They just came in swinging batons,” said protester Sandra Nurse. She said a woman began having a seizure and another protester’s head was “smashed into a building window.”

Casuccio said protesters had little time to leave Zuccotti if they wanted to avoid arrest. “They gave us one quick warning and then just came in, hundreds of people,” he said.

Police did not immediately answer calls and emails Sunday seeking a response to the accusations of brutality.

As cleaning crews used hoses to erase all signs of the clash on Sunday, Occupy activists offered differing perspectives on where the movement is headed.

“We’re going to keep going,” said Christopher Guerra, who has spent many nights at Zuccotti since the movement started last Sept. 17. He added, “It’s going to get interesting during the election cycle. We’re going to be more of a presence in the political world. I know we have a couple of people running for office.”

According to Mother Jones magazine, 10 candidates for House and Senate seats in the November elections have made Occupy part of their campaigns. They include Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren and Hakeem Jeffries, who is running for Congress in Brooklyn. But some Occupy supporters consider themselves anarchists who abjure electoral politics.

Nurse, a member of Occupy’s direct action working group, said she expects college students will have “a huge role to play this summer organizing around student debt.” She noted that the issue resonates both with students and with their parents and has the potential to broaden the movement.

Ted Schulman, an Occupy protester who lives near Zuccotti, said his focus is the upcoming United Nation Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. He said he wants to “challenge the U.N. on what their vision of a green economy is.”

Harlem resident Kanene Holder said the movement is broader than any one issue. “This is not a beauty pageant,” she said. “We cannot homogenize this movement into one streamlined vision.”

Tourists streamed by Zuccotti on their way to the nearby World Trade Center site on Sunday, and some said they were not familiar with Occupy Wall Street. “We’re from Colorado,” a teenager in a tour group explained.

Brian Cummings of Columbus Junction, Iowa, said he did know about it.

“I understand the Occupy movement,” Cummings said. “I understand a lot of people’s frustration. I’m not sure how effective it is. … Nothing seems to be being accomplished.”

Please leave a comment below…

(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments

One Comment

  1. danny says:

    So, let me get this straight. You borrowed money so you can feel all entitled and go to some fancy pants school where they “teach” you how to look through a camera. And now that you got your first bill you want to change the whole school debt thing? Here is a capital idea. Don’t borrow money. Go to work and go to school at night, paying it off with your hard earned money. Get off the streets, take a shower and get a freaking job so you can know what it’s like living on your own.

  2. liz says:

    Enough already! Time wasters and Losers each and everyone of you!
    You look like freaks and clowns, you sound utterly ridiculous > go vote, go to Washington, go shower> things might change for you> but for God’s sake get the hell out of the park. All of you are a complete JOKE!

  3. George Gonzales says:

    omg you must see this easy way to fast $$$ and best of all it is in the comfort of your own home cash30com seeing is believing

  4. The Realist says:

    “They gave us one quick warning….”

    Let’s see:

    (1) You were breaking the rules.
    (2) The rules themselves WERE your warning.
    (3) Therefore, the cops DID NOT need to “warn” you about anything.

  5. KPMc says:

    “But some Occupy supporters consider themselves anarchists who abjure electoral politics.”

    1. KPMc says:

      That one sentence, buried in the article and never expanded upon, is the crux of most people’s disdain for OWS.

      1. KPMc says:

        I have more respect for communists and Fascists then I do for anarchists. At least the former recognizes the importance of government in a world of 6 billion people. The latter are a bunch of morons with no understanding of the modern world or a care for the people in it.

  6. Karl Marx's Love Child says:

    REVOLUTION CREATE A NEW GOVERNMENT BASED ON MARXIST IDEALS AND THE BOLSHEVIKS WHO FOUGHT FOR A WORKER’S STATE.

    1. The Realist says:

      Except that the supposedly temporary “dictatorship by the proletariat” phase never ends because dictators never like to give up their absolute power.

      Let’s face it… People seek communism for purely CAPITALIST reasons.

    1. Jenn says:

      Wow, you really need to get back on the heavy meds.

      1. lase99 says:

        Hmph hmph.

        Bitter pill to swallow isn’t it.

  7. Theo says:

    Activists listed issues including student debt, the environment and the November elections as priorities going forward. Harlem resident Kanene Holder said the movement is broader than any one issue. “This is not a beauty pageant,” she said. “We cannot homogenize this movement into one streamlined vision.”
    Yes, they can, by voting out all Wall street protectors.

  8. BiteTheHandThatFeedsU says:

    I say decide on showering…..

Comments are closed.

More From CBS New York

BUY TICKETS NOW
Get Our Morning Briefs

Listen Live