NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — The Occupy Wall Street movement has close to $300,000, as well as storage space loaded with donated supplies in lower Manhattan. It stared down city officials to hang on to its makeshift headquarters, showed its muscle Saturday with a big Times Square demonstration and found legions of activists demonstrating in solidarity across the country and around the world.

Could this be the peak for loosely organized protesters, united less by a common cause than by revulsion to what they consider unbridled corporate greed? Or are they just getting started?

There are signs of confidence, but also signs of tension among the demonstrators at Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the movement that began a month ago Monday. They have trouble agreeing on things like whether someone can bring in a sleeping bag, and show little sign of uniting on any policy issues. Some protesters eventually want the movement to rally around a goal, while others insist that isn’t the point.

“We’re moving fast, without a hierarchical structure and lots of gears turning,” said Justin Strekal, a college student and political organizer who traveled from Cleveland to New York to help. “… Egos are clashing, but this is participatory democracy in a little park.”

Even if the protesters were barred from camping in Zuccotti Park, as the property owner and the city briefly threatened to do last week, the movement would continue, Strekal said. He said activists were working with legal experts to identify alternate sites where the risk of getting kicked out would be relatively low.

Wall Street protesters are intent on hanging on to the momentum they gained from Saturday’s worldwide demonstrations, which drew hundreds of thousands of people, mostly in the U.S. and Europe. They’re filling a cavernous space on Broadway a block from Wall Street with donated goods to help sustain their nearly month-long occupation of the private park nearby.

They’ve amassed mounds of blankets, pillows, sleeping bags, cans of food, medical and hygienic supplies — even oddities like a box of knitting wool and 20 pairs of swimming goggles (to shield protesters from pepper-spray attacks). Supporters are shipping about 300 boxes a day, Strekal said.

The space was donated by the United Federation of Teachers, which has offices in the building.

Close to $300,000 in cash also has been donated, through the movement’s website and by people who give money in person at the park, said Bill Dobbs, a press liaison for Occupy Wall Street. The movement has an account at Amalgamated Bank, which bills itself as “the only 100 percent union-owned bank in the United States.”

Strekal said the donated goods are being stored “for a long-term occupation.”

“We are unstoppable! Another world is possible!” Kara Segal and other volunteers chanted in the building lobby as they arrived to help unpack and sort items, preparing them to be rolled out to the park.

While on the streets, moments of madness occasionally erupt in the protest crowd — accompanied by whiffs of marijuana, grungy clothing and disarray — order prevails at the storage site.

It doubles as a sort of Occupy Wall Street central command post, with strategic meetings that are separate from the “general assembly” free-for-alls in the park. One subject Sunday was data entry: protesters are working to get the names and addresses of donors into a databank, to thank them for their gifts.

The movement has become an issue in the Republican presidential primary race and beyond, with politicians from both parties under pressure to weigh in.

President Barack Obama referred to the protests at Sunday’s dedication of a monument for Martin Luther King Jr., saying the civil rights leader “would want us to challenge the excesses of Wall Street without demonizing those who work there.”

Many of the largest of Saturday’s protests were in Europe, where those involved in long-running demonstrations against austerity measures declared common cause with the Occupy Wall Street movement. In Rome, hundreds of rioters infiltrated a march by tens of thousands of demonstrators, causing what the mayor estimated was at least 1 million euros ($1.4 million) in damage to city property.

U.S. cities large and small were “occupied” over the weekend: Washington, D.C., Fairbanks, Alaska, Burlington, Vt., Rapid City, S.D., and Cheyenne, Wyo. were just a few. In Cincinnati, protesters moved their demonstration out of a park after hearing that a couple was getting their wedding photos taken there — but the bride and groom ended up seeking them out for pictures.

More than 70 New York protesters were arrested Saturday, more than 40 of them in Times Square. About 175 people were arrested in Chicago after they refused to leave a park where they were camped late Saturday, and there were about 100 arrests in Arizona — 53 in Tucson and 46 in Phoenix — after protesters refused police orders to disperse. About two dozen people were arrested in Denver, and in Sacramento, Calif., anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan was among about 20 people arrested after failing to follow police orders to disperse.

Activists around the country said they felt that Saturday’s protests energized their movement.

“It’s an upward trajectory,” said John St. Lawrence, a Florida real estate lawyer who took part in Saturday’s Occupy Orlando protest, which drew more than 1,500 people. “It’s catching people’s imagination and also, knock on wood, nothing sort of negative or discrediting has happened.”

St. Lawrence is among those unconcerned that the movement has not rallied around any particular proposal, saying “policy is for leaders to come up with.”

“I don’t think the underlying theme is a mystery,” he said. “We saw what the banks and financial institutions did to the economy. We bailed them out. And then they went about evicting people from their homes,” he said. He added that although he is not in debt and owns his own home, other people in his neighborhood are suffering and “everyone’s interests are interconnected.”

In Richmond, Va., about 75 people gathered Sunday for one of the “general assembly” meetings that are a key part of the movement’s consensus-building process. Protester Whitney Whiting, a video editor, said the process has helped “gather voices” about Americans discontent, and that she expects it will eventually take the movement a step further.

“In regards to a singular issue or a singular focus, I think that will come eventually. But right now we have to set up a space for that to happen,” Whiting said.

Some U.S. protesters, like those in Europe, have their own causes. Unions that have joined forces with the movement have demands of their own, and on Sunday members of the newly formed Occupy Pittsburgh group demanded that Bank of New York Mellon Corp. pay back money they allege it overcharged public pension funds around the country.

New York’s attorney general and New York City sued BNY Mellon this month, accusing it of defrauding clients in foreign currency exchange transactions that generated nearly $2 billion over 10 years. The company has vowed to fight the lawsuit and had no comment about the protesters’ allegation about pensions.

Lisa Deaton, a tea party leader from southern Indiana, said she sees some similarities between how the tea party movement and the Wall Street protests began: “We got up and we wanted to vent.”

But the critical step, she said, was taking that emotion and focusing it toward changing government.

The first rally she organized drew more than 2,500 people, but afterward, “it was like, `What do we do?”‘ she said. “You can’t have a concert every weekend.”

The Wall Street protesters’ lack of leadership and focus on consensus-building has help bring together people with different perspectives, but it’s also created some tension.

“Issues are arising — like who is bringing in sleeping bags without permission,” said Laurie Dobson, who’s been helping a self-governed “working group” called “SIS” — for Shipping, Inventory and Supplies.

Sleeping bags were among items cited by Zuccotti Park’s owner, Brookfield Properties, as not allowed on the premises — along with tents, tarps and other essentials for the encampment. By Sunday, all those items were back.

Strekal didn’t see that as a problem. Protesters could do it, he said, “because we’re winning the PR war.”

Around his neck hangs a tiny silver Liberty Bell — a symbol of American independence given to him by a fellow activist.

What are your thoughts about the growing activism across the U.S.? Tell us your thoughts in our comments section below.

(TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (61)
  1. 2gruesome2b says:

    raised 300,000 in u.s. currency…wow! george soros must have written a check on his fingernail manicuring account to be able to spare that much.

  2. Dan says:

    OWS: Polish Your Campaign, Be Precise, Concise and To The Point

    How about producing a snazzy PowerPoint presentation with the facts?

    Presentations in the political arena are primarily grouped in the persuasive category. But to be effective, they must include lots of information and also build goodwill.

    Who can forget the sight of Ross Perot making his balanced budget presentations, complete with easel-mounted bar graphs and pie charts? He offered more information than most of us could absorb and some people found him entertaining. But was he persuasive?

    Bill Clinton is famous for his comfy, personalized presentations featuring real people with real-life stories to tell. He generates lots of goodwill, is very persuasive, but is not always informative.

    Jesse Jackson makes memorable presentations that include no props or fancy staging, but are built simply on an oratory style lifted right from the pulpit. Persuasive? Informative? Goodwill generators? You decide.

    “For better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat.”
    -Theodore Roosevelt




    1. Todd & Meagan says:

      Up yours, Gramps!

    2. Gary Burnett says:

      When the republic States of America knock on your door you may be one out of luck Rich Son of a bitch.I bet you have your money invested in any damn thing that serves you best and the jobs lost to other countries are not your problem YET!!!!!! Hang in there ass hole your day is on it”s way. You must truly be an uneducated educated son of a bitch for real

      1. Rodin says:

        No good getting upset at imbeciles. Humor them. Mimmic them. Laugh at them because they are laughable. Pity them because their pathetic. Play with them because, though they are convinced otherwise, they are the tools.

        1. Gary Burnett says:

          When Patriots are insulted I’m also insulted. As a veteran I stood for all americans freedoms long hair and blue jeans included.This fool is a judgmental wall st. suck ass and I’m calling him out of his shadow of a life to make a real statement and make a point not an ignorant statement

          1. Rodin says:

            “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.” ~ Samuel Johnson

            Who’s insulting patriots? What patriots? The boys and girls on Wall Street? If your measure of “patriot” is ‘those who have served,’ ask how many of the Wall Street voodoo dolls have; ask how many US presidents, senators, congressmen have?

            Then come back to reality.


            1. Gary Burnett says:

              Easy to quote another mans material .Not very original, however! I believe you are missing the whole point of the men and women exercising their rights to protest the rape of our economy.My belief on patriotism is one who understands the Constitution and is an active participant of the rights there-in.Yes there are many in high political places that served in the armed forces,however that in its self does not automatically make a true patriot of them when they stand by and watch Enron and the like rob working peoples retirements and then bailing out……..If a man robs to feed his baby and is sent to jail now thats true justice and when wall Street robs millions with the help of you’re so called government Patriots where is the justice.

  4. TomNJ says:

    I guess they are going to distribute those funds ($300,000) evenly among the protesters? You don’t want to keep it is an account that only the greedy OWS leaders (CEO) can access are you? – Share the wealth!

  5. Hans Gruber says:

    I want to start my own protest and get 300K

    1. The Realist says:

      You’ll need a business plan. You’ll need start-up funding. You’ll need to hire thousands of PROFESSIONAL ACTIVISTS at union scale. If you’re in New York, you’ll have to hire mostly non-New Yorkers. Other than that, it should be easy.

  6. Joseph Desrosiers says:

    We owed this generation a new type of culture frre of corrupt madness by the banking industry ,if those of us who can make a difference do not take a stand ,who will. It is very to see at a time when education of this nation is sliding to its lowest point and we are watching Chase Bank giving some 2million dollars to the NYC police Dept to instill fear into the people who are paying taxes where these guys get teir pay check to protect the civilians, it’s a shame.We must also turn the tide in Washington by removing some Republican from office those who support the banks and ignore the cry of the people. It is time to remove money out of politics.We the People .It did not say we the Banks.As the republican get so confused by identifying people and corporations on the tax issues.

  7. Max Gon says:

    Long live the wall street protesters. Now is the time to organize the OWS movement into a politcal party to defeat the Democrat and the Republican parties and form a real democratic goverment.

  8. Go home flea says:

    These protestors are a bunch of tards. They would jump ship the moment one of those big corporations give them a job offer with sign on bonuses. All the comments posted by the protestors just show how naive they are at life. Sad but naive people do not know how silly they are until years later. I thought I knew it all when I was 17 years old and same when I turned 21. I am now in my 30s and I laugh at how stupid I was. Go do something productive like go help your mom take care of the household instead of being a flea to society and your family.

  9. Rodin says:

    “These capitalists generally act harmoniously and in concert, to fleece the people”
    ~ Abraham Lincoln
    16th President of the United States of Amerika

    1. Gary Burnett says:


  10. IloveNY says:

    I am just wondering why most protesters who were interviewed came from cities/places outside NY i.e. Florida, Texas, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania etc. They even quit their jobs. Can they just demonstrate in their own places and leave NY to New Yorkers. We love our city. The jobless can easily finds jobs because there are so many govt agencies and non-profit organizations retraining and helping people to find jobs. I was one of those jobless before but after getting the training from Per Scholas Computer Training School, after 15 weeks of training, I am now getting a decent income. I can now pay my housing, support my parents, and still have money for my life. There are so many stories like this. I graduated with 20 other classmates. 90% of my classmates are now working, Per Scholas is only one of these reputable training centers. There are so many in NY. All you need to do is find them,, walk-in and they are capable and committed to help you get out and stand out from your current situation.

    1. The Realist says:

      So O.W.S. couldn’t even hire New Yorkers for its New York protest? Why do people from out-of-town always get priority over locals for the best-paying jobs??

  11. plainreviews says:

    The protesting is spreading now, that could mean trouble for the police in all these other places. If these protesters want to protest, they better expect that the police are watching and will arrest them if they do something. If you don’t know why they are protesting, this article gives a great explanation on it.

    1. liz says:

      We have thee WORST MAYOR! Living in his ivory tower, immune to the B S that we all have to put up with since the FLEABEGGARS took over. It is a horrendous situation. MAYOR GLOOMBERG should be impeached for allowing these animals to take over our city. Since when did this become THEIR city? It is our city too!! They are so misguided, such a complete and utter waste of everyone’s time. GLOOMBERG –ENOUGH ALREADY!

  12. The Realist says:

    Has anybody noticed the hypocrisy of OWS’s executive management?? The protests are supposedly about corporate greed, yet OWS itself is displaying that same corporate greed by outsourcing thousands of high-paying AMERICAN protester jobs to other countries. How do you justify that?

  13. BOBBY NUMBNUTS says:

    probably the most intelligent post on here

  14. Enough Already says:

    Mayor Bloomberg CAN the people of New york have there lives back .Enough already clear these people out..New york cannot keep paying all this overtime and start losing tourist dollars because a few thousand people in a city of millions.I think they are the 1% or is my math wrong.

    1. lmw says:

      I was there yesterday and there are probably more tourists visiting ever before. People want to see people. Yes, the police may be working lots of overtime but someone has to stand up for America and there are lots of people that agree that they want their lives back instead of rising unemployment and the banks getting and making billions while the “99%” suffer.

      1. mak says:

        Sorry to burst your bubble but the tourists were probably in Times Square to see a Broadway Show, not to see you guys. If anything you probably made some of them late for the performances. Good job!
        The world does not revolve around you.

        1. lmw says:

          Well, mak, I’m sure there were tourists in Time Square as always but I wasn’t in Time Square. I was downtown taking pictures with lots of other tourists and wasn’t one of the protesters although they were a peaceful group. I seriously doubt anyone was late to the theatre on my account or anyone else downtown for that matter. The rest of your sentiment is uncalled for.

          1. The Realist says:

            At least get the name right. It’s not “Time Square” but TIMES Square, named after a little newspaper called the N.Y. Times (you may have heard of it).

            1. lmw says:

              Spoken like a true nit picker!

              1. The Realist says:


                1. lmw says:

                  It means you’re off topic and condescending, Neither of which is appropriate or constructive for this venue.

  15. jb says:

    NYC should get one of those digital debt signs to keep count of the debt accruing Because of OWS.Theywould have to make sure to backdate it to September 16 to get the actual acrued debt.
    Shame on OWS if there are more layoffs in the DoE or other agencies because the city has to use those monies for them..

    1. lmw says:

      We have several of those digital debt signs around the city. There’s a big one in Union Square on 14th Street.

      1. jb says:

        Are any of them counting up the costs that the city is incurring because of these protests?
        Thought not.

        1. lmw says:

          I’d be curious about that also but couldn’t tell you.

      2. How much is this protest costing says:

        So how lmw how much is this protest costing NYC daily .I have yet to see a OWS debt sign .

  16. Bob Loblaw says:

    Its gonna be a cold hard winter for these urban campers.

  17. John says:

    They should be protesting in D.C. It is the politicians that gave the money away

    1. The Realist says:

      OWS has a corporate branch in DC and a few other cities.

    2. Mike says:

      Thats the only true comment posted here. Send the angry hippies home and let them support the illegal immigrants.

  18. Robert says:

    What a bunch of FOOLS!

  19. Ajax says:

    After the Great Depression, our Government enacted a series of laws to prevent any possibility of a reoccurrence. Over the last 40 years, those laws have been slowly repealed. After the current economic collapse, Europe reinstated most of the laws – the US reinstated only a few for show. We need to PUT THE LEASH BACK ON WALL STREET NOW!!! The megalomaniacs who run Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and JP Morgan will never be satisfied with the billions that they have. These greedy scallywags will always want more even if it means the ruin of millions of hard working middle and lower income people. Our government must PUT THE LEASH BACK ON WALL STREET NOW!!!

  20. john liberty says:

    Thomas Jefferson said in 1802:

    “I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.

    If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered

  21. John Liberty says:

    People are fed up with, not just Wall Street but the Government itself for allowing this type of corruption even get started. The Banks got our tax money with the bail out while the American people got stiffed. This is the change that was promised by the Socialist Government under the present Administration! Even “Joe The Plumber” is running against what is going on in this Country. The majority of the people are worse off here in the U.S. than people in China.If I were in New York I would be siding with the protesters as they do have a viable bitch for all that is good for the Nation. I hope these protests continue growing until the People are heard!!!

  22. Reverend Rev says:

    In the beginning, these protests were about unemployed AMERICANS. Now “Occupy Wall Street” is off-shoring thousands of high-paying AMERICAN protester jobs to overseas, which proves that O.W.S. is just another big multinational corporation.

  23. LPS says:

    Occupy Wall Street is a movement that supports the middle class tired of class inequity and tired of the rich taking the tax breaks at the expense of hard working middle class. Theyre tired of bailing out the banks only to be denied credit and charged ridiculous bank fees. They’re tired of their 401K being gambled away due to corporate greed. The Tea Bag movement, on the other hand, is a movement to coddle the rich and give them more tax breaks.

    1. Reverend Rev says:

      But now O.W.S. itself displaying the same corporate greed that it’s supposedly protesting, by outsourcing thousands of high-paying AMERICAN protester jobs to other countries. Oh, the irony!!

    2. lmw says:

      That would be the “Tea Party” movement. Tea Bag movement is something completely different! 🙂

  24. LPS says:

    I think that they have a right to peaceful protest and the overwhelming majority are getting the populist message across that the bankers and mortgage ceos have caused a 2 class system that has hurt the middle class and poor so they can get multimillion dollar bonuses and charge us exhorbitant fees and deny loans to credit worthy people and gamble with our money in our 401Ks. GO OCCUPY WALL STREET!! GO!!

  25. Bill says:

    The Democrats version of the Tea Party. A bunch of communists, radicals and misguided fools

    1. LPS says:

      You are the fool, Bill. Occupy Wall Street is for the middle class, Tea bags are for the lazy rich who are parasites off of the middle class. BIG difference. Occupy Wall Street is sick of these parasites gambling with our hard earned money and risking our 401K so they can get huge bonuses yet leave us working til we’re 75 because they gambled our money away. We’ are sick of corporate welfare at the expense of social security going down the tubes.

      1. Jen says:

        If I have to work till I’m 75 so be it. You lazy wall street losers should be kicked out of the country

        1. jon says:

          When you’re 60 something and God forbid your health starts failing then come talk to me.

    1. The Realist says:

      Nobody can possibly meet (or even acknowledge) OWS’s demands because OWS flatly refuses to disclose its list of demands – presumably for fear of losing its reason for being in business.

      1. lmw says:

        This may actually be true because there is no leadership in place to speak for the masses. However, the public are gathering across the nation and around the world to voice their collective dissatisfaction with the status quo. All it takes is for someone to step up and lead the revolution. I hope someone emerges soon but no one wants to stick their neck out and get shot.

        1. The Realist says:

          But there MUST BE an executive leadership and a corporate hierarchy. How else could thousans of professional activists be hired so quickly?

          1. Michael H. says:

            I can’t tell if you’re serious or just a really convincing troll…

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