It was only a matter of time before the first book was written about Occupy Wall Street, and news has arrived in my inbox of just such a tome.
OR Books today announces a new book: Occupying Wall Street: The Inside Story of an Action that Changed the Course of America. An instant history of the anti-capitalist protest which began on September 17th in Liberty Square, downtown Manhattan, the book is being written by a group, Writers for the 99%, who are active in supporting the occupation.
Those hoping for a Mills and Boon-esque novel are likely to be disappointed. It sounds heavy.
Based on extensive interviews with those taking part and written as a compelling story, the book focuses on the everyday activity in the square, drilling down into the detail of how the occupation works. Separate chapters look at the general assembly, the kitchen, the medical center, clean-up, education and empowerment, the library, media center and outreach. Along the way the book tells the stories of those involved in the action and recounts the major events that have occurred in its early days.
The book will be published on 17 December in paperback and as an ebook, and all profits will go to the occupation OR Books said. Colin Robinson, co-publisher at OR Books, said it was a “a tremendous challenge” to produce.
“But Occupy Wall Street is an action of historic proportions and we believe it’s important to create at least a first draft of that history as its occurring,” he said. “We’re making no claims to be creating the authorized version of events, that’s impossible at this point. But by bringing together first-rate interviewers, writers and editors, we believe we can tell a story of the occupation that describes its extraordinary achievements and encourages their spread across America and around the world.”
My colleague Karen McVeigh writes that half of the 750 Occupy Wall Street protesters arrested on Brooklyn Bridge in a controversial mass arrest operation have had offers to have their cases dismissed.
Lawyers for the protesters, who are seeking a dismissal of all cases of disorderly conduct, said they had not yet spoken with those charged about the offer and it was unclear whether they would accept it.
Martin Stolar, a defence lawyer, said he was wary of the deal, as it would become void if a protester was re-arrested over a six month period.
“That might put a chilling effect on further protest activities” Stolar told the Daily News.
The offer came after a meeting between civil rights lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild and prosecutors at Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance’s office.
This type of conditional offer, of an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal, is typical of minor cases where those arrested have no previous convictions.
Stolar was critical of the DA’s decision to dismiss only 340 of the 750 cases the police logged during the mass arrests of 700 on Brooklyn Bridge on 30 September and others a week earlier at Union Square.
He said that prosecutors claimed they could dismiss cases in which desk appearance tickets were issued by police but not the cases in which police issued summonses, but that it was “totally arbritary” who got a summons and who got a desk appearance.
That was interesting… here’s a summary of what we’ve just learned:
• Oakland police confirmed they deployed teargas and said a “non-lethal” projectile was fired from a shotgun in this morning’s operation. “Several hundred” officers were involved in clearing Frank Ogawa Plaza and Snow Park, a spokesman said.
• The police spokesman said he was “very pleased” with how the operation was conducted. Officers were “being pelted with rocks and bottles” by protesters, hence the use of tear gas and the shotgun, which was used to fire beanbags, police said.
• Most arrests were for misdemeanours, including unlawful assembly, police said. Some were arrested on felony charges. The arrested are being processed in the usual fashion.
• Police were pressed on why they arrested people in Snow Park, Oakland after 6am – when it is legally open. The spokesman said the operation there began at 4.30am, but did not seem to deny arrests took place post 6am.
As the team of three police representatives gets up to leave there are shouts from the room where the press conference took place.
“What about my daughter, who’s in jail right now,” shouts one woman.
Police don’t know how many officers were at Occupy Oakland, and they aren’t in a position to say. IT was “several hundred”.
Those arrested will be protested in the usual fashion.
Most were arrested for misdemeanours, such as unlawful assembly. There were some felonies.
The spokesman says he is “very pleased” with how the operation went.
Police said “as far as we know we were the ones that deployed tear gas”. There were mixed reports that it may have come from protesters.
An officer says they were “being pelted with rocks and bottles” before it was used. He adds that firecrackers were thrown at police.
He confirms a non-lethal shotgun was used.
He repeats that police had bottles thrown at them. Protesters “were going back for more bottles” to throw at them.
You can watch it live here.
A press conference is being given by Oakland police now.
I’ve just been speaking to Susie Cagle, a graphic journalist who was at Occupy Oakland when the police moved in this morning.
Cagle said there were three police lines at Frank Ogawa Plaza. She was stood between the second and third lines when tear gas was let off in the crowd of protesters at the plaza.
“It was completely blinding and opaque. It just shot a white cloud up into the air, across a multi-lane road. It was quite a ways-away, but the quickness that it came to us took me by surprise.”
“It burned my eyes and throat. We ran two blocks away but it was still coming down towards us, the wind was carrying it down the street.”
Cagle, a freelancer who has been reporting on Occupy Oakland since demonstrations began, described the police operation as “extremely militant”.
“There were three helicopters, hundreds of police officers, vastly outnumbering any potential group of protesters that they would have faced, and then on top of that this gross use of force that just seemed completely out of line with what was happening.
“My last view of the camp before the tear gas went off was protesters stood inside the camp with their arms linked, chanting.”
I haven’t been able to get through to Oakland police department’s press office yet, but will post the police response as I get it. The use of tear gas has been widely reported.
I’m hoping to speak to someone from Occupy Oakland shortly. In the meantime here’s Reuters’ take on the events there:
Police cleared out protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement in Oakland, California, early Tuesday, breaking up a camp near city hall that has been the site of two weeks of demonstrations, a city spokeswoman said.
Oakland city spokeswoman Karen Boyd said she did not know how many of the protesters had been arrested in what the city described as an enforcement action at Frank Ogawa Plaza.
“We have contained the plaza, we are in the process of mobilizing the clean-up phase,” Boyd said.
The city said in a statement it had told protesters last Thursday to cease overnight camping and cooking at the plaza. More warnings were issued on Friday and Monday. Daytime demonstrations will be permitted, the city said.
Officials said police began to clear the plaza at about 4:30 a.m. and had “contained” the area in about an hour.
Businesses were asked to delay opening indefinitely Tuesday and city employees were advised to delay their arrival at work. A nearby rail station was closed and buses rerouted temporarily, the city said.
A statement from the city said conditions at the plaza had started to deteriorate by the second week with police, fire and medical personnel saying they were denied access to the plaza to respond to calls.
Oakland, where dozens of people were arrested according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Protesters had been occupying the Frank Ogawa Plaza in the city, but the early morning police raids appear to have moved them on:
The police action there began at 4.45am and involved hundreds of officers from at least 10 law enforcement agencies, including the California Highway Patrol, the Alameda County sheriff’s office and various East Bay police departments. Squads of officers had assembled at the Oakland Coliseum before traveling downtown in convoys.
Officers in riot helmets began arriving in force and formed a line in the street adjacent to the plaza while motorcycle officers shut down the street. Some protesters began shouting, “Cops, go home!”
Protesters pulled a metal trash container into the middle of the intersection, and officers quickly pushed it to the side of the road.
At 4.40am, an officer used a public-address system to warn protesters that they would be making arrests if they did not leave the plaza.
“Attention all persons in Frank Ogawa Plaza. It has been determined you are illegally blocking Frank Ogawa Plaza and are the subject to arrest,” said the officer, who ordered protesters to remove their belongings, secure their dogs and exit toward Telegraph Avenue. “Those remaining in the park will be arrested,” he said.
The officer further warned that those who did not comply could, besides being arrested, face other “police action” that could result in injury.
At 4.50am, some loud bangs were heard after officers lobbed “flash-bang” grenades, and smoke rose into the air. After a protester apparently released a smoke bomb, officers began putting on gas masks. A police helicopter flew overhead with its spotlight on.
Good morning. Today we’ll try to gain an understanding about what comes next for the Occupy movement. After a whirlwind seven weeks of occupations, meetings and arrests, Occupy Wall Street will vote tomorrow on a proposal to change their decision making process to that of a ‘spokescouncil’, with the hope that it will speed up the group’s ability to decide on issues while maintaining their consensus-based democracy.
The vote could represent a new stage for the Occupy movement, with people empowered to speak on behalf of different working groups. (Although there would be checks – more on that later).
We’ll also have live updates from around the occupations. In the early hours of this morning Oakland police moved to disperse the demonstrations at Frank Ogawa Plaza and Snow Park, reportedly using tear gas and ‘flash bang grenades’ to clear protesters. Some reports suggest up to 70 people were arrested.
Meanwhile in New York state assemblyman Vito Lopez is leading a march from Brooklyn to Occupy Wall Street this afternoon – a reverse route of that which saw 700 people arrested at the beginning of October.
If you were at the Oakland occupation, it’d be great to hear from you. Contact me on Twitter @AdamGabbatt or email
Tags: brooklyn bridge
, colin robinson
, downtown manhattan
, library media center
, mills and boon
Categories: The Western Press