Community Occupation

Working Together on Occupying Wall Street

Two young protesters dance slowly to no music at Occupy Wall Street. Photo: Riley Sparks

With over 1, 000 people camping out in New York City’s Zuccotti Park as part of the Occupy Wall Street protests, tight organization has become a necessity.

“The organization of the park has grown immensely over the last couple days,” said one organizer going by the name Paul of the protests, now entering their third week. “The level [of organization] we’re at today is astounding to what we were yesterday.”

Whether serving meals to fellow occupiers, ensuring the cleanliness of the park, or even looking after people’s nicotine addiction with free cigarettes, organizers have it covered.

At the heart of the efforts is the people’s general assembly, which gathers as often as twice a day, and is where all issues relating to the occupation are addressed. A bylaw against the use of megaphones has forced protesters to get creative with how to speak to large crowds in the bustling business district.

Whenever someone is addressing the audience, the speaker will yell the first part of a sentence, which will then be yelled again by those closest, passing the message to the back of the crowd.

On Tuesday, the general assembly welcomed economist Richard Wolff as a guest speaker. Wolff spoke about how proud he was of the protesters for what they had accomplished and he discussed how occupying Wall Street is an important step towards abolishing capitalism.

Asked to address the dark history of communism, Wolff said that it would be completely “stupid” to dismiss communism outright simply because it hadn’t worked in the past. “We need to criticize where the USSR went wrong and make changes accordingly,” he said.

Later on during the general assembly, there was a lengthy discussion about the march happening on Oct. 5. It was predicted that thousands of protesters, labour unions and student unions will be in attendance.

Students at over 100 universities around the U.S. walked out of class at noon in support of the Wall Street occupiers.

Occupation, for the majority of protesters in Zuccotti Park, is about a lot more than just sitting in with a sign denouncing the greed they see on Wall Street. Many are involved in working groups that help the occupation function as a whole.