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Live Blog for #Occupy Movement: Efforts to Evolve & Generate Attention

11:05 PM 21 Occupy Wall Street protesters have their charges dropped today in court. 50 other cases, the New York Times, reports are going to trial. The cases involved those arrested on September 24 in a march to Union Square.

8:36 PM David Corn reports Santorum aides have covered up windows with campaign signs to block view of Occupiers who are protesting outside.

8:25 PM Obscure but sober comment from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on OWS in interview by Power Index:

…Shouldn’t necessarily say that they are a great and hopeful sign…If you saw someone’s leg off they will scream and that’s what’s happening to a number of populations. They are acting against the pressure that is being applied to them…When you look at Occupy Wall Street we shouldn’t think that this is merely the result of politically educated youth, educated as a result of the internet, or as a result of mobile phone calls or WikiLeaks or YouTube, all these things are factors…It is also a back reaction to the degree of wealth inequality and oppression that is occurring

Also he pointed out “crowd control techniques and weapons have leapt forward over the past year but so had the ability of people to ‘see the abuses that are occurring.'”

8:15 PM Ron Paul supporters and Occupy protesters show up to protest at a Newt Gingrich campaign event. He cancels for “security reasons.” Both Ron Paul’s supporters and occupiers are really making these GOP candidates’ campaigns a living hell. It’s great, right?

6:30 PM New music: “All Day, All Week” from The Rebellions

6:04 PM NYCLU letter against the continued presence of barricades at Zuccotti Park:

Since November 15, 2011, metal barricades have encircled the perimeter of Liberty Plaza. In addition, members of the public are subject to ad hoc, arbitrary and inconsistent rules and conditions restricting their use of the park. These practices have substantially modified LibertyPlaza, making it a wholly inhospitable space for the public. Putting aside for the moment theserious constitutional concerns raised by these practices, it is abundantly clear that suchrestrictions are in direct conflict with zoning laws, Brookfield’s legal obligations under a 1968 special zoning permit, and longstanding City policy.

5:57 PM Police investigating whether a staffer for Newt Gingrich assaulted an Occupy protester

5:54 PM January 16, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the Occupy movement will “Occupy the Dream.”

5:49 PM Occupy New Hampshire’s die-in outside of Obama’s New Hampshire headquarters

5:47 PM Obama’s new chief-of-staff, Jacob Lew, like other member of his administration, worked for a Big Bank. He worked as CEO of Citibank’s alternate investment unit from 2006-2009.

5:20 PM More on the homeless Occupy Oakland activist who faces possible life in prison.

3:25 PM Veterans of earlier movements offer Chicago occupiers advice.

2:35 PM Fifteen year-old boy is shot dead in Kano, Nigeria, where “Occupy Nigeria” protests have been taking place. Police opened fire and killed the boy with live ammunition. This happened after tear gas had been fired off to stop the protesters from trying to get into the Government House.

2:30 PM Newt Gingrich’s attack ad against Romney hits him for his role in Bain Capital’s downsizing and essentially is along the lines of what Occupy Wall Street has been saying about the financial system for months: “You have to ask the question, is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of people and then walk off with the money?” Of course, Gingrich probably is just desperately trying to poll better than third or fourth place.

Anyways, conservative writer Michelle Malkin thinks Gingrich (and Perry) are transforming into Occupy Wall Street zealots because of what they are saying on the campaign trail. One might ask Malkin if she think Gingrich is planting OWS hecklers at campaign events to get attention.

12:03 pM New website – Future of Occupy – setup to promote conversation on what Occupy stands for and where it should be headed.

11:55 AM Occupy Anthem Blue Cross: Healthcare Now! to march in LA late in the morning

11:51 AM A retiring congressman on the “1%” that think Congress is doing an “excellent” job.

11:50 AM Both Occupy London and UK Uncut were listed on seven business community updates on terrorism and extremism from the City of London police. The peaceful protest groups were listed alongside al Qaeda and the FARC in Colombia. Rizwaan Sabir, for The Independent, did some investigation into their listing on the updates. And, he concludes:

…City of London Police must issue a full and unconditional apology to Occupy LSX and all other peaceful organisations included in communiqués featuring violent groups. Occupy LSX are not domestic extremists or terrorists, so City Police should have no problem understanding why Occupy LSX and its supporters, such as myself, are deeply offended by their repeated attempts to insinuate such sinister connections…

Original Post

Reuters has a report up on what they think the Occupy movement is doing to keep the media and public’s attention. Noting that occupations have been surviving the cold winter and even perhaps “protest fatigue,” the report concisely shows how Occupy is confronting the 2012 Election, the economy and housing, how they are organizing in cyberspace and what they have done to transform culture. It is a good primer on the impact Occupy has had thus far and what Occupy is doing now in the way of organizing.

Here are some comments on the report—

Like most establishment media, Reuters suggests “the lack of a coherent set of demands has made it difficult for the young movement to affect policy or otherwise score victories that might keep recruits coming.” The absence of demands has greatly bothered establishment media from the beginning. Few outlets have bothered to explore whether offering demands would go anywhere given the abysmal record Congress has when it comes to advancing legislation the American population wants it to pass. Usually, Congress only has time for the White House and the top 1%’s agenda.

The 99% have to really make a ruckus. For example, health “reform” was not taken up until years after it became a top issue among Americans. Those who watched Michael Moore’s Sicko know Hillary Clinton tried to reform health care in the 1990s and was stopped by powerful special interests like the health insurance industry. The movement could have immediately offered policy solutions or demands for addressing economic problems and those proposed solutions or demands could have led the media to dismiss them. Progressive groups had been offering solutions and demands for years. They had gone nowhere or enjoyed very limited success. And so, it should be clear that the tactic of occupying and having a 24/7 protest (i.e. the physical presence of a camp) was what made Occupy a top news story, not its prospective ability to actually push Congress to act on economic issues.

Firedoglake earns recognition in the section “Occupy Real Space.” As “signature” occupations were shut down in New York, Oakland, Portland and Boston, etc, the establishment media began to assume Occupy was no longer trying to have encampments in cities because the more prominent camps had been shut down. FDL counted the camps that we had been tracking and came up with more than 60 camps that were still going. This proved it was false to suggest or imply there were no more Occupy camps.

In the fourth month of the movement, that there are still about 60 camps is impressive.  The success of these camps and the struggles Occupy groups have endured after they have been shut down indicate that having a permanent presence remains critical.

Finally, to Reuters credit, it gets something right that most US media has refused to admit. Occupy is not a left-wing Tea Party.

Occupy has been likened to the conservative Tea Party movement, which emerged in 2009 and helped elect dozens of Republicans. But many in the Occupy movement specifically reject electoral politics, which they see as hopelessly tainted by money.

Firedoglake’s premier live blog on Occupy Wall Street & all things “Occupy” continues. All times are EST. Updates will appear at the top of the post. Email with any news tips, questions or updates.

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Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola

Kevin Gosztola is managing editor of Shadowproof. He also produces and co-hosts the weekly podcast, "Unauthorized Disclosure."