Entries in Occupy Wall Street (38)


Former ’60s Activist Bill Ayers Among May Day Protesters

May Day Protest in NYC. EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/GettyImages(CHICAGO) -- Occupy protesters have amped up May Day labor demonstrations across the country with a wide range of partnering organizations and individuals. Former 60s anti-war activist William “Bill” Ayers is among those protesting in Chicago on Tuesday.

He said he planned to participate in the May Day demonstration at Union Park in Chicago and the subsequent march.

“We’ll march right past the scene of the Haymarket massacre,” Ayers said of the protest in favor of an eight-hour work day in 1886 that was bombed. “There used to be a big statute in tribute to police power but it was taken down. Now there’s a wonderful piece of public art celebrating the movement for labor rights and the anarchists’ movement.”

Ayers is a retired professor of education reform at the University of Illinois at Chicago and author of multiple books, including Fugitive Days: Memoirs of an Anti-War Activist (2009) and To Teach: The Journey, in Comics (2010).

He and his wife, Bernadine Dohrn, former leaders of the radical anti-war group the Weather Underground, paid a visit to Occupy Wall Street protesters in Union Square Park in New York on March 30.

In a call with ABC News, Ayers declined to comment about that meeting.

Ayers said he has participated in May Day labor demonstrations “for about 50 years.”

“May Day is an international workers holiday all over the world. Only in U.S. do we not celebrate that history.”

Dohrn is a clinical associate professor of law at Northwestern University School of Law and founder of its Children and Family Justice Center.

Ayers did not mention the May Day protests on his blog, instead drawing attention to a petition on April 29 opposing educational “privatization while undermining public education.”

Ayers was a flashpoint for a brief controversy during the 2008 presidential campaign. Opponents of Barack Obama criticized the then candidate for having ties to the former radical. Ayers later disputed the claim, writing an op-ed in the New York Times.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


May Day Protest? Banks Get White Powder Envelopes

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Envelopes containing suspicious powder were sent through the mail to at least seven locations in Manhattan, primarily Wells Fargo banks, in an apparent May Day protest, police officials said.

"This is a reminder that you are not in control," said a message that arrived with the envelopes. "Just in case you needed some incentive to stop working we have a little surprise for you. Think fast you have seconds."

Four of the seven samples have tested negative so far. The envelopes apparently contained corn starch.

Police believe the suspicious envelopes were mailed by militants from within the Occupy Wall Street movement.

Labor, immigration and Occupy Wall Street activists are planning protests for "May Day," May 1, which also is known as international workers' day. The intent is to show the "1 percent" what life without the working class' "99 percent" would be like.

San Francisco-based Wells Fargo may have been singled out for the white powder mailings because about half of a key dozen Occupy Wall Street members have backgrounds in Oakland, San Francisco and Berkeley, and similar incidents occurred in California earlier this week, police sources said.

In the New York cases, the envelopes mainly appear to have reached low-level workers at the bank branches.

"Apparently the message was aimed at the mailroom workers among the '99 percent,'" New York police spokesman Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne told ABC News.

The envelopes, intended for May Day delivery, arrived at the banks early.

"They underestimated the efficiency of the U.S. Postal Service," one official said.

Occupy Wall Street threatens to block New York-area tunnels and bridges in the morning of May 1 in an effort to keep commuters from arriving at work, police officials said. They also have urged pickets at "99 locations," an obviously symbolic number.

The Occupy movement has identified 30 to 40 locations, including banks, where they intend to block entrances, officials said.

There will be a significant amount of police officers on duty to counter the protests, though police officials did not give specific numbers on the planned deployment. The day shift is the largest of three tours, with a minimum of 7,000 officers routinely on duty and the ability to hold the overnight shift for coverage.

An additional large number of officers will be on duty for a labor march slated for 5:30 p.m. That march has for several years been a peaceful event by organized labor.

In Los Angeles, officials said 2,500 police will be on duty for the May Day events, and there will be a command center with nearly 100 officers.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Occupy DC: Police Raid Camp

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. Park Police clad in riot gear and on horseback raided the Occupy DC camp on Saturday to enforce a ban on camping in McPherson Square, a federal park, authorities said.

“They effectively removed any kind of bedding from the tents and they’re going to start searching them soon,” Legba Carrefour, a spokesperson for Occupy DC told  “We’re still watching this unfold. The cops are still here in force.”

Four people were arrested after stepping inside police barricades that surrounded a statue of General McPherson, Carrefour said.

Last week, U.S. Park Police announced it would enforce a ban on camping in the park.

Regulations in the federal park permit protesters to stay around the clock and have tents on the premises, however they are barred from sleeping.

A handful of Occupy DC protesters have gone on a no-sleep strike to protest the rule.

“People are focusing on saving their personal possessions. The plan is to regroup and then we are going to escalate,” Carrefour said. “Occupying isn’t limited to parks and squares.”

The D.C. encampment is one of the few camps still standing after the Occupy Wall Street movement began in New York City’s Zuccotti Park on Sept. 17.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Protesters Camp at Obama Headquarters, Talk ‘Occupy Caucus’ Plans

(DES MOINES, Iowa) -- A small group of protesters camped out overnight Saturday in front of President Obama’s re-election headquarters in Iowa, demanding to speak with someone in the president’s campaign office and air their concerns, vowing to stay planted in front of the office through the harsh Iowa winter.

There were about 10 protesters this morning sitting outside two tents surrounded by mostly anti-war and anti-capitalism signs, including one plastered on the front door of the Organizing for America office that read “Obama’s Former Headquarters.”

The protesters say about 11 people slept in front of the campaign office overnight, where the temperature was in the high 20s.

Jessica Reznicek, a member of Occupy Des Moines who also spent time in New York City’s Zuccotti Park as an Occupy Wall Street protestor, said they have “two demands” that they want met by the president.

“We ask that number one they cut the U.S. military budget in half and number two he dismantle the U.S. military empire,” Reznicek told ABC News. “When we arrived yesterday the business was shut down and nobody was in there and we made a vow to occupy until our demands were addressed, so here we stand.”

Ben Finkenbinder, Obama campaign spokesman for Iowa, told ABC News the campaign declines to comment.

Reznicek says the group understands they may be arrested, but have no plans to move.

She also runs the Occupy Des Moines off-shoot Occupy the Caucuses and said they have big plans for the week leading up to the Iowa caucuses, although she did say, “We have absolutely no plans of disrupting the grassroots caucusing process” on the night of Jan. 3.

However, they are going to be active and Reznicek has been reaching out to Occupy groups all over the country. She said she expects between 500 to 700 people will be here that week with many of them traveling to Des Moines, but added there could be more. She said she has been in touch with Occupy groups in New York, Chicago, Wisconsin, Kansas, Omaha, Neb., and Minneapolis.

According to Reznicek, on Dec. 26, Occupy protesters from all over the country will arrive in Des Moines. The following day they will be trained in “acts of non-violent civil disobedience.”

Different groups will also form that day and protesters will decide which of the presidential candidates, including Obama, they want to “target with their grievances.”

The groups will then take that list of grievances to all the campaign headquarters on Dec. 28, 29 and 30, and protest or “occupy” them “until those demands are met.”

Joseph Glazebrook, an attorney for several of the protesters, said that although he was an Obama supporter last cycle, they chose to camp out at the president’s re-election headquarters instead of one of the GOP candidates because “if we only focus on one part of the problem we are never going to change anything. We have to focus on the whole problem, which includes the president.”

Occupy Des Moines protested last month at Herman Cain’s headquarters when he was still in the race, and at a Mitt Romney adviser’s office before Romney’s campaign opened a headquarters. They also protested a Chris Christie event at Romney’s headquarters in Iowa, interrupting the New Jersey governor when he was stumping for the former Massachusetts governor earlier this month.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


'Occupy a Desk' Job Fair Comes to Zuccotti Park

Derek Tabacco (L) and John Tabacco (R) counter demonstrate against the "Occupy Wall Street" march near the New York Stock Exchange on Nov. 17, 2011. STAN HONDA/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- John Tabacco became so frustrated with disruption from the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protest near his office in Manhattan that he and his brother are hosting a job fair called "Occupy a Desk" in Zuccotti Park as a counter protest to the movement.

Tabacco, chief executive of, first started a campaign called "Free Wall Street Now" to coincide with Occupy Wall Street's "Day of Disruption" on Nov. 17.  On that day, Occupy protesters planned to interrupt workers' commute to the New York Stock Exchange in response to being kicked out of New York's Zuccotti Park.

Tabacco, 43, his brother, Derek, 41, and about 20 supporters counter-protested during the "Day of Disruption," holding signs near the stock exchange, such as "Occupy a Desk."

Tabacco said he and his brother had heated exchanges with the Occupy protesters.

"Their main response was, 'I can't occupy a desk, because I can't get a job; where can I get a job?'  That's what everyone was saying in response to our signs," Tabacco said, which inspired him and his brother to organize a jobs fair.

The campaign received a "huge outpouring" of support from people across the country, Tabacco said.  The business owner said when he started to gauge interest in a jobs fair two weeks ago, he had a list of about 15 jobs.  As of the weekend, they had a list of about 400 job openings in the tri-state area.

While OWS protesters are welcome to come and bring a resume, admission is free and open to everyone, Tabacco said.

"We're hoping to end the occupation by left wing vagabonds with a fragmented message and bring professional people who are trying to engage in a positive endeavor," he said.

The jobs fair is scheduled to last from noon to 4 p.m. on Monday in Zuccotti Park, where the Occupy Wall Street protest began on Sept. 17.  The New York Police Department said Tabacco does not need a permit to host the fair in the park if the organizational group is under 20 people and there is no amplified sound.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Poll: Americans Need $150K Income to Feel Rich

Comstock/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- How much do you need to consider yourself “rich?” Americans say they would need an annual income of $150,000, according to a Gallup poll this week.

Gallup asked, “Just thinking about your own situation, how much money per year would you need to make in order to consider yourself rich?”

The median income figure of the telephone responses was $150,000. However, 30 percent said less than $100,000 would be enough. Only four percent said earning $1 million or more would make them feel rich.

Americans’ perceptions of the income needed to be rich were a bit higher than in 2003, when Gallup last asked the question. Eight years ago, $120,000 was the median Americans said they would need.

In a separate question asking how much in net worth, or savings in cash, stocks, real estate and other investments, they would need to consider themselves rich, the median figure was $1 million, the same as in Gallup’s 2003 poll on the same issue.

Gallup published the survey amid discussion over tax cuts and Occupy Wall Street’s criticism of the richest one percent of Americans.  Gallup said the results suggest Americans would need “quite a bit less” than what the wealthiest “1 percent” of Americans earn to consider themselves rich.

The survey showed a noticeable difference in answers by respondents’ gender, age, education and of course, income.

The median annual household income in the country is around $50,000 per year, according to the Census Bureau.

Gallup surveyed 1,012 adults who were 18 years or older from Nov. 28 to Dec. 1.

Incomes Needed for Survey Respondents to Feel Rich

  • Less than $60,000:  18 percent
  • $60,000 to $99,999:  12 percent
  • $100,000 to $150,000:  23 percent
  • $150,001 to $299,999:  18 percent
  • $300,000 to $999,999:  14 percent
  • $1 million:  11 percent
  • More than $1 million: 4 percent
  • Median: $150,000

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupiers Protesting Foreclosures, Cold Temps, with New Campaign

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock(MINNEAPOLIS) -- A subset of Occupy Wall Street protesters across the country are bringing their fight indoors with plans to stay in foreclosed homes for months -- conveniently just in time for winter.

The group launched a national campaign on Tuesday called Occupy Our Homes -- in which they'll literally be living in the homes of foreclosed homeowners.

It's a move apparently motivated as much by Mother Nature than it was by any philisophical motivations about the economy. 

Nick Espinosa, one of the organizers of Occupy Minneapolis, which officially launched on Oct. 7, said Minnesota's cold makes it difficult for people to spend the winter outdoors.

"It makes sense to be indoors but really this is a larger issue," he said. "It's an opportunity for a way to bring what is happening on Wall Street back to Main Street and to communities most affected by this crisis."

Foreclosures are still plaguing communities across the country, as foreclosure activity recently hit a seven-month high, RealtryTrac reported last month. There were foreclosure filings on 230,678 properties across the country in October, the real estate site said, an increase of 7 percent from the previous month, though down 31 percent from a year ago.

This week, the first major lawsuit over "robo-signing" foreclosure processing was filed in Massachusetts against Bank of America, JP Morgan Chase, Citi, Ally Financial and Wells Fargo, as well as the Mortgage Electronic Registration System, Inc. (MERS Corp.). The suit alleges the companies used fraudulent documentation in processing foreclosures.

Steve Fletcher, executive director of the nonprofit group Minnesota's Neighborhoods Organizing for Change, has joined with Occupy Minneapolis protesters to live on the properties of two foreclosed homeowners.

About 50 people began occupying the home of Bobby Hull, 57, this week.  Fletcher said he and other protesters plan to stay in the four-bedroom home of Hull, who is scheduled to be evicted from his home on Feb. 17.

Neighborhoods Organizing for Change along with Occupy Minneapolis protesters have also stayed at the home of Monique White in North Minneapolis, for one month.  Espinosa said the protesters in White's home have scaled back since the original 40 or 50 people a night.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


‘Occupier’ Gets Wall Street Job

Scott Eells/Bloomberg via Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Tracy Postert no longer has to answer to cries of “Get a job!” from people who passed by the Occupy Wall Street protest.

I used to say, “I’m trying!” she told ABC News. Postert doesn’t have to try -- or occupy -- any longer. The New York City woman, who split her time between Occupy Wall Street and having her “nose in the computer looking for work,” now has a job, thanks to a little marketing savvy and an executive who happened to pass by at just the right time.

Armed with 800 copies of her resume, Postert held a sign that read: “Ph.D. Biomedical Scientist Seeking Full Time Employment.”

Although Postert was looking for work in academia, she had all but given up.

Her sign caught the eye of Wayne Kaufman, the chief market analyst for John Thomas Financial Brokerage -- a firm with a prime Wall Street address.

“I said a very quick hello,” Kaufman told ABC News.  “I took a copy of her resume and contacted her the next day. I was very impressed by it.”

Postert came in a few days later for an interview at the company’s office at 14 Wall St., where she learned that Kaufman wanted her to be a junior analyst evaluating medical companies as potential investments.

“She was not wildly enthusiastic,” Kaufman said.

Although his firm usually hires people with business or financial backgrounds for that sort of position, he said Postert could fit a certain niche.

“I thought, ‘Maybe this is a person who could help us understand these early-stage biotech companies that financial people just don’t always understand,’” he said.

Eager for a job, Postert accepted. She’s going into her fourth week in her position and said she’s learning a lot.

“There’s a lot to like about it,” she said. “And I’m learning more about the business and legal sides, too.”

Postert said she’s been down to Zuccotti Park a few times -- only briefly -- since she started her job because she has been busy with work.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupy Camp Death in Texas, Arrests in Oregon

Scott Eells/Bloomberg/Getty Images(DENTON, Texas) -- A man’s body was found overnight Saturday in one of the tents at the Occupy encampment at the University of North Texas in Denton, about 30 miles north of Dallas.

Occupy members immediately recognized him, not as a student or a protester, but as a homeless and drug-addicted man who’d been taken in by the group and given food and shelter. Police are investigating the death, but say they don’t suspect foul play.

Many on campus are now calling for an end to the encampment. Some are posting angry notes on the school's newspaper site, demanding that Occupy Denton be shut down; others are expressing condolences on the group’s Facebook page.

Occupy Denton says the death is a chance to highlight the plight of the homeless.

Meanwhile, in Portland, Ore., several Occupy protesters were arrested Saturday night after defying police orders to leave a park, despite police warnings that overnight camping would not be tolerated.

Protesters tried to hold their ground as police moved into the park, but police with riot gear started pushing them back. There was a lot of pushing and shoving, and finally protesters decided to move a few blocks away to city hall, where they began a march back through downtown Portland.

Police took down tents Occupy protestors put up earlier on Saturday. Protesters have now headed back to the original park block where they were kicked out of last night, but they do not appear to be setting up tents once again.

Protesters were chased out of two other city parks two weeks ago.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Occupy Wall Street Begins Hunger Strike

Spencer Platt/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Demonstrators with Occupy Wall Street began a hunger strike Saturday, demanding an outdoor space by a New York City church for a new occupation two weeks after being evicted from their nearby encampment.

Protesters said they are seeking sanctuary on a vacant lot owned by Trinity Church, which is located at the intersection of Wall Street and Broadway.

“[This is] a chance for Trinity to definitely decide whether they’re a church or real estate company,” protester Diego Ibanez said.

The strike will be held at Duarte Square on Sixth Avenue and Canal Street in lower Manhattan, and the protest organizers said the hunger strike would be continued in jail if demonstrators are arrested.

The weather has changed since Occupy Wall Street began its activities on Sept. 17, but Ibanez said he and other hunger strikers are prepared for the winter weather.

The New York Occupy protesters said they hope that other Occupy groups around the country that have been forced out of their encampments will join them in the hunger strike, to make that a national movement as well.

“We’re definitely going to call for more people to join us throughout the week with solidarity hunger strikes,” Ibanez said.

According to the statement from, the hunger strike is not only about getting a new site for the demonstrators, but about keeping the movement alive in the face of “government-enacted violence and repression.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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