Occupy Updates: Goldman Reneges On Invite Due to Protesters' Presence, London Occupation Shutters Cathedral, Why Hasn't #OWS Trended More on Twitter?

Occupy Wall Street and occupations around the world continue into their second month. Here's the latest:

This is a very New York story. A Manhattan credit union with progressive aims is holding a fundraiser and Goldman Sachs was to be one of the invitees (and sponsors)--but since the occupiers  would be among the newly-honored, they backed out. Too funny. From the WSJ.com:

On one side was Goldman Sachs, which told the credit union it didn't want its name or money used to celebrate a protest movement known for placards like "Goldman Sachs is the work of the devil," dinner organizers said. The investment bank's giant glass-and-steel headquarters tower is just blocks away from the protest headquarters in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park.

On the other side of the debate were several hosts and board members of the credit union, who said honoring the protesters is more important than the money from Goldman—even though the funds were slated to cover a quarter of the dinner's $20,000 cost.

"Their money was welcome, but not at the price of giving up what we believe in," said Pablo DeFilippi, one of the dinner hosts and associate director of member development at the National Federal of Community Development Credit Unions. "We lost their $5,000, but we have our principles."

While this story is laced with irony and the dinner will go on, it's a great illustration of how much hold these powerful financial institutions have on the life of the city and the nation, even through their charitable donations.

Down in Zuccotti Park, the General Assembly is having an intesen debate about whether to allow working groups to form themselves into a "Spokes Council" as in spokes on a wheel. This is an anarchist organizing structure that has a long history. Still, the division and consolidation of power is obviously a big issue for the GA, and the debates have been intense and lengthy. Both sides and all those in between are committed to inclusive, direct democracy, but it's hard to find a model that works for everyone, and the efforts to do so are exciting and intense.

Read the proposal here. Debate on it will resume mid-week next week at the Zuccotti Park GAs.

Meanwhile in London, Occupy London has shut down St. Paul's Cathedral. From the Guardian:

Protest organisers said they had complied with every request the cathedral had made and would continue to obey any further demands to ensure the camp stayed.

A volunteer for the Occupy movement, Peter Vaughan, 24, from Hackney, east London, said: "We feel we have addressed all their health and safety concerns. We don't want a battle with the church."

Attempting to explain why the cathedral had appeared to backtrack from its support of the occupation earlier in the week, Vaughan speculated that church officials may have been under pressure from those with financial interests in the City. 

And here's something for the geekiest among us. Many observers have been baffled as to why local Occupy Wall Street hashtags haven't trended more on Twitter. The answer lies in the algorithm, and it's mostly that they're too popular for too long.

Read the explanation at Nieman Journalism Lab.

AlterNet / By Sarah Seltzer

Posted at October 22, 2011, 6:16am

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