Bradley Manning, Re-Occupation, and the WGA: Occupy Wall St. Updates

Today in Occupy Wall St. news...

Today, Occupy Wall Streeters gathered outside Ford Meade, Maryland, where fellow freedom-fighter Bradley Manning spent his first day in court. 

“We wanted to support someone who did what he thought was right,”  Sean O’Connor, who has been involved in the Occupy Newark movement in New Jersey, told the OdentonPatch, “A lot of what he released helped bring about the Arab Spring, which has influenced Occupy Wall Street, so we owe him a debt of gratitude.”


Saturday is D17, the one month anniversary of the Liberty Plaza eviction, and Occupy Wall St. is gearing up for the "re-occupation" of another space.  Saturday at noon, Occupy Wall St. supporters will assemble once more, as local artists musicians, and community members present an all-day performance in Duarte Square, where occupiers reconvened the morning after eviction. 

Duarte Square is owned  by Liberty Plaza's neighbor, and Occupy Wall St.'s sometimes ally, Trinity Church. Occupy Wall St. protesters have been asking Trinity to grant them legal access to the space, but confusion and dissent among church leaders has made the option seem unlikely. Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town Desmond Tutu wrote to Occupy Wall St. in solidarity, and is also asking Trinity to open up their space.



But Trinity may not be the only group of Americans with conflicting views on Occupy Wall St. According to Slate:


The latest Pew poll on Occupy Wall Street finds some decidedly mixed feelings out there, with Americans generally expressing much more sympathy with the concerns of the movement than with its tactics. But when Pew moved a bit away from the focus on OWS and asked some more general questions about wealth and power they revealed what more or less looks like a nation of hardened class warriors. Huge majorities of self-identified Democrats and clear majorities of self-identified independents say that there's too much power in the hands of a few rich people, that the country's economic system unfairly favors the wealthy, and that Wall Street does more to hurt the economy than to help it.


Occupy Wall St. vs The Writers Guild

While attempting to film an Occupy Wall St themed episode at a fake Zuccotti Park, a Law & Order: SVU shoot was interrupted by real occupiers. The city responded by taking the show's permit, and Writers Guild of America workers walked away upset with both police and protesters, whom they have actively supported. 

They published the following letter:

 To Occupy Wall Street and the New York Police Department:

The Writers Guild of America, East (WGAE), an affiliate of the AFL-CIO, has strongly and actively supported the Occupy Wall Street movement from its inception. Our union members and staff have participated in many OWS actions, and we have endorsed OWS’ important message that corporate greed and economic inequality are wrong.

So we were disappointed to learn that last week people associated with Occupy Wall Street disrupted the set of an episode of Law & Order: SVU, written and produced by members of the WGAE, and crewed by other entertainment industry union members. The demonstrators’ actions were as misguided and inappropriate as the City of New York’s response – revoking Law & Order’s permit for the shoot and directing the dismantling of its set. Presumably the protesters and police did not set out to achieve a common end but together they prevented the scene from being filmed and the story from being told.

Freedom of speech is freedom of speech, whether it is the OWS demonstrators’ right to peacefully assemble and protest without fear of retribution or Law & Order’s ability to film in the streets of New York and tell its stories without fear of vandalism from protesters or overreaction by the police. New York City has worked very hard to encourage television and film production, and we know it will continue to do so. Everyone who works in the industry supports this, including the Writers Guild, East.

We continue to support Occupy Wall Street’s aims and in the tradition of a city with a long history of upholding the right of free, peaceful speech for all, urge both the members of OWS and the police to treat last week’s occurrence as an isolated incident, vowing that it not be repeated. We would be happy to meet with your representatives at any time to discuss this further. Thank you for your attention.


Updates on the Re-Occupy D 17 action will follow on Saturday. 

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at December 16, 2011, 8:44am

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