Now entering its third week, what began in New York with a few hundred activists has fast spread throughout the country, with over 1,300 cities or towns currently taking part in occupations. Occupy Wall Street, a movement that has given a voice to the growing discontent with corporatism and militarism in the U.S., has grown not only in numbers, but in scope. Activists shouting chants like “Tax the Rich, End the Wars” and “We will not pay for your crisis,” are also actively organizing for the environment, civil rights, reproductive rights, labor rights, education, and health care.
Now called Occupy Together, the response from mainstream media has evolved, and response of police and government has varied by time and place. In Des Moines, Iowa, 37 people were arrested Sunday after 500 gathered outside of the Iowa Statehouse, renaming the capitol complex “People’s Park.” 100 were arrested yesterday for occupying Boston’s financial district. In other cities, like Washington, D.C., there has been little clash with the police. The group currently occupying Freedom Plaza
In D.C. was granted a 4 month extension on their permit by the U.S. Park Police yesterday. Support from labor unions was strong last week, and this week several government officials voiced their support for the occupations, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who said in an interview last week that she supports the message that “change needs to happen.”
Occupations are also seeing a flood of support in donations from across the globe. Writer Naomi Klein spoke to the crowd in New York last week, saying, “the baffled pundits on TV ask ‘Why are they protesting?’ Meanwhile, the rest of the world asks: ‘What took you so long? We’ve been wondering when you were going to show up.'” Klein ended her speech to the crowd saying, “Let’s treat this beautiful movement as if it is most important thing in the world. Because it is. It really is.”