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For Occupy Wall Street, message trumps messenger

Occupy Wall Street

Occupy Wall Street Credit: Getty Images

First it was the pro union rally that choked a number of downtown streets for hours. Then supporters of a millionaire’s tax marched on the Upper East Side.

While the Occupy Wall Street protestors participated in these high profile demonstrations in the past month, they didn’t organize any of them.

“Other groups are realizing if they want to do something, they ought to let us know because they see the momentum and energy of [THE PROTESTS],” said Jeff Smith, 41, a press liaison for the demonstrators.

So at the nightly “general assembly” meetings, the group discusses events coming up in the future and decides which they’ll support. “Anytime we mobilize people, it’s because we more-or-less agree with their message,” Smith said.

Before last week’s millionaire’s march, organizer Michael Kink began a chant of “we are the 99%,” a slogan that has been used by the Wall Street protesters. Then he scrounged around to find someone to speak to the crowd that was actually from Zuccotti Park.

Because the demonstrators are adamant that no one person can make any decisions without the entire groups’ blessing, even the 20 or so members of the park’s “media center” go out of the way to make sure they aren’t seen as making policy decisions.

The protesters have a website, a Facebook account, two Twitter feeds and countless videos uploaded and edited each day.

“We’re presenting Occupy Wall Street, not representing,” said Thorin Cariso, who runs a live video stream tied to the protests.


Developments Box:

- Occupy Wall Street now has its daily “general assembly” meetings at two locations: Zuccotti Park and Washington Square Park.

- The protesters at Zuccotti Park celebrated their one-month “birthday” last night.

- A Quinnipiac poll released Monday found that 67 percent of Gotham residents agree with the protesters’ views.


Follow reporters Marc Beja on Twitter: @Marc_Beja


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