Inside the occupation - Page 3

With its general assemblies, People's Mic, and chants of 'We are the 99 percent,' OccupySF gains momentum despite a police crackdown

Occupy SF marches through the Financial District on Oct. 5 chanting "Make banks pay" and "We are the 99 percent."

Carolyn DeRoo, a brightly charismatic BART station agent, reveled in the whoops and cheers when she announced that Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555, the union that represents BART workers, had just voted to endorse Occupy SF. "I got an hour off work today so I could be in the march," said DeRoo.

She expressed concern over the lack of coherent messaging, hoping it wouldn't hurt the movement. "I was about to get on a plane to New York because of how badly I wanted to be a part of it," she said. "I'm so glad it has started in SF."



But on that fateful night, Oct. 5, meeting ideals were strained. High-tension and often angry debate filled the hours between being warned of police action and its onset, making consensus difficult. Some wanted to take down the camp, unable to risk arrest. There were campers from all walks of life present, including some homeless folks and travelers who would risk losing all or most of their possessions if the police confiscated them. Others didn't want to see the camp's growth stunted due to police intimidation.

Dierdre Anglin, 40, an Oakland resident who works in the nonprofit sector, was particularly calm amongst the chaos. "I think the energy got a little high," she said, as protesters ran around taking down tents and preparing for the imminent police confrontation. "But we have decided to take the stance and to stay here."

She added, "I personally feel that they are not going to do anything because it would make the police look quite bad. There's a lot of support for us." Anglin's prediction about the cops' actions, if not their public relations consequences, was mistaken. Police marched in around 1 am, and Department of Public Works employees began to fill their trucks with camp materials.

Billy Gene, ever energetic, raced to lie down on the street in front of trucks and was dragged away, yelling "Don't be mean!" at police. Many sat and stood in front of trucks. Others could be seen shaking their heads at colleagues' verbal attacks and murmuring, "that isn't nonviolent."

There was no property damage or physical violence on the part of the protesters, although one man was arrested for allegedly punching an officer in the face, which both sides cast as an aberration that didn't reflect the tenor of the standoff.

At 3 am, protesters surveyed the damage. An organizer addressed the group: "We're still here, and it's time to rebuild." The camp received a donation of blankets and sleeping bags at four o'clock that morning. At five, a small jam session and dance party broke out.

Police have since provided information on how to retrieve confiscated materials, and Police Chief Greg Suhr told us they've been actively trying to facilitate getting people their stuff back and allowing the occupation to continue (see accompanying article for more from Suhr).

In the days since, the mood has again turned jubilant. On Thursday afternoon, Oct. 6, about 120 people were gathered at the camp. Signs ranged from "student loan debt is slavery" to "grannies against war." The next night, the mass of people had increased, and with it the group's creativity. Protesters could be seen pedaling a stationary bike connected to a battery, powering laptops.

As the sun set Friday, 300 people at camp looked west. They erupted in cheers as a 500-person anti-war demonstration marched onto the site. Market between Main and Embarcadero was shut down as protesters rallied and then held General Assembly. A dozen police lined up near the sidewalk; one told me they were separating OccupySF from the march. The next second, the "march" erupted in chants of "We are the 99 percent," the Occupy movement's signature rallying cry. Attempts to divide were futile.


I've seen bigger crowds at my neighborhood bar.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 7:20 am

to avoid wetting your pants. But you can't fool other people. Your lying to them on the internet, which readily proves you are a liar.

Posted by meatlock on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 7:38 am

Are you saying that SFBG is lying to us?

FYI, the stock market is up 10% since this started. Looks like us one-percenters are doing just fine.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 7:54 am

8:27 PDT SAN FRANCISCO - A group of nearly 200 protesters is blocking the front door of Wells Fargo Bank's corporate headquarters, slowing downtown traffic and forcing workers to use a side entrance.

Posted by meatlock on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 7:47 am

Hmm, let's see, Bay Area population is about 5 million, so that's 00.02% of us taking part.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 7:56 am

'Guest' this is simply because out of the hundreds of thousands of people in any given city, only a handful will risk arrest in a civil disobedience action.

But just as even a mere letter sent to an elected official represents hundreds of people, and every person actually meeting with that elected official represents thousands; every person taking the personal risk to engage in civil disobedience also represents thousands of people who feel the same way about the issue, but are too busy, personally vulnerable, or timid, to show up themselves.

Again, you are whistling in the dark. And the wolf of democracy is creeping up on you. Prepare to be brought down...

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 8:58 am

let alone global capitalism.

The stock market is up 10% since this started, and the markets rarely get these things wrong. This will fizzle out as soon as it gets cold and wet.

200 people? Subtract the "usual suspevcts" who show up for all these events, and it's trivial. A few weeks ago it was BART, today it's this, next it will be something else. People like to whine but, in the end, they also like to eat.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 9:14 am

Did not BART immediately reverse it cellphone signal policy?

Is not BART sweating bullets over its police violence problem.

And the modern stock market is simply a farcical measure of totally overblown artificial debt accumulation. Fake money as illusory bytes on computer hard drives, absurdly and exponentially inflating with no real world justification for that expansion. The 'stock market' has become meaningless to how the economy is actually behaving and whether or not it is succeeding or failing.

Your arguments are weak.

And your resort to petty ridicule shows that your protestations are based in fear.

Posted by Eric Brooks on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 9:30 am

I doubt that in practice any of their management will change anything. A few conciliatory words they didn't mean bought you off.

And the stock market anticipates event better than polls or anything else. If the Dow is up 10% that means the smart money is betting against you. So do I.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 2:13 pm

So you're wrong again.
BART will never shut down cell phone service again, after the world wide condemnation of their embarrassing and UnAmerican act.

"Linton Johnson, the spokesman — who has been on leave from BART since Anonymous publicized partially nude photos of him in mid-August — suggested the shutdown."
"Johnson did not return a call seeking comment. Allison, the spokesman, said he didn’t know whether Johnson would be returning."
Source: The Bay Citizen (

This article, published this morning demonstrates that you are also lying when you say everyone's forgotten the BART issue.
What's it like to be on the wrong side of the truth nearly 100% of the time?
Does it pleasure you somehow?

Posted by Meatlock on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 2:37 pm

They can say anything and still do anything.

You've been played.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 3:25 pm

Desperately trying to cling to any vile argument you can to invalidate what is now a global movement encompassing hundreds of thousands of active protestors, and likely millions who silently support.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2011 @ 2:17 pm

99% are getting on with their lives with no delusion that they are going to overthrow capitalism.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2011 @ 4:59 pm

That's not what this world wide movement is about.
Thanks for playing, though.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 16, 2011 @ 5:22 pm

Really 'Guest'?

This poll says otherwise; that New Yorkers support the Occupy protests 3 to 1.

Looks like you are the fool, on the wrong side of history.

Take a look:

Posted by 'anonymous' on Oct. 18, 2011 @ 9:09 am

Deputy police chief: "I like this idea. Can anyone think of a downside?"
Source: The Bay Citizen (

Posted by Meatlock on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 10:13 am

Instead of turning away food donations from the public, try contacting the SF Food bank to see if there is any way they could help you deal with the excess.

And if the SF Food Bank, can help.. please encourage people to donate even MORE food.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 12, 2011 @ 12:00 pm

"Many participants are determined to stay put. Jreds, a protester who had come from Chico, looked me in the eye and promised, "I'm staying as long as it takes.""

This is some of the most earnestly horrible writing. I know one of the "demands" is free college education. If the end result is even more Sac State journalism majors on the loose, I think I'll count myself as one of the 1%.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 13, 2011 @ 5:13 am

Support occupy SF! Support law and order and jail the Wall street gangsters and all the corrupt democrat and republican politicians who aided and abetted the looting of America!

Posted by GuestSf T Party on Oct. 19, 2011 @ 10:17 am

Thanks for this piece and the inside look at our local efforts. A minor FYI: People's Mic has been used since before Occupy Wall Street. I remember using it during anti-war protests in 2003, and I'll bet it goes back at least 10-20 years before that. Anyone have background info on this?

I think it's important to acknowledge that while the surge in support is new, effective organizing and some of the more targeted lock-down actions would not have been possible without the years of grueling work carried out by organizers in previous decades, when the economy was booming and fewer people cared about others in the worst situations. Consensus process, people's mic, facilitation skills, and other tools have been handed down to us by our predecessors.

Posted by Guest on Oct. 24, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

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