It's been almost three weeks and they're still there. It's been raining, and they're still here. Not only that, but their numbers are growing. The Occupy Wall Street movement  – and its local counterpart, the Occupy San Francisco  group that has been camped in front of the Federal Reserve at the foot of Market Street – is showing real staying power as it demands social and economic justice.
Following last week's march through the Financial District, the local group plans to brave the rain storm expected to hit tomorrow (Wed/5) and to stage another march on the banks and big financial players that they blame for crashing the economy and transferring more and more wealth from the bottom to the top. The fun begins at noon outside the Federal Reserve, 101 Market Street.
Then, the next day, protesters plan to gather outside the Federal Building at Mission and 7th streets from 3-6 pm to voice solidarity with the latest big city occupation that starts that day: the "Stop the machine! Create a new world!" occupation of Freedom Plaza in Washington D.C., which organizers intend to last throughout the month.
And on Friday, the 10th anniversary of the U.S. military campaign against Afghanistan, anti-war groups will again gather at the Federal Building for a rally and march starting at 4:30 pm, with a message that seeks to link this country's ongoing wars with the messages being sounded by the occupiers in the streets, that it's time to divert resources being wasted on war and Wall Street toward the 99 percent of Americans who could really use them right now.
The mainstream media has been struggling with how to cover that linkage and convey the protesters' long list of grievances and demands. But as groups of teachers and pilots and other exploited professionals join the Occupy Wall Street movement, and as noted economists and celebrities stop by to show their support, the effort is entering a new phase, and we should all seek to understand what's driving it and where this might be headed.