It’s impossible to begin a report back from the Occupy Wall Street West Day of Action on January 20th and not mention the ferocious weather. It rained. A lot.
But, the wind and pouring rain did not stop the hundreds of people that were out in San Francisco's financial core to make business as usual uncomfortable and participate in 2012’s first mass protest organized by the Occupy movement.
A coalition of Bay Area organizations, affinity groups, and occupiers shut down and occupied Wells Fargo and Bank of America branches for virtually the whole day, marched to "Occupy the Courts" and protested the Supreme Court decision in favor of Citizens United allowing unfettered political and campaign contributions to SuperPACs, targeted businesses exploiting workers in the city, challenged the ICE for it’s policy and practice towards migrant workers, and exposed war profiteers with teach-ins.
Global Exchange joined Iraq Veteran's Against the War (IVAW), Fellowship of Reconciliation, New Priorities Campaign, and others at Bechtel's global headquarters to protest Bechtel's practice of greed and destruction with a day of activities including civil disobedience, an all day vigil and a teach-in.
The groups chose Bechtel as a target because it spends millions on campaign contributions and lobbyists who secure war contracts, undermining democratic process, while directing billions of public dollars to build nuclear weapons and make its CEO a billionaire. The unfortunate truth is that the money that goes to Bechtel comes out of our pockets, but it doesn't benefit people here or in the rest of the world.
See video of me explaining the day's actions at Bechtel and also view a compilation of speakers from the Bechtel teach-in.
While our day of action may have come to an end, you can count on Global Exchange to continue to ensure people come before profits, that corporate power is kept in check, and that democracy belongs to the people not the highest bidder.
Stay tuned for information on Global Exchange's 2012 Occupy Our Elections campaign.
Director of Organizing