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Occupy Movement Prepares for Mass Day of Action in Defiance of Crackdowns

(Photo: Timothy Krause / Flickr)

Thursday, November 17, marks the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, and an international day of nonviolent direct action has been called in New York, Portland, and other cities across the nation and globe. Meanwhile, the Occupy movement continues to fill the streets and set up camps across the country in defiance of recent moves by authorities to clear major camps in New York, San Francisco, Berkeley and Portland.

A general assembly on the campus of the University of California at Berkeley voted to re-establish the Occupy Cal camp last night, and by Wednesday morning, about 100 protesters were camped in tents on campus despite warnings from police that they would be arrested, according to the San Francisco Chronicle and student newspaper The Daily Californian.

Last week, shocking video taken at UC Berkeley showed police striking apparently peaceful protesters with batons as they attempted to clear tents set up during rallies on campus.

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Robert Reich, a Berkeley professor and former secretary of labor, gave a memorial lecture Tuesday night on activist Mario Savio and his 1964 speech that became iconic of the campus free speech movement.

Protesters reoccupied Zuccotti Park in Manhattan yesterday after riot police cleared the original Occupy Wall Street camp with an early morning raid on Monday that lead to 200 arrests.

A judge upheld a ban on camping in the park, which protesters have renamed Liberty Park, and many protesters disbanded overnight as discussions continued over the future of the movement, according to reports.

Occupy DC participants left their camp on Tuesday and took to the streets in solidarity with occupiers in New York. Police in Washington escorted about 200 peaceful protesters through the streets, and about half the protesters briefly occupied a private building owned by Brookfield Properties, owner of Zuccotti Park in New York.

“We will continue to come here as long as it takes to support our brothers and sisters,” protesters yelled in unison, using the mike check system inside the lobby of the building.

“One thing is clear is that this movement is becoming … more kinetic, it has to move,” author and activist Barbara Ehrenreich said during a teleconference sponsored by the Institute for Policy Studies on Wednesday. Ehrenreich has been observing occupations and said the movement is unique compared to social justice movements of the past.

“You can't call this a youth movement, you can't call it a movement of very privileged people, that dismissal that we are used to from the past does not apply,” said Ehrenreich, who pointed out that many occupiers are graduates facing huge student debt and a bad job market, or elderly folks who are facing the reality of shrinking social safety nets.

The Occupy movement has shown its capacity for resilience and solidarity in recent days, and the full momentum of the movement could be revealed tomorrow as actions erupt across the world to challenge austerity and a broken economic system.

Occupiers in New York with rally outside Wall Street in the morning and join a mass labor rally later in the day. Marches and occupations are also planned in Portland, Madrid and cities across Germany and Belgium.

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