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Occupy Jacksonville: Video and Reports of Saturday’s Occupy Wall Street-Inspired Protest

| October 8, 2011

Today's protest at Hemming Plaza in Jacksonville. Click on the image for larger view. (Courtesy of Occupy Jacksonville)

Last Updated: 9:43 p.m.

Occupy Jacksonville began at Hamming Plaza in at about noon today (Saturday, Oct. 8), despite at times heavy rain. Several people from Palm Coast and Flagler County joined the protest. Between 200 and 300 people gathered at the Plaza at the height of the protest, though more fanned in and out over the course of the afternoon. The event was one of more than 900 so far organized across the country as the original Occupy Wall Street movement ripples outward from Manhattan. Another Occupy Jacksonville protest may be in the works for next Saturday.

Palm Coast resident Geraldine Hochman-Klarenberg and her husband David organized a small group from Flagler County–10 people, including Hochman-Klarenberg’s two young children–and got to the protest about 1 p.m. “It was really great, really mellow, everybody was there for the same cause,” Hochman-Klarenberg said. Police at first was nowhere, and when deputies appeared, she said, “they actually helped us, they stopped the traffic for us, and everybody was–thank you officers, they gave us smiles.”

Speakers and messages varied at Hemming Plaza. As in the original and ongoing Occupy Wall Street movement in Manhattan, there were no set leaders or set agendas, but rather shows of solidarity with a general message against inequities, disenfranchisement, incumbency and the often repeated variations on what is turning into one of the movement’s battle cries: “We are the 99 percent.”

The signs tell a story, as they did in Jacksonville. One sign spoke of a young woman’s father who’d held three jobs, had lost them, leaving the woman unable to pay for college. Signs told of unaffordable mortgages, unaffordable health bills, non-existent work. It may be true that an overall, precise message hasn’t yet cohered, Hochman-Klarenberg said, but the themes are clear. “We’re angry, We’re angry, and something needs to change. Bloody hell, that’s why we have politicians,” she said.

And something is broken. What’s broken: “The way things are being valued, the way hard work is being valued, the way ordinary Americans are being valued–it just seems to be upside down. If you have the money, you get the power. I don’t think that’s the way the United States was founded when they started off.”

The protests, while multiplying exponentially, are themselves turning into a subset of a larger conversation taking place online, through interlinked Facebook and other social media pages. Participants not necessarily able to join protests are taking part online and redefining the notion of protest inasmuch as social media have redefined communications and the Arab Spring-like mobilization of large segments of the population–in this case, large segments of America’s younger adults. “I work 2 jobs nearly every day,” goes one posting. “I live paycheck to paycheck and I am currently falling more and more into debt. I fear for losing my car/home and means to survive. I’m 22 years old.”

“Got my bachelor’s,” goes another. “Got low-paying job. Business went under. Defaulted on 70K student loan debt. I make less than 20K a year. 2 jobs. Not enough to pay debt. No dental/health. 6 cavities. Used car. No savings. No $ in bank. We are the 99%.”

By most accounts from various sources, the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office was somewhere between cooperative with and supportive of the protesters. “JSO was exceptional today! My hat is off to them! They realize that they are the 99% as well,” Geno Burch wrote on one protest-related Facebook page.

Occupy Together, the Occupy Wall Street offshoot documenting protests around the country, provides the following video of today’s protest.

Below the video, Naomi Klein’s speech, from Thursday evening, to the Occupy Wall Street crowd at Liberty Plaza in Manhattan.

Video streaming by Ustream

Naomi Klein’s speech to Occupy Wall Street, reprinted in The Nation and the Occupy Wall Street Journal:

I love you.

And I didn’t just say that so that hundreds of you would shout “I love you” back, though that is obviously a bonus feature of the human microphone. Say unto others what you would have them say unto you, only way louder.

Yesterday, one of the speakers at the labor rally said: “We found each other.” That sentiment captures the beauty of what is being created here. A wide-open space (as well as an idea so big it can’t be contained by any space) for all the people who want a better world to find each other. We are so grateful.

Naomi Klein

If there is one thing I know, it is that the 1 percent loves a crisis. When people are panicked and desperate and no one seems to know what to do, that is the ideal time to push through their wish list of pro-corporate policies: privatizing education and social security, slashing public services, getting rid of the last constraints on corporate power. Amidst the economic crisis, this is happening the world over.

And there is only one thing that can block this tactic, and fortunately, it’s a very big thing: the 99 percent. And that 99 percent is taking to the streets from Madison to Madrid to say “No. We will not pay for your crisis.”

That slogan began in Italy in 2008. It ricocheted to Greece and France and Ireland and finally it has made its way to the square mile where the crisis began.

“Why are they protesting?” ask the baffled pundits on TV. Meanwhile, the rest of the world asks: “What took you so long?” “We’ve been wondering when you were going to show up.” And most of all: “Welcome.”

Many people have drawn parallels between Occupy Wall Street and the so-called anti-globalization protests that came to world attention in Seattle in 1999. That was the last time a global, youth-led, decentralized movement took direct aim at corporate power. And I am proud to have been part of what we called “the movement of movements.”

But there are important differences too. For instance, we chose summits as our targets: the World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the G8. Summits are transient by their nature, they only last a week. That made us transient too. We’d appear, grab world headlines, then disappear. And in the frenzy of hyper patriotism and militarism that followed the 9/11 attacks, it was easy to sweep us away completely, at least in North America.

Occupy Wall Street, on the other hand, has chosen a fixed target. And you have put no end date on your presence here. This is wise. Only when you stay put can you grow roots. This is crucial. It is a fact of the information age that too many movements spring up like beautiful flowers but quickly die off. It’s because they don’t have roots. And they don’t have long term plans for how they are going to sustain themselves. So when storms come, they get washed away.

Being horizontal and deeply democratic is wonderful. But these principles are compatible with the hard work of building structures and institutions that are sturdy enough to weather the storms ahead. I have great faith that this will happen.

Something else this movement is doing right: You have committed yourselves to non-violence. You have refused to give the media the images of broken windows and street fights it craves so desperately. And that tremendous discipline has meant that, again and again, the story has been the disgraceful and unprovoked police brutality. Which we saw more of just last night. Meanwhile, support for this movement grows and grows. More wisdom.

But the biggest difference a decade makes is that in 1999, we were taking on capitalism at the peak of a frenzied economic boom. Unemployment was low, stock portfolios were bulging. The media was drunk on easy money. Back then it was all about start-ups, not shut downs.

We pointed out that the deregulation behind the frenzy came at a price. It was damaging to labor standards. It was damaging to environmental standards. Corporations were becoming more powerful than governments and that was damaging to our democracies. But to be honest with you, while the good times rolled, taking on an economic system based on greed was a tough sell, at least in rich countries.

Ten years later, it seems as if there aren’t any more rich countries. Just a whole lot of rich people. People who got rich looting the public wealth and exhausting natural resources around the world.

The point is, today everyone can see that the system is deeply unjust and careening out of control. Unfettered greed has trashed the global economy. And it is trashing the natural world as well. We are overfishing our oceans, polluting our water with fracking and deepwater drilling, turning to the dirtiest forms of energy on the planet, like the Alberta tar sands. And the atmosphere cannot absorb the amount of carbon we are putting into it, creating dangerous warming. The new normal is serial disasters: economic and ecological.

These are the facts on the ground. They are so blatant, so obvious, that it is a lot easier to connect with the public than it was in 1999, and to build the movement quickly.

We all know, or at least sense, that the world is upside down: we act as if there is no end to what is actually finite — fossil fuels and the atmospheric space to absorb their emissions. And we act as if there are strict and immovable limits to what is actually bountiful — the financial resources to build the kind of society we need.

The task of our time is to turn this around: to challenge this false scarcity. To insist that we can afford to build a decent, inclusive society – while at the same time, respect the real limits to what the earth can take.

What climate change means is that we have to do this on a deadline. This time our movement cannot get distracted, divided, burned out or swept away by events. This time we have to succeed. And I’m not talking about regulating the banks and increasing taxes on the rich, though that’s important.

I am talking about changing the underlying values that govern our society. That is hard to fit into a single media-friendly demand, and it’s also hard to figure out how to do it. But it is no less urgent for being difficult.

That is what I see happening in this square. In the way you are feeding each other, keeping each other warm, sharing information freely and proving health care, meditation classes and empowerment training. My favorite sign here says “I care about you.” In a culture that trains people to avoid each other’s gaze, to say, “Let them die,” that is a deeply radical statement.

A few final thoughts. In this great struggle, here are some things that don’t matter.

– What we wear.

– Whether we shake our fists or make peace signs.

– Whether we can fit our dreams for a better world into a media soundbite.

And here are a few things that do matter.

– Our courage.

– Our moral compass.

– How we treat each other.

We have picked a fight with the most powerful economic and political forces on the planet. That’s frightening. And as this movement grows from strength to strength, it will get more frightening. Always be aware that there will be a temptation to shift to smaller targets – like, say, the person sitting next to you at this meeting. After all, that is a battle that’s easier to win.

Don’t give in to the temptation. I’m not saying don’t call each other on shit. But this time, let’s treat each other as if we plan to work side by side in struggle for many, many years to come. Because the task before will demand nothing less.

Let’s treat this beautiful movement as if it is most important thing in the world. Because it is. It really is.

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21 Responses for “Occupy Jacksonville: Video and Reports of Saturday’s Occupy Wall Street-Inspired Protest”

  1. Layla says:

    I hear you, but what is the message? We’ve been living like this for years. Where have you been?

  2. Riley says:

    The George H.W. Bush cabal has great influence on what goes on on Wall Street, the banks, and in Washington.

  3. palmcoaster says:

    Yes Layla, you got that right about patiently enduring this unfair situation for years but I think the time has arrived for the 99% to demand and get justice What is the message…? Can you read it all over…is in English?
    Thank you to the editor of Flagler Live for this update.

  4. StokeyBob says:

    The root reason for the, “Occupy er’s” and the “99% er’s”. Gaze upon it if you dare. Maybe this will help make the danger of fiat money clear. Imagine you and me are setting across from each other. We create enough money to represent all of the world’s wealth. Each one of us has one SUPER Dollar in front of him. You own half of everything and so do I. I’m the government though. I get bribed into creating a Central Bank. You’re not doing what I want you to be doing so I print up myself eight more SUPER Dollars to manipulate you with. All of a sudden your SUPER Dollar only represents one tenth of the wealth of the world! That isn’t the only thing though. You need to get busy and get to work because YOU’VE BEEN STIFFED with the bill for the money I PRINTED UP to get YOU TO DO what I WANTED.

    That to me represents what has been happening to the economy, and us, and why so many of our occupations just can’t keep up with the fake money presses.

    P.S. No matter how much real money people can put together to build their countries the way they want, there are those that can print up what ever it takes to dictate their way.

  5. Kip Durocher says:

    In the words of a great Republican statesmsn.

    Abraham Lincoln’s words during the dark early days of the real Civil War. “Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed,” he told Congress in December 1861. “Labor is the superior of capital and deserves much the higher consideration.”

  6. Layla says:

    Not patiently, Palmcoaster. I have been doing what you have been doing, I have been trying to educate these people….to make them care.

    What bothers me the most is those who stand before the microphone and CANNOT answer that question. They do not understand how we got here. And if they do not understand how we got here, we cannot fix it. This is NOT about a President, it IS about a country.

  7. Yogi says:

    60% Oppose Financial Bailouts; 74% Say Wall Street Benefited Most

    The bailouts of the financial industry still leave a sour taste in the mouths of most Americans who feel as strongly as ever that the government was looking out for bankers rather than taxpayers and that crimes on Wall Street remain unpunished.

    At no time in history has anyone had the technology to inform masses of people to mobilize at a moments notice. Most of the country agrees that Wall Street did something wrong and are angry and passionate about the issue. Virtually everyone can agree that no one likes to get cheated. This is the key. Now couple this with social networking, incitement buzz phrases, and even outright deception to get hordes of angry people to confined locations. What would happen if a few experienced anarchists infiltrated the crowds in each location virtually at the same time and caused some sort of act to ignite panic and cause mayhem nation wide. Then ask yourself why would you go to any other place than Washington DC to protest, because the root of the problem lies with the people who gave our tax/borrowed money with no strings attached? A brick in your face is also change you can believe in.

  8. Doug Chozianin says:

    Occupy the White House. Occupy Capital Hill. Why is this not happening?

    Where are the Signs of these “Parasites”, Looters”, and “Moochers” demanding that Obama and the Democrats fix the economy? I don’t see any mention of Obama, Pelosi and Reid at all.

    Where are the T-shirts, the Chants, the Graffiti of this left-wing mob calling for lower Energy prices (more drilling), lower Food prices (less ethanol) and lower Debt (fewer government regulatos and czars)? Again, all this is absent.

    Read Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. She knew Obama was coming.

  9. palmcoaster says:

    Hey Doug; Lower Energy prices will not be solved by “more drilling” that will increase the gouging at the pump and will only promote more of our non renewable resources to be exported to fatten the wallets of the oil barons. Demand for collaterals on oil future contracts purchases, is what will stop the oil price gouge by the Nymex. Also will stop the same food price increases created by the oil gouging via deregulated oil future contracts traded by hedge fund and bankers. Regarding lower debt…will be paid up overnight by imposing taxes in all the cheap garbage imported from China. Tax imports and reward every corporation with a tax incentive when relocating back home and rehiring our American workers.
    Also stop blaming Obama for his failing cake generated by the conservatives in congress and the box of rotten eggs handed by Bush to bake this cake. Obama only failed so far, to stop these wars…..that we can’t afford in lives and $$$. All the above plenty enough for the 99% to get out and rally for justice.

  10. Anita says:

    I’m not quite certain I understand your point, Yogi. Wall Street has undeniably screwed up but this problem has been in the making since the Reagan administration. We’ve see our government turn a blind eye to the export of jobs, which weakened union membership by attrition and contributed to a drain on Social Security reserves; to the repeal of the Glass-Steagle Act giving banks permission to plunder the public’s money with abandon; and to endless wars eating away at resources needed in this country.

    What you call an “incitement buzz phrase” is rage. Rage at a system we believed in and which has failed us miserably. Rage at lawmakers who, at best, seem deaf , and at worst, indifferent. This movement, now in its fourth week, has been remarkably peaceful despite deliberate brutality in some cities. No signs featuring perceived villains in the crosshairs, or sporting “Hitlerian” mustaches. No one is openly armed and threatening. Anarchists? A brick in the face? That’s not what this is about.

    Good job Hochman-Klarenberg and company!

  11. Liana G says:

    @ Dough

    This movement is not a left/ right issue, it is about our entire gov’t, both parties, controlled by the wealthy corporations who put them there to do their bidding. Have you ever tried playing a chess game all by yourself? It doesn’t matter which side wins when you’re controlling all the moves. You still win regardless of the outcome.

    I am going to break with Naomi (born to wealthy parents) here (I do follow her on FB) and say that it is public education that has us where we are today. Those that has control over our life and what we learn has made damn sure that we do not know much. Yet we are still touting public education as this great model of learning. Exactly what are we learning? There is nothing great about this model that produces gulllible masses year after year.

  12. Riley says:

    Who has contributed to many of these problems, former president George H.W. Bush and the Secret Society. They have the money and the power to do whatever they want in America.

  13. Layla says:

    As long as any here believe one side or the other was solely responsible, we have learned nothing. And we are mired in it.

  14. Kip Durocher says:

    You are 100% correct Layla.
    Multi-national corporations, munitions makers, international banking firms, they all love the Dougs of the world. As long as everyone is busy with liberal/conservative/ democrat/republican, secular/non-secular, nation/nation they are free to operate in the dark.
    Lack of government regulation and slack enforcement of the laws that do exist, government for sale to lobbyists who are allowed to write the regulations for their industry, votes for sale, all these things make for a wonderful business environment ~ but only for the profit taker.
    Both sides in Afghanistan use goods made in the USA ~ war is a profitable business.
    The banking industry was allowed to virtually steal with impunity ~ then their unregulated insane behavior forced the necessity of trillions to bail them out ~ of our money. Hundreds of millions was given out in Washington and no regulations were passed ~ no one was held accountable ~ but hardly a peep from the American public.
    And finally ~ some people are fed up and decide to “petition their government for redress of grievances” and we immediately get busy with our “left wing mob” discussions.

    While WE continue to prattle THEY continue to win.

  15. Tom D says:

    David Hawkins in “POWER VS FORCE” states: “truth is relative to our level of consciousness.”

    This movement is part of the Great Shift In Consciousness taking place NOW……and predicted so long ago by so many Wisdom traditions.


    Celebrate each other and keep and expand the Peace. Use your economic power, bank and buy local, grow a garden, support each other. The walls of greed and hording will fall and the wars will end.

  16. Layla says:

    “You are ones you have been waiting for?” Most of those children demonstrating right now don’t even know why they are there. Many are being PAID to be there.

    This is no “American Spring”. It is a hardcore MoveOn.Org, Administration, Union driven protest for labor and that is all. It will not end in more jobs, but it is doing one heck of a way to bring out the Obama voters, don’t you think?

  17. palmcoaster says:

    How to fix Congress and our country:

    The 26th amendment (granting the right to vote for 18 year-olds) took
    only 3 months & 8 days to be ratified! Why? Simple! The people
    demanded it. That was in 1971…before computers, before e-mail,
    before cell phones, etc.

    Of the 27 amendments to the Constitution, seven (7) took 1 year or
    less to become the law of the land…all because of public pressure.

    In three days, most people in The United States of America will have
    this message. This is one idea that really should be passed around.

    Congressional Reform Act of 2011

    1. No Tenure / No Pension.

    A Congressman and all elected officials collect a salary while in office and receive no pay
    when they are out of office.

    2. Congress (past, present & future) and the rest participates in Social Security.
    All funds in the Congressional retirement fund move to the Social
    Security system immediately. All future funds flow into the Social
    Security system, and Congress participates with the American people.
    It may not be used for any other purpose.

    3. Congress can purchase their own retirement plan, just as all
    Americans do.

    4. Congress will no longer vote themselves a pay raise. Congressional
    pay will rise by the lower of CPI or 3%.

    5. Congress loses their current health care system and participates in
    the same health care system as the American people.

    6. Congress must equally abide by all laws they impose on the American

    7. All contracts with past and present Congressmen are void effective
    1/1/12. The American people did not make this contract with
    Congressmen. Congressmen made all these contracts for themselves.
    Serving in Congress is an honor, not a career. The Founding Fathers
    envisioned citizen legislators, so ours should serve their term(s),
    then go home and back to work.
    THIS IS HOW YOU FIX CONGRESS!!!!! our country and restore the rights of the 99%.

  18. Layla says:

    I LIKE IT!

  19. palmcoaster says:

    Reasons to keep up the rallies for justice. Thank you Mr. Warren Buffett …a compassionate billionaire for a change.

  20. Floridian says:

    Those of you who are supporting this might want to make sure that you understand what many of the celebrities who are also supporting this really want . Its easy to google Naomi Klien and see her past writings and determine what it is she actively fights for. Is it the overthrow of capitalism? The organizers of Occupy Wall Street clearly stated on August 12th on their web site that this was in fact their real goal, but that they needed to enter with a “Trojan Horse”. This Trojan Horse are the undefined goals and/or demands of the protests hidden behind the “love” theme resurrected from the 1960s.

    I protested TARP and the fact that our elected officials didn’t read the bill; I protested the bailing out of GM – supposedly to “save” that corporation from bankruptcy which it entered into anyway. I carried the signs “they got bailed out, we got screwed”…..I have supported public financing of campaigns – something that Candidate Obama promised to use before going back on that promise.

    These protests against Corporations mean nothing until they are taken to the steps of every local, state and federal building in this country where those we elect are held accountable. How did the Corporations gain so much power? From those we elected.

    Be wary of those who are speaking out for this movement – they are attempting to co-opt it for the destruction of capitalism – ie. Michael Moore who – though he is now a multi-millionaire because of capitalism – states that capitalism destroyed his home town.

    Naomi is right that Chicago Style politicking means “never let a good crisis go to waste” but she and her anti-capitalism friends are attempting to do the very same thing.

  21. JIM.R says:

    It’s predatory Capitalism that needs to be destroyed, a nice benevolent, Govt. regulated Capitalism would be fine. however it’s the nature of Capitalism to devour and expand till it destroys itself. One part Socialism, one part Free enterprise, one part regulated Capitalism, might be a good recipe for fairness.

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