Eighteen days after the protests officially began here, the Occupy Wall Street movement seems to be picking up steam in its spread to other cities. There have been protestors in other cities for more than a week — the Chicago Occupy Wall Street began on September 24, for instance — and it's mostly other large metropolises where demonstrations have begun: Boston, St. Louis, Kansas City, and Los Angeles, for instance.
But there are plans, at least, to start protesting in smaller cities, too. Occupy Together, the official site for the Occupy Wall Street franchising process, shows pins in the map where protests have sprung up: Joplin, Missouri; Fargo, North Dakota; Allentown, Pennsylvania; and more. They're mostly much smaller than the mothership protests so far. A dozen people were outside the Chicago Federal Reserve on Monday, perhaps twice that in St. Louis, as many as 400 in Los Angeles. A Washington, D.C. group plans to "Occupy K Street" — though the actual encampment will be outside of the White House.
Some of the spread is thanks to social media, of course. The Occupy Wall Street main group has been especially active on Twitter. And it's starting to get tons of attention in the old-fashioned mainstream press, too, especially after more than 700 people were arrested here on Saturday. But there also seems to be a group of people who traveled to New York for the protests, then decided to spearhead similar efforts in their hometown.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the protests seem to be at the very least vaguely on the radar of the people running Wall Street. The Times' Andrew Ross Sorkin, more used to reporting on the goings-on inside banks than the demonstrations outside of them, decided that it was time for him to get to the bottom of these things. Actually, more like a bank CEO decided that it was time for the Sorkin version of these things:
I had gone down to Zuccotti Park to see the activist movement firsthand after getting a call from the chief executive of a major bank last week, before nearly 700 people were arrested over the weekend during a demonstration on the Brooklyn Bridge
“Is this Occupy Wall Street thing a big deal?” the C.E.O. asked me. I didn’t have an answer. “We’re trying to figure out how much we should be worried about all of this,” he continued, clearly concerned. “Is this going to turn into a personal safety problem?”
Sorkin investigated. He made some important new discoveries. He discovered that people aren't happy about income inequality, and they like to express that with bombastic comments like “I think a good deal of the bankers should be in jail.” But he also saw one person using an ATM, a detail sure to warm the heart of his CEO friend–assignment editor. Another person flew there on a corporate-owned airline.
At the end of Sorkin's tour around Zucotti park, he concluded that " it was clear to me that most bankers probably don’t have to worry about being in imminent personal danger." Whew. Glad someone got to the heart of the story.
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