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Activists Plan Oct 6th Occupation in DC

PAUL JAY: Welcome to The Real News Network.
I’m Paul Jay in Washington. Unemployment is high and is getting higher. The wars in Afghanistan
and Iraq and Libya continue. And people have been asking, where is the American Tahrir
Square? We saw hints of it in Wisconsin, but there’s yet to be something at the national
level that challenges current public policy. Now, there are many attempts in the works,
but one of them is planning an event–or more than event, they’re planning to occupy a square
called Freedom Square in Washington, DC, in October. And now joining us to discuss this
is one of the organizers, David Swanson. David is with–I guess you’re–today you’re October
11th dot org, but you’re also with–tell us your other various websites. DAVID SWANSON: Yeah,, and
I work for, and I blog at and many others. JAY: So, David, tell us what’s planned for
October. SWANSON: Well, we’re planning to model our
behavior on the actions that happened earlier this year in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt,
in Tunisia, and the actions you see in Spain and Greece and countries around the world
when governments get even a fraction as bad as ours has gotten. And so we’re going to
go to Freedom Plaza in Washington, DC–whose name is quite similar to Tahrir Square, translated–and
we’re going to occupy it, beginning October 6. And we’re going to remain and we’re going
to nonviolently interfere and shut down the offices of our government until we begin to
get some movement. You know, the actions in Egypt are very much an ongoing struggle, and
they’re very much trying to get back that momentum they had in Tahrir Square. But they
have some momentum, and that came from that activity. So we’re going to be there until
we begin to take back control of our government. JAY: What are some of the specific demands? SWANSON: Well, if you go to,
you’ll see a list of demands at the top, at least of general themes. And there will be
more specific demands made, including getting out of Afghanistan. We’re, of course, timing
this for the end of the first decade of the war in Afghanistan, as well as for the beginning
of next year’s austerity budgets coming out of Washington. But the general themes are
the same that everybody comes up with, that the majority opinion in this country is demanding,
and that our government won’t answer to, the same demands that other more partisan and
less principled movements are making, and that is to tax the rich, to end the wars and
cut the military, to protect Social Security and give us Medicare for all, to protect workers
rights to organize and to strike and to strike in solidarity, to protect our environment,
to build our environment, to create infrastructure and green energy. It’s the same agenda that
everybody has. What’s different is the tactics we mean to employ. JAY: So what exactly do you mean by stop the
business of government? SWANSON: Well, I mean shutting down buildings
and offices and hallways and streets nonviolently–strictly nonviolently. We will have–we have a nonviolence
pledge. People are going to October 2011 and pledging to be there and to be nonviolent.
We have training sessions. But we intend not just to rally or speechify or protest or engage
in theatrical operations or to misdirect all of the anger and the frustration at one political
party or the other, but to actually take the demands of the people as a whole to the government
as a whole and stop business as usual. JAY: So you’re talking about what? Sit-ins
in offices, obstructing traffic on streets, things like this? SWANSON: All of the above, yes, absolutely.
Obviously, we’re not going to go into details here, publicly, beforehand. But beginning
October 6 and continuing until we’re satisfied that things are moving in the right direction,
there will be operations being shut down by the imposition of people’s bodies in Washington,
DC. JAY: Now, you’re going to have kind of a permanent
base there. You’re setting up tents. If people want to come find you, where are you going
to be? SWANSON: Yes, Freedom Plaza. It’s right along
Pennsylvania Avenue. It’s conveniently between the Congress and the White House. You can
go to You’ll find a link to a map. If you don’t know where it is, you
sign up and get information on rides and how to get there and who can help you and where
you can stay and so forth. But we will be, above all, maintaining a large occupation
in that plaza night and day. JAY: Now, you previously–I assume you still
are–were involved with Progressive Democrats of America. And you–this–which is about
trying to change the policy of the Democratic Party. The policies that you’re going in October
to try to change are policies of a government that’s controlled by the Democratic Party.
So how does this campaign relate to–what’s the relationship to the Democratic Party? SWANSON: Well, my loyalty–I can’t speak for
everyone else, but my loyalty is to the set of demands that we went through–taxing the
rich, ending the wars, cutting the military, protecting our social safety net, creating
prosperity in this country. And my loyalty is not to a political party. And that ought
to be the case for everyone across the political spectrum. Sadly, it’s not. And so you have
people like Al Gore and Keith Olbermann demanding a Tahrir Square but not building the one that’s
actually being planned. You have organizations demanding that there be protests, that there
be resistance, and putting forth agendas that are almost identical to October 2011, and
yet directing all of their protest energy exclusively at Republicans. You have progressive
groups now thrilled to be talking about Republican presidential candidates rather than about
what our government now is doing. And so there’s not any conflict for those of us who want
to impose the will of the public and this progressive agenda on our government. We’re
the people. They’re the government. I don’t care what party they’re from. You saw this
disastrous budget deal they put through, and now President Obama’s talking about more cuts
beyond that to make it even worse. This is not something that we should be standing for
for a minute, regardless of party. JAY: Well, it seems like the election campaign’s
already begun if you look at the last week of media coverage. What stance will you take
towards the election campaign? I mean, there will be at some–you know, as this gets a
little closer to the actual action and you guys in theory are still going to be camping
out over those months, what will be your attitude towards Obama and the election? SWANSON: He’s the president. We are the sovereigns
of this nation. We are the people in whose name the constitution is drafted. And he is
not representing us in the least, not on any of these points, and neither is the Congress.
It may be representing him, but it’s not representing us. And so if he wants to get reelected, he
is going to have to change. And this is not going to become a PR stunt as part of an election
campaign, as far too many protests and marches and rallies are. This is actually going to
be an occupation to resist the ongoing behavior of our government, regardless of the fact
that, yes, in another year and a half there will be another election. We can’t shut down
business as–we can’t shut down governance in between elections because, lo and behold,
there’s another election coming in a year and a half. You know, this is one of the defects
in our political system. We’re going to say, wait a minute, there is a lot of damage going
to be done in the next year and a half if we do not resist it. JAY: And what’s your attitude for some kind
of alliance? And is there discussions that have ever gone on or are going on with Ron
Paul type libertarians? And it’s an interesting thing that on foreign policy, military issues,
I would guess many of the people involved in this campaign probably agree with much
of what Ron Paul says. When it comes to domestic issues and austerity questions, you probably
don’t agree on anything. But is there anything developing in that way? SWANSON: It’s–you know, it’s a tough call.
If Ron Paul were president, we would have to fight tooth and nail for the social good,
but we wouldn’t have to resist the Empire. Now we have to do both, right? So arguably
it’s worse. And so I love to work with libertarians around issues where we agree, which is principally
wars and the military and the Empire. I just was on radio, which is a wonderful
place. And yet on most of the agenda that this occupation is putting forward we disagree.
And so it comes down to individual choice. If you believe it’s more important to join
with this mass movement opposing these wars, opposing this empire, even if you disagree
with us on lots of other points, then please, by all means, be there. But this is not an
agenda that’s been designed to build those bridges. This is an agenda pulling from vast
majority opinion in this country, which is, of course, not libertarian; it’s just diverted
into partisanship so that it’s demobilized. This is a majority–. JAY: Why do you think that vast majority opinion
doesn’t reflect itself in who gets elected? I mean, we know about the role of money and
advertising. But is there still not still a weakness in terms of how people that agree
with you communicate with the mass population? Because on a lot of these issues, people,
majority opinion, it’s not so clear when they come to vote. SWANSON: Well, the biggest weakness, I’ve
said many times, is our communication system. And I’ll say it again: support JAY: Hey, I’m happy to get it, but I wasn’t
fishing here. SWANSON: I know you’re not asking me to say
this, but I’m saying it. This is the weakest link is the lack of a decent communication
system and of outlets like this one. Beyond that, there are–you know, the money is a
huge factor, the lack of ballot access, the gerrymandering, the unverifiable voting machines.
I mean, we need an endless list of reforms that I’ve written about in my book, Daybreak.
We need all of those reforms if elections are going to reflect public opinion. But public
opinion nonetheless is free to represent itself between elections, and it’s people’s loyalty
being given to political parties that waters that down more than anything else, I think
more than the influence of the corporate media. JAY: When I look at the list of demands for
the October event, there doesn’t seem to be a real highlight about gathering and dealing
with the unemployed. It’s kind of–like, I’m looking here. It’s kind of mentioned with
workers rights, create jobs. But, you know, speaking to and trying to rally people who
are out of jobs–and, you know, we saw, you know, these pictures of people lining up for
free dental work ’cause they’ve lost their medical plans. And why not more of a focus
on that? SWANSON: Well, everyone always wants more
of a focus on something. And, you know, people who run websites understand this, that they
end up bolding and highlighting one thing and then asked to do it the same for everything
else. So we tried to lay out the basic, general agenda of broad points there at the top of
the website. We’re in favor of full employment. At Roots Action, we’re pushing John Conyers’
bill for full employment, which is actually the law, that Congress and the president are
required to create jobs, and are not doing it, and nobody’s talking about it. You know,
we are supporting workers’ rights and the right to organize. And so, you know, this
is the agenda is let’s end the wars where all the money is going and let’s put the money
into useful things that create jobs. And this is the thrust of it. JAY: Thanks very much or joining us, David. SWANSON: Thank you, Paul. JAY: And thank you for joining us on The Real
News Network.

57 Replies to “Activists Plan Oct 6th Occupation in DC”

  • I'm sure the government will send it's goons to misdirect the rally in one shape or form, Just like the G20 in Toronto. The truth is are government has been hijacked by globalist and world banks long ago. The only way to gain control now is what was done to Mussolini except it should be done across the board along with all the judges as well.

  • Dear God. Whoever goes needs to go realizing they're probably going to get beat up and arrested. But there is strength in numbers…. Everybody pray

  • @cieluore Is it not amazing that we now accept that we will be abused by police forces. When did this change? It absolutely astounds me. Watch below.

    Ron Paul- "They're Setting The Stage For Violence In This Country

  • Please, who bailed out the too big to fail. It was a democratic president and congress. 1.2 trillion in spending and 16 trillion from the Fed.
    As Ayn Rand said money is not the root of all evil. It is what William K Black calls wide spread criminality. The socialist left and national s

  • It'll be interesting to see how the authorities react to the prospect of a Tahrir-type demonstration in the USA. What's the betting that the whole area will be fenced off & swamped by police in riot gear?

  • As one of the People, a Freeman, and human being, I have found that pulling/denying all consent from the "government" is more useful and far more satisfying. Whenever you rely on your "government" to provide you with anything, it first has to take something from someone else… any "jobs", any "welfare", any "safety" is taken from another, in your name, usually at the point of a gun.

  • tards….way to go and get yourselves arrested. I hope you morons go deaf when they blast youwith thier LRAD system and bake you with their microwave cannons

    fools have no fkin sense. This will not help anybody but will instead get alot of people hurt

  • This is what would work but strictly non violence we need to be free to travel, one little out burst marshal law would be employed.

  • This is what would work but strictly non violence we need to be free to travel, one little out burst marshal law would be employed…. If A merica has no choice but to go down then I want to go down with a good goverment in place not this secret societll joke of a system. you people are crazy if you continue to allow this frat to ruin you! America, you are awoke!!

  • Very bad choice of role models, which is all part of CIA revolutionary operations. Ah yes there it is "non-violent" they say – Gene Sharps book. I have no idea about this person personally, he may mean well, but the basic strategy is flawed and actually it is weak. Try my proposal if you are not afraid of results.

    David ? Check my proposal pronto dude, get on a program that works and doesn't come out of the think-tanks of the criminal enemies.

  • I predict bad weather in DC this October. hehe! Seriously, they'll do everything they can to stop you.

    Good luck!

  • Don't do what has gotten every other protest group penned in, by going in one big group where you can be easily herded and shot with sound cannons and tear gas.
    Find out who the the government moles are and give them false info, go in groups of 1-3, maybe dressed as business people with briefcases, use walky-talkies that can't be blacked out and take your batteries out of your cell-phones so that you can't be tracked by GPS.

  • People support political parties in much the same way they support their local football teams.
    They will usually support the party their parents supported throughout their lives. They will vote for "their" party regardless of what its actual policies are. If you ask them why they support it they will simply echo the arguments they were taught as children.

  • No doubt Rupert Murdoch and the Koch Brothers will pay some people to infiltrate the ranks and then Faux News will be prepared with their script in an attempt to discredit the movement with their violent detractors

  • Any progressive who hasn't read it yet really needs to read Deer Hunting with Jesus by Joe Bageant; there's some interviews with him up here on YouTube if you want to know who he is and what he's about.

    Basicly Bageant is an escapee from the southern white underclass, ie' the guys who keep handing America over to the corporatists in spite of the fact that they're always the first one's thrown under the wheels.

    If you want to pull America out of its powerdive you need to understand this.

  • @iknownothingnow
    I've often suggested that non-violence only works when it's an alternative, ie' when the incentive for those in charge to listen to Martain Luther King is that if they don't they'll be dealing with the Black Panthers instead. I still say that.

    But right now I agree with Mr Swanson that a non-violent action is needed here (and the other side will know that, if you see agent provocateurs here get them out of there). We need the other side to start it. Give them that chance.

  • get as many cameras on the event as possible. accurate documentation is crucial to getting the real message out. expect media misinformation, infiltrators, provocateurs, and beatings…but remember such instances will help fuel the movement if abuses are identified, documented, and made viewable to the public.

  • Federal Reserve made $16.1 trillion in secret loans to their bankster friends during the financial crisis.


  • Bernie Sanders web post:
    goto his web site. //

  • this will not last very long… Americans largely don't care, and cannot afford to occupy the square. In Egypt 40% of the population was unemployed, they had nothing else to do. Furthermore, you had nearly half of the population in that country living within a short drive of the square. In the US you only have 1/10 of the people unemployed, DC itself does not have high unemployment, and the base of support for this sort of thing is too far-flung. It would be awesome, but it won't work.

  • David Swanson: I agree with your agenda but why can't you get together with other orgs who agree with you and plan a common date? For example Citizens for Legitimate Government has EXACTLY the same agenda and they are holding their "Seize DC" on September10. What the hell is wrong with you people? Are you TRYING to fail by not coordinating? Get it together or we will fail.

  • Left wing socialist pigs ! green jobs green energy is red as communism and progressives are all communist , You will fail !

  • Swanson also serves on the Advisory Board of Progressive Democrats of America, which is essentially a front for Democratic Socialists of America and the Institute for Policy Studies, set up to pressure the Democratic Party even more to the left.


  • @nekopheliac better then a commie liar , eygpt ? greece ? libya ? sure they are in great hands , muslim brotherhood ?

  • what a kook. Shut down government and you get chaos. The DMV will stop operating, and you won't be able to renew your driver's license or register your car. Then are you Mr. Swanson, going to bitch about government ineptitude ?
    In Egypt shopkeepers are complaining that the demonstrators are interfering with business. Is this what Swanson wants, total chaos ? What a loon !

  • @treasurecoastsky: thx for clarification. I don't believe David Swanson would support any of the people you list either. I would not describe Clinton and Soros [ I'm not familiar enough with Jackson to comment], as progressive…but it's just a label now: let's look at their actions, these are people who do not like humans.

  • @mike00acker History? When was the last time America had "smaller gov., lower taxes, less regulations and drilled oil?" Oh, yeah, that was when there were were Hooverville's in every city, even little children had jobs and wildcat wells polluted the landscape. Think about sports and how the rules are inevitably rigged to favor some people more than others. Get real, buddy.

  • 200 Million dollar bailout…..for the people. If the banks can get billions in bailouts we should just demand a 500000 dollar bailout per person. A simple demand, and an immediate recourse

  • RISE UP! Impeach ObombA. Imprison Goldman-Sachs. Tax Soros and Buffett to get back the taxpayers money they stole or manipulated the financial system to line their pockets. Put the past Directors fo FannieMae and FreddieMac, Chris Dodd and the network of Democrat Hedge Funds on trial for high economic crimes. They have reduced the taxpayers who pay their mortgages to declining values and loss of jobs. Tax the NBA and NFL 95% and feed the starving children. IMPEACH !

  • @posimosh I know who started Acorn ,I I know who supported acorn . Dale Rathke, the brother of ACORN's founder Wade Rathke, was found to have embezzled $948,607.50 from the group . They are just rich guys that use the poor. I dont care about the pimp video because they were just employees of the organization , What bothers me about Acorn is the management and their agenda , The volunteers are just their useful idiots with good intentions maybe but still being used .

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