by David DeGraw
September 29, 2011
How Anonymous, AmpedStatus, the NYC General Assembly, US Day of Rage,
Adbusters and Thousands of Individual Actions
Led to the Occupation of
Liberty Park and
the Birth of a Movement
As the occupation of Wall Street moves into its third week, there are many
questions about the organizers behind the ongoing protests and the origins
of the 99% Movement.
As one of the many people who actively supported the
effort, and helped launch the 99% Movement, I will give my perspective on
the events leading up to the occupation of Liberty Park.
As I understand it, the OccuppyWallStreet 99% Movement is a decentralized
non-violent rebellion against economic tyranny.
It is a leaderless movement
that has been dependent upon tens of thousands of individuals taking it upon
themselves to take action and fight back against their own personal
financial hardships, and in defense of their family and friends who are
desperately struggling to make ends meets.
The road that led to the successful occupation has been a long, hard and
When you go to Liberty Park, into the heart of the occupation,
you will see a very diverse group of people with opinions across the entire
political spectrum. It is the very essence of a ground-up grassroots
decentralized movement. Everyone there has their own individual story on
what brought them to take such a strong and inspiring stand in support this
I urge members of the press and people interested in the movement to
begin a dialogue with any one of the people taking part. There are many
fascinating stories to be heard and a deeper understanding of what’s
happening is impossible without hearing from a plurality of voices.
To give some background information, the following is a timeline of my
19-month long personal experience within the movement:
The Birth of the 99% Movement
On February 15th, 2010, AmpedStatus published the first-part of an
extensive six-part series that I wrote detailing the financial destruction
of the US economy.
The report is entitled, “The
Economic Elite Vs. The People of The United States of America.”
The first sentence reads:
“It’s time for 99% of Americans to mobilize and aggressively move on common
sense political reforms.”
The introduction goes on to say:
“It has now become evident to a critical mass that the Republican and
Democratic parties, along with all three branches of our government, have
been bought off by a well-organized Economic Elite who are tactically
destroying our way of life.
The harsh truth is that 99% of the US population
no longer has political representation. The US economy, government and tax
system are now blatantly rigged against us.
Current statistical societal indicators clearly demonstrate that a strategic
attack has been launched and an analysis of current governmental policies
prove that conditions for 99% of Americans will continue to deteriorate. The
Economic Elite have engineered a financial coup and have brought war to our
doorstep… and make no mistake, they have launched a war to eliminate the US
The report quickly went viral and many popular websites picked it up and
AlterNet.org featured an adapted excerpt from the report with
the headline, “The Economic Elite Have Engineered an Extraordinary Coup,
Threatening the Very Existence of the Middle Class.”
It became one of the
most popular reports that they have ever published. In aggregate, across
many websites that have publish sections of the report, it has received an
estimated five million page views.
Soon after the report was released, AmpedStatus formed the 99% Movement
based on a
general platform put forth in part-six of the report, entitled
“How to Fight Back and Win: Common Ground Issues That Must Be Won.”
As the movement began to build over the course of the next ten months, after
series of TV interviews in which I supported the 99% Movement and called
for acts of non-violent civil disobedience, the AmpedStatus website was
attacked and repeatedly knocked offline.
The source of the attacks remains
After publishing investigative reports detailing the fraudulent
activities of Wall Street; the destructive impact the financial elite have
had upon the American people; revealing direct connections between economic
hardships in the US and the uprisings that, at the time, were just beginning
to take shape throughout
the Middle East
obvious that we were upsetting many powerful forces.
As AmpedStatus was pushing for a decentralized global rebellion against Wall
Street and actively supporting the Egyptian uprising against
the IMF and
Federal Reserve, the attacks on the site escalated.
In what appeared to be a
fatal blow, the entire ISP network that the AmpedStatus site was hosted
on was knocked offline, hundreds of sites were also affected and the
AmpedStatus web hosting provider said that they would no longer be able
to host the site unless it was moved to a service that was significantly
more than we were paying or could afford.
With a very limited budget, and in
complete desperation, AmpedStatus put out a call for help.
Anonymous Rides to the Rescue…
As AmpedStatus came under attack, Anonymous was playing a key role in
supporting the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
When no one else with the
needed technical expertise would help us and it became apparent that we
would have to shut down our operation, several Anonymous members stepped up
and offered to support and defend AmpedStatus from further attacks.
assisted in setting up a new hosting account and helped develop a new
Independent social network for the 99% Movement. From that point on, AmpedStatus has not once been knocked offline due to an attack.
Once we regained our First Amendment rights and knew that we had backing
from Anonymous members, we then defiantly released another extensive report
in February, 2011 entitled, “Analysis of the Global Insurrection
Against Neo-Liberal Economic Domination and the Coming American Rebellion -
We Are Egypt.”
The introduction states:
“If you think what’s happening in Egypt won’t happen within the United
States, you’ve been watching too much TV. The statistics speak for
In previous Revolution Roundups, before we were knocked offline, we featured
mass protests by the people of,
...as the Global Insurrection contagion spread throughout
And now, as we have seen over the past month, North African and
Middle Eastern nations have joined the movement as the people of,
...have taken to the streets en masse.
The connection between this latest round of uprisings and the prior protests
throughout Europe is one the mainstream media is not making. We are
witnessing a decentralized global rebellion against Neo-Liberal economic
While each national uprising has its own internal
characteristics, each one, at its core, is about the rising costs of living
and lack of financial opportunity and security. Throughout the world the
situation is the same: increasing levels of unemployment and poverty, as
price inflation on food and basic necessities is soaring.
Whether national populations realize it or not, these uprisings are against
systemic global economic policies that are strategically designed to exploit
the working class, reduce living standards, increase personal debt and
create severe inequalities of wealth. These global uprising, which have only
just begun, are the first wave of the inevitable reaction to the
implementation of a centralized worldwide Neo-Feudal economic order.
global banking cartel, centered at,
...have paid off politicians and dictators the world over
Washington to Greece to Egypt.
In country after country, they have looted
national economies at the expense of local populations, consolidating wealth
in unprecedented fashion…”
Within this report, there was a section calling for an occupation of Wall
Street, in what is referred to as “The Empire State Rebellion.”
A sub-group within Anonymous then joined with the AmpedStatus 99% Movement
and we began a collaborative effort known as A99.
A99 platform was presented on the AmpedStatus social network. The
platform represented a diverse mix of political viewpoints that members felt
would properly represent the 99% of the population that has lost political
representation. [View original platform
On Mar 12, 2011, Anonymous A99 announced their first operation by posting a
video to the AmpedStatus YouTube page. The effort was called “Operation
Empire State Rebellion” (#OpESR).
The video “OpESR Communication #1” stated
“We are a decentralized non-violent resistance movement, which seeks to
restore the rule of law and fight back against the organized criminal class.
One-tenth of one percent of the population has consolidated wealth in
unprecedented fashion and launched an all-out economic war against 99.9% of
We are not affiliated with either wing of the two-party oligarchy. We seek
an end to the corrupted two-party system by ending the campaign finance and
Above all, we aim to break up the global banking cartel centered at the
Federal Reserve, International Monetary Fund, Bank of International
Settlements and World Bank.
We demand that the primary dealers within the Federal Reserve banking system
be broken up and held accountable for rigging markets and destroying the
global economy, effective immediately.
As a first sign of good faith, we demand Ben Bernanke step down as Federal
Until our demands are met and a rule of law is restored, we will engage in a
relentless campaign of non-violent, peaceful, civil disobedience.”
Economic news site ZeroHedge quickly picked up the video and featured it on
their site with the headline, “Hacker Group Anonymous Brings Peaceful
Revolution To America: Will Engage In Civil Disobedience Until Bernanke
The video then went viral and got over 225,000 views.
Anonymous Calls for a US Day of Rage
On March 23rd, Anonymous issued a press release calling for a “US Day of
The phrase, “A day of rage,” has been a rallying cry used in
uprisings spreading throughout the Middle East. A new
website was launched and their first press release, again quickly picked up
ZeroHedge, called for a day of mass action and pledged their support of
A99′s original general platform. [Full release
Throughout April and May, members of A99 were organizing and debating
possible future actions. They decided that Flag Day, June 14th, would be an
appropriate time to launch actions. They also set up several new Facebook
pages, such as “#OpESR - Operation Empire State Rebellion Amped.”
On June 1st, this
Anonymous call to action was published to AmpedStatus:
Acts of Resistance: What Are You Going To Do To Rebel Against Economic
The big banks have sold us out.
Democrats and Republicans have sold us out.
No one is defending our interests.
Our future is going up in flames.
It’s time for us to stand up and defend ourselves.
Trillions of dollars in fraudulent activity by the big banks on Wall Street
caused our current economic crisis. Paid off politicians from both parties,
along with secret deals made by the Federal Reserve, gave trillions of
taxpayer dollars and subsidies to the very people who caused our crisis.
After taking our tax dollars, they had the audacity to give themselves
all-time recording-breaking bonuses and consolidate wealth in unprecedented
fashion within the economic top 0.01% of the population.
While a record number of Americans are currently living in poverty and on
food stamps; while millions of American families have been foreclosed upon;
while health care, food and gas costs are skyrocketing; while over 200
million Americans are living paycheck to paycheck struggling to make ends
meet, the super-wealthy have never had it better.
We now have the most
severe inequality of wealth in American history. The depravity of the Robber
Barons has been outdone.
As their current policies prove, economic central planners have become so
arrogant and tyrannical in their shortsighted greed. They think we are an
ignorant and apathetic population that they can continue to exploit without
fear of rebellion.
We are finally declaring that we have had enough. We will not remain passive
while global banking interests destroy our future. We know the systemic
causes of our current crisis and we are going to strike at the root.
On this Flag Day, June 14th, Operation Empire State Rebellion (#OpESR) will
launch. #OpESR is a decentralized non-violent resistance movement to end the
system of political bribery (campaign finance and lobbying) and break up the
big banks centered at the Federal Reserve.
To coincide with the launch of this movement, people have begun organizing
acts of resistance throughout the US. We are calling upon you to take an
action of your own. Whether it’s taking part in a local public protest,
withdrawing your money from one of the big six banks, starting a community
group or passing out fliers. Anything you can do to rebel against the system
of economic tyranny in a non-violent manner is welcome.
As a first step, please join the actions against the banks in one of the
cities shown here, or use the ‘schedule an action’ tool to
create your own.”
The online attention surrounding this call to
action quickly grew.
On June 11th, Anonymous A99 released “OpESR Communication #2: Ctrl+Alt+Bernanke.”
“In this new video release, ‘as a first step,’ Anonymous has called for
public protests beginning on June 14th, continuing ‘until Federal Reserve
Chairman Ben Bernanke steps down.’ To make their case, they have presented a
list of recent scandalous Federal Reserve actions.”
Once again, the video was posted to the AmpedStatus YouTube account and
ZeroHedge quickly picked it up and
The video instantly went
viral attracting over 360,000 views on the AmpedStatus YouTube account
alone. It became popular enough to break through and get some coverage from
the mainstream corporate media. MSNBC, Time, Bloomberg and Forbes were among
many news outlets to cover it.
On June 13th, it was announced that as part this day of action a group of
people will occupy Liberty Park, a strategic public space closest to Wall
Street and the New York Federal Reserve building.
Activists to Occupy Financial District’s Liberty Park Until Demands Are Met Operation Empire State Rebellion Begins
“On June 14th at 1pm EST, a group of activists will begin occupation of
Liberty Park (recently renamed Zuccotti Park) in lower Manhattan’s Financial
District, a few blocks from Wall Street (14971 Broadway, 10007).
featuring the event states the following:
‘This Flag Day, Tuesday June 14th, we will launch a non-violent movement
with this list of demands:
End the campaign finance and lobbying racket
Break up the Fed & Too Big to Fail banks
Enforce RICO laws against organized criminal class
Order Ben Bernanke to step down’
Gary Roland, an organizer of the action, says they will occupy the park
‘indefinitely, to express non-violent dissent to the further consolidation
of wealth into the hands of international corporations by the corrupted
This is a non-violent action that seeks to express
dissent and raise awareness of the failures of our current political
discourse, until our demands are satisfied.’”
With only 16 people showing up at Liberty Park, and only
four prepared to
occupy it, this part of the day’s actions were considered by some to be a
Though this intense form of civil disobedience didn’t
gain enough support at that time, the many other actions happening
throughout the day were very successful.
Anonymous A99 issued an extensive report detailing the days actions: “OpESR
Status Update: Empire State Rebellion Day 1.”
In the report, the section on
occupying Liberty Park reads:
“The most ambitious ground operation launched on Day 1 was in New York
City’s Financial District, just a few blocks from Wall Street, at Liberty
Park. The protest only attracted 16 people in total, with only 4 people
ready to occupy the park indefinitely.
While this operation was a fail due
to lack of participants, we want to thank the event organizer Gary Roland
and the three other people who were prepared to occupy the park:
Getting people to stand up in this way requires a very strong commitment
that most people have not yet realized will be necessary and in their best
As we continue Awareness Operations and build momentum, we will
reactivate this part of our Ground Operation at a future date. We have set
up a social network group dedicated to planning this operation.
If you are
ready to peacefully occupy a public place, please join the
On the very same day as the launch of the Empire State Rebellion and the
failed Liberty Park action, there was a group of activists assembling down
the road from Liberty Park. They were preparing to set up camp in what
became known as
Bloombergville to protest against New York City Mayor
Michael Bloomberg’s budget cuts.
Gary Roland, after leaving Liberty Park
with a feeling frustration, decided to join the Bloomberg protests.
Enter the New York City General Assembly
During the Bloomberg protests a group of activists, including Gary Roland,
formed a People’s General Assembly, which eventually evolved into the New
York City General Assembly (NYCGA), to help facilitate an organized
After the two-week long Bloomberg occupation near the
city capital building, the NYCGA kept meeting and building toward the next
major protest event. The NYCGA would go on to play the most pivotal role on
the ground, building a large turnout through old-fashioned grassroots
As the NYCGA was being formed, Anonymous A99 debated the exact date in which
they would return to Liberty Park for another attempt at achieving the
occupation of Wall Street.
They were committed to a strategy of three-month
cycles. Their first communication was issued on March 12th, the second video
calling for protests was released 90-days later on June 11th.
and it appeared that the next attempted occupation of Liberty Park would
occur on September 10th.
Adbusters Makes the Call…
As the debate among Anonymous A99 was happening and a date for occupation
was being finalized, Adbusters magazine issued an open
call for an
occupation of Wall Street on September 17th.
Anonymous, A99 OpESR, US Day of
Rage and the NYCGA quickly endorsed the action. With the NYCGA focused on
community-based organizing, Adbusters, Anonymous, AmpedStatus, A99, US Day
of Rage, WagingNonViolence and many other sites actively pushed out the
message online urging people to take part in the action.
OccupyWallSt.org were then Independently launched
to directly support the action.
Global Revolution media team
provided a live-stream video feed to cover the event, which then inspired
many more people to come and join the occupation once it had begun. It was
this serendipitous confluence of decentralized Independent groups and
thousands of individuals taking it upon themselves to take action that
helped make the successful occupation of Liberty Park possible.
Note: There are definitely other significant groups that played a key role.
In such a decentralized movement, it’s hard to keep track of all the efforts
being put forth. We will feature other perspectives in the days ahead.
Ultimately, all of the groups mentioned throughout this report were just the
seeds that helped launch what is now known as the OccupyWallStreet 99%
As the occupation of Liberty Park continues to grow and enters
it’s third week, with no signs of protesters even considering leaving, the
people most actively taking part are committed to remaining a decentralized
leaderless movement based on the direct democratic process of deciding on
future demands and actions through a consensus of those participating.
the spirit of the movement, people acting on their own have begun
like-minded actions and occupations
throughout the country.
The only unifying call to action seems to be:
“Anything you can do to rebel against the system of economic tyranny in a
non-violent manner is welcome.”
As Anonymous A99 wrote in response to
questions about their movement:
“We are a DECENTRALIZED non-violent movement. If you are looking to contact
one of our leaders, go to the nearest mirror and peer deeply into it. It may
take some time, but, eventually, one of our leaders will appear with answers
to all of your questions.”
What more can you say?
As I’m typing this, the NYC General Assembly meeting just came to an end, I
hear the sound of drums, looks like it’s time for another march. An NYPD
officer who supports our efforts just gave me a nod and said,
“Hey man, you
better get back to the frontlines. The troops are on the move.”
day of battle at Liberty Park.
The occupation of Wall $treet rages on…