The Re-Occupation

Join artists, musicians, and local community members for an all-day performance event in support of Occupy Wall Street and the occupation of space and reclaiming of the commons.

Freedom of expression and the right to assemble are sacred human freedoms. Through bold, courageous actions, Occupy Wall Street has renewed a sense of hope, revived a belief in community and awakened a revolutionary spirit too long silenced. To Occupy is to embody the spirit of liberation that we wish to manifest in our society.

On Saturday, December 17th – the 3 month anniversary of the birth of this movement, we will gather to celebrate Occupy Wall Street and to occupy space together.




Occupy Strikes Sachs!

Airing Goldman Sachs' Dirty Laundry

Occupiers descended on Goldman Sachs yesterday in solidarity with the West Coast Port blockades which managed to shut down three major ports: Oakland, Portland and Longview.  The march in New York began across the street from Zuccotti Park at 7:30 am and ended at 200 West Street where a heavy police presence was waiting with barricades to prevent protesters from blocking the front of the building. Nearly 300 protesters formed picket lines in front of and behind the building chanting, “Everyone pays their tax — everyone but Goldman Sachs!”

Eventually a mock press conference broke out complete with the the “head” of Goldman Sachs — a woman wearing a giant squid hat. A faux Fox news reporter and several others from the crowd asked questions of Mr. Sachs. The press conference moderator explained to the crowd — who were sitting on the cold concrete — “Mr. Sachs only speaks squid, good thing we have a translator.” The use of the squid is a reference to Matt Taibbi’s Rolling Stone article in which he said, “The first thing you need to know about Goldman Sachs is that it’s everywhere. The world’s most powerful investment bank is a great vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity, relentlessly jamming its blood funnel into anything that smells like money.”

After the press conference, word spread that occupiers would be forming a flash mob in the winter garden atrium across the street from Goldman headquarters in the World Financial Center. Once gathered in the atrium, around 10 am, protesters began chanting, “Occupy Brookfield!” Brookfield is the private real estate company that owns the building as well as Zuccotti Park. Occupiers then danced, sang and linked hands to form a large circle in the middle of the atrium while a significant number of police officers began to surround the crowd. After several minutes, the police got on the megaphone but protesters drowned out their message. Protesters began dispersing in various directions around the building, some up to the top of the stairs and others up the escalator. Occupy Big Food was with a group that took some long corridors out of the building and then back around to behind the building. It was at that time we learned that 17 people were arrested inside the atrium.

 Goldman Sachs is Big Food

When we think of large food companies Goldman Sachs doesn’t come to mind — but in fact Goldman Sachs has broad reach into the global food supply. Here are a few examples:

  • In relation to yesterday’s port shutdown, two West Coast companies: port operator SSA Marine and grain exporter EGT were the center of the protests. Goldman Sachs owns a major stake in SSA Marine. Goldman Sachs is heavily involved in the commodity trading of food around the world. It stockpiles rice, wheat, corn, sugar, and livestock to raise commodity prices around the globe. This effectively creates profit for the company while many people are less and less able to afford basic staples.
  • Goldman Sachs has major assets in Shineway Industrial Group, one of the largest meat processors in China.
  • Goldman Sachs Urban Investment Group joined forces with C.H. James & Company and together they acquired 37 Burger King restaurants in Chicago. Annual revenues exceed $50 million.

The squid is an apt metaphor for the type of global reach that Goldman Sachs exerts over a wide range of political and industrial systems. As journalist Chris Hedges has said, “There is no way within the corporate state to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs.” William Scott of the OWS library said yesterday after the protest, “This is why we have to occupy everywhere.”

**Matt Taibbi had this to say about yesterday’s OWS action in Rolling Stone, ” I almost shed tears of pride this morning when I read this hilarious passage in the Daily News: Earlier Monday, about 300 protesters in squid costumes surged outside the offices of Goldman Sachs investment bank shouting, “We fry Calimari!” and “Everyone pays their tax – everyone but Goldman, Sachs!”

Occupy Monsanto Rally

We occupied Monsanto yesterday when CFO, Pierre Corduroux, addressed top banking executives and investors at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Times Square for the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2011 Industrials conference.

We marched down Broadway in the middle of Times Square chanting, “Hey Monsanto! We don’t want your GMOs!” Once we arrived at The Crowne Plaza, the police had cordoned off a little patch of sidewalk for us to hold our rally. Many weren’t happy about being penned in, but we were able to exercise our First Amendment right — this hasn’t been the case at many OWS rallies.

We chanted and mic-checked Monsanto for over an hour. Many Times Square passers-by stopped to ask and listen in and we were able to reach people who might not have heard of Monsanto otherwise.

Here are some important facts to know about Monsanto:

  • Monsanto brought Agent Orange to the world, a highly toxic, cancer-causing herbicide used in the Vietnam war. Veterans who were exposed to this herbicide have suffered terrible consequences such as rare cancers, skin diseases, multiple sclerosis, birth defects in their children and psychological disorders.
  • The Mississippi River has suffered from the company’s pollution. Monsanto’s Illinois plant discharges an estimated 34 million pounds of toxins annually into the river. Its Iowa plant which produces alachlor and butachlor, releases at least 265,000 pounds of chemicals per year directly into the Mississippi.
  • In 1990, Monsanto paid 648,000 dollars to settle charges that it allegedly failed to report significant risk findings from health studies to the EPA as required under the Toxic Substance Control Act.
  • In 1988, Monsanto agreed to a 1.5 million dollar settlement in a chemical poisoning case filed by over 170 former employees of the company’s Nitro, West Virginia facility.
  • Monsanto has made Roundup, its most successful herbicide. Human exposure to Roundup has resulted in nausea, skin and eye inflammation, bronchial constriction and nervous system disorders.
  • Monsanto controls more than 93% of the soybeans and 80% of the corn grown in this country. And corn and soy are in everything! They’re in the animal feed in industrial farms and they’re in nearly every packaged and processed food and beverage. They are GMO crops. Read this for more on the health risks of GMOs.
  • President Obama has put Monsanto’s own former VP, Michael Taylor, in charge of food safety. As of April 2011, 81 Transgenic crops have been approved by the USDA and not a single request has been denied.
  • For more on the monopolization of the food supply and the connection between OWS and our food system, please read my article on Civil Eats. For yet another issue with Monsanto, read Tom Philpott’s article on Mother Jones published today.





New York — 12/6/2011 Occupy Big Food is organizing a protest this Wednesday when Monsanto CFO Pierre Corduroux, will address top banking executives and investors at The Crowne Plaza Hotel in Times Square for the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2011 Industrials conference at 11:45 am. We will gather on the corner of 42nd Street and 6th Avenue near Byrant Park at 10:45 and march to the hotel together before his scheduled appearance at 11:45. The Crowne Plaza Hotel is located at 1605 Broadway near 49th Street.

Because of the policies and practices of companies like Monsanto, 75 percent of Americans are obese or overweight and many are chronically ill with diet-related diseases. Americans are largely dependent on an increasingly unhealthful and contaminated food supply that is heavily controlled by corporate interests. Upending corporate control of the food supply is a fundamental change that must occur if the “99 percent” are to have access to real food and be healthy participants in a true democracy. Monsanto is the prime example of a corporate monopoly over the American food supply. It controls 93 percent of all soy and 80 percent of all corn grown in our country. Its GMO-contaminated corn and soy are in nearly every packaged and processed industrial food product sold in the United States.

Occupy Wall Street understands that Monsanto and corporations like it—whose driving force is profit not the health of the people, the country, or the environment—cannot be allowed to continue to control our political systems and unduly influence our elected officials. Occupy Big Food works to expose the ways in which corporations control the food supply resulting in an unsafe and unregulated food supply with virtually no oversight and a population in the midst of a dire health crisis.

Occupy Big Food’s goal is to expose the corporate take over of the American food supply. A few companies control the vast majority of food production in the United States and those unhealthy foods are making Americans sick. We urge Americans to boycott corporate foods and support local food and local farmers to take back our food and take back our health.

Contact:          Kristin Wartman

Occupy Big Food


How BIG is Big Food?

Great infographic from Conglomer-ATE.

Occupy Big Food on BBC Worldwide

Illustration by Brian Lawless*

After our amazing and inspiring rally yesterday, the BBC called and asked me to come on the program Up All Night to talk about my article on the Huffington Post, “Congress Declares Pizza A Vegetable?” and Occupy Big Food. The program’s host, Dotun, is really funny — especially when he says, “Kristin, let’s be honest, Americans don’t know what a vegetable is.” Please take a listen!

Thank you to all who came out and supported the movement yesterday! This is only the very beginning of a growing and deeply needed movement. We are already planning our second rally which will feature some exciting performers. We look forward to building and growing this movement with all of you.

Click the play button below to hear my segment

*For more of Brian’s artwork and sounds visit Wasteland Lotus



We have created a petition to tell Butterball—the number one producer of turkeys in America—that Americans are no longer going to purchase turkeys that are inhumanely treated, or support a factory-farm system that creates dire environmental and health consequences. Please sign the petition here.

Occupy Big Food and #N17

Occupy Big Food is heading to Union Square this afternoon for the International Day of Action in commemoration of two months of Occupy Wall Street.

This is a NON-VIOLENT mass assemblage and we encourage everyone interested in a better, more democratic food system to stand up today and participate with the OWS protestors.

Follow our Tweets today: @occupybigfood

And plan on seeing us SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19 in front of 140 Broadway 1PM for OCCUPY BIG FOOD TAKE II.

Marching Back to Zuccotti Yesterday

Our mayor, Michael R. Bloomberg, is the 12th richest man in America and the richest man in New York City. He also owns a large chunk of the media and its content through his corporation, Bloomberg Media.

So, is it surprising that the mainstream media, including the New York Times, is questioning the strength of the Occupy movement? This, after the military-style raid of Zuccotti Park carried out by New York City cops delegated by Bloomberg early Tuesday morning?

The simplistic and pedantic editorial found on the Bloomberg Media website says it all:

We agree with some of the arguments raised by the Occupy Wall Street protesters and disagree with many more — particularly the divisive, simplistic notion that society is a 99-percent-versus-1-percent dichotomy. But we applaud the discussion that’s been opened, and hope it can turn constructively to the mission of seeing that all Americans have an equal opportunity to succeed.

Bloomberg’s editors claim “an equal opportunity to succeed” for all Americans. Can they tell that to children born in the vast ghettos of this country, the ones starving, the ones that live in food deserts and the ones that are grossly less educated?

Is it surprising that Bloomberg Media’s stance is this idea that we in America all begin on equal footing? No. But it is inaccurate as well as “divisive” and “simplistic.” How about these statistics, Mr. Bloomberg? 46.2 million Americans live below the poverty line and 14.5 percent of American households are defined as food insecure. The Guardian website features a short video regarding these statistics and others.

Yesterday, Occupy Big Food marched down Broadway with protesters returning to the park, cops on motorcycles, armed to the gills and nipping at our heels with their weapons and vehicles. Though surrounded, the group persevered, drawing in more and more followers along the route. The mood was powerful, tense and somber, but relentlessly optimistic. It’s not about a park or one day or even one idea. The chant that was constantly heard was “This. Is. A peaceful protest.” And it was. Perhaps the most remarkable thing about OWS to this point is its ability to keep the peace. And keep going.

Police Evict Zuccotti Park Protesters Today

Today the peaceful protestors of Zuccotti Park were evicted from what has become the heart and physical center of the Occupy Wall Street Movement.

The eviction was implemented by the richest man in New York City — who happens to also be our mayor, Michael Bloomberg — under the premise that the park had become unsanitary as well as a fire and safety hazard.

It is imperative that we join with the greater movement on Thursday, November 17th for the Day of Action.

This movement is only beginning. Please plan on joining up on Nov 17th.

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