published Saturday, October 8th, 2011

Occupy Chattanooga prepares for downtown rally

by Andrew Pantazi
Facilitator Mark Gillilard tallies votes on goals produced by his group's brainstorming session in Miller Plaza during the first general assembly meeting of Occupy Chattanooga on Friday. Hundreds of people gathered in the plaza to decide what the goals of Occupy Chattanooga should be.
Facilitator Mark Gillilard tallies votes on goals produced by his group's brainstorming session in Miller Plaza during the first general assembly meeting of Occupy Chattanooga on Friday. Hundreds of people gathered in the plaza to decide what the goals of Occupy Chattanooga should be.
Photo by Alex Washburn.
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  • photo
    Aria Taibi (center) organizes her group's brainstormed list of goals for Occupy Chattanooga in Miller Plaza during the first general assembly meeting of Occupy Chattanooga on Friday. Hundreds of people gathered in the plaza to decide what the goals of Occupy Chattanooga should be.
    Photo by Alex Washburn /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  • photo
    Ash-Lee Woodard Henderson speaks to a crowd in Miller Plaza during the first general assembly meeting of Occupy Chattanooga on Friday. Hundreds of people gathered in the plaza to decide what the goals of Occupy Chattanooga should be.
    Photo by Alex Washburn /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  • photo
    North Georgia resident David Rowan holds up a sign saying 'Hungry? Eat Bankers" in Miller Plaza during the first general assembly meeting of Occupy Chattanooga on Friday. Hundreds of people gathered in the plaza to decide what the goals of Occupy Chattanooga should be.
    Photo by Alex Washburn /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

  • photo
    Rebekah Jenkins signs up for Occupy Chattanooga's mailing list in Miller Plaza during the first general assembly meeting of Occupy Chattanooga on Friday. Hundreds of people gathered in the plaza to decide what the goals of Occupy Chattanooga should be.
    Photo by Alex Washburn /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Rebekah Jenkins, who was visiting home in Rossville for the weekend from her college in Chicago, came to Miller Plaza on Friday night for the Occupy Chattanooga meeting. The size of the group already there shocked her.

About 150 people signed a sheet with their emails to stay updated on the movement in Chattanooga. The Occupy Chicago group, which she and her boyfriend joined last Thursday, was much smaller at first, she said.

The meeting started at 6 p.m. with Ash-Lee Henderson, one of the local movement's facilitators, explaining that the people would split into eight groups, where they'd come to a consensus on the most important issues for Occupy Chattanooga to bring up.

Jenkins joined the group facilitated by Lucy Landis, a 22-year-old college student. The group talked about the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which, as 26-year-old history buff David Ingle explained, allowed single entities to own many media outlets. They also talked about universal health care.

"But not just emergency care," Jenkins added, "we need preventative health care."

They talked about corporations' ability to contribute money to political campaigns.

"We need to end corporate personhood," Jenkins told the group, "because it hurts the real people, and that's us."

After each of the eight groups chose its most important issues, all of the groups met together and agreed that each of the issues were important.

"[The process] is not quick," Jenkins said, "and it shouldn't be. But it is fair."

About 21/2 hours after the meeting started, a woman congratulated Henderson on the size of the group.

"This is small potatoes compared to where we're going," Henderson replied. Earlier, she said, "This is the first day of Occupy Chattanooga, and we're not going to stop until we have social justice."

They will meet again next week on Friday at 6 p.m. in Miller Plaza.

Although the group is still waiting on a permit, Occupy Chattanooga handed out fliers for a rally at Miller Plaza on Oct. 29 at 1 p.m. for "good jobs, living wages, public education."

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about Andrew Pantazi...

Andrew Pantazi is an intern at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who says that when he was 7 he knew what he wanted to do for the rest of his life: play hockey for the Colorado Avalanche. Unfortunately, he says he wasn't any good at hockey, so he became a journalist instead. He writes about the lives we hide, like the man who suffered a stroke but smiled, or the football walk-on who endured 5 ...

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fftspam said...

Appropriate... they can be with all the other bums. And this looks like Miller Park, not Plaza (Nightfall).

October 8, 2011 at 2:25 a.m.
OmAli said...

Not paying attention, actually, either of you. In my group were included: pharmacist; homemaker; private school guidance counselor; several attorneys; college students; and retirees. We attended because of our shared concern about the wholesale purchase of our elected representatives and Supreme Court by corporations, Wall Street and the investment/commercial banking giants.

Please start paying attention.

October 8, 2011 at 8:37 a.m.
eileen said...

From a "real 60's hippie-chik", I think it is wonderful that the silent majority across American has finally decided to use their voices! Speak up! Speak out! And keep it peaceful! If you believe you can make a difference, you will.

Payingattention, you demonstated your interest in the Occupy Chattanooga movement by asking for more specifics. Keep an open mind, and you may soon be joining the group at Miller Park. If you don't agree with the specifics, then start your own group in Miller Plaza with fftspam.

October 8, 2011 at 9:15 a.m.
lumpy said...

Envy, jealousy, collectivism, marxism, the same old garbage.

Hippies wanted to do whatever they want, but have someone else pay for it.

That's quite a legacy. Sloth, laziness, stealing from others to give to those who won't earn it will never be acceptable.

Deal with it.

Your just tools and "useful idiots".

October 8, 2011 at 9:45 a.m.
joneses said...

I noticed that Michael Moore and Susan Sarandon were protesting NY against capitalism. I find it hypocritical that their wealth is about $50 million dollars each of which was acquired through our capitalist system. i think th term for them is "Neccesary Idiots"

October 8, 2011 at 11:14 a.m.
XGSBoss said...

The Tea Party can die in a fire for what good they do, but didn't they start out as a bunch of concerned idiots who stapled tea bags to their hats and never learned to spell? Seems the Occupy participants are only vastly improving on the Teabagger's success. If you want to run down both groups, go ahead, but don't praise the baggers and not the occupiers.

October 8, 2011 at 12:52 p.m.
rick1 said...

joneses, you are correct they are Neccesary Idiots. They have been taught by leftest teachers/professors that it is all Wall Streets fault, when in fact they should be in front of the White House protesting Obama and congressional Democrats, whose policies are truly responsible for the economy.

Your point about Hollywood types is also correct but let us not forget about George Soros. He is everything these protestors should be protesting about but yet no one saying anything about Soros. Two years ago, Soros was a vocal proponent of bank bailouts himself. Reuters reported in 2009 The U.S. needs "radical and unorthodox policy measures" to prevent a repeat of the Great Depression, he also called for all of TARP's $700 billion in funds to recapitalize banks and write down U.S. accumulated debt.

Soros has a very cozy relationship with Obama and has visited Obama numerous times at the WH.

How many of these protestors know that Soros is a currency speculator whose attacks on Third World and the U.K. currencies have left their economies a disaster.

How many of these protestors are aware of Soros' 2005 insider-trading conviction in France, which was upheld this week by the European Court of Human Rights? We all know is money is what kept him out of jail.

Do they even know, Soros has funded, the Tides Foundation,, and Van Jones new organization called "Rebuild the Dream," and now he is bank rolling Occupy Wall Street.

These protestors truly are idiots and have no idea they are being played by Obama, The Unions, Soros and the rest of the democrats.

October 8, 2011 at 2:18 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Wall Street makes itself a target.

This morning we read that two BOA executives were laid-off and recieved millions in severance pay. Mainstream America reads that and then sees the pain of average Americans.

Non-violent protesting seems appropriate. Let's hope it stays non-violent.

October 8, 2011 at 2:48 p.m.
joneses said...

The Tea party suports less taxes for everyone, less government in our lives, the government keeping a balancd budget, meaning quit spending more than they are taking in. Why don't you people that hate the Tea party admit that you are for lager government, higher taxs for evryone, more government intrusion in our lives and for the government to continue spending much more than it takes in? Please admit what you actually support.

October 8, 2011 at 2:58 p.m.
rick1 said...

joneses, they do not want to admit that they are Marxists.

October 8, 2011 at 3:46 p.m.
rick1 said...

nucanuck: What about the billions in stimulus that is accounted for?

What about the half billion were going to lose on Solyndra?

What about the billions we are going to lose on GM because we need to sell the shares at $53.oo per share to break?

What about the policies of this administration that is preventing businesses from expanding?

What about Obama's so called jobs bill that House Democrats refuse to put their name on and Harry Reid refused to bring for a vote?

This is what the protestors should be focusing their enegry on in Washington. Not on the bankers.

October 8, 2011 at 3:56 p.m.
XGSBoss said...

Someone wants to mention Soros? By law I must drop the Koch brothers name. Discuss. Or call me a conspiracy nut (kettle-black).
Or rather blame Soros, teachers, unions, Obummer, Hollywood, Atheists, Muslims, Palestinians, Greens, Hippies, the poor, the tired, the huddled masses yearning blah blah. I got tired, there is a BUNCH more of us that are after you. We have your name, we control the vertical, the horizontal. We know when you are sleeping, we know when you're awake.

Oh, last word. It's been said many times, many ways. Listen up to truth and let it sink in. YOU DON"T CUT YOUR WAY OUT OF A RECESSION. YOU SPEND YOUR WAY OUT. Does that mean there should be no cuts? No, of course not. Just use a drop of sense, if it can filter through those tea bags.

October 8, 2011 at 4:50 p.m.
nucanuck said...

Rick, we have plenty of warts, but the carbuncle that is collapsing the world economies came from the financial sector and won't be reversed until the too-big-to-fails have failed. That we finally have people brave enough to go out and protest against the largest corruption in history is a credit to our country.

October 8, 2011 at 4:54 p.m.
rick1 said...

nucanuck, I agree that businesses should stand and fall on their own. Again that brings me back to the protestors should be protesting Washington. They are the ones who continue to bail out companies they feel are to big to fail including the GM and Chrysler who filed for bankruptcy after receiving bailout money.


XGSBoss, How has that $700 billion stimulus been working for you? Remember unemployment was not going to go above 8%. Yeah that spending has done a great job and now were heading back into another recission. Yeah let's do what Japan has done for the last 20 years and continue govt. spending. Take a look how that has worked for them.

October 8, 2011 at 5:27 p.m.
XGSBoss said...

As bad as it sounds, 700b was absolutely too small. Thanks for leaving your steaming pile at our feet as you left Mr. Bush. And Boehner and McConnell made it the repubs 2nd priority to make sure President Obama is a one term president. What did they mean when they proudly proclaimed that? Well it sure as hell wasn't to help the president create jobs. Or help the economy in any way because Obama might get credit for it if things went right. As far as Japan goes, I am not familiar with the specifics of their situation. But when someone figures out the perfect system I am sure we will all be lined up to implement it. Until then mistakes will be made.

October 8, 2011 at 6:25 p.m.
rick1 said...

Bush should have used his veto pen more and not increase the budget as much as he did. But remember Obama was a U.S. Senator who also voted for the budget increases that occurred during Bush second term. Obama had full control of congress for the first 2 years he was in office and they did not pass a budget and still have not passed a budget. Obama has his new jobs bill which is another sitmulus bill which Reid refused to bring to the senate floor for a vote and not one democract in the House including Pelosi have not even put their name on his new jobs bill. So quit blaming the republicans for everything as the democracts are to blame as well.

Read about Japans economy for the past 20 years and all of the government spending did not help the economy. It hurt the economy just like it is doing in this country.

Obama should be a one term president. He told us if we passed the stimulus unemployement would not go above 8% and it went has high as 10% and has been above 9% for what 26 months. Then he said the recesssion was worse than he had thought and that is why the $700 billion did not work. If a CEO of a company had done that with company funds he would be fired. Obama has been a failure and needs to be fired.

October 8, 2011 at 6:46 p.m.
nucanuck said...

The financial sector bought and paid for the rules they operate under. The protesters have the right focal point. We have to have all of America know where the biggest problem is...expose the b.....ds!!, then we can go after Congress to clean up the mess.

October 8, 2011 at 6:48 p.m.
SCOTTYM said...

Need a few ideas? Maybe you should decide what your goals are BEFORE you start protesting, lest you end up like the rest of the fools in this astro-turf movement.

Trashy trash, as usual when the left goes on the march.

October 8, 2011 at 8:43 p.m.
Oz said...

Wall Street gave more money to Obama than McCain. Buffet supported Obama for access to bail out cash. It wasn't his economic plan.

October 8, 2011 at 11:47 p.m.
lumpy said...

It's astounding and mindboggling how ignorant and stupid the Occupy crowds are. They don't even know why they're there. Probably 100% of them are there because they back Obama, who very much represents the status quo. He's the poster child for waste, influence, and yes, corruption. He has no respect for hard earned tax dollars. He wants to raise taxes at a time when jobs are being lost, jobs are hard to find and the price of food is rising. Go camp out at the White House.

October 9, 2011 at 12:33 a.m.

How much of that rise in the price of food is because of a lack of workers which caused food to rot in the fields?

But hey, don't worry, if McCain had been elected, things would be completely different!

October 9, 2011 at 1:40 a.m.

We went to the OccupyChattanooga protest without any expectations. We encountered about 200 citizens concerned about local issues like inconsistent police policies, local food production & the stifling restrictions that have been placed on the growers/farmers, access to excellent public education, states rights, local healthcare and food deserts. They are also concerned with national issues like tax reform, politicians that are bought and paid for by corporations, lack of one person/one vote and many others. We were happy to be able to speak our minds, collectively agree or disagree on the issues that we wanted to locally bring forward and attempt to resolve. We didn't witness any infighting or negativity regarding the gathering or how it came together. And above all, the people who attended were from all walks of life. There wasn't a dominant group of any of the stereotypes that have been previously mentioned in other posts. Out of the roughly 200 participants, we were surprised that we only knew about 10% of the attendees. It brought together a diverse group of like-minded individuals that believe changes need to be made locally, state-wide and nationally. If any of these issues are important to you, and you would like to try to change them, come to the next meeting. If you're comfortable with the way things are, don't come. If you have issues with the way this group is trying to make changes, form your own coalition. But please, please quit whining about your perception of the situation if you aren't going to do anything else! Lead, follow or get out of the way!

October 9, 2011 at 8:23 p.m.
twharr said...

Awesome post Cautious...I was there as well and witnessed a group of concerned citizens that wanted change. I'll definitely be attending the next rally.

October 10, 2011 at 9:46 a.m.
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