Accused of being anarchist and disorganized, the Occupy Wall Street encampment is far from chaotic.
It is set up like a small village broken up into themed sections.
“Way better organized than I thought it would be. They don’t have a clear leader, but every part seems to be handled by someone,” said student Carrie Latimer.
A medical area staffed by volunteers provides on the spot assistance. A comfort area supplies sweaters and blankets to keep demonstrators warm as the season gets chillier, while the donated sleeping bags pile up as the number of protesters grows bigger.
“We just took the bus down here from Richmond, Virginia,” said one protester.
There’s a kitchen providing a traditional American breakfast – bread, bagels, and peanut butter and jelly. Plant roots are used to filter water here.
“We have breakfast at 7.30 in the morning. People donate breakfast foods – bread, cereals. We have lunch around noon. We have snacks continually throughout the day, and we serve dinner at 7.30,” said volunteer Megan Hayes.
A media center has been broadcasting a live stream since day one of the protests – which has been ongoing for three weeks now. Videos filmed during clashes with police are posted online from the laptops based here.
“You got people running in here. I mean, panicky! Adrenaline-rushed, with cameras – I’ve got footage, I’ve got footage. So, processing footage, getting it online, and simultaneously have people tweet, facebook. Using social mediums to get the message out on what’s happening as quick as possible,” said media liason member Thorin Caristo.
Live feeds of the protests are being followed by supporters across the US and the world.
“The viewership really goes up if you keep up a constant content provision,” said Thorin.
Information is also spread in more traditional ways. A status board helps protesters keep up to date with occupation developments. Thursday is day 21 of Occupy Wall Street. No chance of rain. The number of arrests to date – at over 834.
A library area lets protesters relax and educate themselves with literature fitting most tastes.
“Fiction, non-fiction, magazines. We got a kid’s section. We got CDs, we had DVDs that were dropped off, a bunch of documentaries,” said library worker Steven Grant.
Occupy Wall Street prides itself in being a peaceful grassroots democratic movement without leaders.
“There are different decisions made by different groups. If there’s some decision that’s going to supposedly speak on behalf of everyone here, then that would need to happen at the evening General Assembly, and needs to see consensus from everyone here,” said one of the organizers, Ambrose Desmond.
All of the many cooks in this kitchen are here to cook up one thing – a revolution of change in America.