Occupy protesters plan march from NY to Washington

By Verena Dobnik

Associated Press

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 8 2011 5:45 p.m. MST

Protesters gather Monday, Nov. 7, 2011, in Spanish Plaza in downtown Mobile, Ala., as Occupy Wall Street began its official occupation of Mobile over the weekend. Mobile Mayor Sam Jones' staff has told members of the Occupy Mobile movement that they must leave downtown's Spanish Plaza by Wednesday morning. The mayor said in a statement that he respects the demonstrators' free speech rights, but said those rights don't allow the occupation of public parks and facilities without permission.

Mike Kittrell, Mobile Press Register, Associated Press

NEW YORK — Occupy Wall Street demonstrations in New York City went old school on Tuesday as activist musicians David Crosby and Graham Nash delivered a touch of Woodstock, plans for a march to Washington were announced and some participants practiced another kind of democracy — voting.

Demonstrators have been making their voices heard in U.S. town squares since September, and the spirit of protest has remained paramount. At Zuccotti Park, the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young stars were the latest entertainers to lend their talents to the cause.

The white-haired duo led a chant of "No More War!" and played a 20-minute acoustic performance for about 1,000 protesters and onlookers who spilled out of the park onto nearby streets.

An air of nostalgia — and the smell of marijuana — wafted over the crowd as the pair had fans humming along to hits like "Teach Your Children Well."

"These relics of Woodstock came and supported our movement," said 19-year-old Tyler Westcott, a college student, his voice rising with excitement. "It's wild, how things line up. What you have here is the New Left from the Vietnam era — and the new left here now."

Last month, folk music legend Pete Seeger and '60s folk singer Arlo Guthrie joined Occupy Wall Street demonstrators in their campaign against corporate greed. Recently, rappers Talib Kweli, Kanye West and Lupe Fiasco visited protesters in the park. In California, hip hop heavyweights MC Hammer, Raymond "Boots" Riley of hip hop group The Coup and local rapper Mistah FAB have stopped by encampments.

Taking the Occupy protest on the road was also on the agenda Tuesday.

A small group of Occupy Wall Street activists will start a march Wednesday with the hope of arriving in Washington on Nov. 23, the deadline for a congressional committee to decide whether to keep President Barack Obama's extension of Bush-era tax cuts. Protesters say the cuts benefit only rich Americans.

Kelley Brannon is organizing the 240-mile (386-kilometer) march with a core group of a dozen activists. They hope to pick up other marchers along the way.

Brannon likened the effort to the long-distance marches led by the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., during the civil rights era.

"I mean, I'm not comparing us to Martin Luther King," said Brannon. Three marches King led in 1965 from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, ranged in size from 600 to 8,000 people.

"That's the premise Occupy is taking to the road: the historic relevance of such long-distance marches for social causes," Brannon said.

Some protesters recognized Tuesday as election day in the U.S. and voted in some of the many local races and higher profile races in several states.

Shawn Cronick voted in Philadelphia's mayoral race before heading to the Occupy Philadelphia encampment.

"It's easy to be cynical and wonder if it can change a political climate dominated by money," he said. "That's not an excuse to check out of the process; it just means we have to do more than vote. We have to stand up for ourselves and against corporate interests."

Associated Press writers Brett Barrouquere in Louisville, Kentucky, and JoAnn Loviglio in Philadelphia contributed to this report.

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