Organizers: Occupy Chicago protests to continue

October 17, 2011 (CHICAGO)

They have encamped in the financial district for almost a month. Their numbers have grown in protest of corporate greed, but there are subtexts to that message since the protesters come from different walks of life ,and they have different beefs. They have no hierarchy of leadership, but they have committees, and they say they are in it for the long haul.

There is the constant percussion. Music to the ears of some. An annoyance to others.

There are many signs. One of them lists some rules: Clean up after yourself. This is our home. Respect it. Keep it neat.

It is the northeast corner of LaSalle and Jackson, home base for Occupy Chicago, a group that by intent has no formally designated leaders.

"I think hey want this to be a group effort because there's so many walks of life airing their own personal grievances," said a protester named Gary.

Even without leaders of title, this protest -- under way in Chicago for the better part of a month -- does have organization and structure. It has committees that oversee food, safety and security, social media and press.

"We don't have any one person that makes a decision…all of us make that decision," said Mika Philbrook, Occupy Chicago press spokesman.

"They talk it over, more or less, in Quaker style," said political consultant Don Rose

Rose knows a bit about the structure of social protest. At the height of bloody police-protester confrontations in 1968, it was Rose who coined the phrase, "The whole world is watching". That phrase is part of this protest, though the approach to protesters is quite different than 43 years ago.

The early Sunday morning arrests of protesters who had set up a small tent city in Grant Park were accomplished without ugly confrontation. In fact, some of those arrested say the police were very professional in their handling of the situation.

There were no arrests Monday, though protesters were told they can no longer have their so-called general assembly meetings on Board of Trade property. Still, they say they won't abandon their home base or message.

"It's important just to have a voice and to stand here and to say this so that when people walk by they see what you have to say," said protester Amanda Carver.

After the weekend arrests, Monday brought more of what has become the routine at LaSalle and Jackson: drums, guitars, honking horns, and a message that protesters are very passionate about.

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