A few dozen Occupy Charleston protesters braved the first cold snap of the season Wednesday night. This morning, all was quiet at Brittlebank Park as campers wandered out of their tents to eat warm ham-and-cheese biscuits and get ready for the real action.
"We didn't promise excitement Wednesday," says attorney William J. Hamilton, who has been part of the Occupy Wall Street solidarity movement since it started in Charleston roughly three weeks ago. A 99-hour protest at the park, its duration symbolic of the bottom 99 percent of wage earners whom the occupiers claim to represent, began Wednesday at noon and will continue until Sunday afternoon. Today, protesters picked up their signs and headed to the Charleston end of the Ashley River Bridge, planning to greet motorists as they entered the peninsula.
A series of teach-ins is planned today at the park, with session titles including "Equity and Mobility," "'We Shall Overcome' in Charleston," and "The New Gilded Age." Teachers will include Charleston NAACP President Dot Scott, Charleston County Council member Vic Rawl, and Coastal Carolina University professor Jason T. Eastman. At 8 p.m., Ken Riley, president of the International Longshoremen's Association, will make the case for a nationwide general strike like the one that started in Greece on Wednesday.
"Everybody needs to break out the long johns and get out here," Hamilton says. Other protesters were either rushing off to picket at the foot of the bridge or acting taciturn around reporters. WTMA reporter Michael Brown had already gotten one of them on the air to be ridiculed by conservative morning talk show host Richard Todd, and organizers were warning protesters to steer clear of him.
For a complete list of today's teaching sessions, visit Hamilton's blog on Daily Kos. Bring a blank T-shirt by Brittlebank Park today, and a member of the movement will silk-screen the words "We Are the 99%" on it for you by Saturday.