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Occupy Wall Street Mission to Egypt Debated, Rain Falls, Banks Let Off Hook?

By Matthew Russell Lee

LOWER MANHATTAN, November 22 -- Should Occupy Wall Street spend $30,000 to send observers to Egypt's parliamentary elections on November 28? The proposal was debated at length on Tuesday night in lower Manhattan, not in Zuccotti Park from which tents were evicted a week ago but in another privately-owned "public" space at 60 Wall Street.

  Back on November 10 the money was allocated, and turmoil in Cairo's Tahrir Square has increased since then. But Tuesday night's amendment said "the November 15 eviction from Liberty Plaza has taxed our human and capital resources" and "there is no unanimity on whether sending an observer delegation from New York is the best way we can help the movement in Egypt."

  An opponent of the amendment called it merely budgetary, an attempt to save money. (One point of information was that the $1,500 per ticket was inflated, as these were available online for $820.) But others said, "OWS is global, we have to show solidarity."

  One critique of the amendment was that the sponsor wouldn't give his name. He maintained that position, saying "I am White Hat, I am known as that."

  There were five Blocks, several of whom said it was their "first block ever." These were whittled down but not eliminated so a vote seeking modified consensus -- 90% vote -- was taken. A count of voters was taken, but more than 10% voted against.

  The proposal failed, leading one member of the "Movement Building" group to complain, we don't want to go, we are not going!"

Palm tree, not in Egypt but 60 Wall Street, (c) MRLee

 Another Movement Building member mentioned concerns about security, while from further back in the crowd there was grumbling about expensive plane tickets and hotel rooms.

Reporting from the United Nations as Inner City Press shows that there are other elections on November 28, including in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Also at the UN earlier on Tuesday, when Inner City Press asked for a response to the use of tear gas at University of California - Davis, UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said that an investigation was "appropriate."

  But the UN is tone-deaf on entanglements with bailed-out financial institutions like Bank of America. And Occupy Wall Street, while initially and still intermittently targeted at banks, bogged down Tuesday night on a proposal to spend $350 for a legal filing fee to sue the NYC Department of Sanitation to not, at least yet, throw out the belongings seized during the November 15 eviction of Zuccotti Park.

  Penny wise, pound foolish said a bearded wag back in the crowd. Indeed. Watch this site.

Footnote: Inner City Press has written and uploaded many of its Occupy Wall Street pieces from 60 Wall Street, where the day of the eviction the public Interest was shut. Now amid cold November rain, the OWS General Assembly has moved indoors. It is next to Wall Street and that should be used.

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Click here for Sept 23, '11 about UN General Assembly

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

Click here for Sept 26, 2011 New Yorker on Inner City Press at UN

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