Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images.
UPDATE: Here's the statement from Radiohead's Facebook page, confirming there won't be a show: "We wish the best of luck to the protesters there, but contrary to earlier rumours, we will not be appearing today at Occupy Wall Street".
UPDATE 3:26 p.m.: Gothamist is live-blogging the Radiohead at Occupy Wall Street saga, citing multiple protesters and a source at Moveon.org as saying that the concert will happen, despite clear denials from the band's management.
The unconfirmed rumor seems to be that Radiohead really, really wanted the performance to be an actual surprise, and not the "surprise" surprise it turned into after information about the impending show was leaked to the press.
While some insist that the concert is still on, Gothamist spotted this tweet from the Occupy Wall Street twitter account: #Radiohead pulled out b/c the surprise concert was announced to the world by #occupywallstreet #Fail
So it looks like the answer is still no.
Show or no, the wild rumors and speculation today have swelled the crowds at the protests to over 1,000. CNN's set up camp, too. Between the Radiohead rumors, last weekend's confrontations with the police, and the newly announced union support, it looks like the protests are starting to get the media attention they've wanted for two weeks.
In Occupy Wall Street union support news, Richard Trumka, the president of the nation's largest federation of unions, has expressed support for the protests. The Nation quotes the AFL-CIO leader as saying Friday morning, "I think it's a tactic and a valid tactic to call attention to a problem. Wall Street is out of control."
UPDATE 1:57 p.m.: Are the Occupy Wall Street protesters getting a free Radiohead concert?
In a word: No. In eight: "We can officially confirm this is NOT happening." That was the statement passed along to the Wall Street Journal from Steve Martin of Nasty Little Man, the firm that represents the popular band.
The news comes after excited Twitter rumors circulated Friday morning suggesting Radiohead was going to make an appearance at the New York protests. Occupywallstreet.com, which serves as the protest's "official" website (or as close as they'll get to one), quickly "confirmed" that the band would play a free show at 4 p.m. in Zuccotti Park.
Although, Radiohead is already in New York City this week for a sold-out show and an SNL performance. So, you know, no pressure, guys.
POST 11:31 a.m.: The Occupy Wall Street protests in lower Manhattan are about to get union support.
Crain's New York Business, New York Magazine, and The Village Voice are reporting that "a loose coalition of labor and community groups" have pledged solidarity with the protests at Zuccotti Park in New York's financial district and are organizing a march for next Wednesday, Oct. 5.
Occupy Wall Street began on Sept. 17 as a response to a call from Adbusters to protest the current financial system. The magazine envisioned 20,000 people flooding Wall Street, occupying the area for a few months, sleeping in tents. Approximately 2,000 showed up at first, with crowds leveling out in the hundreds since then. Some protesters live, eat, and sleep at Zuccotti Park, while others filter in and out of the camp-like protest grounds. They renamed the park One Liberty Plaza and, apparently, have managed to get the USPS to deliver a package to that address.
For two weeks, the protesters – who are mostly young with a strong representation of student and anarchist groups – have gained increasing attention from like-minded progressives, especially since Saturday's march from the park to Union Square, during which more than 80 people were arrested.
During and after the march, videos of violent police and protester confrontations started popping up on YouTube. One video from the day, showing deputy inspector Anthony Bologna spraying four female protesters with mace or pepper spray, has resulted in investigations by the Civilian Complaint Review Board and NYPD's internal affairs.
As reported by Crain's, the list of labor groups involved in Wednesday's planned march include: the United Federation of Teachers; 32BJ SEIU & 1199 SEIU; Workers United; and Transport Workers Union Local 100, which has 38,000 members.
Additionally, Working Families Party, Moveon.org, Make the Road New York, the Coalition for the Homeless, the Alliance for Quality Education, Community Voices Heard, United New York and Strong Economy For All are involved in the organization of the march.
The protests have some celebrity support as well, with visits from Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon, Cornel West, Lupe Fiasco, Rosanne Barr, and an "in spirit" message of support from Noam Chomsky.
The Village Voice interviewed TWU 100's Jim Gannon after the union's unanimous vote to support Occupy Wall Street. He said:
"...the protesters, it's pretty courageous what they're doing...and it's brought a new public focus in a different way to what we've been saying along. While Wall Street and the banks and the corporations are the ones that caused the mess that's flowed down into the states and cities, it seems there's no shared sacrifice. It's the workers having to sacrifice while the wealthy get away scot-free. It's kind of a natural alliance with the young people and the students -- they're voicing our message, why not join them? On many levels, our workers feel an affinity with the kids. They just seem to be hanging out there getting the crap beaten out of them, and maybe union support will help them out a little bit."
The delay in support from like-minded organizations and people has a lot to do with the amorphous nature of the movement. The Occupy Wall Street protests, which are intentionally consensus-based rather than hierarchically organized, have a sprawling, unfocused message and purpose, centered around the current financial system - not exactly PR gold. The emerging "slogan" since the 17th seems to be "We are the 99 percent," referring to the disparity between the wealthiest Americans and everyone else. The tweetable slogan has virtual traction, too; there's now a Tumblr account.
Confused? Nathan Schneider, editor of Waging Nonviolence, has been reporting from the protests for the past two weeks. He published a pretty thorough "Occupy Wall Street" FAQ in The Nation.