Nationwide movement utilizes online streaming

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Occupy Austin and other Occupy protests around the country are using an online video streaming website called Livestream to broadcast a 24-hour live feed of anything that happens at the occupation.

Austin Smith, a member of the Occupy Austin Livestream team, said he began his involvement with the video broadcasting team after watching the protests in New York City on his computer. When he heard about Occupy protests starting in other cities, Smith said he created an Occupy Austin Facebook page which grew rapidly.

“I would sit there for hours watching everything that was going on,” Smith said. “The Livestream allowed me to see the protests in their uncut and unedited form.”

Smith said maintaining a channel is very expensive, and Livestream donated all of the channels used to broadcast the Occupy protests.

“The mainstream media will never send out a clear message about these protests,” Smith said. “With Livestream, we can have our own voice.”

Smith said Occupy Austin hasn’t been without trouble but feels the movement is growing and learning.

He said watching a live video of thousands of protesters marching in the streets or a handful of peaceful protesters getting arrested can have a much greater impact than reading about the events after they happen.

“There is a lot more emotion attached when you watch the events,” Smith said. “Just reading the numbers really minimizes the effect and creates a disconnect with the audience.”

Lucian Villasenor, Mexican-American studies senior and Occupy Austin protester, said he wasn’t expecting the Occupy Wall Street protests to grow or last very long after Sept. 17 but soon changed his mind after discovering the Livestream.

“A week or so later, I got a link to the Livestream and found out they were still there and they made an encampment,” Villasenor said. “I was hooked since then.”

Villasenor said the protests are affecting Austin by teaching people the importance of grassroots organization.

“Many of the people at City Hall are new to activism and organizing,” Villasenor said. “When people learn, they can change the conditions they live in. Then, the possibilities are endless.”

Villasenor said protesting with Occupy Austin is now the only way for people to fight the budget cuts affecting the University because previous efforts have failed to convince the administration and legislature to stop the cuts.

Villasenor was arrested during the night of Oct. 30 and said his arrest hasn’t stopped trying to organize with Occupy Austin.

“It was very frustrating because I knew I did nothing wrong, yet I was being treated like I was a drunk off the street,” Villasenor said.

Villasenor said his favorite aspect of participating with Occupy Austin has been the relationships he has formed and the conversations arising from them.

“I have met people from all across the political and social spectrum,” Villasenor said. “It’s great having conversations and discussions with others who know something is wrong with the world we live in.”

Printed on Monday, November 28, 2011: Occupying in more ways than one