The Occupation of Wall Street… day eight marked by violence, arrests

I’m sick as a fucking dog, and don’t have the strength in me to write anything even remotely interesting, let alone meaningful, on the subject, but I wanted to remind people that the occupation of Wall Street is now in its eighth day. According to what I’m reading, approximately 100 of the protesters were hauled away by police today. Today was also notable because it was the first day that the venerable New York Times took notice. (Most news outlets have still to recognize the peaceful protests in New York’s Financial District.) The NYT article, entitled Gunning for Wall Street, With Faulty Aim, does an admirable job, if nothing else, of putting forward what I’ll call the “naive hippie” narrative. Here’s a clip:

…The group’s lack of cohesion and its apparent wish to pantomime progressivism rather than practice it knowledgably is unsettling in the face of the challenges so many of its generation face — finding work, repaying student loans, figuring out ways to finish college when money has run out. But what were the chances that its members were going to receive the attention they so richly deserve carrying signs like “Even if the World Were to End Tomorrow I’d Still Plant a Tree Today”?…

Looking at the photos, it’s easy to be dismissive. I suspect, however, that will change. These are just the early adopters. They’ll be followed shortly by the debt-ridden college grads who can’t find jobs, and the people who are being forced out of their jobs at Bank of America, is spite of the company’s profitability. No, this isn’t going to stop anytime soon. The rock is just starting to crack, and the magma is just starting to flow. If you thought the Tea Party was a force to be reckoned with, just wait. Soon, the smart people are going to be taking to the street.

Here’s video footage of seemingly peaceful women being corralled on a public sidewalk by orange construction fencing, and then sprayed in the eyes with pepper spray by police.

[The photo above was taken by Peter Harris.]

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18 Comments

  1. Jiggs
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 2:06 am | Permalink

    “No, this isn’t going to stop anytime soon.”

    “Soon, the smart people are going to be taking to the street.”

    So, when does the Ypsi caravan leave for NY (or Chicago, as things are shaping up)? It’s easy for us to read about it and post about it, but how many of us are actually going to be there and “taking to the street”? I’m game and I’m hoping to get there this week.

  2. Posted September 26, 2011 at 5:59 am | Permalink

    It’s easy to write these people off as bozos, too easy, really.

    We need more activity like this. If I believed in God, I’d pray for them. If I weren’t out of town, I’d consider going myself and giving Jiggs a ride.

  3. EOS
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 6:47 am | Permalink

    Peter,
    So are you admitting that a believer’s prayers are effective? What if you prayed first? Wouldn’t God’s answers be reason to believe?

  4. Demetrius
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 9:02 am | Permalink

    At first, the corporate-0wned media seemed to want to ignore the Wall Street protests, as if ignoring them would make it go away.

    Now, as evidenced by this NYT piece, they have entered the dismissive phase, taking great pains to paint the protesters as “fringe” or as merely a bunch of ne0-hippies who are protesting for the sake of protest.

    But the real story isn’t on Wall Street. The real story is brewing, right now, in Washington, and Brussels, and Paris and Berlin … and directly down to the public squares of Athens, Greece.

    Anybody who’s been paying attention seems to know — even if they don’t want to admit it — that the trillions of Dollars (or Euros, or whatever) of interlocking debt obligations that are owed by (and to) a multitude of governments, banks and corporations can never, and will never, be repaid.

    When this house of cards begins to fall — when “to-big-to-fail” banks begin to do just that, and when governments realize they are too broke to bail them all out … the resulting economic consequences, and resulting political fallout, will make the handful of protesters in New York look a mere historical footnote.

  5. Posted September 26, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    An interesting story of that time is Erich Maria Remarque’s “The Road Back”. Of course, we’re not WWI vets who lost, still possibly too timely to miss.

  6. Edward
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    The image of the young man holding the American flag with the knee on his neck is absolutely chilling. And I agree that this isn’t stopping anytime soon. It will be led by the students getting out of college with no prospects and incredible amounts of debt.

  7. Meta
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Chomsky:

    Anyone with eyes open knows that the gangsterism of Wall Street — financial institutions generally — has caused severe damage to the people of the United States (and the world). And should also know that it has been doing so increasingly for over 30 years, as their power in the economy has radically increased, and with it their political power. That has set in motion a vicious cycle that has concentrated immense wealth, and with it political power, in a tiny sector of the population, a fraction of 1%, while the rest increasingly become what is sometimes called “a precariat” — seeking to survive in a precarious existence. They also carry out these ugly activities with almost complete impunity — not only too big to fail, but also “too big to jail.”

    The courageous and honorable protests underway in Wall Street should serve to bring this calamity to public attention, and to lead to dedicated efforts to overcome it and set the society on a more healthy course.

    http://roarmag.org/2011/09/chomsky-speaks-out-in-support-of-wall-street-protests/

  8. Meta
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink

    The cop who maced the young women has been identified:

    Identified: NYPD Officer Who Maced Peaceful Protesters

    A photographer has identified the cruel and cowardly NYPD Supervisor who point blank maced a penned in group of young women and then slinked away Saturday at the Occupy Wall Street protests:

    Deputy Inspector Anthony V. Bologna of the NYPD Patrol Borough Manhattan South.

    TAKE ACTION
    If you think Deputy Inspector Bologna should be fired and prosecuted for his abuse of power, file an on-line complaint:

    Mayor Michael Bloomberg:
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mayor.html

    NYPD Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly:
    http://www.nyc.gov/html/mail/html/mailnypd.html

    NYC Civilian Complaint Review Board:
    https://www.nyc.gov/html/ccrb/html/complaint.html

    http://www.commondreams.org/further/2011/09/26-1

  9. Kim
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    I read a quote from a Wall Street trader who when down to check out the protests a few days ago on his lunch hour. He said he went to check out the tits on the young women. I don’t, as a rule, advocate for violence, but would have liked to have seen him get pepper sprayed and taken to the ground with a knee to his throat.

    None of this would have been necessary if Obama had held people accountable.

  10. TaterSalad
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Watch this video also and then reply:

    http://therealrevo.com/blog/?p=56573

  11. Meta
    Posted September 26, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    The following comment was made by someone on Reddit today who was likewise expressing frustration with the fact that they NYC protesters had no coherent agenda. Here’s what he had to say.

    No, I’m sorry, this is just wrong. When we were protesting the WTO and FTAA we could cite specific clauses in the GATT, MAI and other treaties/agreements leading up to this. Complicated issues they are, but it’s no excuse for being ignorant. Good activism means knowing your shit.

    I watched the live stream of the assembly/spokescouncil and kept facepalming: 30 minutes of discussion over demands and they only arrived at “We call on the 99%… to act locally to solve problems in your own communities?”

    Here’s some specific demands they could be making but aren’t:

    1) Separate investment banks from commercial banks/re-instate Glass-Steagall – these elements were repealed in 1999.

    2) Limit leverage trading – halt rampant currency speculation and trading from low-interest rate currencies to high-interest rate currencies. This will rein in proprietary trading.

    3) Extend margin requirements on stock trading.

    4) Credit default swaps need to be transparent, or illegal.

    5) Outlaw credit ratings agencies being paid by the companies they rate.

    6) Work to overturn or legislatively constitutionally circumvent the Citizen’s United ruling – this is a Supreme Court ruling, so it can’t just be repealed or overturned except by the Supreme Court, but it can be legislatively constitutionally dealt with. Thanks for the correction, thefattestman.

    These will make people know you are serious. These will be rejected, because this kind of reform is impossible in the current environment, but they will set a platform from which to start. Unlike “overthrow the corporate kleptocracy” or other unhelpful catch phrases, these demands cannot be dismissed outright.

    Why I am I not down there? I did visit Zuccotti Park several times, and I saw people talking about the environment and about random issues not related to Wall Street. I saw people starting drum circles instead of teach-ins to educate themselves on the issues.

    The heart is there, but the smarts aren’t. That needs to change or this moment is going to be lost, big time.

    http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/krl3y/i_am_just_so_absolutely_inexplicably_proud_of/c2mob9l

  12. FB
    Posted September 27, 2011 at 7:13 am | Permalink

    Anonymous is going after the policeman who sprayed the women.

    This should be fun.

    Bologna was doxed (having one’s personal information published on the internet) by Anonymous because of photos taken by a photographer, who watched as Bologna allegedly approached the protesters, unleashed the pepper spray, then turned and walked away as though he were trying to pretend he’d done nothing at all.

    http://www.deathandtaxesmag.com/145523/anonymous-publicly-identifies-nypd-officer-who-cowardly-pepper-sprayed-protesters/#3

  13. Eel
    Posted September 27, 2011 at 8:13 am | Permalink

    NPR responds to claims from some that “Occupy Wall Street” isn’t adequately covered: “The recent protests on Wall Street did not involve large numbers of people, prominent people, a great disruption or an especially clear objective.”

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/ombudsman/2011/09/26/140815394/newsworthy-determining-the-importance-of-protests-on-wall-street?ft=1&f=17370252

    Maybe if these crazy people had the Koch brothers’ money behind them, like the Tea Party, it would be a different matter.

  14. Mr. X
    Posted September 27, 2011 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    That NYPD officer, Anthony Bologna, has a history too. Reports out today say that he was accused of civil rights violations at the 2004 Republican National Convention protests as well.

    http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2011/09/26-8

  15. Posted September 27, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Here in NYC, the NPR affiliate has had pretty good coverage of the protests. And this evening, “All Things Considered” had a segment on the police brutality.

  16. mSS
    Posted September 27, 2011 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Wait,

    The cop’s name is Tony Bologna? Where I’m from, we say bologna, “baloney.”

  17. dragon
    Posted September 27, 2011 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

    Here’s how Barbour recalled the group:

    “You heard of the Citizens Councils? Up north they think it was like the KKK. Where I come from it was an organization of town leaders.

  18. Kassandra
    Posted September 28, 2011 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    No need to venture far – occupation is coming to YOU! Or Lansing and Detroit…

    http://occupytogether.org/

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