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By the time we got to Wall Street, we were half a million strong…

More like 1500 as of today but OccupyWallStreet has the potential to be a juggernaut.  Let’s put it this way, there are 8,175,133 people in New York City and not all of them work in the finance industry.  In fact, the vast majority of them don’t.  Most New Yorkers are cab drivers and food service workers and administrative assistants and teachers and transit workers and cops.  The whole country may not be watching yet, much less the whole world, but you can be sure that the citizens of New York City are starting to pay attention.

Today, there was a march across the Brooklyn Bridge that resulted in the corraling and arrest of about 500 700 people, including Natalie Lennard, a free lance stringer for the New York Times.  See the front page of the NYTimes for details or better yet, head on over to Correntewire and read MsExPat’s post on the march, since she was there.  She also has some amazing photos of the events on the bridge, including this one of marchers either trying to escape the nets or get a better view of what was going on (I hope she and Lambert don’t mind if I crosspost this pic.  It’s one of those photos you never forget)

Avoiding arrest on the Brooklyn Bridge, OccupyWallStreet, Oct 1, 2011 (MsExPat)

Kids, don’t try this at home.

MsExPat’s post is tantalizing.  She says there’s something going on at Zucotti Park that gives her concern but she hasn’t said what yet.  I wonder if it has anything to do with the Obama Fan Base MoveOn and the SEIU spoiling the party that DCBlogger was reporting at Corrente.   In the meantime, she met a cop after the march and had this exchange:

But as I was leaving the park in Brooklyn, an extraordinary thing happened. A policeman called to me. “How’s it going?” he asked. Nonplussed I said, well, okay, thanks. Then I asked him if the police were going to surround the park and arrest us all (this is what we had heard the “white shirts” saying on their radios). He said, “No Way! They won’t arrest you for sure.” [#33]

I asked him if he was Community Affairs, and he said that he was a Lieutenant (a white shirt officer), but had been pressed into service as a CA cop for the day. Then he let loose and let it all come out. He sympathised with the marchers. He had kids, he was worried about their education. About genetically modified food. About the way America was going.

I listened to him, half incredulous, half thrilled. Almost as thrilled as I was, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, hearing the car horns and the cheers of passing motorists–all of them African American. Some hung out of the window, raised fists, cheered.

OccupyWallStreet may not know what the heck it is doing (or does it?) but I think New York City’s police force better tread very carefully here.  It wouldn’t take much provocation to get millions into the street.  After all, they didn’t have to walk anywhere.  They’re already there and they are watching.  And it’s going to be bloody hard to arrest and detain 8 million people on Riker’s Island.

Kudos to Corrente for covering OccupyWallStreet.  Outstanding job, guys.

Update: The Guardian is covering the protest on its frontpage tonight.  So is Al Jazeera.  So, that makes if official.  OccupyWallStreet is part of the Arab Spring.  😉

24 Responses

  1. Holy Hemiola! They arrested a little kid. She looks like she’s about 12 years old. Go to OccupyWallStreet and check out the video of today’s march on the bridge. I seriously can’t believe they cuffed a kid.
    Well, that’s it. Brook is going to have to stay home. No revolution for her.

  2. I love the French. This is Le Monde’s version of events:

    Occupy Wall Street on the Brooklyn Bridge

    The protests are increasing in American cities.
    Relative to European figures, the ” occupations “are not much, but the movement Occupy Wall Street is starting to spread: Atlanta Occupy , Occupy Los Angeles .. Over 100 cities have registered on Facebook.
    One manifestation of Occupy Together (the parent) is scheduled Oct. 6 in Washington.
    New York, several thousand demonstrators stormed the Brooklyn Bridge. The police set out to dislodge them. Activists filmed the scene at all times and are almost 20,000 to follow the streaming mass arrests …
    The left blames the media not to cover events as they have eagerly covered the raising of the Tea Party.

    The number of people in the march was something like 1500-2000. But I guess the mere prospect that we might turn into a Marseilles singing bunch of Sans Culottes must make them all a-tingle.

    • They thought they were going to a Radiohead concert

      • Apparently a significant number of them thought that. I wonder who created and pushed that rumor that would clearly draw more people. Hmmm.

        • Radiohead is all fine and dandy but if you want to rock Wall Street and get as many people as possible down there, there is only one name you should call;


  3. Sort of seems like a rorschach protest, without a stated goal or anything they’re protesting “for”. Other than vaguely that the financial industry is generally evil. Maybe that’s enough. But there’s something fishy about it all. Don’t be surprised if it doesn’t sort of transform into a pro Obama or prop Dem party activity.

    • Nothing would surprise me. Except the chances of really making a statement effectively is probably pretty good in NYC. All you have to do is get 1/8 of the population to take a stroll down to the Wall Street area and have them sit down in the street. Like I said, there are only so many police officers and zip ties. You can’t cart everyone off to jail. Do that for a couple of days…
      Of course, everything is done electronically. There’s really no reason for the brokers to even make it down there. To be really effective, you’d have to disable the shadow trading and banking system and I don’t know how to do that (But I’ll be someone does)

      • I suspect that shadow trading and banking system is tied in with alphabet organizations down the street from me. Enter at your own risk. Unfortunately.

    • Actually, the financial industry — including out the worker bees — is generally evil. I don’t know what else you’d call crashing the world economy and then orchestrating the largest upward transfer of wealth in world history but evil.

      I’m sure that the Ds will try to decapitate the Occupations, just as they diverted the WI Capitol Occupations into the roach motel of legacy party politics. After all, that’s their job. I guess we’ll see if consensus-based decision making has a strong enough immune system to resist the infection of MoveOn, the SEIU, and the rest of the usual suspects. I’m guessing yes; if you watch the tactical detail carefully, it’s clear that these are smart, experienced, and tough operators. I’m not worried about the Obama weasels; Obama burned this generation as badly as he burned the rest of us.

      • My worry is these are exactly the type of people that didn’t have a strong enough immune system to see who Obama was in the first place. So it likely doesn’t take much for them to get high on hope based on nothing and get taken in by good marketing. Notice for example they’re at Wall Street instead of at the WH. But you never know.

        “No matter how cynical I get, I can never keep up.” – Lily Tomlin

        • The fact that they are at Wall Street instead of the White House speaks strongly in their favor. It would have been a whole lot easier to ignore them in DC. Besides, the champagne swilling partier pics could really stoke resentment.
          The alphabet departments may be watching out for Wall Street but IIRC, Wall Street has its own internet cable, separate and distinct from the one the rest of us use. Maybe it wouldn’t be possible to hack into it but wouldn’t it be funny if it could be brought to a screeching halt by a Goldman-Sachs cleaning lady with a USB stick.
          Well, not funny. And I would never suggest such an idea because That Would Be Wrong, But I’ll bet it’s crossed somebody’s mind.

  4. Thanks for the kind words, RD. We can’t know what the outcome will be, of course, but I’m more hopeful than I can remember being in years. The lack of a “clear message” (“our one demand”) doesn’t bother me; these are not protests, but occupations. This is for the long haul. The message can evolve.

    • “If a continuing protest declines — and it will ultimately have to decline, unless the authorities break it up — then during the period of decline, the people left in the protest are, more and more, the extremists, the deranged, and the emotionally needy. Few onlookers identify with these people.”

    • I do wonder about the presence of Chris Hedges down there. Call me picky but it’s probably better to keep it simple stupid. The biggest issue is the economy. If you start introducing genetically modified crops and global warming and Guantanamo, you’re going to lose the audience at home.
      The organizers need to practice restraint. When I saw that Hedges had written a referendum, my heart sank. I’m a lefty but I’ve also worked for corporations, I like Hillary Clinton and, frankly, scarlett, I don’t give a flying fuck about genetically modified corn. You non-geeky types can let it keep you up all night if you want but my number one concern is for the economy. Whenever Hedges gets up on a platform to earnestly (gag me) grandstand, er, write a list of demands, he offends a shitload of average Americans. He is a kitchen sink liberal. If we didn’t have him, the right would have to invent him. Fergawdssakes, keep him away from a microphone. We can’t all start doing the crunchy granola thing, leave our jobs in corporate offices and retreat back to the land where we’ll grow our own wool in a pure, rustic non-violent environment.
      Don’t worry about MoveOn (Or, just tell it to, um move on). Worry about Hedges getting up on a stage and turning off a good chunk of America with his purer than thou routine. I won’t watch him. He doesn’t resonate with the working class. Am I making my point clear enough to the OccupyWallStreet people lurkers? You need a movement and that movement has to attract working class people. Working class people are going to be thrown off by Chris Hedges. And probably Michael Moore. Hedges because he doesn’t smell like a working class dude and Moore because his working class roots haven’t prevented him from coming off as a ditz sometimes. (Sorry, Michael, I love you, truly I do, but give someone else a chance this time).

  5. Love the Confluence. ❤

  6. I don’t know what people mean when they say it won’t go anywhere or do anything…isn’t something better than nothing? I maintain this sort of thing does put a hitch in the giddy up on the road to the slaughterhouse they have us on.We tried being nice . The one down side is it let’s them fast track the destruction of civil right….but the point is they were going to do that anyway…There comes a ” you might as well ” point…because being lawful and eatting our peas will not save us .

  7. “JPMorgan Chase recently donated an unprecedented $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. The gift was the largest in the history of the foundation and will enable the New York City Police Department to strengthen security in the Big Apple.”

    READ MORE AT: JPMorganChase.com – The donation is currently story 13 of 20 on their homepage:

    These guys look like saints! Pillars of the community! Giving MILLIONS after millions to worthwhile causes!

    What’s going on here?

    How many million to make one Billion? A thousand of them, right? …So…

    (November 2008) Touted as the strongest of the U.S. banks which “escaped” the “mortgage crisis,” Morgan Chase has, by far, the largest derivatives exposure of any bank in the world, with $99 trillion in notional value of derivatives outstanding at mid-year, according to the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency—as much as the derivatives exposure of the next seven U.S. derivatives-holding banks combined. It is also the world’s largest hedge fund manager, with $45 billion under management… …the Fed is in the process of setting up a new Money Market Investor Funding Facility (MMIFF), which will lend up to $540 billion to a group of five special-purpose vehicles managed by J.P. Morgan Chase…These programs join the Term Auction Facility (TAF),the Forward TAF program, the Term Securities Lending Facility (TSLF), the TSLF Term Options Program, the Primary Dealer Credit Facility (PDCF), the $29 billion loan to facilitate the purchase of Bear Stearns by J.P. Morgan Chase, … The Bank of England, in its latest Financial Stability Report (an oxymoron, to be sure), said that the world’s central banks have issued $7 trillion in loans, purchases, and guarantees since the crisis began…

    I think we are going to have to work together to understand all this.

    • Stick to something simple. The We are the 99% campaign is brilliant. Keep that up. Keep the atmosphere down there as cheerful as possible. You want to lure people to join you. Don’t get all commie, pinko fag, if you know what I’m saying. The minute you start holding {{insert my interest group here}} parades that are not based on the economy, you are going to start losing the television audience at home. Remember Tahrir Square.
      If J.P. Morgan Chase donated money to the police department, would that surprise anybody? No. We can assume that the whole city bureaucracy is bought. Americans already know that the system is corrupt. What they want to see is whether OccupyWallStreet can relate to their plight. Imagine that you are one big group hug between yourselves and all the other laid off people in America. That’s where you want to be. OccupyWallStreet is a surrogate for all of the people who want to tell Wall Street that we’re here and we’re not going away until the Barney Franks and Chris Dodd’s of the world stop licking the Gucci’s of the champagne swillers.

      • Jobs. Decent wages. People want to earn a living. Jobs and nothing but jobs. The rest is noise and clutter. People know that the 1% has raided anything of value and there is nothing left for the 99%. Taunting, ignoring and vilifying the 99% from Wall St, the press, and the WH has led to this. Keep it at it’s most simple message and it will work.

        • Yep. I recommend the 12 Word Platform as posted on Corrente:

          1. Medicare for All
          2. End the Wars
          3. Tax the Rich
          4. A Jobs Guarantee

          Not necessarily in that order. In order of importance I would make it:

          1. Jobs for everyone
          2. Tax the rich
          3. Medicare for all
          4. End the wars

          Simple. Anyone can grok it. Even the most tea addled Fox News viewer will like (most) of it.

  8. You hit it out of the park with your post title. Nice work.

  9. this is great.and he says we are soft ;LOL;

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