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    • Groups and Coalitions: Politics Chapter V
      Previous: Identity (Introduction and Table of Contents) Politically active groups form because of ideology and identity: they have beliefs about how the world should be; those beliefs are emotional and create both identification with other people who have the beliefs and shared desire to change the world or keep the world in line with how the ideologies pres […]
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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.  😉