I wanted to do a more far-ranging, in-depth “participant/ observer” report on Occupy Wall St., but things are moving so quickly, and this movement is gaining so much traction just as rapidly, that I can’t afford to wait and write the longer, more in-depth piece I have in mind. So here goes…
As most of you know, on the tenth day of the Occupy Wall St. action, I decided to join in. Some of my activist friends have been there since the beginning with one getting arrested. To be honest, I thought the action wouldn’t last because it wasn’t well thought-out, there was no coherent message, no goals.
Just goes to show you how much I fuckin’ know. What I didn’t foresee is that the mostly young people occupying Wall St. have two principles necessary for impactful, meaningful action: commitment and courage.
It’s now Day Thirteen and it seems that the movement instead of dying out is instead defying all odds and growing.
Today, the Transport Workers Union (TWU) has voted to officially support Occupy Wall St. (here) TWU local 100 has 33,000 members in New York and 200,000 members nationally. There’s talk at the Occupy Wall St. site that the United Auto Workers (UAW) will also come on board. Critical Mass will join with a protest starting at Union Square and moving down to Liberty Park to join with the people at Occupy Wall St.
This is only natural, as I had run into and spoken with many union members at Occupy Wall St. One union member even pointed out to me the fact that members of one of the most powerful city unions, the police, were there to suppress protest. Hmmmmm…
On October 5, there will be a huge gathering of all these stakeholders staging a mass protest. This will be a huge shot in the arm and will guarantee that Occupy Wall St. won’t be going away.
For the most part, the mainstream media outlets (MSM), after initially ignoring the protests, are now reporting on it, but only from a corporate-friendly, misinformed perspective. In fact, if it weren’t for the blatant police brutality, I doubt they would have covered it at all. Of course, if it had been four or five dumb-fuck teabaggers, the corporate press would’ve outnumbered the protestors.
I’ll have more to say on that later, but I want to illustrate my perspective through the use of a New York Times article. To put it simply the MSM is so out of the loop, so clueless, about the social dynamics undergirding Occupy Wall St because it is a repudiation — a reconceptualization — of the status quo. The New York Times, in an attempt to connect the protests to other uprisings around the globe, makes a subtle (and misleading) point that there’s something anti-democratic about popular protest. Check it out:
“… But from South Asia to the heartland of Europe and now even to Wall Street, these protesters share something else: wariness, even contempt, toward traditional politicians and the democratic political process they preside over.
They are taking to the streets, in part, because they have little faith in the ballot box.
“Our parents are grateful because they’re voting,” said Marta Solanas, 27, referring to older Spaniards’ decades spent under the Franco dictatorship. “We’re the first generation to say that voting is worthless.”
Even in an attempt to connect the dots, they get it wrong.
Whether or not you believe that voting is worthless — and only an idiot would deny money has supplanted free speech and free elections — protests and demonstrations are part of the history of the United States and the world. They’re as much a part of one’s civic participation, and has been much more effective than, heading to the ballot box.
More Actions/ Future Posts
I have more on my talks with various activists and my conversations with Cornell West and Amy Goodman, but that will have to wait.
I had to work today, so I was at Occupy Wall St. briefly in the evening. But I will be there tomorrow. A fellow activist who works with me in a campaign against police brutality and racial profiling (it’s called PROP here), has called for a demonstration tomorrow (Friday at 5 PM) to protest the way the NYPD has treated the Occupy Wall St. activists (here).
I’ll be there and I’ll also be marching in Saturday’s SlutWalk (here).
My name is Eddie and I’m in recovery from civilization…