Celine Danhier's 2010 documentary covers a time in the late 1970s when New York was exploding with music and filmmaking energy. Young artists were unafraid to take to the streets without budgets. They were paying low rents and had a community to thrive within. Watching this makes one wonder what exactly New York is for today. It seems more corporate than creative. More trendy than artsy. I think the cops shoot people who don't have budgets now. That's if they aren't too lazy to strangle them to death. Where are young artists going now? Detroit? Newark? Or do they just decide to look down, keep walking and go buy a latte?
Rachel Maddow does a wonderful piece on the freedom of speech aspects of Occupy Wall Street. She contrasts the police at University of California’s Berkeley campus shoving students with batons to the 1964 Mario Savio speech in support of free speech for students. The police violence against students last week happened on the very plaza that celebrates Savio’s great speech.
On the orders of New York mayor Bloomberg, the NYPD staged a brazen and unwarranted attack on the Zuccotti Park protesters of Occupy Wall Street late last night, removing and destroying the entire camp. This assault on Occupy Wall Street appears to be a coordinated nationwide effort with police departments in various cities operating in near concert.
New York has been foolish. The police should not have done this.
There are major protest activities approaching this week. The police assaults may be an effort to head things off before any more major statements can be made by the movement. However, it would be my guess that now all the gloves come off. It would not be unreasonable for massive numbers of protesters to shut down the entire Wall Street area. I think now the movement will be justified in the general public opinion when it escalates its actions. My guess is that if it wasn’t yet, Wall Street is about to become ground zero.
However, it has now become clear that the Zuccotti Park protesters last week surrounded an emergency medical technician to prevent him from taking a mentally ill patient to hospital. The EMT’s leg was broken in the scuffle. That story fits in perfectly with the experience of a Rolling Stone reporter who was surrounded and prevented from interviewing someone. One of those acts is a serious crime committed by the protesters against an emergency worker. The other is an infringement of the right to freely speak with another person. It is also an attempt to prevent a journalist from doing his or her job. I do not support such actions on the part of the protesters. But those are not reasons to destroy their encampments.
Here is Keith Olbermann excoriating mayor Bloomberg for his raging stupidity:
Here’s a television news report about the NYPD raid: