Thanks to Richard Metzger at Dangerous Minds
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.
It does appear that there is a court order against New York to allow the protesters back into the park with their tents. However, Mayor Bloomberg is ignoring the court’s order.
It is also reported that the police destroyed the protesters’ library of 5,000 books during their raid. Get it? That’s basically a book-burning.
It looks like the police also prevented press coverage of the attack. Network news helicopters were prevented from flying and journalists were roughed up and kept away.
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:
Here’s a live feed from the Zuccotti Park area:
Tomorrow, Saturday November 5, 2011, is Bank Transfer Day. That means that Americans everywhere are moving their money out of big banks and putting them into smaller local banks and credit unions that are FDIC insured. The Occupy Wall Street movement is having serious consequences and is beginning to wake people up to how easy it is to change things when millions decide to act. The big banks have been making life very difficult for many people through absurd fees, rates and indecipherable rules meant to empty pockets. But the problem is actually much more serious than that. Big banks are actually putting lives at risk through illegal foreclosures all across the United States. Masses of people are boiling with anger that is going to reach a critical overload. Moving money out of these banks into credit unions is a common sense approach to smacking big banks. But this event is just a warm-up. What we are practicing for is the eventual ability of the population to move almost overnight to totally destroy a chosen corporation. The ability to do so is almost here and will make itself apparent in very short order. I’m talking about a population that will be able to pick a corporation – say a major auto manufacturer for instance – and totally liquidate that corporation. This will be a weaponized and highly focused form of boycott, but it will be characterized by extremely sudden mass decision-making unlike anything ever seen in history. Get ready for it. Start your warmup tomorrow by moving to a credit union or small local bank.
I went down to the demonstration to make a film. I liked the people there. They were very focused and happy. They were talking, explaining, arguing, educating, dancing, singing, playing, making signs, painting, photographing. Some of them made speeches at the microphone. Some read poems. There were lots of cameras.
The music and words in this film are by Tom Morello (http://nightwatchmanmusic.com), former Rage Against the Machine guitarist. He sings his own ‘Maximum Firepower’ and Woody Guthrie’s ‘This Land is Your Land.’
The mood at City Hall was high energy and cheerful. The underlying anger and frustration of the movement seemed to be moving through a positive channel. It was exciting but also comfortable there because of the people and their open attitudes.
The Los Angeles police headquarters is directly across the street from the protest grounds. That’s where I began shooting my film – right into the windows of police headquarters. Several squad cars drove up First Street, but there was not a single cop anywhere near the protest area. The crowd is organized and respectful, but also very serious about its messages which are various and multifaceted.
The city has taken a protective stance over its protesters. I’m very proud of Los Angeles for this.
Occupy Los Angeles is one of the spreading protests coming out of the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York. Hopefully, the incredible momentum of the movement will continue and be heard very clearly across the country and the world.
The simple messages that I get from the protests are that government cannot function while it is under the control and influence of corporations. The economy cannot function properly while corporations and their extremely wealthy owners are allowed to operate without oversight and control. The country cannot pave its roads or build its schools or house its people while corporations and the wealthy play with money that is nearly tax-free, removing it entirely from the real world economy. The country cannot function as a democracy while its politicians and Supreme Court justices are working for corporations. The country cannot be free while racism and bigotry are increasingly seen as legitimate reactions to change. The country cannot be secure while corporations are given the power to run wars and people’s basic privacy rights are removed.
That’s what I see in the Occupy movement.
If every city in the U.S. could have as fine an Occupy movement as Los Angeles, they would be very lucky indeed.
This film shows how the protesters of the Occupy Wall Street movement organize themselves in lower Manhattan. They seem to be forming something like a little community with food services, minor first aid, a library, battery charging and even video editing services for all the people covering the action. These people are working hard and have an uncommon seriousness about them. This is something new. These are mainly young people. They are waking up from iPod oblivion and showing the world that they can make a difference in a democracy decayed by a corporate stranglehold over the government. These are people who can see that corporate management structures have totally occupied and taken over the United States government all the way up to and including its Supreme Court. In fact, there is no other way to dismantle this criminal structure. It can only be broken up by massive groups of angry protesters who simply never stop coming.
The film was shot and edited by Alex Mallis.
Here’s a simple and clear opinion piece about the reform movement represented by Occupy Wall Street.