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.
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.
Yes, deregulation of the banking industry has led to absolute chaos and total criminality. It is abundantly obvious. The presidents serving since 1980 have been completely owned by corporate lobbyists, as have all senators, representatives and Supreme Court justices. I have arguments with some of the tactics of Occupy Wall Street, but I think they are very minor compared to the overall message. The separation of government from corporations has become an urgent necessity and does in fact require a mass movement of people across the placid lawns of government. Politicians should be examined for any corporate connections whatsoever and immediately dismissed if they fail the test. Corporations should be checked for any attempts at electoral influence. A Constitutional amendment that declares corporations to be nothing more than legal abstractions and forbids them from influencing the federal government is essential. After all, corporations seek to produce products at the lowest possible cost and currently do so by using concentration camps in China. They would gladly build those concentration camps in the U.S. if it was cost-effective. Such entities cannot be allowed the slightest influence on American politics. We may be forced to totally ban all political contributions that do not come directly from an individual person.
Does anyone pay attention to what is being said when this ‘1%’ thing is thrown around?
Here’s a direct quote from the OccupyWallSt.org About page and must therefore be the definitive statement of the movement’s intentions:
‘The movement is inspired by popular uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia, and aims to expose how the richest 1% of people are writing the rules of an unfair global economy that is foreclosing on our future.’
If you replace ‘richest 1% of people’ with different words like ‘Muslims’ or ‘Jews’ or ‘Whites’ or ‘Blacks’ or ‘Poor People,’ wouldn’t you have a serious problem?
Why is it that Occupy Wall Street can define a 1% minority out of a population and engage in open hostility and bigotry toward them? Bigotry against a part of a population is bigotry no matter what the rationale for it happens to be. Occupy Wall Street is not talking about corrupt rich people. It is not talking about criminals. It is talking about ALL rich people. It is equating wealth with villainy.
It should be obvious that not all of the richest people are in fact helping to write unfair rules. Michael Moore is rich. Is he writing some of the unfair rules?
Why is Occupy Wall Street unable to confine its hostility to actual policy?
In Germany, during the buildup of Nazism, people grew increasingly angry toward the wealthy and then turned that anger toward Jewish people. Angry crowds, encouraged to chant mantras and direct hostility toward groups that they define as evil become extremely dangerous when exposed to a charismatic leader who is willing to exploit them.
I do not oppose constructive change of policy to make the economic situation more fair and to prevent the corporate control of government. But I do oppose the fundamental and defining aspect of Occupy Wall Street which is to associate a particular group of people with a generic and unspecified evil.