Posts Tagged ‘Occupy Wall Street’

Occupy Wall Street Is Alive and Well at Zucotti Park

November 20, 2011

I arrived at Zuccoti Park this evening just as the bells of the majestic Trinity Church were ringing seven times.  It was immediately evident and extremely heartening to see, once again, that Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s grotesque and brutal attempt to break the spirit of the Occupy Wall Street movement has failed as utterly as have his equally grotesque and brutal attempt to  “reform” the public school system.

There were groups there I’d never seen present before, particularly the 9/11 Truth people.

There was the beginning of a new library to replace the ample one that Bloomberg had ordered  to be trashed.

There were the members of the unions that Bloomberg has tried to undermine or destroy.  There was the announcement that the United Federation of Teachers  were  hosting an intergenerational dialogue about defending the  social contract this Monday morning  at UFT headquarters.   There were the old and the young, the black and the white, the every religion and non religion under the moon, all united to say again and again and again until it  is finally heard and made manifest: we are sick to death of  the brutal, degrading  rule by the Bloomberg’s of this world: America must change: America must live up to its promise:  America must, at last,  save itself  from the reign of  the insane.

The park was filled with the beaten but unbroken and it was beautiful to behold.

Occupy Wall Street After the Expulsion

November 16, 2011

Like the rest of the world, I woke this morning to learn of the dead of the night expulsion of the Occupy Wall Street protestors from Zucotti Park where they have been encamped since September 17th,  inspiring millions across the country and the world as they did so.    The NYPD raid led to some 70 arrests and  the destruction of all manner of property.  The pretense for the assault was that the park had become an issue of public safety. For this reason the entire area was sealed off, the Brooklyn Bridge shut down and the press forbidden from witnessing the eviction – a transparent and terrifying violation of freedom of the press.

The expulsion is almost certainly part of a concerted effort by mayors across America to stomp the spreading Occupy Wall Street movement out in one brutal blow.

It will not work.

Reports on the internet and in emails were confused and confusing.   People were gathering in Foley Square.  People were being arrested at 6th Ave and Canal St.  The courts ruled the protesters could return to the park.  The courts ruled that the protesters could not  return  to the park.  Around 4:00 pm I got on my bike and made my way through all the places people were said to have gathered but found not a  one.  Not knowing what else to do, I continued downtown to Zuccotti Park  and arrived  there around 4:30 to find first an army of police.  Some wore riot gear and carried rings of  plastic  handcuffs and  huge black batons which you do  not want bashing in your brain.

The NYPD had surrounded the park and were refusing entry to anyone but their own.  The police, in effect, occupied Zuccotti Park.  Surrounding the park were hundreds of  citizens of all ages and races, many carrying signs.  The mood was somber yet defiant.  It was also  tense and very, very different   than any I’ve  felt there before.

Many people wore hand written signs reading “99%,” which someone had made by the hundreds and was handing out.  Little by little I made my way around the circumference of the park looking for familiar faces and finding none but I did meet the maker of the little signs and took one. Occasionally, for unknown reasons, the police would block a sidewalk. This led on two occasions to chants of, “ Who  are you protecting? ”  The police remained  silent but people called out the names of various corporations, the most popular being Goldman Sachs.

Just after 5:00 I was told by a member of the National Lawyers Guild that the court  had ruled  the protesters could  return to the park but they could  not camp there.  A few minutes later, someone else told me he had just heard something entirely different. Meanwhile, as more and more people left their  work and joined in  the crowd was silently swelling.

As darkness fell, three helicopters appeared, hovering high above the park.

Jimmy McMillan, The Rents Too Damn High Party candidate for governor ambled through the crowds shacking hands and  telling all and sundry that their rents are too damn high.

Then, a cheer broke out as it was announced that the police were letting people re-enter the park if only a couple at a time.  I stood upon a steel barricade and glimpsed two young men gleefully running through the park waving American flags.

The mood seemed to lighten and some of the tension lifted.

Still, it was clear that neither side was budging.  Like the economy, like the culture, like the country, this was a situation that could not be sustained.  Something had to break.

Shortly thereafter as I was riding down Maiden Lane, four or five blocks away, I could hear  helicopters flying slowly  over my head in the darkness.

This is getting very interesting.

Occupying Wall Street in Times Square

October 16, 2011

For all my adult life I’ve read about a philosophical or spiritual concept called either  the Zeitgeist or the Spiritus Mundi or the hand of God.  By whatever name, it is meant to move the world, at times against the world’s will, in the direction the world need go.

That direction is always and ever to greater and greater dignity and greater and greater freedom.  This evening in Times Square this philosophical and spiritual concept felt as palpable and present as my own flesh or the flesh and  presence of the thousands and thousands of souls there gathered  to demand their  dignity and demand their freedom.


Sunday at Occupying Wall Street

October 10, 2011

I went downtown to hear Chris Hedges speak and to continue my support for the unprecedented gathering of every conceivable type of folk that makes up Occupying Wall Street. Hedges was as brilliant and passionate as always and attracted a good-sized crowd who asked good questions.  He implored his listeners to stick with their ideals and reminded them all that no one predicted the fall of the Berlin Wall until the hideous  thing was almost falling.

This was followed by a virtual united front of religious leaders and clerics from Judaism, Christianity and Islam who joined together around a paper machete Golden Calf  — the Biblical symbol of idolatry  — to conduct an interfaith prayer session on the steps of the park.

It was very beautiful.

There were also Teamsters, a near naked women being painted red  and a fellow who suggested Mayor Mike Bloomberg be tarred and feathered — a notion certainly no worse than that of allowing the little multi-billionaire to overthrow term limits and reign like a sovereign.

As I was wandering around I met a women from Philly who was mourning the pointless loss of her son in a Baghdad invaded because of a   mountain of official lies to which no one has been held accountable.

As I was leaving, walking my daughter down Broadway to Battery Park I ran into three retirees from Rhode Island who had traveled hours to participate. All three carried placards.  One quoted General Smedley Butler who called himself a “Gangster for Capitalism” and famously said “War is a Racket.”  Another suggested that the proper price for a pill was one penny.  I have no argument. The third advertised for National Move Your Money Day to take place on November Fifth.  Move it where, I asked.  Move it from a mega bank like Chase or Citibank to a local  credit  union, she replied.  An excellent idea which I intend to take up and hope many others will as well.

A month ago I could not imagine such an encounter.

There is something that feels almost miraculous happening and it is happening right in front of our eyes.  May we have the strength and faith to see it and to follow it out to where it needs to go.