(article available here)
A considerable amount of media attention to the demonstration today, at least online.
The NYT’ blog.
One Twitter wrote, ‘The police ask to speak with the leader. We told them that there is no leader. They didn’t understand.’
On the live stream, one activist from Spain commented that, ‘They started making assemblies but nobody knows how to do that. So they need to learn from us.’
But the police took the square. And they chanted, ‘We’ll be back!’
September 17th on September 16th. It’s not on Gothamist. Or the NYTimes. Or NY1. Democracy Now has it. The Indypendent has it. And Huff Po. Even Village Voice has it(!) in an interview with one of the organizers from Hunter College, who centered in on the most obvious problem: there is the need for people to see that “activism is not a game; it can actually get real results. We don’t have that here…”
But there is something astir in pockets of the city that are set to emerge and show themselves in downtown Manhattan on Saturday, the 17th. Initially called byAdbusters, the Occupy Wall Street campaign has spread to include other organizations, but mostly individuals and activist groups. No unions or other institutions have expressed solidarity, although the National Lawyers Guild plans to be there. So does the CIA and the FBI and of course the NYPD and probably DHS, too. Since lower Manhattan is the least camera-shy place outside of a movie set, every face and act will be captured and remembered. But whether remembered for the day the US finally accepted the challenge to stop “suffering in silence”; or remembered in the annals of the security state apparatus, is of course unknown.
How many people will show? How long will it last? The recent Bloombergvilleencampment was a step towards this sort of demonstration, but what exactly is being done here? The Tahrir moment and movement came out of other movements, most notably the April 6 Youth Movement. This sort of infrastructure building has not been accomplished in the US. So is it naïve to think that people will be out in droves? Probably. Although if dissatisfaction with present circumstances were the arbiter of action, Manhattan would be flooded with protestors, “from Washington Heights to Harlem on down” as the Bob Dylan song goes.
One wonders if the demonstration wouldn’t be more demonstrable if it were more broadly organized. For example, is Occupy Wall Street competing with Saturday’s demonstration in Queens from Make The Road New York, which is trying to raise funds for its immigrant programs? But maybe it is too early for such criticism. While Occupy Wall Street has grand ambitions, it is most likely a growing and building experience for the long haul, and can be lauded or derided as such.
If successful at all, what would Occupy Wall Street mean for Greenpoint? It might mean housing for our homeless. Food for our hungry. Infrastructure repair. I won’t even dream yet of substantive transportation. . . . .
PS: The Times did cover Bloomberg’s mention of riots, but not Saturday’s demonstration, which have prompted the comment.