Occupy Wall Street
Finally, after years of acquiescence, Americans are voicing their displeasure and saying, “We’ve had enough.” Their anger is being aimed directly at Wall Street and the financial institutions which populate that dirty little stretch of asphalt in New York City.
This particular group of protesters goes by the name Occupy Wall Street, and they have been camped out in Zuccotti Park for the past few weeks, though that could come to an end as police are threatening to clear out the park by force.
Yesterday, on October 5th, two marches took place. The first was a protest with proper permits on Broadway attended by ten thousand people, as reported by the Associated Press. It was an orderly protest, and few if any arrests were made.
The second march yesterday was more impromptu, and involved protesters in Liberty Square. Signs at that rally included such ditties as “REVOLT,” “Tax Wall Street Transactions,” and my favorite, “Outlaw Credit Default Swaps.” A community and labor march followed on to Foley Square, where the group joined forces with union organizers for a march back down Broadway to Wall Street.
Thousands of people advanced on Wall Street, but police were ready with barricades to contain the protesters. Around eight o’clock, a decision was made to storm the barricades in an attempt to make it onto Wall Street, and force police to arrest the protesters. But police held fast, shoving protesters and dousing them with pepper spray. One officer immediately began using his baton on anyone who moved, including a Fox 5 reporter, who was merely covering the scene. Video of this has gone viral, spawning accusations of police brutality. In the end, no one was allowed onto Wall Street without being arrested. Both CBS and ABC News showed footage of police using batons on protesters, reinforcing brutality charges.
As usual, police are acting in the interests of those with the money, and they are following orders from the top. Police Chiefs and Mayors work with the monied interests in these situations, and will continue to do so until the protesters become too large to handle, but this might not be too far off. The people have reached their limit.
Today in Chapel Hill, at the University of North Carolina, students boycotted classes to join in the protests that are springing up across America. People are tired of the super elite controlling every aspect of our society. They want to regain control over their lives. And I hear them. Hopefully, so will the President.
America was founded on dissent. The Boston Tea Party was an illegal act to protest England’s taxation policies, the old taxation without representation bit. Those protesters took other people’s property and tossed it into Boston Harbor. If something like that were done today, the protesters would be pepper sprayed, clubbed, thrown in jail, and probably charged with a felony. We all need to remember just how America came to be.
Conservatives have already begun denigrating the protesters as lazy, slothful troublemakers bent on getting free handouts. They are calling them Socialists, Communists, Anarchists and just plain crazy. It should be noted that a large portion of the protesters are young men and women bent on bettering their lot in life. They don’t want things to continue as they are. They want change, and change is anathema to those in power.
So join the protest. To paraphrase Peter Finch in Network, “We’re mad as hell, and we’re not going to take this anymore.”