So it happened. On Tuesday 15th November, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg cracked down on the Occupy movement in his city akin to the way his Oakland counterpart, Mayor Jean Kuan, had done on Monday.
At midnight on Tuesday, New York City police raided Zucotti Park/Liberty Plaza, arrested, pepper-sprayed, swept the park clear of tents, kitchen, library, personal gear, serving notice that belongings could be picked up today at a warehouse at 650 West 57th Street by presenting identification. However, sanitation workers effecting the sweep-away, trashing the objects of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, admitted they were trucking everything, “to the dump.”
Mayor Bloomberg announced he’d ordered this police action to prevent health and fire hazards. But doctors and nurses were present round the clock in Zucotti Park, and most tents contained a fire extinguisher. Bloomberg’s reasons were obviously “pretextual” stated an Occupy legal spokesman.
How do I, how does the world, know all this? Through a few brave persistent reporters like the extraordinary Amy Goodman, truly an international treasure, who with her Democracy Now news team raced down to Zucotti Park in the middle of the night to report what happened on her show the following morning. Touring the rubble of what had been a carefully organized small tent city, Amy picked up a copy of Alduous Huxley’s Brave New World Revisited. Later on her show she read aloud its back cover, a warning against the very corporate anti-human state that today rules us, that last night cracked down on legitimate inspiring non-violent protestors.
Amy asked an Oakland city official who resigned in protest over formerly progressive Mayor Kuan’s crackdown, what was Mayor Kuan’s rationale. “She caved to conservative pressure,” was his response. Presumably Mayor Bloomberg did too. It must be hard for a mayor with eighteen billion dollars to empathize with the ninety-nine percent of the rest of us.
Tuesday’s crack-down in New York, and Monday’s crackdown in Oakland, may be small violent battles won by conservatives, but they are battles that will faster make them lose the non-violent war for people’s minds. Just as the seven hundred arrests of marchers across the Brooklyn Bridge some weeks ago caused a surge in Occupiers in New York and elsewhere, so this ill-considered strong-armed middle-of-the night Fascist-like eviction of Zucotti Park/Liberty Plaza will bring more thousands around the world to understand that Occupy is a movement of and by all who are oppressed by corporate greed for power – a non-violent cry from the heart of the ninety-nine percent whose time has finally come.
Thursday, November 17th marked the three month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. Demonstrations are planned in Foley Square (near Zucotti Park/Liberty Plaza) and elsewhere. I suspect the demonstrations will be large, larger because of the crackdowns in Oakland and NYC.
Bloomberg and other rulers may have hoped cold weather would defeat Occupy but it won’t. Occupy is ubiquitous, planetary – as pervasive as corporate oppression.
Occupy will grow because it is both local and non-local. It is about occupying the place where we all live together, the Earth. Greedy corporations have been mistreating her for a long time. Now it’s Mama’s turn.
In a celebrity culture, Occupy’s initiators are deliberately anonymous – organizing the movement spontaneously through social media.
In a violent culture, Occupy is deliberately non-violent. Non-violence, advocated by Ghandi and Martin Luther King, is a magnificent strategy whose time has come.
Even sympathetic pundits have faulted Occupy for not having “a more specific agenda.” But Occupy is not about engaging the governing institutions on their own ground. It is about artfully revealing that those institutions are corrupt, that they have failed us.
On the beach in San Francisco, Occupiers wrote large in the sand: “Tax the 1%.” Can words traced in sand bring down bastions of corrupt power? Yes, definitely it can.
“Shock Doctrine” writer Naomi Klein at a recent Occupy symposium at the New School in New York affirmed that the Obama administration delaying plans for an oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Mexico would never have happened if it weren’t for the Occupy Movement.
Recently in the US when enough people started moving their accounts from big banks to smaller more people-oriented banks, the big banks withdrew an arbitrary new $5 monthly debit card fee.
How does a message traced in the sand in San Francisco get through to big banks? We can’t know how. But more and more of us need to keep writing our truth in the sand.
Long live the peaceful revolution.Tags: North America
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This post was written by Jean Claude van Itallie