Monday September 17, 2012, 8:27 AM, my birthday and more importantly, the first birthday of protesters trying to Occupy Wall Street and the movement’s supporters are out making an appearance in the hundreds at the Financial District, while swarms of cops are arresting dozens of people (nearly 200 so far), Silverstein’s ‘Freedom Tower’ glaring down from the WTC.
Demonstrators had planned to shut down the district by lining the streets around the New York Stock Exchange and then sitting down en masse to create an occupied zone. Unfortunately, that plan didn’t pan out, thanks largely to the battering ram of police.
“The People’s Wall,” as Occupiers called it, fizzled and protesters took to marching through the streets, chanting slogans and singing “Happy Birthday” to their movement.
The paramilitary force of blue threatened arrest to anyone who stepped off the sidewalk, and busted dozens of people, including several reporters, according to witnesses, violating several constitutional amendments at once. As the New York subway’s fear-generating ad campaign goes, “If you see something, say something!” So, I’m saying something . . .
A crowd of about 50 barged into the lobby of 4 New York Plaza which houses JPMorgan Chase, as well as the Daily News, and demanded to speak to bank officials. About eight of them were arrested. But where were the officials? Hiding in the safe, counting foreclosed mortgages and collateral debt obligations?
“We’re here protesting financial terrorism. The financial mafia,” said Yates McKee, 32, as he was loaded into the back of a police van. More protesters were taken into custody in the lobby of 4 New York Plaza during these Bloomberg-backed events marking the one-year birthday of the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement.
Also, the MTA (Metropolitan Transportation Authority) terminated train service at Fulton St., one stop before it hits the Financial District due to the protests. Thus spoke MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. Sounds to this writer like the ‘Streeters’ are running scared. The private army is out there big-time, erecting barricades and demanding ID cards from workers trying to get to work near the NY Stock Exchange. They should have taken the day off.
Jami Montano, a homeless 21-year-old, questioned whether so many cops were really necessary. “It’s expensive,” she said. “They’re spending a lot of money and where is that money coming from?” Well, dear, from New York City’s budget and the Private Trust that has been set up for the NYPD by their financially loaded friends.
Montano said she was taking part in the anniversary actions, dubbed “S17,” “to represent [herself] because everyone who’s trying to represent me is doing a poor job.”
“I want people to start questioning the way their government and the way their system is run,” she said. “I want them to question their daily lives.” Sounds like a plan to me. But will the folks on the treadmill take the time or interest to do that? Or will it be another year of costly war, financial skullduggery and continued loss of civil liberties accompanied by election dereliction.
Shiloh Coral, 22, homeless as of about two months ago, said that the “Occupy” movement has been “the most supportive place.” She added, “When people from the middle class are becoming lower class, and people from the lower class are becoming homeless, no one seems to be gaining anything but the absolute richest.” You got that right, kiddo.
Yet, despite intense criticism, the NYPD methodically went about checking Wall Street workers’ IDs before allowing them into the area during the events marking this one-year “birthday” of Occupy Wall Street. A cordon of police stood on the steps of the New York Stock Market, guarding the whorehouse.
The events began Sunday night in Foley Square with a concert featuring Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and the hip-hop group Das Racist.
There was also an “Occupy Rosh Hashanah” service at Zuccotti Park. So, hopefully, all the bases have been covered. Whether or not, Yahweh, Muhammad, Jesus, Buddha, et al, are listening is a whole other thing. Even if the higher religious powers have not heard, the thought that 1% of the wealthiest in America control 42% of its wealth has been heard both loud and clear around the world.
That point, almost cliché by now, nonetheless inhabits the political dialogue, from New York to San Diego, Wisconsin to Atlanta, Pittsburgh to Paris, including Vermont and Senator Bernie Sanders’ new book, The Speech, which is the Independent’s “Historic 17 hour filibuster on Corporate Greed and the Decline of Our Middle Class.” So if you’re not there yet, get with it. Occupy Your Future, starting from now. Give power back to the people who are you.
Jerry Mazza is a freelance writer and life-long resident of New York City. An EBook version of his book of poems “State Of Shock,” on 9/11 and its after effects is now available at Amazon.com and Barnesandnoble.com. He has also written hundreds of articles on politics and government as Associate Editor of Intrepid Report (formerly Online Journal). Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.