The growing movement was able to get at least 20,000 people out on the streets of New York yesterday. Occupy Wall Street may not have had a demand, but it always had one goal. Adbusters‘ call for people to occupy Wall Street declared, “ On September 17, we want to see 20,000 people flood into lower Manhattan, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy.” The occupation finally got what it had aimed for (even if it didn’t pan out like Adbusters envisioned).
But, are these tens of thousands of people, many of them members of unions, actually going to help infuse the movement with energy that supports the broad vision of Occupy Wall Street? Will it allow for Occupy Wall Street to continue to imagine moving America toward a more equitable society where Wall Street and the richest 1% do not control the direction of government? Or, is it about to be totally hijacked by liberal groups who seek to use the Occupy Wall Street as some kind of “Tea Party of the left”? Will Obama 2012 campaign operatives start to bait the Occupy Wall Street organizers so that some of their supporters peel off and use the energy they have gained from this movement to re-elect Democrats and Obama and to even elect new “better” Democrats in 2012?
That is the key question that I start to unpack with this analysis I recently posted called, “Occupy Wall Street: What Liberals Aim to Do with the Movement’s Energy.”
There was police brutality last night. Video of what happened will be going up throughout the day and the media that covered the pepper-spraying and what happened on the Brooklyn Bridge may cover the brutality that took place in the context of those previous incidents. That will benefit Occupy Wall Street because it really does seem that some emboldened occupiers planned to literally take Wall Street yesterday and jump the barricades and were met with a forceful response from NYPD officers. That doesn’t justify the beatings by police but occupiers do seem to bear more responsibility for what happened than they did on the bridge or on the sidewalks when protesters were roughed up and pepper-sprayed.
That is not to say that occupiers cannot use this to their advantage. The police are acting as the palace guard for the financial elite, the corporate financiers of US government. Corporations and institutions are being protected from photos and video being taken of angry Americans storming down Wall Street shouting, “We are the 99%! We are the 99%!” The extent to which they are willing to pepper spray protesters and beat them down with batons and throw citizens’ bodies to the ground is directly related to the orders from the highest ranking officers to protect the financial hub of America from what NYPD likely regards as “hippies” or “hoodlums.”
FDL’s premier live blog on Occupy Wall Street continues. Here’s the Twitter list of people to follow. FDL will be live from Freedom Plaza and there will be a stream or link posted soon to follow the first day of October 2011.
LIVE STREAM OF OCCUPY WALL STREET VIA GLOBAL REVOLUTION
11:40 PM So good luck with making OWS into the liberal Tea Party or shock troops for electing Democrats in 2012.
11:38 PM Rania Khalek, with good post on today’s action in Freedom Plaza over at AlterNet:
The occupiers of Freedom Plaza are pumped with energy and inspiration from Occupy Wall Street and the growing occupation movement across the country. Most everyone I spoke with said they planned to stay as long as it takes for the voices of the 99 percent to be heard.
11:36 PM 1000 people occupying Austin
11:34 PM Occupy Boise
11:30 PM Some vacuous talk about Occupy Wall Street from Nancy Pelosi: “The message of the protesters is a message to the establishment everyplace.”
11:13 PM Final Keystone XL pipeline hearing tomorrow at the Ronald Reagan Building from 12-2 pm ET. Protesters are getting in line for seats at the hearing now. Lobbyists are confronting them. One even told a protester he was a pro-pipeline environmental lawyer. (Is that anything like a pro-human rights military interrogator?)
11:11 PM @Newyorkist theorizing there are baseball cap wearing undercover operatives in the park talking to occupiers. Check out recent tweets.
10:55 PM Candlelight vigil commemorating the 10th year of the war in Afghanistan
10:46 PM Photos of Occupy DC – features photo from sit-in at the Chamber of Commerce
10:30 PM “Countdown” with Keith Olbermann continues to do significant coverage of Occupy Wall Street. Here is the first segment that ran tonight:
10:29 PM Text of Naomi Klein’s speech to Occupy Wall Street
10:28 PM I’m doing some late night updates, watching closely to see if the protesters are going to run into any major confrontations with Park Police. If so, I will be on the scene covering.
10:20 PM I was down at Freedom Plaza reporting live. Here is a link to the recorded stream.
4:38 PM “Countdown” with Keith Olbermann’s report on the police violence after protesters tried to literally take Wall Street last night.
4:32 PM Montage of police brutality from last night after the big march
4:31 PM Ed Schultz cuts MSNBC segment short after Dylan Ratigan questions and tries to correct him.
4:10 PM Photos from Occupy Philly
4:06 PM Occupy Austin reports Austin Police Department are treating them well.
4:03 PM Avaaz petition to show solidarity with Wall Street occupiers
3:56 PM Super commentary from Matt Stoller. In his post, “The Anti-Politics of Occupy Wall Street,” he outlines why it is so hard for power and the media to understand Occupy Wall Street:
…One of the most constant complaints one hears in DC about #OccupyWallStreet is that the group has no demands. Its message isn’t tight. It has no leaders. It has no policy agenda. Just what does “it” want, anyway? On the other side of the aisle, one hears a sort of sneering “get a job” line, an angry reaction to a phenomenon no one in power really understands. The gnashing of teeth veers quickly from condescension to irritation and back. Many liberal groups want to “help” by offering a more mainstream version, by explaining it to the press, by cheering how great the occupation is while carefully ensuring that wiser and more experienced hands eventually take over. These impulses are guiding by the received assumptions about how power works in modern America. Power must flow through narrow media channels, it must be packaged and financed by corporations, unions, or foundations, it must be turned into revenue flows that can then be securitized. It must scale so leaders can channel it efficiently into the preset creek bed of modern capitalism. True public spaces like this one are complete mysteries to these people; left, right, center in America are used to shopping mall politics.
3:52 PM October 2011 has become Occupy DC. I’m just going to call it Occupy DC because it has merged with the great people who were in McPherson Square. People will see what is going on as part of the Occupy Together movement.
And, here they are at the doorstep of the US Chamber of Commerce. 500-plus people. (via @TheOther99)
3:48 PM Reporting from Freedom Plaza a few hours ago — did interview with Dr. Margaret Flowers, along with some Tar Sands activists who were arrested at the White House.
There were about 700-900 people there. Very solid turnout for a Thursday morning/afternoon. And the weather could not have been better.
12:22 PM Live stream of October 2011 [FDL will have its own stream up soon]
12:21 PM Video of Occupy Seattle demonstration and arrests from yesterday.
12:18 PM Bay of Rage blog on the San Francisco Police Department’s attack on Occupy San Francisco
12:17 PM Keith Olbermann reads a “Special Comment” from Occupy Wall Street.
12:16 PM Glassbeadian posts this video of Global Revolution live streamers being targeted and assaulted by NYPD: