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Third Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street’, “Why I Occupy” Show in Times Square

Politics / US Politics Dec 18, 2011 - 05:48 AM GMT

By: Danny_Schechter


Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleNew York, December 17 2001: Saturday marked the third month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. It was also Bradley Manning’s Birthday. It was one of those days that confirmed the validity of the chant: “All Day, All Week, Occupy Wall Street”.

Ok, maybe, it wasn’t a whole week but felt like a week in one day.

The plan for the day, as announced, was to gather at Duarte Park at 6th Avenue and Wall Street to attempt a RE-Occupation of vacant land owned by Trinity Church, more of a real estate company than a house of worship.

For a few weeks, the Occupy Movement had been demanding that The Church allow the movement to take “sanctuary” on that land.There were protests and even a hunger strike that made page one of the New York Times.

Police in riot gear had ousted the occupies  the last time they tried to take over the space a few weeks back,  and since then there has been a rancorous standoff between a Church that is supported by many fat cat one-percenters and OWS’s non-violent army of outrage.

The Church has repeatedly turned the movement down, despite support for the OWS demands from many clergy in New York and the most famous Episcopal priest in the world, South Africa’s Desmond Tutu,. (Tutu sent OWS a supportive message but,then later sent the Church a disclaimer of any attempt on his part to sanction violence.)

No doubt church lawyers were expressing worries about  financial liability should there be any claims, but many of the their trustees are have political objections. They are Wall Streeters, including, a Vice President of Brookfield Properties,  the owners of  the “public” Zuccotti Park that had been the Movement’s home until they were unceremoniously and violently ejected by police in the dark of night.

The Church may be there to serve God but the defense of their real estate portfolio seems to come before their homages to justice..

The gathering at Duarte Park was predictably surrounded by cops, some in riot gear, while what looked like a the Zuccotti Park alumni Association roamed around on  a sliver of a City Park next to the Church site.

At least half of the crowd, which grew as the day progressed, appeared to be covering the other half with still or video cameras and tape recorders. The press was out in force too, no doubt hoping for a bloody confrontation. Pacifica Radio outlet WBAI was broadcasting live and its programming was played back at the crown on boom boxes.

The Librarians of the People’s Library where on hand with a few boxes of newly donated books, but, despite the rhetoric,  the scene seemed tired except for those who were dancing around.

A few activists and clergy were arrested for climbing over the fence while others tried, but failed, to knock it down.

I was pretty discouraged by the relatively small turnout and the focus on getting to occupy a new tiny land base in an area with no real pedestrian traffic nearby instead of finding more ways to reach out to mainstream America.

It was a big Xmas Shopping day. While tens of thousands of New Yorkers were flocking to stores in Times and Herald Square. I thought that if you want to hit at economic power, you should be Occupying Macy’s or Toys R’Us.

All the stories were putting on new sales after Black Friday turned out to be relative bust. Why not a march by Occupy Santas?

It all seemed unpromising when announced concerts at the park by Lou Reed and others didn’t seem to materialize.

But I left too soon.

Unknown to me, the movement then launched a previously unscheduled march –but, at the last minute changed its direction and headed uptown, catching the police unaware,.

The Live Stream people went with them so what happened next was shown on the Internet. One of the live streamers was busted but kept his camera-computer going from a Police paddy wagon.)

At one point, I saw coverage by three cameras. One view, in ironic counter-point covered several cops defending the statue of a Bull on an empty Wall Street traffic junction. Bullshit anyone?

The cops attacked as the activists marched up Seventh Avenue at 29th Street arresting some for marching when they should be walking, a crime that may soon by punishable by the crazed new NDAA measure treating the homeland as a battlefield. 

The crowd then broke into smaller guerilla style groups darting in and out of  various streets and ending up in a packed Times Square on a Saturday night at the height of  the Christmas shopping season.

This march was spontaneous, powered by the power of surprise. The police actually chased some out of towners out of Times Square to try to cut them off at the pass, but failed.

Before the could reassert their version of Law and Order, and while shoppers and tourists watched, the occupiers began “mic-checking. with individual after individual shouting out “Why I Occupy,” offering  personal statements and testimony that were repeated several times.

In this way, individual members of the movement, from every class, color and gender,  speaking with eloquence about their reasons for protesting—personal reasons and social reasons, national reasons and global reasons, economic reasons and political reasons reached out to thousands.

They had to electrify whoever was watching, Their passion and sincerity was there for all to see.

I watched the Live Stream of the event on a computer in Harlem and was moved, at some points to tears by how articulate and reasonable they were. They later left the square and returned to Zuccotti Park for a late-night General Assembly meeting.

Not only was  this the best show on Broadway on the “Great White Way” for that hour, but it proved the correctness of a political claim, asserted in one of the OWS signs written after the police raided Zuccotti Park.

It reads:  “It’s So Not Over.”

News Dissector Danny Schechters film and book Disinformation. For more information, Http://

    News Dissector Danny Schechter has made a film and written a book on the “Crime Of Our Time.” (News Comments to

    © 2011 Copyright Danny Schechter - All Rights Reserved
    Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisors

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