I’m not working tomorrow so that I can attend the Gathering and Foley Square and the March Across Brooklyn Bridge. I do have a meeting at noon, but I should be able to leave in time to also Occupy the Subway at 3 PM.
I intended to post a blog about my suddenly ambivalent attitude towards the police (NYPD in particular), but after three hours of writing, the essay is overlong and still unclear. I’ll share it if I can tighten it up. The sentiments I’m wrestling with are important and, I think, worth discussing at length.
For now, suffice it to say that, for the first time in my life, I have an attitude problem with the cops. It’s not antagonism or blanket hostility. More like a crisis of confidence, if you will. I have a big problem with this picture:
|A New York City police officer scuffles with Occupy Wall Street protesters after they were evicted from Zuccotti Park on Nov. 15. Image: Don Emmert AFP/Getty Images|
This one bothers me, too:
|New York Police Clear Zuccotti Park–NY TIMES|
You see, I’ve never had a problem–personally or philosophically–with the police. I’ve had major misgivings about various societal and cultural institutions since I developed a political consciousness in my adolescence, but cops–the idea of their function--never concerned me, even during the brief and unhappy times when I was the (deserving) object of their scrutiny. If anything, I felt empathy towards them–they provide crucial services, and their job is not easy. One of my beloved family members was a police officer. Whenever there’s a story about police conduct in the news, my impulse is to give the cops the benefit of the doubt and wait for more information. I never thought I would last long in their role–and not because I tend to think too much, or because I’d feel conflicted about doing their job. Quite the contrary, in fact. I’d be worried that I’d blow a pimp or incorrigible drunk driver to smithereens, and that would be all she wrote for little Miss Margo. And as I’m sure we can all agree, we can’t have cops doing something like that!
|Protesters Return To Zucotti Park/Todd Heisler- NY Times http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2011/11/15/nyregion/20111116_Zuccotti_GoBig.html?ref=nyregion#7|
|Brent Schmidt, of Brooklyn, was arrested near the Occupy Wall Street encampment. Mary Altaffer/Associated Press|
That said, I think we have a major problem on our hands when government–or whoever is running the show–dispatches thousands of police to monitor, bully, intimidate, and arrest hundreds of average non-criminal American citizens. Demographically average people just like you and me–effectively poor, precariously employed, indentured servants fucked for life by the credit bureaus and criminal banks who ran the economy into the ground and got filthy rich doing it.
Occupy Wall Street is logistically, at most, a pain in the ass nuisance for the City to deal with. But you can see with your own two eyes, good reader, just how seriously and intolerantly the regime deals with it, and the respect to which it is accorded.
The police were not sent to swarm or forcibly vacate the offices of Goldman Sachs.
Seven hundred protesters were arrested while peacefully walking over Brooklyn Bridge on October 1–how many white-collar, Wall Street lawbreakers have been arrested for their role in crashing the economy?
I don’t know about you, good reader–but it’s enough to really make me think. About priorities. And loyalties. And to what and whom deserves my respect, allegiance, support, time, and cash.
Consider: what values does OWS preach, and what do they embody and practice?
Now: what about Bloomberg, the Fed, and the financial institutions that did this? Yes, the ones who charged you $6 in fees today for using the ATM at the drugstore, said you didn’t need a fixed-rate mortgage (when you still had your house), and kept your young son in Iraq for two tours more than his contract stipulated. What values have you seen them demonstrate? What priorities?
OCCUPY WALL STREET THIS THURSDAY!!! If the cops don’t do it, WE WILL!
I will be there to march across Brooklyn Bridge. I’ll follow the rules and I have no intention of antagonizing law enforcement–but I am prepared to be arrested. Arrest, for doing this, carries no stigma for me.
Their respect and esteem are no longer prizes that I covet.
We will gather in Liberty Square at 7:00am, before the ring of the Trading Floor Bell, to prepare to confront Wall Street with the stories of people on the frontlines of economic injustice.
We will gather at 3:00pm at 16 central subway hubs and take our own stories to the trains, using the “People’s Mic”. Details here.
At 5:00pm thousands will gather at Foley Square in solidarity with laborers demanding jobs to rebuild this country’s infrastructure and economy. They will encircle City Hall and march across the Brooklyn Bridge, carrying thousands of handheld lights, as a festival of lights to celebrate two months of a new movement to reclaim our democracy.