Occupy Wall Street, Day 9
In the last post, I wrote about the Equitable Building, the gargantuan block of a building looming over the narrow streets of Lower Manhattan.
Incidentally this architectural landmark overlooks Zuccotti Park, the homebase of OccupyWallStreet, a major protest action that began on September 17 (“Constitution Day”) and is to continue indefinitely.
With the world economy flagging, unemployment soaring, and promises continually disappointed, this has been a year in which people around the globe are finally empowering their voices and actions to facilitate fundamental change. It is a movement of anger at the broken systems of the world, but also a movement with the optimism that reform is a real possibility. And for the first time in history, unhindered by the selectivity of mainstream media, the world is truly watching itself. Earlier this year, we watched how the power of numbers and connections brought revolution to the Middle East, and the spirit of the Arab Spring is spreading to all countries.
In the United States, we’re experiencing pervasive unemployment, extreme debt, and the increasing inability for a huge portion of the population to sustain a decent quality of life. The OccupyWallStreet movement aims to represent the “99%” of Americans whose government, financial system, and wealth are determined by the remaining one percent.
Even the mainstay of the “American dream”, the middle-class, has been increasingly degraded. Decades ago, one could live a modest life in this country and still be able to own a small chunk of the earth. Under the current system of politics and business, this has become increasingly impossible for many of us. In a democracy, everyone must contribute their fair share to the functioning of society. It is evident that most of America is paying a greater share than those in control, those with the most influential wealth- wealth which is concentrated on Wall Street
And so for this, and many other related issues, OccupyWallStreet aims to hunker down in Lower Manhattan, draw as much awareness and support as possible, and present to the nation and world a basis and philosophy for change and a better society. There is great patriotism here, and the wish to return to the core principles and ideals of the Constitution – a nation truly governed by the people.
The occupied Zuccotti Park (just blocks from the NY Stock Exchange, which itself has been cordoned off to anyone except employees) is a city within a city- with a library, a media center, a “kitchen” which serves free food, a medic, and people sweeping and taking care of garbage. Sympathetic local businesses have allowed the use of their bathrooms (and of course appreciate the extra income). The occupiers meet periodically to rally and discuss policy, and at night sleep on the hard pavement, often in the rain. This is all under the watchful eye of the NYPD, which on Saturday overstepped decency with a number of arbitrary arrests and abuses, including the unwarranted pepper spraying of a woman already enmeshed in a net. And this sorry episode:
OccupyWallStreet is explicitly non-violent and the police response was criminally heavy-handed.
Day 9 of the occupation was far more quiet, the police kept their distance, and the vibe of a subdued Sunday afternoon took hold. It’s hard to say what the immediate future will hold, but it is clear that more and more Americans are starting to think outside of the broken, stalled-out Republican/Democrat system of false promise and self-interested money grabbing.
As we’ve seen in American history, democracy sometimes needs a little shaking-up in order to work for all.
For more: https://occupywallst.org/
More pictures of Day 9: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mattron/sets/72157627754699192/
#occupywallstreet on Twitter
Posted on September 26, 2011, in NYC present, occupywallstreet, Uncategorized and tagged financial district, library plaza, lower manhattan, new york, new york city, nyc, occupy wall street, occupywallstreet, wall street, zuccotti park. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.