99 Percent Problem

The 99 Percent kids are doing the occupy Wall Street thing and today it spread uptown, to Union Square, where there were approximately 80 arrests, according to Colin Moynahan. I’m keeping track of this virtually at the Livestream site, which depicts the real-time scene at “Liberty Park.” At this point it’s hard to make a coherent analysis of this, but I guess that’s refreshing. I’d breezed by the park on Tuesday, where there was a very small Troy Davis vigil and a crew at the other end playing some drums. Didn’t look very convincing.
Still the rhetoric is right on the money, as it were, and I don’t think the mainstream media knows what to do with them, which makes for an easy excuse to ignore what they represent. No matter how much you might want to dismiss these unwashed hacktivists as stepchildren of Tompkins Square Park + Seattle, they are the future as more and more of us are pushed into the corner by the economic crisis. It’s always been this way–the hardcore antiwar resisters from World War II, a totally isolated lot, eventually morphed into a massive mainstream antiwar movement. First the police manhandle and bruise tattooed kids carrying yoga mats, and in a matter of months, heck, maybe years, it will be you on your way home from work.
From the footage I’ve seen it seems NYPD was at a little bit of a loss with how to deal with it, which is inconsistent with the last two major police tactical encirclement episodes here–the anti Iraq War protests in March 2003 and the Republican Convention in 2004. Their response seems chaotic and disorganized, resorting to random arrests out of frustration and nervousness. This is the episode that climaxed in the picture posted above:

Officers lashing out in irrational spasms, goaded by shouting guy with 13 colonies flag. Other videos show how police attempts to fence protestors in is not quick enough to grapple with scattering protestors, chanting “The Whole World Is Watching.” Likely some of those arrested were innocent bystanders, as was the case in 2004.
The nonviolent center is holding, for now.

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