Ok, to be honest, I couldn’t resist this one…
I took a few minutes after work yesterday to stop by lower Manhattan’s newest tourist attraction, the Occupy Wall Street gathering in Zuccotti Park. I was an obvious imposter. I was wearing a solid navy blue suit and navy silk knit tie with double monk straps and a certain tan trench coat with a repp tie whereas some of the protesters were in some form of rags and jeans and almost all in some state of dishelvelment. But really, its true, they were. But more on an analysis of protester style later. Being that I am still in a mode of reflection I shall reflect on my time at the Occupy Wall street convention.
One of the great things about blogs is my unabated right to free speech. At this time I am not hindered in what I say by sponsors, management, editors or any other power that be greater than I. That said, I can speak my mind on this issue and tell what I saw in the most honest and raw way possible; sugar coating and filtering will be kept to an minimum. I will try to give you a perspective that I do not think conventional media outlets would give.
In order to properly understand what is going on there I think there are a few crucial facts that people must know. The first being that the gatherers in Zuccotti park are not all there for Occupy Wall Street, many of them are there for other causes. I saw posters calling for the release of Mumia Abu Jamal, socialism, communism; you get the picture… Essentially what began as a movement against Wall Street, corporate greed and the like has turned into a general calling for a variety of disenfranchised groups; a point which a PR rep from Occupy Wall Street did agree with me on. She went on to say that there will be a second march this Saturday and the movement will be joined by members of the teachers union, amongst other groups. Needless to say, Saturday shall be an interesting one.
I am not sure where many of the individuals who were there came from, especially those that were camping out there (they’re not allowed to pitch tents of use megaphones though). I am pretty sure I also saw some of the homeless kids I see daily around the Financial District at Zuccotti Park. I am also relatively sure that some of the people were there just because it was a place to be and something to do. Although this is only speculation I would say chances are greater than %50 that I am right. But regardless, I will say that I am all for using ones right to free speech and free assembly and it is always good to see people using that right in a peaceful manner. So in that respect only, I fully support the protesters (I will not get into a discussion on whether or not I agree with their message).
The second thing, and the great irony of the whole situation is that the land the protesters are on is private land. It is owned by Brookfield Properties, which owns World Financial Center, among other office buildings. Given that it is private property the protesters are there at the will of Brookfield. At any given moment Brookfield Properties could decide the protesters are no longer welcome, at that time NYPD will step in and the protesters will be forced to vacate. From the impression I got from a few police officers I spoke with, NYPD cannot wait for this to happen. So you see, although many of these protesters are speaking out against ‘the man’ they are in fact at the will of ‘the man,’ one has got to love that…
Now that we have those two things out of the way I would like to paint a picture of what I saw, using pictures and words. The most important activities seemed to be the following:
sitting around typing on ones Macbook or other computer device:
Rolling cigarettes and talking about Phish/Disco Biscuits/The Dead concerts:
Listening to crazies preach nonsense:
Holding up signs:
Oh, and my personal favorite, sleeping: