Sunday, November 13, 2011

#OWS and Zuccotti Park: Have you ever been to Christiania, Woodstock or a Further concert at Red Rocks?

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Were you ever in Christiania in Copenhagen, at Woodstock in 1969, experienced the lower parking lot for a Further concert at Red Rocks or driven by a tent city under the FDR Drive in New York City?

I stopped by Zuccotti Park on my way home from a Manhattan Saturday because I, like many other people, am curious.

Curious about what exactly this movement about nothing looks like and, now that much of the media attention is gone, what they do all day and night?

For those who may not know about Zuccotti Park, home of the #OWS movement in New York City, it is located in a space that's about 33,000 square feet in size near Ground Zero that's packed corner to corner with makeshift tents and blue tarps that serve as shelter.

The Zuccotti Park Show

When you walk into Zuccotti Park you are struck first by the smell of pot wafting over you and then by the fact that these "protesters" appear to be nothing more than a group of strangers who closely resemble a tent city for the homeless.

You are struck by the size of the NYPD presence who need to be there to keep these "protesters" under control and crime held to a minimum, all at the expense of the taxpayers of New York City.

There was one woman yelling at the crowd of gawkers that if they wanted to take her picture they should first ask permission as if she was a celebrity facing down the paparazzi. If she didn't want her picture taken then why was she standing there?

There was an "entrepreneur" inside selling t-shirts for $10 "donations" that said Occupy Wall Street, a seemingly capitalist venture for someone sworn to oppose capitalism.

There were signs for legalizing marijuana which seemed to be distant from the actual cause the group professes to be putting forth, as well as a sign that said G-d-less America. I turned my head looking to see if the Reverend Jeremiah Wright was there although his message was somewhat different, G-d-damn America.

There was basically a large group of people wanting to be relevant, who at one point had the eyes and ears of the media from around the world, who were not really relevant any more.

It made me think that if the people above who are pulling the strings wanted that relevance back, what actions would they need to get these people to take?

Would it be the lawlessness, civil disobedience and violence that is getting #OWS movements in other cities around the United States into the papers and onto T.V.?

That is I assume not out of the realm of possibility but for now, the reality is that #OWS NYC was a Seinfeld-like episode depicting a group of people who were all about nothing.

Another New York City tourist attraction!

Zuccotti Park is just another place in New York City for tourists to stop and take pictures on their way back uptown from the ferry that takes them to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. A sideshow of sorts.

The irony of Zuccotti Park being in the shadows of Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty!

Ellis Island is that place where immigrants from Europe passed through on their way to America where they worked hard to assimilate and tried to achieve the American Dream.

And the Statue of Liberty is the symbol of the freedom to do what it is that #OWS doing!

How ironic is that?

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  1. It may not be as random as you think.

    It's ironic to consider organizing anarchists, but that might be OWS's purpose - you know, the one they don't seem to have.

    Recent news reports have identified anarchist David Graeber as one of the original Occupy Wall Street (OWS) organizers.

    Before being let go as an associate professor at Yale University, Graeber taught a “Direct Action and Radical Social Theory” class.

    Also sited as an OWS organizer is Kalle Lasn, co-founder of the Canadian anti-capitalist magazine Adbusters.

    In describing the idea behind OWS, Lasn said, "We started wondering whether the same kind of tools that were used in Egypt, and the sort of regime-change philosophy, couldn't be applied to America."

    Meanwhile, professional activist/anarchist Lisa Fithian has become a fixture of OWS. Fithian calls herself a direct action consultant and trainer who has been arrested "probably at least 30 times".

    She describes herself this way: "When people ask me, 'What do you do?' I say I create crisis, because crisis is that edge where change is possible."

    In an interview with The International Socialist Review, Fithian spoke of moving beyond the tradition of civil disobedience, explaining her inspiration was not so much the approach of Gandhi or Martin Luther King Jr. as it was the anarchist movement in Spain in the late 19th and early 20th century.

    "Nonviolence is a strategy. Civil disobedience is a tactic," Fithian said. "Direct action is a strategy. Throwing rocks is a tactic."

    With friends like these, it's no wonder OWS has been marketed as being "leaderless".

  2. I completely agree that this is not a "leaderless" movement. We just don't know exactly what the names of these leaders are:

    "It made me think that if the people above who are pulling the strings wanted that relevance back, what actions would they need to get these people to take?"

    Great comment!