flip side of the Tea Party?: An 'Occupy Wall Street' protester marches
Broadway, Oct. 5. The demonstrations against the iniquity
of U.S. politics
Wall Street profiteering have spread across the nation.
Where it will all lead
anyone's guess, but unrest at both extremes of
the political spectrum is clear.
Die Welt, Germany
Occupied by Tea Party of 'Generation-Twitter'
we are witnessing here in New York City is the Tea Party of generation-Twitter.
It's a grassroots movement from the left this time around, brought together by
an angry discontent with the status quo, and without any of the protesters
knowing quite what will come next."
Zuccotti Park in Lower
Manhattan was named for John Zuccotti, who financed the park's $8 million
renovation. And it must be regarded as part of the mood of contemporary history
that this prime piece of New York real estate, within sight of Ground Zero and
the New York Stock Exchange, now cordoned-off by police barriers, was until
2006 known as Liberty Plaza Park. That sounds like "liberation" in
the same way Cairo's Tahrir Square means it in Arabic. In the great tradition
of revolution, the demonstrators now in their third week of occupying the plaza
they have again named "Liberty Park" - are mostly young people.
Their tyrant is not Hosni
Mubarak. They have declared war on the adjacent Financial District. Their
rallying cry "Occupy Wall Street" has spread across the Internet and
is being chanted on the streets. "Freedom for the people - not for the
banks" reads one poster. It is about "capitalist greed," about
corruption and the corrupting influence of "Big Money" on politics. A
young woman activist and student wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh shouts into the
microphone: "This system is made only for the rich! We need something
What we are witnessing here
in New York City is the Tea Party of generation-Twitter. It's a grassroots
movement from the left this time around, brought together by an angry
discontent with the status quo, and without any of the protesters knowing quite
what will come next. They have no leader, no common idea and not even an agenda
of demands. Under a common banner is united a diverse group of protesters:
anarchists, libertarians, the unemployed, old and neo-Marxists, "arm chair
indignants," street performers and hangers-on; people who otherwise know
uprisings only from watching the fall of the Berlin Wall or those in the Arab
World on TV. But should something happen this time around - they want to be
there. And they just may get their money's worth.
There were a few arrests of
demonstrators for disguising themselves with masks, trying to break through
police cordons or entering a branch of Bank of America - despite orders to the
contrary. Conversely, activists publicly denounced a policeman who allegedly
used pepper spray against peaceful protestors. On Saturday, 700 protestors were
briefly arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge as they attempted to cross from
Manhattan to Brooklyn.
in the left: Not usually as well organized as their right-wing,
activists may be feeling their long-dormant oats.
Similar protests are being
held in Boston, Los Angeles, Seattle, New Orleans, Eugene, Ashland, San
Francisco, Chicago, Albuquerque, Tampa, Charlotte, Denver and Portland. Further
protests are planned for Washington DC. It all began in New York City on
September 17th with between 300 to a 1,000 protestors. This weekend there were
about 2,000. They personify the discomfort of liberals (and in the U.S. that
means the left) with the consequences of the 2008 Wall Street crash, their
concern about a "double-dip recession," and anger. Under Barack
Obama, little has changed. The unemployment rate remains high while
"business as usual" continues next door on Wall Street. Not quite as
usual as before … but still.
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