[Marxism] Pham Binh report on Wall Street protests
lnp3 at panix.com
Tue Sep 20 13:14:36 MDT 2011
I stopped by the protest Monday (I work in the area) at 11am. It
was 100 people in the park near Wall Street (Broadway and
Liberty), almost all of them anarchist punk-rock live-off-the-grid
types. There was no united message or set of slogans/demands that
was obvious to casual passers by. Slogans on signs ranged from
dissing bankers, student debt, bailouts, to abstractions like
conformity, capitalism, and apathy.
The cops put up fences near the NYSE, shut down the J/Z train
station, and were prepared to control the situation.
The people behind the protest are inspired by the Arab Spring and
hoped to recreate Tahrir Square in the Financial District. The
small turnout and fleeting media coverage show that we have a lot
to learn from the examples abroad.
The revolution in Egypt began as a mass march against police
brutality (an every day occurrence that activists have been
protesting and organizing against for many years). The revolution
in Libya began as a march against crummy housing. Actions in both
countries were rooted in deeply held grievances and the most
pressing needs of the population and began with clear-cut
political demands and issues that the people rally behind. The
only specific demand I could make out was to "occupy Wall Street,"
which doesn't really meet anyone's pressing needs, economic or
This is the tactics-as-politics school of anarchism (although I
did see one SPUSA member). The people in the park were mostly
white 20-30 year olds. It was bigger (and whiter) than some of the
Bloombergville protests but far smaller than the tens of thousands
the unions mobilized to march down here some time back.
I give them credit for trying. The small turnout and the political
character of the event reflects how separated the left and the
working class in NYC are from one another.
Tuesday was the same deal, but smaller. There were some arrests:
https://occupywallst.org/article/day4-arrests/ People in the park
were engaged in a meeting, giving speeches, when I stopped by
around 1pm or so, doing that "sparkle" thing that is popular among
anarchists in consensus meetings. The J/Z train stop was shut down
again this morning and Wall Street had barricades to control the
flow of civilian traffic.
My sense is that the cops are going to try to wait the activists
out (they've gotten a lot of money online for food and could stay
there a while; pizza deliveries were being made as I left).
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