Editor, The Vile Plutocrat
Submitted by: Editor
A Few Hours With Occupy Wall Street
The glass-sheathed twin spires of the new World Trade complex rise in tandem just across the street from the cacophony of noise emanating from the entrenched protestors participating in Occupy Wall Street. Zuccotti Square sits in the heart of Wall Street, caddy-corner to the Ground Zero memorial.
The crush of people walking through the district initially obscure the barricades fencing in the peaceful protest. People are everywhere and so are New York's finest. For every two protestors, there is a police officer watching and waiting for a sign, any sign, that his time to pounce has finally come. Police cars and paddy wagons line the street adjacent to the park and a hydraulic sentry post stands an ominous guard at the intersection next to Ground Zero.
I walked into the park passing a young woman wearing a skunk costume and holding the Stars and Stripes. She was in a cage. A sign on the front of her cage read, "Free Speech & Economic Prosperity". I assumed she ran out of room to write "For All".
In some respects it was hard to actually find protestors amidst the tourists, journalists, and film crews. The official protest had happened a week or two before, and those who stuck around to occupy the park were the committed people. The crass and obliviously stupid commentary spouted by Fox News and other MSM outlets would have you believe that the 99% is nothing more than a rag-tag group of Hippy wannabes with an axe to grind because they are "jealous" of other people's money. What was striking was that people weren't angry. Not one person was holding a sign that bashed Mexicans or gays. Not one person was screaming about patriotism or religion. It was a congenial atmosphere filled with people who simply wanted to talk about the patently obvious injustices of our financial system.
Small contigents of people representing firefighters, veterans, teachers, nurses, students, laborers, and artists could be found on their own patches of concrete amidst the sea of faces and signage. All ordinary working Americans who comprise the 99%.
Of course, there were the oddballs. The people that the news media loves to focus on in their efforts to tarnish the very real problems the movement is trying to combat. I appreciate the over-the-top, almost carnival-like approach that some people were taking to get their messages heard. I must stress the words, "Their messages".
Please understand that I fully endorse Occupy Wall Street. It's impressive. Its reach has been phenomenal. And one can only hope that its message will be heard by the deaf ears of our elected leaders and the 50% of our population who clearly don't understand they are voting against their best interests.
My only gripe, which is more of a hope, is that Occupy Wall Street will actually develop into a genuine political movement. There are too many causes, too many issues, and zero leaders. My father reminded me that the protests surrounding the Vietnam War began as a leaderless revolt against the establishment. Over time, it grew into a political force that eventually achieved its ultimate goal of ending the war.
I understand the arguments against "leaders" and against "politically motivated organizations". However, if Occupy Wall Street has any chance of making a lasting impact, it must confront the necessity of establishing a concrete foundation of issues and choose leaders who can inspire others to follow. In short, it must face reality and evolve into a legitimate political movement (party) or face inevitable extinction. Simple outrage over "the greed and corruption of the 1%" will not be enough to effect ultimate change. The 1% possess the financial resources to outlast us all.
Our country cannot afford to allow the Tea Party to be the only "voice" of the "masses".
Occupy Wall Street is valid, valuable and vibrant. In order to be victorious, it must become vital.
Photos: Oct. 18, 2011