Wall St Occupation evicted

Written By: - Date published: 7:27 am, November 16th, 2011 - 14 comments
Categories: activism, capitalism, class war, International - Tags:

As has been widely reported, the Wall Street occupation at Zuccotti Park was evicted in an overnight raid yesterday. Here’s an Associated Press account:

Police bust NY ‘Occupy’ protest in nighttime sweep

NEW YORK (AP) — Hundreds of police officers in riot gear raided the Occupy Wall Street encampment in New York City in the pre-dawn darkness Tuesday, evicted hundreds of demonstrators and demolished the tent city that was the epicenter of a movement protesting what participants call corporate greed and economic inequality.

The police action began around 1 a.m. and lasted several hours as officers with batons and plastic shields pushed the protesters from their base at Zuccotti Park. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said around 200 people were arrested, including dozens who tried to resist the eviction by linking arms in a tight circle at the center of the park. A member of the City Council was among those arrested during the sweep.

Tents, sleeping bags and equipment were carted away, and by 4:30 a.m., the park was empty. It wasn’t clear what would happen next to the demonstration, though the new enforcement of rules banning tents, sleeping bags or tarps would effectively end an encampment that started in mid-September. …

Here’s The Guardian’s live blog, which starts with some salient points:

Occupy Wall Street: Zuccotti Park eviction – live updates

• New York police clear Zuccotti Park in 1am swoop on plaza
• 70 arrests made as mayor Bloomberg praises police action
• Protesters awarded court order allowing them back
• Standoff developing between police and Occupy protesters

This won’t be the end of the New York Occupation, the protesters are already making plans as to where and how to regroup.  By refocusing media attention on the Occupation, will this eviction only make them stronger?

Authorities in many centres are saying that the Occupation has “made its point” and its time to move on.  Well they would, wouldn’t they.  But is “the point” to be a purely symbolic one, or is a point not made until something concrete changes?

14 comments on “Wall St Occupation evicted”

  1. Hilary 1

    I watched the live stream from behind the barricades (as it were) and the whole world really was watching. It looked pretty scary considering it was also 1 in the morning and this was a very intimidating attack by the forces of the state against ordinary citizens. They teargassed the kitchen tent and smashed and confiscated everything including the library. Several other US cities have also suffered extensive police intimidation and violence. However, they have mobilised Occupy groups in over 1000 cities world wide, and with the extensive use of social media, the support of millions.

    Researchers have been monitoring the discussion in the media of such issues as social inequality and there has certainly been a rise in attention as a result of Occupy. So the movement is working. But with unelected bankers now in charge in Italy and Greece there is more urgency than ever to raise the issues.

    I expect this will morph into something else now, just as innovative, especially as the northern hemisphere goes into winter.

    • Uturn 1.1

      I hope it morphs into something that realises the world has watched troops shoot Americans on home soil before. The same regime that killed kids at Kent State University in 1970 is in power now, just the names have changed. While it could be said it was a defining moment in changing that political environment, people still had to die.

    • It is not unusual for the “authorities” to find some local by-law or unrelated legislation to remove an “offence to public order”.
      Auckland seems to be using the loss of revenue and the expense of the security guards as reasons.
      Who asked for the security guards? If the council are so stupid enough to pay $200,000 to have security guards they only deserve to be sacked.
      For 32 days that’s $260/hour. Even with three guards on duty on time that is $86/hr/guard.
      I’m sure that they could find people who would work for far less to monitor the site and if things do go pear-shaped then call in the police.

  2. Jenny 2

    …..the Occupation has “made its point” and its time to move on.

    Mubarak said the same about the occupation of Tarir Square!

  3. Jenny 3

    The occupiers give voice to a feeling

    Mike Szumski, 54, a technologist at a Wall Street bank he declined to name, hoped they would return. “They have a message and people around the world are responding,” he said.
    Protesters vowed that the eviction from the park that had become the epicentre of their movement would not deter them.

    With sentiments like this, I think that the banksters may have a bigger problem than evicting the occupiers, who have promised to return, despite the repression.

    If the occupiers keep up their pressure, more and more people will speak up in their defence and even those inside the belly of the beast like Mr Szumski will find they have a voice.

    People around the world will miss not having this focal point that gives them a voice to express this disquiet.

    If the occupiers persist, as in Egypt, their movement will become irresistable

  4. UPI, CNN, SKY News Aus reporting

    New York Supreme Court Judge Lucy Billings’ order allows protesters to take tents and other items back into the privately owned park where the Occupy movement protesting wealth inequities and other social ills began two months ago, CNN reported.  – Link

  5. Bored 5

    Very interestingly Occupy faced a Valley Forge style scenario of the winter snow….to keep it going through this was always going to be a tall order. To be evicted was probably the best thing because:
    * it keeps them from being disintegrated by weather (they can always reoccupy come spring).
    * it gives face to the violence the corrupt system is prepared to utilise against the protest.

    OWS wins this round decisively as a result. Intact, inside in the warm, moral victors.

    Things to watch for:
    * the markets will have a day or two of euphoria, the banksters and MSM lackeys will declare victory, prices will go up.
    * a new form of protest with far more pointed objectives will emerge: moral damage to the banksters will morph into actual damage. For example cyber attacks on trading activities etc are highly likely. The infrastructure of the markets will come under intense pressure from activist reaction.

    This is likely to get very messy, the banksters have just had their Marie Antoinette cake moment.

    • Afewknowthetruth 5.1

      Bored.

      Well said.

      By next spring/summer the global economic system will have imploded a bit more, a bit more wealth will have been transfered upwards, ordinary people will be suffering a bit more, and more people will have less to lose and more to gain by revolting.

      It usually takes a few deaths at the hands of the police/army to get things really going.

      • Bored 5.1.1

        I hope to hell there are no deaths, either side. A little implosion and self destruction by the markets might just, with a push for a democratic electoral solution be all that is required. The best we could get is for corporations worldwide to lose their status as “people”, and for money to be denied access to electoral process and representatives. Plus the enforcement of the law.

  6. Bill 6

    Sorry aboout the length of this. It kind of ‘got away’ on me.

    Occupations, like factory ‘sit-ins’, imply immobility. As such, they invite stagnation and ultimately defeat. Like in the situation of a factory ‘sit-in’, it is absolutely necessary that matters progress to an active phase. In a factory setting, that involves assuming control of the production processes and running the factory as opposed to merely obstructing the bosses control of the factory. In the past, many factory ‘sit-ins’ have settled for wresting concessions from the bosses and ‘business as usual’ has resumed…with whatever concessions the bosses have granted being rolled back over time.

    Seems to me that realising a parallel potential of a factory occupation in an ‘Occupy’ scenario is problematic. There is no immediate and obvious mechanism the ‘Occupiers’ can use to gain meaningful measures of control and power. Establishing kitchens and libraries etc within an occupied space is not the same as having influence and control over the wider social environment. Factory ‘sit-ins’ organised food, workshops and some degree of community outreach too. But most didn’t take the necessary ‘next step’ and wound up back at ‘square one’ in terms of the power of labour relations and control over production.

    10 000 people in a public space within a populous city doesn’t translate very well in terms of potential efficacy when those 10 000 go back to their neighbourhoods, suburbs or workplaces. Suddenly those people who made up those numbers are an isolated minority again. More. Many involved in occupying public spaces simply haven’t moved beyond the idea that incumbant bureaucracies and authorities can be pressured (whether through a simple change of personnel or whatever) to bring about permanent and necessary change.

    ‘Occupations’ have offered some hope. There have been some good developments. But, in the end, occupying a square or a park or whatever is similar to simply occupying a factory. The potential (though more difficult to discern in an ‘Occupy’) is there to ‘grasp the nettle’ and lock in permanent change. But that involves being dynamic and having the ability to alter tactics and sieze opportunities.

    A ‘turf war’ – a primary focus on a mere physical space is self limiting and wouldn’t seem to lend itself to the type of dynamism required to bring about necessary change. It crosses my mind, that rather than ‘permanent occupation’, the parks and squares might be better used as places where people ‘touch base’ once a month or whatever over the space of an pre-arranged couple of days, but that they are otherwise ‘unoccupied’ allowing people to focus on fermenting the ideas for necessary political, social and economic change in their workplaces and communities.

    And if the dilution of numbers is such that, back in the communities and workplaces, there simply aren’t enough people demanding fundamental changes to effect change, then opportunities where ‘occupiers’ can, through working together, institute change in the wider socio/political environment ought to be identified. Maybe they could ‘occupy’ certain council buildings or functions, institute meaningful democratic procedures that empowered ordinary people with regards particular council decisions that affected them and work to replace (in the short term, but with an eye to much greater long term goals) at least some of the remote bureaucratic decision making processes and functions with meaningful and empowering systems of democracy.

    It needn’t be big stuff to begin with. A quick perusal of council decisions ‘in the pipeline’ could produce a 1001 instances where direct democracy allied with direct action could yield meaningful community control. Start with small stuff. Obvious stuff. Stuff that will give people an introductory taste of what is possible. (eg maybe council are going through the bureaucratic rigmarole of where to place a bus stop on a particular route…develop a dialogue with affected parties [possibly simply passengers and bus drivers]… arrange some people, some pick axes and cement and install the bus stop on the basis of that dialogue.)

    • Bored 6.1

      Bill, good analysis. Perhaps the next move apart from direct activism of the revolutionary variety ( as I suggest may happen) is more subtle. What Occupy have done is exactly that in “mind space”.

      This group have actually aroused some awareness through a chunk of the citizenry that there may be something wrong, something bent etc and that we can and should do something about it. They have overcome the MSM corporate barrier to get into our consciousness. The thing they need to do now is to “occupy” mind space in larger and larger portions of the population, to isolate the 1% into an “us and them” scenario. Electorally that could be dynamite.

    • Afewknowthetruth 6.2

      Bill.

      Some good points.

      The crux of the problem is that the 1% still hold the bulk of the 99% ‘captive’ in their ‘slave camp’: the vast majority of people do not see the government or the district council as their prime enemies (along with corporations and banks, of course) and they do not associate those organisations as beng destroyers of coming generations futures.

      The vast majority of the 99% are very ignorant about the all major issues of the times and really do not care to become informed. They certainly do not recognise that the entire system is corrupt, omnicidal and suicidal. Ignorance, complacency and apathy continue to reign supreme, almost everywhere -including in the Green Party.

      Only AFTER the economic system has imploded and the environment has been degraded beyond saving will people wake up, I’m afraid. This was very much brought home to me recently after several conversatios with people who came out with stuff such as: ‘The Earth has warmed and cooled in the past and what we are seeing is just a natural cycle’, ‘there have been recessions before and economy has always recovered’, ‘there is lots of oil to be exploited’ etc. Most people are totally clueless.

      A few of the people who have read this:

      http://www.publishme.co.nz/shop/theeasyway-p-684.html

      may be starting to wake up. Too few, too slowly.

  7. AAMC 7

    Outta range all day, but fascinating to read live tweets as it happened last night.

    Chris Hedges – once again – puts it very well!

    http://www.truth-out.org/what-revolution-looks/1321384587

    I’ll look forward to reading the analysis of Bored n Bill n AFKTT above shortly.

    Although AFKTT, you’re sounding a bit optimistic there re the financial system, I’m surprised Europe survived the day with both bonds going through the roof and people pulling their money out of CDS’s. It’s coming to a head!

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