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Zuccotti Park 2011


larkin

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A report from Zuccotti Park, November 14th 2011

Written December 25th, 2011 at 06:18 AM by larkin

A report from Zuccotti Park, November 14th 2011

(This is my piece, not, cut and paste from other sources)

I have a bias so don't expect impartial reporting from me. I am sympathetic to the core issues of Occupation Wall Street. If I was homeless, I might be camped there with them.

I traveled 300 miles for a number of reasons, one of which was to go to Zuccotti Park and visit the with the protesters. What makes Occupation Wall Street different from the others is that they are camped in the very center of the world and the contrast is formidable. Upon approaching the park the sky view is dominated by the lofty new world trade center building now almost complete. The campable part of the park is barely 60' x 250' and every square foot is occupied with tents. The overall appearance is grimy like many other parts of New York. The buildings surrounding the park aren't just buildings, they are shining monuments that tower over what I fear is a doomed encampment.

On their own and sometimes with the help of the police, the indigent, the homeless and mentally ill came from other parts of the city. It was hoped by their adversaries that the presence of undesirables and potential trouble makers would discredit the motives of the movement.

Instead of rejecting or ejecting these people, they fed them, scrounged up clothing and tried to organize social service for them. The philosophy was that these people are also part of the 99%. It was a true test of principles.

Surrounding the entire park was a continuous stream of well dressed tourists taking pictures and donating a dollar here and there. I talked with one camper who could only be characterized as an romantic and impractical idealist. I asked him why he didn't make the walk to Washington. He said he didn't have a sleeping bag and he had to stay close to friends in Brooklyn. There were older people, Native American contingencies, There were disaffected democrats, libertarians and yes, socialist and anarchists.

The button and poster sellers showed up in numbers. This is a capitalist country, after all.

I was excited and fearful at the same time. The police lined the corners of the park acting as quiet and somewhat resentful custodians of something they really didn't want to be bothered with. The New York City police force is probably the most racially diverse police force in the country. They consist of men, women, black, Spanish, Asian, tall and short. They too have family members that have lost their houses or are unemployed. Like the service men that have joined the ranks of the protestors the police are not without sympathies for what is going on. However they are employed by the city and the people that conduct the affairs around Zuccotti park.

There is a core group of activists that headed out towards Washington on foot. Their intention is to join up with Occupation Washington and forge solidarity. The walk is expected to take 2 weeks and they plan to accumulate supporters all along the way.

I left the park with an ominous feeling about the future of the encampment and for all those involved. I knew it could go on this way. My guess was that rout was going to happen very soon and certainly while the activists were away on their march to Washington D.C. Activists specialize in confrontation and the police really don't need them.

I got home on Monday evening. At 4 am this morning I checked Youtube and saw that the camp had been razed at 1 am this morning.

The encampment at Zuccotti park maybe gone but it will become the Genesis for a much larger movement. These people didn't come out of nowhere and they challenged and took on the most powerful forces on the planet. They did it with no money. All across the country cities and the police forces will begin to tear down and raze these encampments but it will only make matters worse. The problem is a government unresponsive to the voters. It is a government that supports forces that are dismantling this once great country of ours. Until they begin to deal with these issues things are only going to escalate.

To quote Chris Hedges, "We have nothing left but the street.."

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