More Jumbled Thoughts On Occupy Wall Street

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 9.648% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

You know what doesn’t seem suspicious at all?  Showing up at one in the morning after you’ve barred the press, and clearing out a group of protestors because you need to, uh, clean the park.
Occupy Wall Street had turned into a semi-permanent encampment that was threatening to “shut down Wall Street” on Thursday, so you know, that shit had to go.
Regardless of your take on the Occupy Wall Street thing, I would like to note that this is just sketchy behavior.  If they’d said, “Okay, guys, on Tuesday at noon we’re going to let the sanitation crews in to clear it of fire hazards, and anyone who tries to stop us is going to get thrown in jail,” then fine.  That’d be a tactic clearly designed to break up the protest, but defensible.
However, a surprise sweep at ass o’clock in the morning?  That is “We’re going to break this thing in half.”  And you know, maybe you don’t like Occupy Wall Street, but remember that in politics, any gun you use eventually gets into the hands of your enemies.  I wouldn’t be thrilled if a long-standing, peaceful Tea Party protest was broken up the same way.
As Gini says, “When this happens in China, we decry it, but when it happens here, we say it’s necessary.”
But here’s the thing about Occupy Wall Street: this isn’t the end.  And that’s a change.
The last time I discussed Occupy Wall Street, I noted in the comments that I was pretty tired of having to look back to Martin Luther King, because it had been forty-plus years since the last effective liberal protests.  In the entirety of my lifetime, liberal protests have looked like this:
Liberals: What do we want? Change!  When do we want it? Now!
Police: GTFO.
Liberals: …okay.
I’ve pretty much gotten used to being part of the paper tiger army, where we yell a lot and feel good and then someone makes it hard and we slink away.  That hasn’t happened. So a part of me’s been wondering how long this Occupy shit can last.
Right now?  Two months.  And I’m pretty sure from the reactions on Twitter from the Occupy Wall Street folks in New York that they’re going to go back twice as hard now, because this was shitty and yes, a lot of people got arrested, but this is something people feel strongly enough about that a little tear gas ain’t going to clear them off.
And, you know, what else do they have to do?  It’s not like they have jobs.  Oh, wait – most of them actually are employed, they just feel pretty damn strongly about how Wall Street needs a leash to be an effective economic leader.
It’s not just hippies this time, though that’s the media spin.  It’s a lot of working stiffs and old hippies and young kids coming together and going, “Hey, America?  This is fucked up.  And I approve.”
In the meantime, what has Old Man Ferrett done?  Thrown a few bucks to donation requests, but between work trips and World Fantasy and pressing projects and, yes, romance, he has yet to actually make it down to Occupy Cleveland.  In other words, dick-all.  But that’s going to change, soon, as one of my pre-New Year’s resolutions.  Because this is something that is history-making, at least for me, and I don’t want to say, “Yeah, I remember watching the Twitter when the Occupy protests hit.”
Regardless.  The government’s reacting the way it’s supposed to when people get angry and refuse to move: police actions, tear gas, motions on technicalities followed by flagrant disregard for the laws they’re supposed to enforce.  But the protestors aren’t reacting according to their script, which is that they go home and feel like they did something, then go back to playing Nintendo.
Good job, guys.  Good fucking job.

2 Comments

  1. Tracie W.
    Nov 15, 2011

    Well said, and you’re dead-on. This morning’s police action, like the action in Oakland, will provoke a stronger and more organized response.
    For me, the mental image that’s sticking: books in a dumpster.
    I’m with you; I’m ready to do more than read about it and wring my hands.

  2. Sean McKeown
    Nov 15, 2011

    My personal plan of action in response: go big or go home.
    Hope to have that up and circulating within an hour. 🙂

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