By Jeffrey Smith -
The Occupy Wall Street (OWS) demonstrations, in a series of flashing developments, have gained major new support, becoming an undisputed national movement with demonstrations attacking America’s secret rulers spreading to 80 cities nationwide.
Occupy rallies, which are also using the name “We’re the 99%,” are now being held in Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, Dallas and dozens of other cities. A second major rally is now set for Washington, D.C.
This week has seen a series of marches and rallies in Manhattan and elsewhere around the nation targeting major figures involved in the present economic conditions. New York protestors marched up Manhattan’s posh upper east side to the residences of Rupert Murdoch, oil billionaire David Koch and JP Morgan Chase Bank chairman Jamie Dimon.
“What? We get tax increases and they get bailouts?,” shouted Michael Sullivan from Virginia as he marched along Park Avenue.
In Chicago police arrested almost 200 protestors when they cleared Grant Park.
“I’d like to ask how is it that Mayor Bloomberg can allow protestors in a public space and Rahm Emanuel won’t,” one protestor reportedly observed.
Rallies and demonstrations have also spread to at least 60 cities world wide. Demonstrators surged through 60 German cities, including Berlin and Frankfurt. Marchers in London outside St Paul’s Cathedral assailed international bankers. In Sidney and Melbourne protestors massed to hand out literature questioning often hidden financial control. Demonstrations also erupted in cities across Switzerland, Portugal, South Africa, Canada, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan and the Philippines.
The leaderless coalition of activists which contain an ultra wide range of political views, early last week gained the critical support of several major labor unions including New York’s Transit Workers and the Teamsters. Other major unions followed culminating in a mass rally Oct 5th in New York’s Foley Square in which 15 of the nation’s largest labor unions rallied with the protestors against top banks and Federal Reserve policies. Significant major negative mention was also made towards recent international adventures and the increasing role of non-governmental organizations (NGO) in the formulation of U.S. governmental policies outside of elected government.
The breakthrough in major support followed a turbulent two weeks which saw N.Y. Mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently order police to place increasingly restrictive limits on the practical movement of protestors outside of their base in Zuccotti Park near Wall Street which ended in a major incident in which women protestors, who appeared non-threatening, were maced. The major incident went viral on the Internet and a group of computer hackers began their own investigation resulting in the controversial naming of the police deputy inspector involved.
Incidents with the city continued until a second group of hackers in support of the protest came forward. In a little recognized event, the second group of hackers let it be known that if any more violence occurred to people simply seeking to exercise constitutional rights, the hackers would target the information systems directly associated with the Bloomberg business empire. Word of the pronouncement quickly spread to key parts of the protest site that evening.
For whatever reason, in the hours after the warning, the visible harassment of the demonstrators in the park greatly diminished. Large groups of police with plastic wrist ties, the amount of police commanders present, drive-bys of police vehicles with flashing lights, city vehicles headlights being projected into the park at late night hours and city legal demands that personal items be brought out of the park, were all reduced or appeared to vanish.
Late last week, in a major victory for the demonstrators, the Bloomberg administration in an eleventh hour decision decided to back off a demand that all demonstrators clear the area “for a cleaning of the park.” A chorus of organized labor, civic leaders, religious and political figures so strongly advised the mayor against any plan to oust the demonstrators, that minutes before the “cleaning” was to take place the city relented and allowed the movement to remain in Zuccotti park unmolested.
Another major victory occurred the next day on Saturday Oct 15th when the movement successfully staged a huge rally in Times Square which drew demonstrators from every region of the country, sending a strong message both to city officials and the mainstream media, which expected nothing like the amount of turnout which occurred.
Labor leaders and other key advocacy groups here have recognized that OWS had successes in mounting a serious challenge to Bloomberg, something no conventional group or movement here had achieved. This is considered to be, because OWS’s structure prevents the targeting of individual leaders, a standard government tactic of the past. The concept of leaderless resistance first came to wide notice among activists when it was used by a number of major patriotic organizations in the late 70s to early 90s with good initial success.
One demonstrator in Times Square ironically called the world protests a “harmonization of response to international financial rulers”. The term harmonization is generally used among world government advocates, which include major banking figures, to describe plans to bring peoples of the world to a single, clearly enforced, level of life experience.
Entrance of major labor leaders to the movement’s supporters also means that OWS has access to the legal departments and media relations of some of the unions involved. How this is important, several say, was shown when a second major incident occurred when hundreds of protestors, led in part by several activists holding “End the Fed” signs, used the Brooklyn Bridge for a protest. The resulting major incident resulted in 700 arrests, but also resulted in the Transit Union, defying the city, going into court to block the city from using the services of bus drivers to transport prisoners seized at OWS demonstrations.
But while the major unions have added important new support, they have also brought a series of new decisions which many observers say may be pivotal to the continued progress and ultimate survival and success of the occupy movement.
The huge labor rally of Oct. 5 also, almost all observers say, drew a wide number of liberal and left-leaning movements and organizations which quickly outnumbered the union members in Foley square. These groups promptly began to use the occupy rally both in Foley Square and thereafter at Zuccotti Park to promote a wide array of the outside group’s objectives, causing considerable disquiet in legitimate OWS circles and forcing a series of critical policy decisions.
This has already led to two incidents last week. In one, a group of Green Party activists who set a table in front of the occupied protest were asked to leave. This was followed by an incident involving Ron Paul supporters who began distributing campaign literature on Broadway in front of the protest. Occupied activists later explained they had no problem with anyone distributing literature on their ideology, but did not want the area used for the promotion of partisan campaigns for political office.
The last few days have also seen a series of highly suspicious conditions occurring at the demonstration area. In recent days, there has been an influx of people who do not appear genuinely interested in the objectives of the occupy movement.
Several seasoned activists noted that this strongly resembles what occurred under the COINTELPRO government programs of the 1960s and 1970s, which only ceased after Watergate.
The mainstream media, which has been uniformly hostile, immediately fixed on the few vagrants and disorderly individuals who had attached themselves to the movement and produced a series of very negative articles. The MSM became hostile immediately after it became clear that the gathering was targeting the financial sector and the Federal Reserve and that the gathering could not be easily categorized, and attacked in standard left or right fashion.
Rupert Murdoch’s New York Post led off the attacks with a series of strongly hostile articles. This was followed by a major incident in which the controversial U.K. tabloid The Daily Mail produced a long, scathing article focusing on every aspect in the protest area which was outside of the intentions of the occupy organizers. In one incident, rally organizers charge that the Mail staged an incident where a “protestor,” who they had never seen before, was pictured fouling a police car at the fringes of the rally. The incident and other aspects of the paper’s coverage caused widespread criticism of the British press but also had the ironic effect of causing renewed attention in some quarters to the entire subject of London banks’ high degree of secrecy and the role they played in the current financial crisis.
In all the OWS rallies a key, if not always highly visible, component has been a notable patriot element which has had its role in keeping the protests vital but has also helped to keep the protests focused on what are considered by many, if not all protestors, to be the three core issues; the banks and the Fed, the general behavior of the finance-influenced government and the other major avenue of power in the country, the operations of the private NGO policy makers.
Addressing the NGOs this week, one protestor called Washington “only the ceremonial seat of government” due to the power of such NGO organizations as the Trilateral Commission, Club of Rome and the Council on Foreign Relations, which has come in for much criticism here due to the country’s recent international adventures at a time when domestic economic conditions, including jobs, are in sharp decline.
But while the patriot element has been present since the first day of protest, September 17th, in recent days, patriotic involvement has been less consistent. This has led several leading key patriotic leaders to urgently petition patriots in a 500 mile radius to come to New York or at least attend or organize OWS rallies in a city near them. Patriots are also being strongly directed to contact local and area news media in connection to their activities.
OWS has set up a web site specifically for those seeking to attend or wishing to organize a local or regional rally against America’s secret elite. The Web site, www.occupywallst.org features a locator system which directs those interested to local gatherings.