Phase II for Occupy Wall St. begins
The discussion over whether or not it's "good" for Occupy Wall St. to have been attacked in the middle of the night by a police force sent by Bloomberg is being tested today, and I think the "yes" side will bear out. The protesters are, as I write this, having a giant protest at Wall St. itself, attempting to delay the bell (and failing, but that's to be expected), but definitely raising a stink. Prior to this, there was a push-pull over the issue of Wall St. itself, because the security apparatus down there being what it is, actually taking the fight to Wall St. on a permanent basis has heightened dangers for the protesters. But now that the campers have been kicked out of Zucotti Park, much of the rationale for keeping it at a small distance from Wall St. itself has disappeared. This could be a good thing, albeit maybe not so much for individuals who are going to get arrested more frequently and with more violence. But that, in and of itself, sends a message; it's telling that the ugliness escalates as soon as they get that much closer to the Masters of the Universe who will not be sullied by having to interact with the ordinary people who they have fucked royally by treating our entire economy like it's a big casino.
The question is, as always, what it's going to take to keep going forward. I think most mainstream media has taken it too much as a given that the protesters will lose interest as quickly as our media culture loses interest in any one non-adultery story, and one of the best things Occupy Wall St. has done has been to subvert that narrative and keep themselves in the news. What I hope is that they really do realize and commit to the idea that this is a long term project that won't take just months, but years. The civil rights movement has to be the model going forward, even as the Arab Spring was the initial inspiration. After all, the demands of the protesters in Arab Spring countries were usually the ouster of dictators, and Occupy Wall St. is calling for extensive policy changes to address the fucked up economic system we have here. That's a long-range battle. That's why the library is so important; boning up on history can be inspirational.
I'm sure the occupiers are on it, but it seems to me that a smart move for phase II would be to maintain the occupation, but in a slightly more spread out way: safe houses and churches for stashing stuff, and maybe a bus or two, especially for housing the library and other information-gathering and transmission operations. Repeated protests at Wall St. itself, varied up so as to avoid the problem of media boredom. I think this can be done; I just hope that the occupation doesn't believe the media hype that petering out is inevitable.