They’re baaack… Occupy Wall Street, that is.
After a winter break, it looks like the warmer weather has opened the gates of the OWS movement again. Yesterday, May 1st brought out various planned activities from the protesters, and of course more arrests. New York City’s Bryant Park was the staging area early this morning as protesters started their demonstration complete with drums and banners. On Twitter, OWS was urging people to boycott work, school, shopping and even housework in solidarity for the movement of the “99%”
Later in the day, protesters rallied outside the offices of the New York Times, Madison Square Park, and more remote locations like The Capital Grille restaurant they say unfair labor practices for immigrants are practiced. They also marched across the Williamsburg bridge where more arrests occurred. By noon, there were about 500 people involved in the movement. There were many other happenings throughout the day in New York City and beyond.
Prior to yesterday, NYPD investigated three white powder-filled letters sent to media groups, a bank, and mayor Bloomberg as well as a suspicious package on Murray Street. While the letters were signed the same way and with the same (fake) return address, it’s still difficult to tell if someone from OWS was behind the mailings (although the letter elude to May Day) or another random person.
So far, several arrests have been made (about 50 yesterday and many more in previous months), countless police officers have been working overtime doing crowd control, and I’d like to know just one simple question? What has this movement accomplished other than disrupting the city for all the people who have jobs, classes, and commutes?
I, like the good majority of my friends, are part of the so-called 99%. We are struggling to get by in this frenzied, chaotic world and navigate healthcare costs, grocery bills, taxes, mortgages, and everything everybody else deals with. We do it everyday, just like many of you to our jobs and schools, working hard, really hard to provide for our families. Yes, it is a screwed up healthcare system we have, yes, capitalism does reign supreme and louses up a lot of things, and yes, there are major inequalities, but what is taking to the streets really going to do?
What has this movement accomplished other than disrupting the city for all the people who have jobs, classes, and commutes?
For those of you who don’t live in New York City, last fall when Zuccotti Park was occupied OWS people who slept and lived there, creating an outdoor village for themselves, there was a lot of chaos, drug activity, theft, and fights, not to mention a very unappealing whiff that could be detected within a small block radius. I never understood what that exactly was doing to help foster change or equality. I also never understood the people who said they quit their jobs to be there, didn’t want to acquire student loans and debt to go to college, or keep up the job search instead.
My daughter is in college and she is has taken out student loans in order to be there. She also has a part-time job in addition to her full-time courseload. So when I see 19- and 20 year-olds who say they can’t do the same, I think they mean, they won’t. In five years time, it will the kids who are in college that will be prepared for the jobs, not the uneducated cop-outs. It is not easy to get a job, but it is doable with enough effort and determination.
Every time OWS closes bridges and streets, they don’t hurt any of the “1%”; they affect the working people that are just simply trying to get home after a long day. And as far as the hate against the police and the rants about how they should realize they are not the elite “1%”, I think they know that because if they were the ridiculously rich, I doubt they’d show up for their 12-18 hour shifts corralling manic protesters who taunt, curse, and spit at them. One police chief had part of his finger bitten off today. The NYPD are just doing their job. They are the working class. Making it a class warfare against the police is ineffective and ignorant.
Ironically, many of the restaurants and small merchant business owners that the movement claims to be fighting for have suffered significantly due to the protests. They have a profit loss every time one of these protests occur. Today, quite a few places closed early in anticipation of the protests.
The funny part is that I don’t disagree with their assertions that we have mass inequality and things can be way better, but what are the disorganized protests and police scuffle in hopes of media attention going to do? We would all be better served by people educating themselves and voting candidates into office who can do better, or even running for office themselves and becoming politically active in a positive and productive manner. Besides politics, there are so many other areas that people can help foster change, such as law, healthcare, teaching, and policy making.
As I went to bed last night, the protesters were getting ready for a showdown in a nearby park at Water Street with hundreds of police, many in riot gear, ready to step in since the park closed at 10pm and there were still thousands of protesters prepared for a fight to occupy it. So it looks like more arrests and chaos and disruption, not to mention police overtime and more taxpayers money spent in security will be in store for this spring and summer.
Meanwhile, the Donald Trumps, big bankers, and billionaires were undoubtedly winding down their nights after fancy meals and limo rides, living completely and totally unaffected by yesterday’s city stress.
And I ask again, what will OWS accomplish that will help anyone, except maybe media outlets scrambling for ratings?
Images: Andrea Zimmerman
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