To recap: During the past ten days there has been a medium sized protest (hundreds to several thousands of people) on Wall Street, NY for the purpose of protesting corporate greed, inequity and the buying of our political system. Unlike many protest movements, this protest is decentralized and people attend for numerous reasons, but the unifying principle is the war on Main Street by Wall Street. Recently several affiliated protests have sprung up in other cities (Namely Chicago, San Francisco and Boston), despite the geographic distance from Wall street. As I mentioned in my previous article, the mass media has almost completely ignored the occupation of Wall Street, despite the size of the protests and the fact that several influential speakers have shown their support for the movement. I would like to make two things very clear:
- Occupy Wall Street is a completely grassroots protest that focuses on the economy, not partisanship and social issues. There are no corporate sponsors, and the organizers are mostly liberal activists, and the hacker group Anonymous.
- These protests are entirely peaceful and not a call to riot by extremists.
As I wrote previously, there has been a near complete press blackout of the Wall Street occupation by the mainstream media. Liberal talkers and news sources have covered the story, but the truly worrying thing is that the "Neutral" media is revealing a startling bias. I am not sure whether the bias is aimed at those who are liberal or those who would protest corporations (Media corporations are still corporations after all), but the result has been that the "news" outlets have completely ignored an obvious and vital news story. Ignorance of the protests is impossible, I mean, hundreds of people swarming wall street isn't exactly subtle nor are the reporters busy with more important tasks. Recent, unfortunate, events have actually led to an increase in the media coverage of the protest (from nothing to a single indirect mention on the front page, yay).
Throughout this entire protest, the police have attended to prevent the obstruction of traffic by the protestor and to make certain that the protest stays peaceful; a perfectly reasonable and valid way to deploy police for the public good. Isolated police officers have been causing trouble by either arresting protesters without cause or in extreme cases, assaulting them.
Not even the lawful use of protest areas will prevent this intrepid police officer from doing his duty of harassing the "public nuisances"
The worst violation of the protester' rights that has been reported occurred just this last Saturday. As was caught on tape by on of the protesters, several young women were corralled by the police and then pepper sprayed in the face by one of the officers without any cause. Due to the lack of context in the video, we cannot say whether the women were causing enough of a disturbance to be roped off (I don't believe so judging by the tape, but I am biased), but there is no possible excuse for the use of pepper spray on peaceful protesters when they pose no threat. The actions of the officer in the white shirt are repulsive and deserve to be met with the full force of the law. Unfortunately for the officer in question, cameras are everywhere now and not only are his actions on tape but he has been identified as Anthony Bologna. Anonymous is both very motivated and notoriously vindictive, so good luck to him, he may need it.
I hope that these protests grow and eventually achieve actual change in how we do things in this country. I would like to encourage everybody who reads this to get involved and try to change this country for the better. There is no partisanship in this movement, rather a unified belief that despite your political leanings, you deserve to live in a country which is not bought by the corporations and that your voice counts.