Welcome to the Police State: NYC Cops Mace Peaceful Protestors Against Wall Street

I’m beginning to wonder whether the right to assemble is effectively dead in the US. No one who is a wage slave (which is the overwhelming majority of the population) can afford to have an arrest record, even a misdemeanor, in this age of short job tenures and rising use of background checks.

Now at least in New York (and I hope readers in other cities will chime in) the right to assemble seems to be pretty much a dead letter. I was in Sydney during the global protests against the Iraq War, and I was told that the New York demonstrations (which were already hindered by typically lousy winter weather) were pretty much blocked by the police. Protestors were tying to gather at the UN, and the cops put up a cordon at Second Avenue. The result was the turnout was far lower than the number who tried to show their opposition and were stopped.

The latest New York City protest is OccupyWallStreet. Even though its turnout last week fell well short of hopes (the estimates from the group were that 2000 participated; the New York Times suggests numbers more like “hundreds” but the photos from the 17th make figures larger figures seem plausible), making it a nuisance level demonstration rather than a major statement, the powers that be seem to be trying a bit too hard to prevent it from getting traction.

The organizers were using Twitter to promote participation and visibility. And so Twitter intervened. From AmpedStatus:

On at least two occasions, Saturday September 17th and again on Thursday night, Twitter blocked #OccupyWallStreet from being featured as a top trending topic on their homepage. On both occasions, #OccupyWallStreet tweets were coming in more frequently than other top trending topics that they were featuring on their homepage.

This is blatant political censorship on the part of a company that has recently received a $400 million investment from JP Morgan Chase.

The protestors were relegated to Zucotti Park, west of Liberty. If you know Lower Manhattan that is technically near Wall Street but well away from any offices buildings. It is on the periphery. The New York Times depicts the demonstrators as naive and ineffective, i.e, harmless:

Occupy Wall Street, a diffuse and leaderless convocation of activists against greed, corporate influence, gross social inequality and other nasty byproducts of wayward capitalism not easily extinguishable by street theater, had hoped to see many thousands join its protest and encampment, which began Sept. 17….

By Wednesday morning, 100 or so stalwarts were making the daily, peaceful trek through the financial district, where their movements were circumscribed by barricades and a heavy police presence. (Various arrests for disorderly conduct were made.) By Thursday, the number still sleeping in Zuccotti Park, the central base of operations, appeared to be dwindling further.

Members retained hope for an infusion of energy over the weekend, but as it approached, the issue was not that the Bastille hadn’t been stormed, but that its facade had suffered hardly a chip.

So the protest is only in the low hundreds. In a separate story, the Times reports that the police arrested 80 as they moved to Union Square (notice how high a percentage that is) and even the anodyne Times makes the policing sound heavy-handed:

The police made scores of arrests on Saturday as hundreds of people, many of whom had been encamped in the financial district as part of a lengthy protest, marched north to Union Square….

Protest organizers estimated that about 85 people were arrested and that about five were struck with pepper spray. Among those was Chelsea Elliott, 25, who said that she was sprayed after shouting “Why are you doing that?” as an officer arrested a protester at East 12th Street….

Nearby, two other protesters standing handcuffed on Fifth Avenue told a reporter that they had both been arrested on sidewalks and were not aware of having broken any law.

“They put up orange nets and tried to kettle us and we started running and they started tackling random people and handcuffing them,” said Kelly Brannon, 27, of Ridgewood, Queens. “They were herding us like cattle.”

Next to her, David Smith, from Maine, said that he had been chanting “Let them go” as people were handcuffed, and was then arrested by a senior officer who told him that he was being charged with obstructing governmental administration.

The article included this tweet:

@DustinSlaughter there’s 50+ of us arrested in a caravan, netted & maced by police after standing on sidewalk where they told us to

This video show police macing women who were already corralled and who made no aggressive or threatening moves

The authorities apparently felt that the response was so low that they could get rough with the protestors, meaning that their perception was that even unflattering coverage would not incite much bigger turnout. Sadly, they may have judged this correctly.

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  1. Jane

    Yves – you are up so late again!

    Thanks so much for posting this – it needs a lot more coverage and hopefully it will inspire more action.

    Here’s another link to some NYPD brutality – seems like the police are just looking for any excuse to attack people, even when they aren’t doing anything wrong. Watch the cop lunge at the guy in the striped shirt. The cop just looks like a testosterone loaded thug!


    Mayor Bloomberg:

    “People have a right to protest, and if they want to protest, we’ll be happy to make sure they have locations to do it,” said New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg at a Sept. 15 press conference. “As long as they do it where other people’s rights are respected, this is the place where people can speak their minds, and that’s what makes New York, New York.”

    He needs to tell his Police Department to cool it!

    Send him a message on twitter – @mikebloomberg

    1. lambert strether

      Although tropes of police brutality are easy for all sides to write, and official violence is (of course) real, it’s important to realize that successful fraternization with either the armed forces or the police (#33 of the 198 Methods Of Non-Violent Protest and Persuasion) was critical at both Tahrir Square and the Madison State Capitol. So it’s worth giving consideration to how to achieve it. The narrative of violence prevents that, which is why the powers that be consider it useful. (For those on the left, the trope is all the more insidious, because official violence IS an injustice, that SHOULD be remedied.)

      Not to second guess the occupiers on the ground, but to observe: A reputation for non-violence is a strategic asset. It’s good will that needs to be carefully built up over time. See Otpor’s Marovic for an experienced view.

      If the story is violence, the occupiers lose, by definition. (It doesn’t MATTER whose fault it is.) Because what’s the best outcome? A hearing before the Police Commmission? The Youtubes won’t persuade anybody who is not already willing to be persuaded, and the narrative of “violent liberals” (Lordy) is already well-prepared.

      The story SHOULD be: (a) self-organization in the square, (b) the persistence of movement being born, and (c) the useless of violence in preventing it. That the powers that be even have to use the tactic shows FAIL.

      Eyes on the prize!

      1. rafael bolero

        Just for the record, “fraternization” to avoid violence in Madison was not necessary from either side. WI is not NYC, and even our “riot cops” would not mace women and shove people around. Not yet. That will be an outside influence, or true hunger and cold. NYC is violent, corrupt, and hypocritical. That is what we will “recall” this year. You have uniformed Bullies, union thugs. Our police did not even put on helmets this summer when i was there, and nodded and smiled. The right to effectively demonstrate was abolished during Bush with the demonstration pens offsite from where he spoke in garrisoned studios.

      2. rotter

        “Police Brutality” isnt a trope, it is at minimum, a crime.We can debate whether its also other larger things like evil or a sin, or a clear symptom of rot in a culture, or not, but its not imigainary. Its not a mere matter of my word against yours, or something you dont like to see in the news cause you find it gauche, or unhelpful.

    1. Jesse

      I agree – the image of the girl screaming on the ground is one of the most powerful things I’ve seen in a long time.

      1. lambert strether

        “Powerful” for what end? To me, the (mental) image of the occupiers setting up their own portable generator so they could run a media center is a far more powerful image. Because which’d you rather? From a pure, pragmatic, public relations standpoing?

        a) An image of getting beaten up? [Subtext: Powerless loser]

        b) An image of self-organizing [Subtext: Generating their own power]

        The images Big Media will present to us are like crack, like pr0n, like any spectacle. Think!

        1. Jesse

          It’s “powerful” in that people will react in an instinctive way to such blatant police brutality.

          As for the comment below this one by Externality – thanks for pointing that out. I feel like that was on the back of my mind, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until you mentioned it.

          Everyone should be reposting this video on their social networking websites.

          1. zeroreference

            What reason do you have to think people will react instinctively? And react how? Lambert is right.

            If human nature was such that it reacted with constructive action to images of suffering, then we wouldn’t ever _need_ to protest.

            The case of self-immolation in Tunisia is totally different, people there had been repressed to a much greater degree than in the States for much longer.

          2. Jesse

            “Lampart is right” Wow, you really made a powerful case there. It’s clear what I meant – that people confronted with evidence of unprovoked and shocking brutality are likely to side with the victim.

          3. Nathanael

            The powerful should watch the hell out.

            If the message they send is that peaceful protest will be met with brutality and official complicity in the brutality, the result is that a significant number of people — people who have nothing to lose, thanks to the insane economic policies being pursued — will decide “better to be hanged for a sheep than for a lamb”, and then all hell will break loose.

            Non-violence is a valuable tactic and reputation to cultivate, but not everyone will be as peaceful as the OccupyWallStreet protesters. For every MLK there is a Malcolm X.

      2. lance brown

        Although mose of these protesters have a Socialist or Communist bent, HOW DARE OUR POLICE treat them like the enemy. This is OUR government and OUR government shall not act like jack booted thugs, lets they want a REVOLUTION.

    2. KnotRP

      What a bunch of f*cking idiots….turn a protest into a physical confrontation, thus encouraging independent individual acts beyond anyone’s control. Perhaps they *want* to help generate the events which will justify their existence, actions, and growth?
      I don’t think they understand how hard it is to keep entrophy at bay…

      1. F. Beard

        thus encouraging independent individual acts beyond anyone’s control. KnotRP

        Agreed. It would only take the radicalization of a few to be a disaster. I am reminded of Doctor Zhivago where a peaceful protester becomes a ruthless Bolshevik because of Cossack brutality.

        Hopefully, more cops will lose their jobs and begin to see that they have common cause with the protesters.

      2. lambert strether

        From the Barcalounger: Not a knock, because I’m not on the ground. And I think that it’s wonderful they’re exercising their right of peaceable assembly.

        That said, I don’t think it’s idiocy, but immaturity. I don’t mean that in any personal sense, but in the sense that the movement doesn’t have years of experience behind it, as did the Egyptians. Tahrir Square was the fruit of five years of work that included unions and major strikes.

        My motto for all of this is from FDR: “Bold, persistent experimentation.” If something doesn’t work, try something else. I don’t think the “police brutality” trope will come to any good end, so something else will have to be tried. (Yes, Bull Connor’s snarling dogs in Birmingham, but behind the media image, years of patient organizing.) The powers that be, of course, will do whatever they can to prevent the experiments from being performed, or to prevent the results from being communicated. Escalating the violence trope plays into that.

        1. rotter

          Just because you keep calling it a “trope” doesnt mean it didnt, and dosent happen. Was the BART police murder in San Francisco a “trope” or was it a police murder? was a helpless man killed or wasnt he? is he dead or not? Your staunch insistence that everyone else ignore it, as you have chosen to do, really casts doubt the credibility of your motives.

          1. zeroreference

            Is Barack Obama a trope or a real person? Answer: both.

            The real event of police murder can exist alongside its media representation. That representation has an effect and power which don’t have to be related to the ‘real’ event at all. Like a politician’s ‘image,’ it could even be totally divorced from reality!

            That’s how I read all this talk about tropes

        2. rotter

          The Left CANNOT. and MUST NOT assume that just because American Kleptocracy appears to be entering its violent death spasms, that the ineveitable pain inflicted will lead to the masses rising up to create a more wquitable society. Imn also guilty of that kind of wishful thinking as well. There are other possibilites. Much of the White (formerly) middle class are indeed angry, but often at the wrong things. Race is still an enormous problem divinding, and shielding the rentier class from the justified wrath of the working class. Fsr too many will turn to noxious right wing populism out of ignorance prejudice yes, but also because they arent being shown a better option. The misinformation and propaganda, and the triumphalism of the post Soviet years has cut off any reasonably informed discussion.

          1. Nathanael

            Oh yes. We could easily get a new dictatorship instead of a restored, functioning democracy.

            The French Revolution ended up with Napoleon (still an improvement over Louis), the Russian Revolution ended up with Lenin and then Stalin (still better than the Tsars by the reckoning of the people at the time), the collapse of the German economy in the 1930s led to Hitler, which was quite definitely NOT an improvement (but seemed like it to many Germans at the time, until he started WWII).

            The kleptocracy is unsustainable and will collapse, however; the current banksters and their idiot pet politicians are just too *stupid*. We must work to make a strong case for replacing it with a functioning democratic state, because *smart* opportunistic warlords — ones who know how to keep the majority fed and employed — will attempt to seize the moment.

        3. decora

          immaturity doesn’t seem to go far enough imho. Gandhi was a trained lawyer. So was Nelson Mandela. MLK was highly educated as well. They were surrounded by people of similar or better education and knowledge. James Farmer was an experienced debater, which was in a great movie called The Great Debaters. All had extensive strategies planned out, they had media plans, they had training sessions, they were organized, and they thought through things. They understood the law, philosophy, and history. They read books. They made alliances. They built networks. Oh, and two of the three were deeply religious and made that a big part of their movement.

          These indymedia kids, in contrast, seem to have one, and only one, modus operandi.

          1. protest

          2. get beaten by cops

          3. post video online


          im trying to figure out how the SCLC would ever have gotten the Civil Rights Bill passed with that kind of plan. Rosa Parks was not some random lady, she was a participant in a deliberate media strategy by the civil rights leaders, and it was brilliant and worked perfectly. Will these indymedia people ever come up with something as genius as that? I kind of doubt it.

          look at their website. ‘like our brothers in iceland and egypt..’. Icleand underwent a gigantic banking scam, and they lost money. Egypt was ruled by a brutal dictator for several decades, people were routinely tortured and imprisoned for years. One of these things is not like the other.

          Problem number one: “Wall Street” doesn’t even exist anymore. Hedge funds are all over the basements of connecticut, Goldman Sachs & others have built buildings in different parts of the city, some of the worst offenders like Deustche Bank, UBS, RBS, etc, are in Europe. Nymex, Comex, NYSE, these are all electronic exchanges, and two of them are owned by the Chicago Merc, and on top of that, there is ICE which is in Atlanta. the physical buildings almost mean nothing. Overcoming these things requires a lot of creativity, and a lot of study. Not going to hold my breath.

    1. YankeeFrank


      this thuggish brutal behavior by US police is common, though usually reserved for minorities no one gives a fuck about. I was shocked watching video of the English riots how restrained the police were being. In the great old land of free and home of the brave this is exactly what you can expect for just demonstrating peacefully, never mind what would happen if we started breaking shit. The police here are thugs with badges, and its only gotten worse over the last two decades. They are immune from any blowback — recently a young man on Long Island was shot and killed in his own front yard by 20 police officers for no reason. They had been called in on a robbery and found this guy in his yard supposedly charging them with a knife, which is rather unbelievable in itself, but regardless, 20 officers couldn’t subdue a guy with a knife without shooting him in the head? They are thugs and they know they will get away with their thuggery.

      If you wondered why demonstrations have been subdued in the US this is definitely part of the reason. We really do live in a police state now, and the populous is terrified to speak out. Anti-war demonstrators are rounded up and jailed for supposed “terrorist” ties. Give us a break. Its too bad no one complained as this was all happening to the minorities, as now it is being directed at all of us. They got lots of practice…

      1. Yearning To Learn

        This video saddens me beyond belief. Just yesterday I shared a personal anecdote of police brutality, discussing how IMO many white people don’t understand because they are not usually the target. Then today this. This video is horrifying. Although I lamented that many people just don’t understand, never in 1,000 years would i hope that they need to understand. I’d rather this sort of thing stop, not expand into more and more minority circles. (add disenfranchised whites to police hit list.)

        Looks like the police state is ever closer at hand.

        A govt of the Corp, for the corp, and definitely BY the Corp.

        1. Jim3981

          The corporations are just doing what the Illuminati are brainwashing them to do.

          Wait until the people figure out what kind of shit will happen when the Illuminati get control of the world.

      2. citalopram

        The only reason people aren’t protesting is because they don’t care or are too ignorant and/or lazy to educate themselves with a few facts. Americans are still under the delusion that the MSM is relevant, but they’re not getting the whole or even part of the picture. Americans for the most part are way too passive. It’s a shame that young kids are the only ones out there making a fuss, but at least they’re doing something I guess. It’s not going to make a difference, but I support their message all the same.

        It’s great that this video of police brutality is up on the net. Independent media is where it’s at, and with every jack-booted act that occurs, more people or going to see the cops for what they truly are: protectors of rich criminals. I would think the mafia was more desirable than dealing with these thugs.

        The video that I’d like to see is 500,000 people down there retaliating immediately against the cops for doing something like this. We’d probably see tanks next if that happened. But that is what really needs to happen.

      3. jest

        I really have been amazed at all the pearl clutching vis-a-vis the police “brutality.”

        Folks, this is everyday stuff in black and brown communities. Ever hear of “Driving While Black?” This is what it looks like.

        1. Sienna

          Not to mention the overwhelming stop and frisk activity by the NYPD against minorities–probably the highest in the country.

          1. Nathanael

            It’s getting more widespread. Hell, the police violate traffic laws for the purpose of harassing bicylists now.

            A power elite can get away with oppression of a few minority groups for a very long time, but if they start expanding their targets too far… eventually it blows up in their faces.

  2. Jesse

    “Twitter blocked #OccupyWallStreet from being featured as a top trending topic on their homepage. … blatant political censorship”

    This is why the diaspora project is so essential (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diaspora_%28software%29). Surveillance/censorship of social media is a frightening power in the hands of the government and major corporations. The only solution is an decentralized open-source network created by the people that cannot be censored (and potentially surveilled) like this.

    1. globalnomad

      This is really worrying. It is blatantly flouting human rights. This story and related videos really need to be exposed to as much of the American public as possible.

      1. lambert strether

        Why? Why does it need to be exposed? Who that does not already agree with the occupiers will be persuaded by this? Nobody. In the coffee shop, when I get the conversation stopper “They had it coming, and they should grow up” where do I go? There’s nowhere. That’s why “ZOMG!!!!! Police brutality!!!!” is such a poor talking point. It is an utterly stale discourse driven by media imagery, which is exactly why the press is disseminating it. Think!

        The story — what is “exposed” — should be the self-organizing powers of the occupiers. After all, isn’t that what this is all about? Who gets to organize stuff?

        1. Jesse

          Despite what you say, many people can and do have their minds changed by videos this shockingly brutal. Many iconic pictures out of Vietnam had this effect. Yes, there are those sad that love to see the power of the state unleashed on relatively powerless individuals, but most people are far more reasonable than that.

          1. zeroreference

            Vietnam had been going on for _decades_
            Who knows what _actually_ ended the war? It’s a big question.

            I like what lambert’s saying – I read it as that we need to focus on OUR strength – and represent ourselves in that fashion.

          2. Jesse

            I’m clearly referring to US involvement in Vietnam, which, despite what you say, did not last for decades. The war ended for reasons everyone recognizes – an outraged and mobilized public protest against it.

      1. homodonjohnson

        we should not believe the state is omnipotent. afaik diaspora is encrypted so if narus can peel it like a banana the state has WAY more power than we thought. i seriously doubt the state can decrypt aes etc. without supercomputing resources.

        more likely narus is focusing on a) redirecting semi-analyzed PLAINTEXT data, b) and storing as much raw encrypted data for further analysis. but given the amount of data in plain text, assume they can interpolate much of what they want without going into the encrypted stuff.

        until further notice, consider crypto a pain in the ass of the survrillence powers and act accordingly.

        the really troubling thing is not the narus or crypto, but the obsession with confession. no confession, no need for crypto, and narus is useless. second problem: the fact every device every website is developed TO MAKE US CONFESS, to demand it of us, or generate it without our awareness. third problem: weve shifted away from decentralised unowned services to centralized corporate services.

        want to know what faslcism looks like? its zuckerberg sitting at the table with g7 leaders, his stupid aspy grin yammering about the death of privacy.

          1. homodonjohnson

            i cant read your mind, but you seem to be saying that the nsa has sufficient supercomputer resources so they dont have to make choices about what they decrypt. i think decryption is very expensive and i bet it happens less than you think. most decryption is due to rubber hoses or an unencrypted swap file. brute forcing is probably done only in special cases where the payoff is measurably high. if aes is already broken, it would be an absolute secret inside the agency, and would likely, again, only be employed in the most significant cases, since a wider use would eventually leak the fact, and the nsa would lose its advantage.

            however, just so we can compare our tin foil hats, there will be a day when aes is broken, and the secrets of an era will open up to the supercomputing powers. thats a good reason to collect as much as possible, regardless of present capabilities. just because they’re collecting doesnt mean theyre decrypting.

          2. Yves Smith Post author

            Encrypted messages are amateurish. I know people who’ve done business with people who were paranoid (plus I suspect the person in the US who told me this story was a massive tax evader, as in taking income into offshore account) and hence wanted to leave NO footprints. My buddy was also current re all of the encryption variants.

            He said that sending an encrypted message GUARANTEES the NSA will go after you. He had other routes for sending secure communications. None were the sort you’d readily think of.

            It doesn’t matter whether they try decrypting your messages, they’ll start monitoring you intensely.

          3. KnotRP

            Add in the backdoors inserted by equipment manufacturers by government requirement (which can intercept your typing pre-encryption), and you can pretty much conclude that anything you are typing is read, if you develop a following in the persons of interest circles…

          4. Nathanael

            Yves, pretty much every message you send other than those for public consumption should be encrypted. For *business purposes*. Any business using unencrypted email is asking for their trade secrets to be stolen.

            Given that, the NSA is not going to waste their time following everyone who encrypts their email. Unless they really, really want to investigate every single employee of every competent major business.

        1. nobody


          It would be nice if you could avoid using derogatory characterizations of autistic people based on their perceived or actual autistic features.

          A good rule of thumb is to substitute a term that refers to racial or ethnic groups or people with same-sex sexual orientations for constructions where terms like “aspy” (“aspie”) are used, and test-run the sentence in your head to see how it sounds. And if it sounds off for those groups, it’s probably ill-advised to use it for us.

        2. citalopram

          One tactic is to fill their data banks with encrypted rubbish. Flood the channels and let them chase ghosts, I say.

          1. Nathanael

            The NSA, CIA, etc. are already chasing ghosts, thanks to Bush’s and Obama’s hoovering up of useless information. I suppose we can thank them for that, sort of. Though it does mean the US is completely unprotected against another 9/11.

      2. Jesse

        I was referring to the government’s power to snoop around and request information from 3rd party social networks, but yes, it is encrypted too.

      3. Nathanael

        Distributed services are not for *secrecy* (they provide none), but for *non-censorability*.

        Nobody can censor a distributed service — not without shutting the entire net down, which even the NSA is afraid to do, because everyone including the government depends on it now.

  3. Woodrow Wilson

    “50+ of us arrested in a caravan, netted & maced by police after standing on sidewalk where they told us to” –

    Someday, maybe they will understand harsh language and “peaceful demonstrations” no longer work or matter here.

    Politicians from BOTH side of the aisle are sleeping side-by-side with Wall Street, Pharma and “Big Oil”, with an unlimited financial backing to continue to pillage and loot.

    The video depicts mindless zombies in uniform doing what their told, who also will never question what their told. I know, I used to be one. Here in MA, the majority of police are Veterans, who are programmed to follow orders, so this really isn’t all that surprising to this Vet/former PO.

    1. lambert strether

      Bloomberg 2012! He stood up to violent liberals!

      Once again, the narrative of violence can be very useful to the powers that be. Again, not judging those on the ground, but if that’s the narrative that comes out of the Wall Street Occupation, we will not have gotten much forrader.

      1. rotter

        Who cares what bloombegs campaign ads look like. the guy is right. if we waste time about strategizing over how to make freinds and influence people on the helmeted side of the barricade,who are just there becasue theyve been commanded to,and a jobs a job, then more time will be wasted playing another rigged game(see electoral plitics). this is “bi-partisanship” at its finest. surrender before you fight. hey convice me, put down that rock and lets you and me go have coffee.Any cop with a brain and a conscience will eventually join the right side anyway. any without brains or consciences are unreachable anyway, until we take over and order them to enforce just laws.

  4. Skippy

    What people don’t realize_today_is that a *look*, leaning towards someone, raising a hand, etc, can be construed as threatening. All the individual has to say is I felt threatened. Now with the proximity of law enforcement officers to the judiciary and their gifted extra citizenry powers, ordinary people have little chance.

    Skippy…you looking me in the eye boy (DI), its the first tool in the box, inducing submission by disallowing another human to look you in the eye.

    1. aet

      Ah, there’s a ‘reasonablity’ criterion to the ‘feeling of being threatened’ which must be assessed prior to the Law considering an action to be an assault, even without op physical contact.

      Details like that are why an independent judiciary is crucial to the freedom and liberty of the citizenry – and is perhaps why the Republicans over the past thirty or more years have stopped almost all – all that they could – Democratic nominations to the Federal bench.

      Unreasonable laws cannot remain in force absent an ‘unreasonable’ judiciary turning a blind eye to injustice by the State’s agents.

      That is the basic mechanism by which law can walk and continue to walk an entirely separate path from justice – as it tragically often has in the past, and often does in practice (if not in theory) today.

      After all, physical force applied to persons by the forces of the State, without reason, would be….

      ….oooh, help me out here, what was that US-Iraq business in 2002-2003 about, again?

      1. skippy

        I helped train the swat guys in the late 70s. Military tactics for subduing enemy combative’s in battle, part of re/consolidation of territory taken. This technique has been adapted all the way though out the police force. It is effective!

        So as long as the judicial branch are in lock step with this, expect more of the same.

        Skippy…only way around it seems to be numerical overload, flooding the system, with all stripes of citizens. Everyone will have to accept physical and judicial punishment until the system groans under its weight.

        PS. Woodstock against Wall St. NAKED Grandmothers and Grandfathers, moms and dads, kids, of all social stripes, rolling around in the mud, off in some field (cops having to make the drive), now that might actually scare them!…lol. Sure would be a media event…eh.

      2. Fraud Guy

        After the police shoot you, they can say they felt threatened, and, unless there’s video contradicting that (and even if there is), they win.

        1. Nathanael

          In my town, after a policeman shot someone — and it may have been in self-defense — his house was burned down. And no, they never found the arsonist.

          Don’t underestimate the ability of large groups of people to respond when they feel, rightly or wrongly, that there is no justice from the “justice system”. Never, EVER underestimate it.

  5. homodonjohnson

    Activism 2.0 gets what it deserves when it layers its communications net atop centralized corporate structures like twatter and fuckbook. Were talking here about 20-somethings who know nothing about tech infrastructure, AND SO BLEED DRY ALTERNATIVE STRUCTURES BY POPULATING CORPORATE ONES. And these are the people who understand “the system” and can advance a new plan? They are morons like the Teabaggers. But they are OUR morons. Sure they should have the right to be stupid and make no sense while wasting our time with their stereotyped protest reflexes. Its just that i dont care. I feel Im watching a cockroach die flat on its back, legs grasping pointlessly in the air, a subtle scratching sound.

    1. aet

      “Activism 2.0 gets what it deserves…. Were talking here about 20-somethings who know nothing …. They are morons like the Teabaggers. But they are OUR morons…. Sure they should have the right to be stupid and make no sense while wasting our time with their stereotyped protest reflexes. Its just that i dont care. ”

      You’ll forgive me if I take from your words that you support the Government in and all its works, sic nce your contempt for those imaginarry people you’re talking about is so strong.

      Is the expressing of contempt for others your plan to “change society” for the better? Or would just the presence of that contempt in others be enough for your purposes? Or is attempting to get people to treat their fellow citizens with contempt “the plan”?

      What do you care about the welfare of people whom you apparently hold in such contempt?

      It would maybe be better for you if you were more honest about your true feelings towards other people, before you try to “help” them in any way.

      Here’s an old time-tested slogan for you to use: “Stupid is as stupid does”.

      1. Salviati

        You are inferring that (s)he supports the government. I disagree, the way I took his/her comment is that (s)he has had experience with activist movements and found how large parts of them are naive about the “tools” supposedly at our disposal. It should be abundantly clear at this point that mainstream technology is first and foremost the domain of the corporate police state. Its fantastic when activists attack this infrastructure, but the price will be heavy if caught. For activists to rely on this infrastructure for organizing is foolish.

        You also frequently hear in activist circles about the need to use the mainstream infrastructure because “we have nothing to hide”, i.e. transparency before the eyes of the state. This may be smart if your target is an isolated part of the corporate state. But when you are focusing you actions on the belly of the beast, you should focus not on the moral high ground of transparency before the eyes of state, but rather which means of organizing will be the most effective in further mobilizing the latent popular rage.

    2. LeeAnne

      You describe yourself really well watching cockroaches. Is that an occupation requiring a degree of some kind?

    3. JasonRines

      Homodon, I have no problem buying a cup of Dunkin Donuts. I have a problem with Dunkin Donuts if they bribe my politicians to force out other competitors.

      Second, your attitude stinks of fear. Since you will not defend liberty ignore those punishing free speech for as it may make you take risk with your comforts, you will neither receive liberty or comfort. We get it, you like being a plebe.

    4. lambert strether

      Editing out the rhetoric, I think this is 100% true:


      If you don’t pay, you’re the product. So Facebook is in no sense free. It’s good to support structures under our own control, even if that does cost (say) as much as the cable subscription to the teebee you really shouldn’t be watching anyhow, since it’s a false-memory implanting health hazard.

    5. citalopram

      Calling them morons doesn’t help our cause. Naive, yes, but morons no. The left cannot afford such snobbery, and a lot of the college kids had signs that were right on target with regards to messaging. Will it do any good? Probably not, but videos going up on the net of police thuggery are going to be seen by others.

  6. Richard Kline

    I admire the protestors gumption and willingness to put themselves on the line. Since the organizers have explicitly compared themselves to ‘social media gatherings’ in the Near East, it’s important to see the context: those demonstrations in Egypt were the culmination of _five years_ of organizing and advocacy. They succeeded for many reasons, but certainly central were that the organizers there had very close links to stubborn labor and religiously based social service organizations, with the latter being critical multipliers and the organizational backbone for sustained occupations. This protest is a beginning, and a learning experience in making mass activism work.

    The protest was always going to end with a police push and arrests. I certainly hope the organizers had that expectation built in, because be sure that the police did. And will. That can be worked with if you go in knowing what’s what. Intimidation is part of the police game; it is what they are trained to do to achieve social control and superior force. Organizers can undercut that, and need to plan what they will do to that end. What I find relevant if wholly unsurprising is that for the MSM this protest—underway for a week!—got zero coverage _until_ the cops start dragging people away in handcuffs. That is the image that the MSM wanted and wants. That is a learning experience for the organizers, too.

    I see this protest as a start, and the most important thing about it is that it was put on at all. The goals and participation will build over time if those involved use it as a jump off point for further work.

    1. anon

      The protest hasn’t ended. And yes, my understanding is that this is understood as something that will require integration with labor unions and other civil society organizations as well as a long-term commitment.

      For one take on the scene, check out the following post at the Waging Nonviolence blog:

      “Many people in the NYC General Assembly have concluded that their goal right now is not so much to announce a demand as to build a movement, to break down the habits of business-as-usual and get the public to imagine that a different kind of world is possible, while taking steps toward making one actual. They have to create a broad-based, powerful uprising if they’re going to obstruct the influence of money in politics with their own human capital. Staging a massive, centralized, unified protest mob is one impressive way, perhaps, of doing that. But it’s not the only way. It may not even be the best way.

      In any case, the organizers have made it clear that their main priority is not some kind of futile clash with the police, or an orgy of tactical masterminding. The goal is to be inviting, rather than to scare potential allies off by dwelling too much on what the police will do. That’s why they’ve planned to start Saturday—well before the 3 p.m. assembly at Chase Manhattan Plaza—not with the building of barricades but with the making of art: a New York Fun Exchange, which begins at noon around the Charging Bull statue at Bowling Green, just south of Wall Street. Get ready, too, for the Michael Jackson flash mob.”

      There’s a live feed of events here:

    2. Fraud Guy- Also

      Well said.

      The protesters would also be well-served to study the tactics of MLK and Ghandi. Stoic silence is better than hysterical screaming. Remaining motionless is better than flailing motions of fear. Facial expressions of serenity are better than angry scowls at the police.

      This is much to ask of any human being. But in an era when protests can be captured on innumerable camera phones, these tactics will make it unmistakably clear that the police thuggery is totally unprovoked and without justification of any kind, and further, that the protesters were not looking for a fight.

      1. Fraud Guy

        Unfortunately, I believe I have seen this portrayed on “0” corporate media stations. Along with the hundreds killed by Taser use by police. If the media don’t cover it, who will know?

    3. lambert strether

      Richard Kline. I agree. From the barcalounger: If violence is now the story, and I think it is, then this experiment isn’t going anywhere that’s good. That’s no knock at all on the effort. Wind it down, and count the social capital amassed (which I am guessing is immense). This is for the long haul (why I say “occupiers,” long term, and not “protesters”).


      The country needs and, unless I mistake its temper, the country demands bold, persistent experimentation. It is common sense to take a method and try it: If it fails, admit it frankly and try another. But above all, try something. The millions who are in want will not stand by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach. We need enthusiasm, imagination and the ability to face facts, even unpleasant ones, bravely. We need to correct, by drastic means if necessary, the faults in our economic system from which we now suffer. We need the courage of the young. Yours is not the task of making your way in the world, but the task of remaking the world which you will find before you. May every one of us be granted the courage, the faith and the vision to give the best that is in us to that remaking!

      The elite won’t. So we have to.

    4. JTFaraday

      “What I find relevant if wholly unsurprising is that for the MSM this protest—underway for a week!—got zero coverage _until_ the cops start dragging people away in handcuffs. That is the image that the MSM wanted and wants.”

      Throws it back to the sixties, where the lines on protest and police violence seem to have long been more or less drawn, and effectively drops it in the culture war box.

      Which is where the zombie banks and the duopoly politicians both want it. Bypasses them both, while one half of the public combats the other.

      (This is not to suggest that His Royal Highness, Permanent Mayor Bloomberg’s policing should not have been subject to much more scrutiny all along…)

  7. LeeAnne

    Bloomberg’s statement is chilling given his history with peaceful demonstrators. He held more than 1200 of them illegally in jail until the Republic National Convention Bush 2004 was over, after lying publicly about the reason for denying a permit for Central Park for an Iraq demonstration, has fenced the entire Central Park -I’ve seen only one column mention it, but without mentioning Bloomberg. The reporter didn’t seem to know the purpose for forcing people to walk out their way to exit an area -no more wandering about folks -making a $Billion and a half in one year isn’t enough for him.

    The problem is that making a billion and half isn’t enough for anybody. Once that happens, boredom makes them very dangerous to the rest of us. Next, they want power and more power and more and more.

    That’s my argument for going back to a graduated income tax.

    But I’m not planning on running for office.

  8. ForgottenPsuedonym

    If the police had a realistic idea of who and what they are defending, they would join the protesters. If this rubicon is ever crossed, (unlikely in the extreme, but I can dream) then the fraudsters, bankster, their enablers and cheerleaders had better be on guard lest they end up getting roasted over piles of burning car tires in front of 200 West St.

    1. KnotRP

      I thought the protesters who showed up at the banking CEO’s house to dump trash bags off from the neglected foreclosed house were thinking more clearly than these folks.
      I don’t get why some of the bottom 99 go out and confront
      others of the bottom 99….completely pointless. I suspect
      sociopaths don’t react to anything that doesn’t directly
      ruin their day.

  9. Dan Duncan

    You guys are missing it with the homodonjohnson comments:

    These protests are supposed to be Anti-Establishment, but they are the furthest thing from it….

    It would be like Hunter Thompson Going Gonzo, while making sure to be “key-word rich and search-engine friendly”.

    [You get Matt Taibbi…who definitely has his moments. But the fact is, Taibbi is celebrated for being Thompson 2.0 and he is, therefore, a derivative, diluted version of the real thing…which encapsulates, perfectly, “Activism 2.0”.]

    Look at the coverage of the Middle East in the past year. Just as movies exist to sell popcorn, NBC News, et. al. covered these protests to sell Social Media. At least 50% of the reports centered–Issues of Protest–but rather on the aforementioned “Tw*tter” and “F*ckBook”. A good old fashioned uprising, it seems, just isn’t good enough. It’s only relevant if done through the internet pipes of The Establishment.

    Now there is no doubt that I’m one of the morons on the other side of the ideological divide that homodonjohnson refers. Guilty as charged.

    But f*cking A…can’t you Lefty/Progressives even get “Protest” right anymore? Hell, on this Wall Street/Government “kleptocracy”…I actually want you to succeed.

    But this is so achingly lame. You guys are to Protest, what Bush II was to War:

    “Wall Street” and “Terror”…abstract and unfocused. And, of course, both outsourced to the poor and disenfranchised, while being viewed from afar with tepid interest on TV and the Internet. [And I am guilty on this as well. As is, homodonjohnson, I am sure…]


    The best damn protest song made in the past several years. It is worth a listen; great writing:


    1. Patrick

      It’s all make believe when it comes to protests. McCain, Obama, Obama, McCain. We would be exactly where we are today, post bubble, regardless of who was President. However there would be one immense difference had McCain been elected. A difference so large that you could make the case, if you believe in conspiracies, Trilaterals etc, that the reason Obama was anointed was to prevent what would have happened by now if McCain was elected—civil unrest.

      Even the dimwit Maxine Waters has said the same about the black community unease–Obama is lucky he’s part Black. If McCain had been elected we would be Greece right now, ginned up by the NYTimes, Bloomberg, etal’s who are now putting their boots down. Obama wakes up every morning with a pray thanking god he’s a Democrat. If a Repub gets elected in 2012 expect extreme violence within six months of inauguration day led by the aforementioned NYTimes and associated cheer leaders.

  10. chad

    I live in Dallas, there are protests and demonstrations all the time downtown in Pegasus Plaza I don’t recall ever seeing any heavy handed police response.

    We had a huge latino demonstrations a few years ago complete with burning flags and the whole 9 yards. I was there taking some pictures and followed the demonstration to City Hall. I didn’t see any heavy handed response, there was a police presence but they were more interested in keeping people from getting hit by cars IIRC.

    For the bad rap Texas gets you’d think protesters would be shot on sight :shrug:

  11. LeeAnne

    Protesters today are up against a news blackout. The people I know who showed up at the anti-war Iraq demonstration when the first Bloomberg/Military strategies for crowd control were used -herding people, no-fly no-air photos -false crowd count for history, etc. -wouldn’t think of speaking out now. They can barely talk to each other. They are all threatened with no-fly, or no job lists.

    Fear tactics are working. This regime has trained every law enforcement person + in the 191-nation members of the UNDCP, now renamed UNDOCP -to include new powers for the United Nations who have been operating as law enforcement for the illegal US drug industry worldwide for decades. For instance, UN members are REQUIRED to enforce all US anti-drug laws including forfeiture. These UN power are not new, they are now expanded into the same security/military apparatus we’re seeing all over the Western world.

    The tactics for confronting peaceful demonstrations are now universal.

    These people are far from ‘hippies.’ Use of the term is testament to the inarticulateness coming from people without a clue. The wretched wage slaves of Wall Street.

    1. Nathanael

      Fear tactics are failing.

      They are failing for a reason which *should* have been obvious: they only work on people who feel that they have something to lose. And additionally, they don’t work on people who feel sufficiently abused that they don’t *care* whether they have anything to lose.

      This is a subtle point which is lost on our brutally stupid overlords, because the US Government has not crossed that line in a long, long time. By triggering a Second Great Depression, they are crossing that line, putting far too many people in a position where they *just don’t care any more*.

      You can use fear tactics successfully if you also provide bread and circuses. They’ve been taking away the bread, and the circuses are getting old.

      I think this point is better understood in Europe than it is here, perhaps because they’ve had revolutions more recently.

      1. Nathanael

        To finish the thought, by criminalizing peaceful protest, they have made violent protest inevitable. And violent protest is HARD to prevent. Very, very hard. When it’s popular — as some of it will be, given the general hatred of the banksters at this point — it is essentially impossible to prevent.

  12. gs_runsthiscountry

    This is only beginning…and they can’t suppress it forever.

    So, which will come first <7% U-3 unemployment on or about 2019, or, rioting in the streets? When shall we expect the first person to set themselves on fire in a public display in the United States, or, when will fraud finally be prosecuted?…These, my friends, are questions inquiring American minds would love to know.

    So, you may be reading and think, what a bunch of hyperbole, right? Well, tell you what – call your local Department of Workforce Development and ask to speak to a few case workers. Ask them what it is like to try contacting a client, only to find out they committed suicide.

    That is all…


    1. Nathanael

      The US will probably have more shootouts and bombings before someone commits suicide by burning. It’s an aggressive culture, and there’s an awful lot of guns, and bomb materials are easy to get.

      Though someone being foreclosed on *did* burn his house down with himself in it recently. I guess the bank didn’t get much out of that foreclosure.

      Only a minority of the elite seem to be willing to recognize that the rule of law — the promise of fair treatment — is all that protects them from massive bloodshed.

  13. tz

    Yet isn’t this exactly what you want?

    You want regulation of a preemptive variety, not unlike our “preemptive” wars like Iraq.

    You want cops. Lots of them. With jackboots. Is that not the “progressive” solution to everything? Have the heavy hand of government have to approve every single step and impose penalties for the smallest violation?

    And then when it is your followers and supporters that have the jackboots on their necks you are astonished.

    The genie of power – with its intrinsic corruption – has been summoned long ago. You are not going to control it or bend it to do good. Expect such things to get worse. Bull Connor is laughing from his place in Hades. He didn’t have SWAT teams or drones.

    The best thing is to insure crime (or tort – I trust individuals and juries more than regulators and prosecutors) is clearly and simply defined, and that punishment after the fact is both certain and severe enough to deter, or effective to quarantine the sociopaths who insist on committing crime.

    1. wunsacon

      What you “pre-empt” makes all the difference. Pre-empting mirage threats in Iraq? Stupid. Pre-empting banking fraud? Smart.

    2. wunsacon

      Just re-read your post and noticed this:

      >> The best thing is to insure crime (or tort – I trust individuals and juries more than regulators and prosecutors) is clearly and simply defined,

      Sorry for the modicum of disrespect but: “bwahahahaha”. After pluto-kleptocrats bend the law into Bastiat’s “instrument of plunder”, you think you’re going to have any clearly and simply defined “crimes” or “torts”?

      If you haven’t been noticing, the SCOTUS has been compromised. Look at Scalia not recusing himself during the 2000 election case and look at Thomas and his wife. Look at the laws the pluto-kleptocrats have passed to create — as Bill Black says — a criminogenic environment on Wall Street. Consider that insider trading by Congress is legal.

      The courts will not save us. We have to elect better representatives to the legislature.

  14. JohnB

    The US has been a Police State since the early 1920’s labor rights movements, firing live and cracking heads ever since. So now what?

        1. LeeAnne

          Yeh, in London cops held back encouraging passively encourage looting and violence while in New York peaceful demonstration is suppressed. Is the strategy intentionally creating pressure for an explosion of violence?

          I think so.

          Everything in place right now has been successful. The reason TPTB have been behaving as if they’re bullet proof is because they’re all tanked up and ready for violence.

          1. Nathanael

            The Powers That Be may think they’re ready for violence.

            They are not ready for violence. First Army division which turns on them (and it *will* happen if they continue down this path of insanity) will take them *completely by surprise*.

  15. BondsOfSteel

    There’s a reason Freedom of assembly is in the 1st admendment. It’s a safety valve for society and a key part of demorcracy.

    If people can’t peacefully protest when they’re angry, they’ll release their anger in other ways which may not be peacefull.

  16. James

    We will never get fat, lazy, Americans off the couch.

    We are a nation of over-fed, tattooed, pierced, thugish-clowns.

    Maybe we can outsource protesting to Ukranians or Greeks because Americans are uneducated, lazy, and will never get off their over-entertained asses.

    1. wunsacon

      That’s why the Repubs won’t impose as much austerity as they threaten. If they do, they know they’re inviting riots.

  17. DC Native

    This is an important protest. Say what you will about the nature of the national media coverage, but this protest has at least been covered by the national media [in contrast to the near-total media blackout of the recent oil pipeline arrests in front of the White House].

    Most people won’t run out and stand in front of Wall Street or the White House if the protests consists of them and a few birkenstock-wearers, but if they sense that a protest *movement* is developing, I think we may all be surprised at how many people will turn out. People are currently very angry, and they want to express their anger.

    Last year at the One Nation rally in DC, I recall how lots of people [middle-aged, union men and women] were somewhat disappointed that the day consisted of nothing more than sitting on their butts and listening to thirty or so different speakers. They wanted action; they wanted to march or to do something memorable. But they didn’t get that.

    The Jon Stewart rally was another example of the Left’s willingness to turn out. Again, this rally was primarily a media spectacle with no real threatening intent, but it at least showed that people wanted to get off their couches and venture out into the streets.

    A steady trickle/flow of protests throughout the country may begin to build a real movement. It may heighten Joe American’s awareness that “something” is happening, and it may spark a bit of excitement in his belly. And when Joe gets a chance to join the crowd, he may just do it. And he may bring his friends and family members who have been quietly angry for years and years and who previously felt they had not outlet.

    Movement-building takes Occupy Wall Streets, and it takes rallies like the one to be held in Freedom Plaza in DC on October 6, 2011. I congratulate the folks on Wall Street, and I hope they can hold out until October 6; when us folks in DC can join in on the fun.

  18. max

    Homodon Johnson:
    however, just so we can compare our tin foil hats, there will be a day when aes is broken, and the secrets of an era will open up to the supercomputing powers. thats a good reason to collect as much as possible, regardless of present capabilities. just because they’re collecting doesnt mean theyre decrypting.

    But it doesn’t mean they’re not decrypting. (And I agree with you that eventual decrypt of everything is inevitable given enough time (I am curious why they haven’t completed the Venona decrypts yet – surely someone has a hundred Xboxen or so).) It merely means they can pick and choose what to decrypt, especially if they’re trapping all traffic, which they basically have to be. (Given web caches, plus the majority of traffic being routed through pwned sites, and given that most data is video of some sort (which only needs to be archived once) trapping all other data should be a piece of cake. There’s just not that much of it compared to the storage capacity at hand.)

    Nothing is private, unless you’ve got an in or aren’t a target for the moment. And the laws governing this are pretty relaxed, so that’s that for that.

    [‘Now, interpreting the data is another matter.’]

    1. YankeeFrank

      actually no, encryption can be extremely strong to the point where it would take a thousand years of super-computing power to decrypt. As machines get more powerful, decryption has become faster, but encryption has become exponentially more powerful. We’ve come a long way since 128-bit encryption was developed.

      1. propertius

        Yes we have, but you don’t seriously believe that AES would ever have been approved if it didn’t have an exploitable weakness, do you?

      2. Yves Smith Post author

        You guys are ALL missing an essential point. I commented on this above.

        Send an encrypted message, and you’ve just told the NSA you are a bad guy. They will be all over you like a cheap suit.

        Think YOU can’t be monitored a zillion other ways? Even if they don’t/can’t crack your messages, they can find out a ton about who you are, monitor your phone, your non-secure communications. And they can also ascertain who you are communicating with securely and thus who your co-conspirators are.

        1. Capo Regime

          That this exchange is taking place in the U.S. in 2011 by a well regarded blogger former consultant and harvard grad (i.e. a non flake by any definition) is a bit well–scary.

        2. William

          I don’t think this is an issue with a large organization. Everyone should be using encryption as a matter of course so that the sensitive communications are not distinct from the mundane.

        3. citalopram

          That’s why I think we should all use it for every little piece of nonsense we can dream up.

          On a side note, those who haven’t seen it need to watch the movie The Lives of Others. It’s about the inner workings of the Stasi in East Germany during The Cold War. Fascinating stuff.

        4. Mark P.

          [1] Most of what NSA does in larger demographic contexts is link/traffic analysis, looking for indicators of persons of interest and then, within those persons’ social networks, for whoever else might be of concern.

          Hence, Yves is absolutely correct: no surer route exists to becoming a person of interest than using an indicator like encryption to call attention to yourself.

          [2] Conversely, a very simple trick like having a bunch of cheap prepaid phones that you swap at will and that you had some kids socially unconnected to you purchase with cash is much harder for surveillance to catch. Although, again, it’s about link/network analysis and_who_ you call is going to be a big giveaway.

          [3] All the above said, most NSA folks, as with the FBI, may have higher ethics and more reservations about surveilling ‘US persons’ than many here would give them credit for. They like to see themselves as being on a mission to serve their country, rather than some specific bought-and-paid-for U.S. administration, about which they’re intelligent enough to have the same feelings as most of us who post on NC.

          [4] Yes, there was the Bush-era ‘warrantless wiretapping’ scandal. But the truth there is more complex than has been explained in the mass media — and than the government or the professional privacy crowd were honest enough to educate people about.

          Essentially, for about 15-20 years there’s been no more ‘wiretapping’ as in the J. Edgar Hoover-era paradigm, because there are no more wires except over the last mile. Nowadays, everything travels internet packet-mode over fiberoptic cable — including voice, video, internet, whatever — with packets all mixed in together.

          That means that the 60-70 percent of the planetary telecosm that is routed through Anglo-American switching stations can be thought of as one giant globally-distributed computer that NSA, DIA, and associated organizations in the UK and Israel have access to do automated, highly sophisticated searches on.

          (Israel has the largest phone billing service on the planet and real-time access to phone-billing records is the principal tool that you want to acquire in the mass surveillance business.

          http://www.fundinguniverse.com/company-histories/Amdocs-Ltd-Company-History.html )

          A side-effect of everything being sent in internet packet-mode via fiberoptic is that, indeed, packets containing part of a message from, say, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed really could travel all mixed up with packets of a message from Joe Blow who’s never left Idaho. Consequently, to filter through KSM’s message you’d also need to filter through Joe Blow’s packets. And, of course, all this would be done on an automated level, and would hardly ever get pulled up to the level of oversight by human operators. Therefore, while YMMV on this score, folks at NSA like Michael Haydon thought they could plausibly argue that US persons’ privacy was not being violated.

        5. raj

          Most businesses have encrypted VPNs. No one will see that your message is encrypted when it’s travelling in an encrypted tunnel. There’s far too much of this traffic to decrypt.

        6. Nathanael

          Yves, you’re just wrong. Any competent business uses encryption routinely to protect trade secrets, and the NSA surely knows enough not to waste its time cracking trade secrets.

      3. F. Beard

        I like the “one time pad” – completely unbreakable so long as portions of it are never reused.

        But I agree – increasing computer power favors encryption over decryption. Excellent point.

        1. raj

          It all depends on the assumption of perfect randomness in the pad. Anything less than perfect randomness is crackable with cryptanalysis.

  19. Susan the other

    I understood that Adbusters was behind this “Occupy Wall Street,” and not solely Anonymous. With Adbusters in mind, I’m wondering why this demonstration took the form of the right to assemble. The obvious conclusion is that any interference in it is then unconstitutional. The platform is clearly that capitalism does not work for ordinary people. It doesn’t work for cops either. So why aren’t the protests doing something that works? Like stop shopping. Why don’t they set up coops like a Take It and Leave It internet exchange? It looks like there is a threshold that corporations can tolerate. They can lose a certain percentage of their sales revenue. But if it goes beyond that, they are toast. Because capitalism won’t work for them either.

    1. citalopram

      Stop shopping is a bad idea because it ain’t gonna work. Even if you have the numbers to make it work, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. I think a better idea would be to eschew debt altogether.

  20. Jim

    If the sentiments of Occupy Wall Street can be combined with something along the lines of Restructuring Wall Street then a link can be made to creating new alternative credit institutions at a local level and a foundation might be created for offering the possibility of a new set of jobs as well as a new set of local institutions.

    It might even be possible at some future point to have done the necessary research where there literally could be some type of job fair(within the open space) discussing the technical/legal/financial details of how these alternative credit institutions would operate in New York State and what kind of potential jobs they could provide.

    Getting recruits to this new movement to dicuss alternative credit systems, alternative banks and maybe even the possibility of a debt jubilee for the general public rather than for the elite bankers. Endless possibilites for great discussion and the creation of exciting alternative institutions.

    If a consensus could be formed around these types of issues then a major campaign could be launced in D.C. around the practicality of a debt jubilee and the necessity of alternative credit institutions. Suddently the theoretical models of Steve Keen become the basis for recruiting citizens into a new mass movement with specific concrete goals for solving our economic/financial/cultural crisis– from the bottom up.

    1. JTFaraday

      Definitely something middle America would get behind.

      But that raises an interesting question. How much of the chanting at this rally is “F the police!” because that’s what really speaks to the demographic that is drawn to this mode of dissent these days?

      I don’t know, per se, in this instance. I’m just wondering.

      1. JTFaraday

        See, now this one, is definitely NOT all the way downtown, near Wall Street. This one is literally around the corner from NYU and the New School, a couple blocks north of Washington Square Park.

          1. JTFaraday

            In the video, they are not heading uptown. They are heading downtown, on University Place, a few blocks west of Union Square. Perhaps this particular group was waylaid before they even got anywhere, because the cops knew where they were coming from in the first place.

            Just looking at the tape.

          2. LeeAnne

            Thanks for the link. They’re running south on University Place and 11th St. away from E12th where police are coraling a group, wrapping their orange mesh around the corner. They pretend that’s necessary for controlling traffic. So, it was definitely a provocation. Traffic on University is a one way cinch, until it gets close to Union Square on E14th St.

            Its not like there’s crowded business traffic. University dead ends at Washington Square Park on 8th.

            The police like testing that tactic. Used it on every corner during the RNC in 2004. They just wrapped it around every corner as pedestrians tried to go about their everyday personal business -people like me.

            I lived there and went to school for years in that area. Staring at this makes me seriously weep.

          3. Yves Smith Post author

            The NYT story says what happened. They wanted to go to University Place, the most direct route was blocked. so they went to Union Square (north, as in beyond University Place) and came back south).

          4. LeeAnne

            at the beginning of the video a large number of people are running away from 12th and university. All of this video is taking place on University Place. I’m referring to what I can see. Where they wanted to go I have no way of knowing; conceivably they were on their way to Union Square when some were ‘kettled’ by police on 12th and others are seen running in the opposite direction south on University.

            I’ll defer to the NY Times on anything on this video I can’t see with my own eyes.

          5. JTFaraday

            Yeah, I think the Times clears it up a little bit. It could be they are headed downtown in the video because they were blocked heading uptown. Maybe His Royal Highness wants to keep it downtown.

            That area has seen its fair share of students protests the past couple years. About a year and a half-2 years ago, there were occupations of CUNY, NYU, the New School in rapid succession culminating somewhat dramatically *right around that very same 12th St corner,* along with some property damage inflicted by groups running through the streets on more than one occasion. (Which means the residents weren’t happy).


            I don’t know what’s been going on since, I kind of stopped following it in detail. But anarchist groups love, love, love that photo from the roof.

            (Occupy everything!)

          6. JTFaraday

            Oh yeah, I forgot. They also chased former Senator Bob Kerrey down the street one night. We could use that downtown, maybe, but I don’t expect it would end well.

    2. Susan the other

      To Jim above: yes that makes lots of sense. It may be that boycott is the old-fashioned way of fighting fog with fog. And we could be very surgical. I hope Occupy Wall Street does not lose momentum. And we could still use an internet Take It and Leave It. A good intermediate step in the recycling process. Especially in this country.

  21. Hugh

    I agree with DC Native, this is a start. Movements do not arrive fully formed. They need time to build.

    The lack of coverage of #OccupyWallStreet and the heavyhanded reaction to it on the ground say a lot about the level of control our elites feel they need to cover up their illegitimacy. On the surface, they are dismissive. A hack Establishment rag like the Times dutifully trivializes the demonstrations. But below the surface, our elites are deeply fearful of any movement no matter how small that they cannot control and has the potential for going popular.

    Contrast this to the Establishment attitude toward the Tea Party. If the Tea Party were behind this action, it would be covered to saturation in the media. Why? Because the elites control the Tea Party. It may threaten this or that politician’s reelection but it is every bit as corporatist in its outlook as the PTB could wish. The Koch brothers wouldn’t be backing it as they do if it were any other way.

    As to how to respond to those who say the demonstators are getting what they deserve. I would say this, they are there fighting for you, they are there fighting for us. Would you do as much?

  22. Timmy

    The way to effectively hurt Wall Street is not to go
    demonstrate there, but to to walk down to you local
    large TARP bank, close your account and find a local
    smaller alternative, preferably a credit union.

    Next, stop using your ATM card. Instead go in and
    withdraw cash every few weeks and pay your merchants, that you have vetted as to local ownership to the degree
    possible, in cash. Write checks for large purchases.

    Shop at your local farmers market. Buy American grown food whenever possible at locally owned food stores.

    Your everyday financial actions mean more than all
    the demonstrations you might participate in.

    1. mk

      this is EXACTLY right. it’s all about money, so stop giving them your money. that’s what I’m doing, one little area in my life at a time. I saved half of what I made last year, and that’s with a huge drop in income. I look to spend my dollars with local businesses and stopped using my atm card with small/local businesses because I don’t want the banks to get a cut of the sale.

      I went to the mall a couple of weeks ago (first time in over a year) and I was thoroughly disgusted by what I saw, everything is made in China and the materials the clothes are made of are so thin! I looked in every store and they were ALL THE SAME! I didn’t buy a single thing. I can find better quality in the thrift stores.

      I’m lucky, I have a job where I work from home, so I got a great opportunity to cut my expenses with no commute, and no need for professional wardrobe, except for face to face meetings once or twice a year.

      I don’t have loans or credit cards, pay my car insurance in one lump sum too. Anything to cut costs and not participate in debt traps or pay interest.

    2. rotter

      Dont Stop with the food. Buy American made anything and everything you can get. If you cant find something American made then ask for it. When they tell you they dont have one then go without and tell them why you arent buying, whenever possible. Ive been doing this, seriously,for about a year and ive noticed something shocking- Looking for made in US products is considered subversive. I wish I had a forum to publish the snotty, hostile and dismissive emails ive recieved from regional sales reps and distribution center managers in my search for US made Electronic components.And or the hapless, fatalistic ones ive received from small retailers whom ive questioned about the availability of US made parts. I manufature and repair audio equiptment and i just got to the point where i couldnt stand to buy another Chinese or Taiwan part.I buy the little thats availble, demand more, and spend hours and hours on ebay looking for stuff made in the 50’s60’s and 70’s. Ive also learned that 50 year old electronic psrts made in the US and Europe are still better quality than those made in Taiwan yesterday. Thje last thing these wal-st theives want is a demand for American Manufacturing. The allegedly cheaper cost of manufaturing in Asia is a side effect. The real reason they have moved everything offshore is to punish workers, depress wages, and to have a club to beat US regulators and politicians with. They took their ball and went to China to paly there. Problem for them is they rely on us to buy thier shoddy junk. DONT BUY IT.

        1. Jeff

          Don’t know where I saw this but it bears repeating:

          “If we’re not good enough to make it,
          then we’re not good enough to buy it”

  23. Gil Gamesh

    The NYPD is simply performing its time-honored duties to protect property and privilege. Still, it’s marginally better than having private militias roaming the financial district (but that may soon happen). That the peons of this country (wage slaves and the out-of-work, children, people of color, immigrants) have no redress under the Bill of Rights would only surprise people like Bill Keller and David Brooks. Put another way: you, run-of-the mill American with no assets and no access to power, have the right to toil in a job you don’t like, be encumbered by debt, and die early from cancer (for the sacred rights of capitalists to pollute will not be materially infringed). Such is the American Dream…death on the installment plan.

    1. wunsacon

      >> private militias roaming the financial district (but that may soon happen)

      ~~Send in the drones!~~
      ~~(They’re already here.)~~

  24. MIWill

    Perhaps the NYC police can improve some of their skills, such as respect and restraint toward citizens, by cross-training more often with other, more professional organizations. TSA maybe.

  25. Juneau

    I think you are correct about people’s fear of arrest and subsequent unemployment. Regarding the video, it reminds me of a few women I have met who claim to have been roughed up (white btw) for saying the wrong thing to a uniformed officer. Roughed up like, say, getting pushed against the hood of a car during a traffic stop for an overdue ticket, etc…, because they were naive enough to think they could talk to the officer in an assertive manner.

  26. za

    Aw, you gotta be kidding me…

    Somebody else do a sanity check for me – I posted a link to the Youtube video on my FB wall. It appeared for just a second. Now it’s still on my profile, but doesn’t appear on my main page or in the feed in the upper right.

    Lots of other YT stuff from friends – things like music videos, etc – is still in my newsfeed.

  27. ebear

    NYC has how many intersections? So place one person on each corner, each with the same sign and a cell-cam to monitor the other 3. That ought to do it. Multiple redundancy – the lesson of the internet.

    Mass protest is ineffective. It makes you an easy target, both for police and agent provocateurs. Distribution is the key to getting your message out and protecting yourself against abuse. If you’re told to move on, simply move on…. to another intersection.

    I would be much more impressed if I drove through NYC and saw “stop the looting, start prosecuting” at every intersection I crossed than if I had to detour around a crowd I might not even see due to police roadblocks, especially if that made me late for work. Small groups also have the ability to engage pedestrians and distribute printed material.

    Adaptation is the key to survival. And don’t forget your safety glasses!


    1. Jeff

      And don’t forget that that a super soaker squirt
      gun full of diluted latex paint will quickly and harmlessly cover a face shield…I mean the cops could use that on people with masks, or vice versa…heh heh…

      1. casino implosion

        Yeah, that’s all we need: stressed out riot cops in a tense situation being blinded by people with things that look like large guns.

    2. zeroreference

      THAT is not a good idea! Any sort of weapon-like object, or spraying police w/any sort of liquid, ESPECIALLY post 9/11 is giving up the strengths of peaceful, non-violent protest.

      It is also a ridiculous idea to try and fight the police. Or, really, have any sort of conflict like that.

      Nonviolence, peaceful protests are a form of asymmetrical conflict. Harkening to the ’60s, our strength: love. Their weakness: love. Their strength: force. Our weakness: force.

  28. quark

    At some point the citizens of the US will fight back against the entrenched financial interests. An internal war within the US will begin created by the chasm created between the sinking ranks of the middle class and the wealth holders of this country.

    If we have a military that supports the wealthy then we will have active terrorist groups made up of US citizens attacking the government, if we have an army that backs the citizens then we will simply have a change of government that hopefully moves back to democracy.

    It is unfortunate that our country is moving in this direction but this is not like the 60’s. The ideology of holding onto powers and wealth has become more entrenched, tolerance of expressing ones views in peaceful protest is becoming less tolerated..particularly as the protests are directed where money is concentrated. If we have an economic collapse this will happen sooner not later.

    I hope for our countries sake we can avoid such a crisis…that said, I do not believe we have the political intellect to do so.

  29. LAS

    I feel terrible for those poor women in the video. There was no reason for trampling on their rights with that net and the pepper spray. The worst they could have been was to be vocal.

    Here as elsewhere, authorities quite often are the ones to provoke the violence.

    Citizens certainly don’t. They have no weapons.

    I think there is too much policing of events. We don’t pay taxes to keep a police state, but to stop crime and assist people/citizens in trouble.

    Stuff like this warrants a civil rights suit.

  30. Shankara


    This morning I was listening to a radio show on the history of the west when the program described how the soldiers suddenly fired on the natives in the government camp, killing many.

    I then came to NC and watched the video of people who were standing where they were told to stand on the street, when they were suddenly maced and arrested.

    Now I’m watching TV…. the program’s showing a hippie dragging a large cross. I hope this one ends well.

  31. Capo Regime

    All worrisome. The item on Twitter being blocked should warrant far more attention. So much for technology being liberating and net the answer to all our prayers etc. The techno utopians should take this as a wake up call. Also disturbing are the comments on other blogs. There is a lot of those hippy good for nothings deserve it, they are poorly organized. I would have to say that the comments attacking the protestors sound as if they were posted by the Shah’s or Mubareks staff and supporters! If trolls post this it is sad, if even a small portion of our citizens hold such virulent views we are certainly beyond hope…

  32. ECON

    The failure of corporate mass media demonstrates the police state so desired to protect the very people who should have been pursued by the Attorney General Holder and charged in a court of law. Irony of this is the Soviet Union dissolution not too long past from the control of the few to America and its police and security state since 2000.

  33. c13579c

    The NYPD is obsessed with not allowing demos to march in the streets. (give em an inch, etc.). They have always justified this on traffic concerns (ambulances, etc.).

    This argument is no longer even remotely valid – Bloomberg has permanently shut down Broadway at Times Square and part of Herald Square.

  34. Lisa Farmer

    Police “supervisor” walks over, maces the poor girls. He needs to be identified. Criminally prosecution would be appropriate, in my opinion. I suspect it was unjustifiable. Criminal assault. If the City of New York doesn’t investigate, the Federal Government should step in. If this guy committed assault, whether under cover of authority or not, this guy needs to be investigated, prosecuted and jailed. And should be open to civil prosecution as well. Shame him!

  35. Jeff

    You want to really protest Wall Street?

    Then inform your self about this and ask why can’t the U.S. government just create its own interest free money for infrastructure and jobs?

    This article is not about Kucinich exclusively,
    that’s just the headline.


    “BOB BLAIN, PROGRESSIVE REVIEW, 1994 – By 1993 federal debt was $4.4 trillion. From 1790 to 1993, taxpayers were charged $3.2 trillion in interest on federal debt. . . The present federal debt is arguably the original debt enlarged by 204 years of compounding interest.

    According to the Federal Reserve Bulletin, the total money supply (currency, travelers checks, demand deposits, and savings accounts) in the U.S. economy in March 1993 was $4 trillion. The total debt of the federal government, state and local governments, corporations, farmers, home buyers, and consumers was in excess of $15 trillion. If the total money supply is $4 trillion, where is the other $11 trillion of borrowed money?. . . “

  36. rf

    So Im walking back from chelsea piers with my daughter passing just south of union square on the way home saturday and I see this whole thing. That video is crap – the protesters incited the police. They started screaming and pushing back at the police basically trying to make something happen. The police response was amazingly tame given how the protesters were acting.

    BUT – the subject of this post – the right to free assembly. Dead for sure and its so sad. NYC is especially bad about this with the permits and such. But blame your local mayor (read government) not the banks for this one.

    1. rotter

      Well i was walking right behind you and it happened the way its being described here. actually it worse.

      but i agree, we need free speech.

  37. bigsurtree

    Our first amendment:
    assembly=under threat of arrest

    Not lookin too good right now

  38. Schofield

    Oh Dear. The New York police seem to think the American Constitution especially the first amendment is written on toilet paper. Funny how Neo-Liberals keep telling us how important a written constitution is to safeguard our freedom but quickly side with the police thuggery at the outbreak of dissent over Neo-Liberal policies and beliefs. Friedrich Hayek was right in order to impose “Neo-Liberal Freedom” you have to control the state even if that means cracking some skulls open. Now where did I here that before about you can’t make an omelet without cracking eggs.

    1. Externality

      Now where did I here that before about you can’t make an omelet without cracking eggs.

      That saying originated with Soviet official Lazar Kaganovich. Nicknamed the “Wolf of the Kremlin,” his ‘accomplishments’ included orchestrating the genocidal forced-famine that killed between four and six million Ukrainians between 1932 and 1933. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lazar_Kaganovich

      From the October 24, 1932, issue of Time Magazine:

      Publicly to against expound himself and last week denounce the “plot” against himself last week Josef Stalin chose his Right-Hand-Man-Of-The-Moment, Comrade Lazar Kaganovitch. Ingenious, this henchman found the perfect metaphor with which to explain away major breaks in the Five-Year Plan and heap all praise upon Dictator Stalin. Keynoted Comrade Kaganovitch: “. . . Why wail over broken eggs when we are trying to make an omelette ! . . .

      (emphasis added, alternative spelling in original)
      Read more: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,753448,00.html#ixzz1Z0yjUGZM

      1. Hugh

        It’s a French proverb. On ne fait pas d’omelette sans casser des oeufs or alternately On ne peut pas faire d’omelette sans casser des oeufs. I originally heard it attributed to Georges Sand and more recently to Robespierre. It probably predates both.

    1. LeeAnne

      those filthy fk*n $%@@. This is what is now permitted legally. That woman is wearing s skin tight top where nothing could be hidden. I saw the other video where she screaming about being touched.

      That is rape. And that is what every goon authorized by TSA is permitted to do. I’ve never seen anything in my life like that. It is the most provocative photo on the face of the earth and will go VIRAL.

  39. barrisj

    Once the courts – Fed, state, or local – allowed cities to impose “time,place, and manner” restrictions on the freedom of assembly, and used state power (the police) to enforce such restrictions, 1st-Amendment rights more and more are in name only. If one’s safety is potentially put at risk by merely attending rallies or protest demos due to predictable “overzealousness” by the coppers, that in itself is a practical deterrent to peaceful assembly – if you don’t show up, you won’t get hurt. And the corollary to that is: Only “determined troublemakers” will in fact show up, so they will get what they deserve. The sort of behaviour shown by the State in allowing ridiculous restrictions on where and how people are able to protest, for example, at the conventions of national political parties, or at speeches given by political figures – including the President – virtually guarantees marginalisation of dissident voices, and ensures violent retribution by organs of the State against those who challenge such “regulations”.
    Although SCOTUS has graciously given full 1st-Amendment rights to corporations, the rights of the people as enumerated in the Bill of Rights are given more and more short shrift, and these trends can only further render the citizenry into simply passive agents who are “consulated” at the ballot box, and only allowed to participate occasionally in essence one-party plebiscites, then sent on their way until the next time they are needed to cast a ballot approving their enslavement by an authoritarian Corporate State.
    There really is only one remedy for these sorts of restrictions against and punitive responses to the right of assembly: the mobilisation of hundreds of thousands or millions at a time, where state organs of power are overwhelmed by sheer numbers, and the usual wanton brutality directed against small handfuls of people is effectively neutralised by the weight of numbers. It has happened before in America, and should “the people” resolutely determine to take to the streets to exercise their rights and shout out their displeasure against their corrupt rulers, it may well happen again.

    1. LeeAnne

      The experience of the Philippine people is inspiring where people at peaceful demonstrations came from every walk of life.

      This is a photo history of EDSA, the Philippine struggle and mass demonstration of 1986 from the Wikipedia article “EDSA History”

      Photos of the mass demonstration begin at (43 of 50).
      People Power Retrospective at Library of Congress
      In February, 23-25, 1986, the first people-led nonviolent revolution against an Asian despot occurred when Philippine Army generals defected from their ranks and joined the mass protest against Marcos … . Throngs of people, nine feet deep met the oncoming tanks accompanied by nuns and priests who provided a protective phalanx surrounding the protesters. What was then a student-led uprising evolved into a mass protest joined by society matrons, store keepers, citizen groups and people from all walks of life.

  40. Tony

    The protestors have a Web page here:


    There are many other awful videos of police brutality against the protestors on the above link.

    You can make donations here:



    You are dead wrong about the police brutality videos. Those videos made my blood boil and inspired me to donate.

    Thank you to Yves for bringing this to our attention. I hope this movement continues to grow and grow.

  41. bunnytoujours

    You can see some of these cops do not want to be there and are in a contradicting position doing a job. Altough the rage is intense the non violence is important in these demonstrations, they will be infiltrated by the cops and they will provoke the violence this must be contained , very hard.

  42. 60sradical

    I was in many large demonstrations in the 60s and 70s. One, in particular, in April,1967 in San Fransico called “The Mobilization” had an estimated number of 300 to 500 THOUSAND participants. Hence, a truly critical mass was reached. That day, we knew our goal, and the police and their potential brutality was much understood by then. That day there were just too many of us.
    However,there were many other smaller demonstrations–especially in Berkeley–where police brutality was wild and frenetic! I lived through martial law and tear gas and everyone I knew referred to the cops as pigs. There were police from 2-3 cities, the county sherrif dept., a “blue meanie” squad(fat guys dressed in blue holding shields), and even the National Guard dressed in battle gear. All in the same day! And, as you all know, people died.
    I really can’t say anything that hasn’t been said many times. My guess is that there will be more demonstrations wherein police brutality is discussed more than the goal, which is FINANCIAL TERRORISM if you’re demonstratng/marching on Wall St. Moral: KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE PRIZE. Other parts of the country have different issues.
    One thing I do know: when you, your loved ones, or “tribe” are mortally threatened, you may then decide to place your body in a march or on the line. Only then, can critical mass be achieved. There is a demonstration somewhere or other EVERY WEEK in America, but, I haven’t seen any with critical mass in about 40 years! Apparently our pain is not intense enough yet.

  43. K Ackermann

    Folks, there are many wonderful recipies for things such as cloroform and smoke all over the internet.

    If the cops want chaos, then chaos they can have.

    It would be nice to jam their communications, too.

  44. K Ackermann

    As to encryption and moitoring… watch this:

    Flea bomb the white house at the end of the street.

    Does the expression, “shoot the president on Tuesday” trigger elevated scutiny?

    Now imagine messages such as these happenning a million times a minute. There are not enough eyes to take a look.

  45. Paul Tioxon


    The number of riots, strikes, social uprising incidents are so numerous in China, that it is hard to get a handle on just how tough the The Chinese population is in the face of corruption. There is a reason for China’s economic advance that is under reported, and it is not that the labor is dirt cheap and plentiful, it is as well in India or Brazil, but what is going on in China is staggering all known development. The main reason China was so prepared to put hundreds of millions of rural young men and women into productive industrial parks in such great numbers is the decades of preparation of the rural population, which of course, is most of China in the interior. That is where Mao retreated, where he did his greatest work and where when he took state power, he poured education, healthcare and a decent diet. Those same Human Capital that are so good with industrial work were made that way due to decades of development on the part of the CCP. These same people don’t take crap or corruption that easily.

    In America, we aren’t quite at the point where the media has to actually stand up and take notice, but the daily dose of mass murders by apeshit Army captains who return from Afpakiraq, barricaded at the end of their rope losers, who used to just be the guy down the street, flash mobs, urban weekend death tolls in the dozens, in a few cities on a regular basis, eventually, the media will have to start drawing some conclusion that there is a revolution in slow motion. Of course, that will happen when they get done with the major Obama scandal at Solyndra, which of course is epic fail, threatening Watergate like proportions of unbridled power gone mad.

  46. g kaiser

    The world i really in an sorry state, but this is just a taste of what is to come.
    Your country has been dishing this out, and much worse, for years to foreigners all over the globe. It has not won you any friends!
    Now even your own population is beginning to get the same medicine. It will not win many friends there either.
    I guess this is the beginning of the end, in a small way yes, but the cards are now on the table.
    You are in a deadly fight for your own freedom, and that is not a fight you are going to win sitting behind the TV.

  47. Be Free

    “I’m beginning to wonder whether the right to assemble is effectively dead in the US…”

    You could’ve written that 30 years ago and it would have still been true. No offense but you’re late.

    Pepper spray and tasers make it so easy for police to control unarmed, peaceful citizens. These “non lethal” weapons should be banned permanently. No one should have them. Without these weapons it would be harder for the police to suppress civil rights. Imagine if the officers had been swinging nightsticks or shooting into the group of protesters. Those images would’ve been more disturbing. But a quick hand motion let one officer quickly spray an entire area immediately dispersing some of the women while causing many to fall and cry out in pain.

    Pepper spray is treated as a toy by the police and even more so by deputies in county jails and corrections staff in state and federal prisons. Pepper spray is used to harass, intimidate, and even torture American citizens in America. That is not an overstatement.

    Your tax money, by the way, pays for this crap. Just so you know.

  48. Elizabeth

    I work around Wall Street, and I went up to Zuccotti Park on Friday night. The rain had of course put a damper on things, but even then, it was more anemic than I had expected. And mostly young people, no angry retirees, no wide representation. Their agenda on some flyers I saw elsewhere were kind of lame: Global Warming, stuff like that. Everybody has to get behind every cause, or it’s just not real to them. A common mistake. The few cops there were talking quietly with the kids.

    This was not a threat to capitalism or anything else.

    And yet . . . it was the online presence that got attention. Somebody needs to tell these kids that this is not 1969, and nobody really cares if they sleep in a park — except a few over-enthusiastic cops and city officials. It won’t change anything, so go back inside.

    You’d think they’d have a better idea of how to use technology to organize people. This is, after all, the Millennial generation, all brought up on the Internet and whatnot.

    It’s not that they’re stupid; the cops are stupid. The city is stupid. There’s no point in brutalizing anyone, because it only proves their point. They must be taking training from the London police, which believes “kettling” is an effective way to put down the mob. It’s more like a way to build a mob, and nobody forgets the experience. They won’t forget it when they’re 35 and in charge of things, either.

  49. Stephen

    Yves, I was at the march Saturday. The numbers were much larger moving up through lower Manhattan. 4 city blocks of protesters took over the streets anywhere the police would allow them to go. If we conservatively estimate that at 200 protesters per block, we’re already at 800. A friend of mine who is much better at crowd estimation than I (he’s a DJ and knows the size of the venues he works), figured the number was between 1,000-2,000.

    At Union Square the mob quickly dwindled to a few hundred since there was a sense of completion and some hesitation on the part of organizers. There were probably 50-100 uniformed police officers on the perimeter at Union Square and police vehicles effectively blocked 14th Street. When the organizers chose East (there were cries of “To the UN”), the police quickly intervened. So instead we streamed south on University.

    Once we were out of Union Square the police quickly began cordoning off groups of protesters with their portable netting. This divide and conquer police tactic would only work once the march became small enough for them to overwhelm (and they were out of sight of the thousands of consumers in Union Sq).

    I did not witness the pepper spray incident first hand, but word quickly spread through the crowd that the police were using “mace”. However, I did witness several other examples of police brutality. In one instance a 200-225 lb muscle bound officer shoved a 100 lb woman to the ground because she dare stand where he wanted to walk.

    That said, I agree with the sentiment that the focus on police brutality detracts from the message of the protesters. Fortunately, the protesters seems to have embraced that as well. Littered all around the encampment yesterday were hand written signs to the police thanking them for their vigilance and reaching out the hand of friendship.

    I went on Saturday as a curious observer who agrees that corporate influence has corrupted our political system and glad to see that protesters had finally stood up to the powers that be in our financial industry. Watching the outsized police response to a peaceful protests galvanized my belief in their mission and has made me much more interested and engaged in their efforts than I was previously.

    I’m guessing this coming Saturday’s march will dwarf last Saturday’s march – and with much better results since the media will be watching this time.

  50. Justicia

    I’d like to see thousands of people Occupy Wall Street for weeks and weeks with a Laugh Them Out protest.

    In India, crowds of citizens disgusted with the local electeds gathered in front of the government building and raucously laughed at them until they resigned. Think of how much fun that could be — comedians (Stewart, Colbert, Gervais, Seinfeld) would be drawn to it like flies to honey.

    1. Justicia

      I was browsing the Occupy Wall St chat room and took away this bit of an exchange:

      I agree …, there are people i work with in juvie that don’t belong there for close to the same reason. I am there strictly to help those youth (a lot of them gang bangers) better their lives. which is what this movement is about for EVERYONE

      That’s a movement I support.

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