Police State: #OWS, Other Crackdowns Part of National, Coordinated Effort; Bloomberg Defies Court Order to Let Protestors Back into Zuccotti Park [Update: Judge Rules in Favor of City]

The crackdowns on the Occupations around the US are as ugly as they seem.

The area around Zuccotti Park was subject last night to a 9/11 level lockdown over peaceful, lawful protests by a small number of people. No credible case has been made by the officialdom that the protestors had violated any laws. Martial law level restrictions were in place. Subways were shut down.Local residents were not allowed to leave their buildings. People were allowed into the area only if they showed ID with an address in the ‘hood. Media access was limited to those with official press credentials, which is almost certainly a small minority of those who wanted to cover the crackdown (the Times’ Media Decoder blog says that journalists are describing the tactics, as we did, as a media blackout). Moreover, reading the various news stories, it appears they were kept well away from the actual confrontation (for instance, the reported tear gassing of the Occupiers in what had been the kitchen, as well as separate accounts of the use of pepper spray and batons). News helicopters were forced to land. As of 10 AM, reader Wentworth reported that police helicopters were out in force buzzing lower Manhattan.

Gregg Levine tells us, based on a BBC interview of Mayor Quan of Oakland, that as some readers and this blogger speculated last night, the 18 police action was a national, coordinated effort. This is a more serious development that one might imagine. Reader Richard Kline has pointed out that one of the de facto protections of American freedoms is that policing is local, accountable to elected officials at a level of government where voters matter.

National coordination vitiates the notion that policing is responsive to and accountable to the governed. Even though the blog the Stranger gives a tidbit from the Seattle mayor, who did not participate in the crackdown, that the effort was coordinated through the US Conference of Mayors, it is not hard to imagine that there was more that a little bit of, erm, help from the Feds. Gregg points out that New York city police chief Ray Kelly has a tight relationship with the CIA and the FBI. Homeland Security has also trying to increase its influence over police forces in major cities. It is not hard to imagine it playing a role in this effort as well. And this of course makes a farce of the sympathetic noises from Teleprompter (hat tip reader Bob Falfa for the coinage)

Crains New York reports that Bloomberg is defying a court order to allow protestors back into Zuccotti Park:

Hundreds of officers in riot gear raided Zuccotti Park at 1 a.m. Tuesday, removing dozens of Occupy Wall Street protesters from the park that protesters had renamed Liberty Square. After the park was cleaned, the mayor said people could return but without tents, tarps or sleeping bags.

Hours later, the National Lawyers Guild obtained a court order allowing Occupy Wall Street protesters to return with tents to the park. The guild said the injunction prevents the city from enforcing park rules on Occupy Wall Street protesters, but the city kept the park sealed off throughout the afternoon, despite the order.

At a morning news conference at City Hall, Mr. Bloomberg said the city knew about the court order but had not seen it and would fight it in court. He said the city wants to protect people’s rights, but if it must choose, it will protect public safety.

Ah yes, the old “public safety” argument, the pet excuse of fascists. So what exactly is the worst OWS has done? Drumming at night? Annoying as hell, but a threat to safety? It appears the thing at risk is the 1%’s secure lock on political processes.

Abigail Field describes how the Occupations can turn around this reversal of fortune: have sympathizers put up protestors so they don’t have to live in the public places they decide to hold:

The only way to regain the power of the protest, to eliminate any shred of pretense for police state action, is to sever occupying and camping.

So how do we do that? By enabling the Occupiers to camp with you, and occupy the square in shifts. If sleeping and all the biological needs of the occupiers–can be handled in your space, the Occupiers can stand vigil in our space. Can’t you see it? The afternoon shift giving way to the graveyard shift, sunrise greeting the morning shift as it arrives for its duty. Or maybe there’s just two shifts, day and night. Either way, shift work is very 99%, a tactic that’s on message.

Look, the People are with the Occupiers; the Occupiers are having an impact; we need the Occupation to continue; we need to respond to the police state with jujitsu, with refining the situation so their assaults increasingly miss their mark. If we successfully separate occupation and camping, ALL action against the occupiers will be totally unjustifiable. The police state side loses.

But that can only happen if individual New Yorkers are courageous enough to stand up and invite a stranger into their home; if unions are courageous enough to really provide a platform for the Occupy movement’s fight; if the clergy in their synagogues, churches, mosques and temples spread their teachings by living the example and provide sanctuary.

The support of churches and synagogues is critical. Any readers that are active in their local house of worship in a city that was participated in the crackdowns should press their congregations on this issue. Another route is for some of the weekend protestors to see if they can handle an occasional evening shift (say after work to 10 or 11 PM) to increase the numbers holding the spaces.

Some religious leaders are already starting to rally behind the Occupiers. Again from Crains:

At the same time, a separate group of protesters descended on Juan Pablo Duarte Square, located between Canal and Grand streets and Varick and Sixth avenues in lower Manhattan. They were met there by a delegation of about one dozen interfaith leaders, who lead a prayer session.

“What happened last night is a gift—it’s a moment of transition,” said Rev. Michael Ellick, minister of Judson Memorial Church. “It’s not just about Zuccotti Park…It’s about how we function as a society.”

Many believe the crackdown was in advance of a planned two month rally planned for this Thursday to target Wall Street proper. The police action was clearly designed to keep press far enough away to prevent the capture of images and videos of police aggression that have only increased sympathy for and participation in the movement. I hope this ploy backfires, and that the turnout for the Thursday rally is large, and that OWS and its sympathizers develop improved strategies for recording the actions of the police.

Update: As soon as the post went up, this Wall Street Journal report on a ruling against OWS came in. Notice that the ruling is from the New York Supreme Court, which is confusingly the lowest level of court in the state. I assume the ruling will be appealed:

A judge ruled against Occupy Wall Street protesters, upholding a move by New York City and the landlord of the privately owned plaza to clear tents from Zuccotti Park and prevent protesters from bringing equipment back in…

Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman weighed whether to extend a temporary restraining order that bars the city from enforcing park rules against tents and other camping equipment.

The order is here, hat tip Michael Redman:

New York Supreme Court Ruling v. Occupy Wall Street Nov. 15, 2011

This is the meat of the ruling:

To the extentthat City law prohibits the erection of structures, the use of gas or other combustible materials, and the accumulation of garbage and human waste in public places, enforcement ofthe law and the owner’s rules appears reasonable to permitthe owner to maintain its space in a hygienic, safe, and lawful condition, and to prevent itfrom being liable by the City or others for violations of law, or in tort It also permits public access by those who live and work in the area who are the intended beneficiaries of this zoning bonus.

The movants have not demonstrated that they have a First Amendment right to remain in Zuccotti Park, along with their tents, structures, generators, and other installations to the exclusion oft he owner’s reasonable rights and duties to maintain Zuccotti Park, orto the rights to public access of others who might wish to use the space safely. Neither have the applicants shown a rightto a temporary restraining order that would restrict the City’s enforcement of law so as to promote public health and safety.

Note that the City was clearly prepared to make an argument in court; the protestors were represented (effectively) by the transit union, the New York Communities Exchange, the Working Families party. I suspect they did not have precedents as well lined up as the city did. The support of the transit union is important, particularly given the role the shutdown of the trains played in keeping observers and supporters away from the site last night. This struggle is not over and future rounds could get interesting.

Update 5:55 PM. Reader Debra C correct me on one point: there is as lower court level than the Supreme Court, but quite honestly, every litigation I’ve ever heard of in New York City (save small claims court) has started in the Supreme Court. It also looks like major judge shopping took place (no surprise here):

Civil court is the actually a lower level. Judge Stallman is actually only a Civil Court Judge who is temporarily assigned to the Supreme Court.

He never made it to Supreme Court in the normal way which is by election. He was originally appointed in 1999 to Civil Court by Mayor Giuliani. It shows.

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  1. rotter

    Ultimately, to people who are serious and informed about whats going on, this had to be expected. I think as uncomfortable as they are, these police state intrusions, overeaches and abuses are needed. What we have to fight and attempt to control is the true story. All we’re going to get from network and cable “news” apparatchiks is misinformation; that the protests were “dangerous”, and “dirty”, a “public risk”, etc., etc., The police state must be shown up for what they are,(brutal,violent, illegal and undemocratic) and held up in plain view of the public. More peaceful and truthful confrontation is absolutely necessary. I will be there offering up my head to a police club,i just hope someone else get the video up on youtube.

    1. Steve

      I agree it was “to be expected” but “offering up my head to a police club” is not going to grow the movement. Yes, more people need to get out and get involved, but they need a starting move that is less intimidating, focused on education, brings people face-to-face to experience consensus building and community, and is increasingly more accessible and local (i.e. the more local, the larger the movement can grow!). How about this idea…

      I’ve been looking for ‘Occupy MeetUps’ with a ‘Let’s Get Educated by Reading Together’ format. So many really good articles are being published daily. I would love to sit in a small or big circle with other concerned citizens and take turns reading these articles out loud to each other, one article after another, followed by a brief, or not so brief, debate.

      I’ve looked locally here in the Dallas area. Most of my searching has led to ‘meetup.com’ but nothing comes close to the ‘Occupy Current Events… Read Together, Learn, and Debate’ that I’m looking for. I’m getting my nerve up to initiate the meetup myself… wish me luck.

      If the OWSers nationwide would methodically form ‘MeetUps to Educate’ in this way, wouldn’t that be a good thing at this stage of the ‘Uprising’? There would have to be a democratic mechanism to establish what does and does not contribute to the debate (e.g. total ignorants could easily sidetrack and completely confuse debate… as they always seem to do).

      1. rotter

        I dont disagree with almost anything you said, but confrontation is the only way to acheive any meaningful change. Just saying please, or “hey ref” is not going to work.

        1. Steve

          Yes I do agree with you… we have to get out and go face-to-face with the corruption and oppression, peacefully.

          My main objective was to think of a way to incrementally get people out of their isolation, to initially come together in smaller, less intimidating, less hostile, more convenient, and principly educational environments. Most people need some education first. They know that big trouble is brewing but they haven’t yet exposed themselves to information sources outside of the corporate propaganda storm. In fact, my experience tells me that a very large percentage of people think they’re outside the corporate propaganda bubble when in fact they’re deeply buried inside it.

          1. ambrit

            Dear Steve;
            I generally agree with your scheme, but more in a short to medium term political organizing way. True education is a long and involved process. You have to catch them young, and indoctrinate them. Why do you think the Fundamentalist Sects, of all the major religions, try to disengage from the mainstream society, especially the schools? “As the twig is bent…” That’s why most effective educational ‘reforms’ are implemented by the ruling clique after they gain power, not before. Remember, ‘reforms’ come in all sorts of sizes, flavours, and spins; sort of like sub-atomic particles. Your idea closely maps the ‘Committees of Correspondence’ so effectively used to throw off the English Imperial yoke, way back when. They took some years to come to fruition. This time, the latest chapter in humankinds endless struggle against evil, will be no different. We’re in for the long haul. Pack a lunch.

      2. aletheia33


        yea, go for it! i’ve been thinking along the same lines. just a neighborhood group to get together and read–econned? articles? there’s a lot of useful material–and discuss the implications. i don’t remember just who it was i recently read or viewed recommending this strategy for the movement, but the idea is that self-education, especially about finance, is badly needed by everyone, and spreading it to everyone can happen quite effectively via neighborhood groups. it takes time and effort to learn about financial problems and there’s no way around that, as the abuses have thrived on obfuscation and secrecy surrounding the arcane mechanisms of the great ripoff.

        for those brave enough, civil disobedience is powerful and in big numbers even more so. until one can answer that call (if one ever can), one can learn and teach and build community. learning in a group can be fun and help us develop the relationships with our neighbors that we will all need to foster, if only so as to survive as the economy worsens.

        hope you’ll report back to us if you take this up!

    1. Foppe

      Main point seems to be that the judge feels that the owners of Zucotti park have a right to post additional restrictions upon use given that it isn’t actually publicly owned land — which is a dubious argument at best, it seems to me.

  2. Amateur Socialist

    I was sick about this at 8 am but as the day has worn on I have come to realize that Rev. Ellick is more right than not. Hizzonner just legitimized this action.

    Thanks Mayor Mubarak!

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      So you are willing to trade your civil rights to get rid of a “nuisance”? Wow, people died for the freedoms you enjoy and you are willing to trade them on the cheap. Frankly, I’m embarrassed to find that people like you are fellow citizens. The drummers bothered you and you couldn’t be bothered to invest in a pair of earplugs? Or you didn’t even question that the lack of sanitary facilities on the site was created by the city, not the protestors? It was your mayor that blocked them using their $500,000 for Port-a-Potties.

      1. qwerty

        they are still allowed to protest, just not camp. what’s wrong with that? sorry, i’m sure it’s not good enough for you armchair OWS protestors…

        1. Foppe

          “What’s wrong with that” is mostly that that restriction upon the right to free speech/assembly is entirely arbitrarily imposed. That is enough.

        2. Yearning to Learn

          they are still allowed to protest, just not camp. what’s wrong with that? sorry, i’m sure it’s not good enough for you armchair OWS protestors…

          actually, that’s not quite accurate.
          They started by trying to Occupy WALL Street. But they were prevented from doing so. This is how they ended up in Zucotti Park in the first place.

          there have also been many other times that they have tried to PEACABLY demonstrate. And found themselves (700+ at one point) arrested.

          As far as I know, the right to assemble is still in the First Amendment to the Constitution.
          I don’t remember the First Amendment stating “Americans have the right to assemble, but not between the hours of 10pm and 8am, and definitely not if the assemblers are dirty”. I also don’t remember “Americans have the right to assemble, but they will be shot with tear gas and rubber bullets”

          But no worries, the Constitution is but an irritating barrier to the 1%, and they have been dismantling it slowly but surely.

          soon nobody will be able to demonstrate anywhere. Yay!

          On a side note:
          I like that they camp because:
          1) it shows dedication
          2) it is working.

          nothing else is working
          -calling our Senators/Representatives doesn’t work
          -asking our Attourneys General to uphold the law doesn’t work
          -asking the Regulators to do their jobs doesn’t help
          -asking our local leaders to look out for us local citizens doesn’t work.

          but occupying evidently does.

          1. another

            We have to face that fact that the Constitution of the United States is obviously no longer in force.

            Among other things, this means that the people occupying congress, the courts and the White House have no legitimate basis for their power. All of their supposed power derives from a document that they clearly do not respect or obey.

            I think the powers that be, these dishonorable usurpers of power, well understand that the consent of the governed has been withdrawn. Hence the police state. Not “police state tactics,” police state.

            To continue to call this monstrosity by the name “the United States of America” is a falsehood and an insult to the flawed, but respectable democratic republic that I grew up in and that many honorable men and women have fought and died to uphold. What shall we call it instead? At the very least, it has to be “the former United States of America” at this point.

        3. Christopher

          They’re just not allowed to have pets. What’s wrong with that?

          They’re just not allowed to go out without their papers. What’s wrong with that?

          They’re just not allowed to live outside the Ghetto. What’s wrong with that?

          They’re just not allowed to live…. What’s wrong with that?

          If only Fascism in its early stages did not so appeal to impotent narcissists intoxicated by the imagined power it proffers. For your sake, querty, I hope you do not live so close to Wall Street that they decide your living there has become a threat.

      2. rotter

        qwerty belives hes one of the specially privelliged, who wont ever be bothered by needing “rights’, as long as he has the right haircut, the right skin tone, wears the right kind of suit and says the right kind of things to the right people. Doors will open when he approaches and the police state will never trouble him. Im grateful when people like qwerty identify themselves. I wouldnt want to have to rely on qwerty when it really hits the fan.

    2. Yearning to Learn

      enough is enough. none of you have to deal with this nuisance on a daily basis. good riddance.

      I agree. we have had to clean up after these filthy criminal cheats who have sullied our lives with toxic garbage. Finally someone is standing up to them. We can all cheer that.

      Oh wait… you’re talking about the filthy disgusting immoral financial leaders and the political scum like Mayor Bloomberg, right?

    3. Union Member

      Millions upon millions of people are going to have to deal with what Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs, did to them on a daily basis for the rest of their lives.

    4. ScottW

      I love the double standard. Drug use, drug dealing, murder, muggings, honking cabs, trash on the streets, etc., is fine in the rest of the City, but if any of this occurs in the Park–it must be cleared of all of the people by court order. Maybe we need an evacuation order for all of Manhattan Mr. Bloomberg.

    5. Amateur Socialist

      If you were bothered before Mayor Mubarak’s little cleanup operation you ain’t seen nothin yet. He’s ensured they are staying for good now. He’s recruited a lot of former sympathizers into active outrage. Buck up sweetie it’s going to be a bumpy holiday.

    6. K Ackermann

      Here I was… reading along, until I tripped over qwerty’s useless words.

      Why don’t you shut up qwerty? I don’t want to read your filth.

  3. Foppe

    Here’s another decent ‘in-depth’ article posted in the WaPo today (from some Ass. Prof. working at Fordham):

    Over the past few weeks, increasingly irritated and trigger-happy local officials have received glimpses of “people power” as they’ve amped up efforts to clear Occupy camps around the country, including New York’s Zuccotti Park on Monday night. But if history tells us anything, it’s that unwieldy, nonviolent and relatively modest movements can actually take down giants—and that implements of force are no match for the collective will of the people.

    Such acts of police aggression are fast becoming the shame of our nation. Intended to deter, they actually amplify the Occupy movement’s narrative of fighting domination and corruption.

    Meanwhile on the other side of the country, Occupy Oakland—which also was cleared by police in riot gear Monday—had already been transformed into a veritable warzone in late October as police fired tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets at a crowd of peaceful occupiers, severely injuring Scott Olsen, a two-term Iraq War veteran. Indignant and fired up, the protesters reclaimed Frank Ogawa Plaza after that October encounter and renamed it after Oscar Grant, the African-American man gunned down execution-style by the Oakland Police Department in 2009.

    Amidst this ode to the city’s vile history of intolerance, Oakland’s leadership scrambled for answers: Mayor Jean Quan’s top legal adviser and deputy mayor both resigned over the heavy handling of the protests, and the city played host to the first General Strike in decades. The second raid this week only pushed the Occupiers to a new location.

    Public outcry will help put these mayors in their place. But without a peep from the Feds, state violence in other municipalities is rapidly devolving into a sadistic free-for-all. From Atlanta to Denver to Portland, police are bullying nonviolent protesters with tear gas and rubber bullets, jailing people like criminals. Police only apologize after the fact, when incriminating YouTube videos stream on the evening news.

    Some local officials do get it. Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, for example, met with local protesters in advance to negotiate the terms of their occupation. He shared his City Hall location, treated them with respect and, for the most part, has kept his police force in the communities that need them the most. In a nod to its proud legacy of liberty, independence and brotherly love, Philadelphia has moved on from MOVE and the dark days of throwing bombs first and asking questions when the damage is already done.

    Cooler heads also prevailed in Albany, N.Y., when police refused an order from Governor Andrew Cuomo to disperse an Occupy crowd. District Attorney David Soares and his crew of conscientious objectors reasoned that the move could incite a riot that everyone would regret.

    Instead, Soares chose to use Albany’s limited resources to serve and protect the community: “We had three kids shot [elsewhere], and you are going to try and tell Chief Krokoff to take his officers off those cases to arrest people who are playing the guitar and eating cider donuts?”

    1. rotter

      Im glad to see at least one department taking that reasonable seeming posture, but the fact is, local state and federal govt. consider this growing movement to be a far greater threat than the common armed drug dealer disputes.

    2. aletheia33

      as the expense of the repeated massive arming and turnout of police mounts, taxpayers may begin to question if this is how they want their city’s public needs prioritized. as more municipalities move into bankruptcy and basic services disappear, it will be harder for city governments to get away with this kind of extravagant, useless expenditure. aside from being an abuse of citizens’ rights and persons, it’s both impractical and the opposite of austerity.

      i’m guessing at least one city council member, soon to be more, in many of the Occupied cities is already thinking about the issue of the expense, and on whom the waste can be blamed. so far it’s being blamed on the Occupiers, but how long can this silly meme hold up? how many people can be made to keep on believing that the Occupiers are so dangerous as to warrant what’s being spent to “protect the public” from them? who is making the actual decisions to wildly spend this kind of money? who really believes, or who can be persuaded to continue to believe, that it is a necessary expense?

      the business leaders of any given town do have a great deal of sway over the decisions of the officials. but i would think that at some point business leaders’ reliance on police state maneuvers will have to backfire. a free marketplace, after all, does depend on having open streets and open doors. if you want shoppers to come in and buy your goods, bottom line you can’t erect a checkpoint to allow only your good customers in. i hope Occupiers in various cities are thinking creatively now of ways to challenge and break city business leaders’ excessive control over mayors and police. mic checks of chamber of commerce do’s might not hurt.

      cities’ police and residents may begin to object to the misallocation of police protection in tight times away from neighborhood crime needs. police may begin to refuse to participate in long, tiring, demoralizing (they must be, for some!) episodes of tedious guard duty over nothing and no one and “controlling” peaceful fellow citizens.

      also, i do not think that most state and municipal actors in the u.s. take kindly to being dictated to by the federal government, although their power to resist it, as well as the dictates of corporations, has been much eroded.

      thus many important factors have yet to come into play in the cities on the ground.

      1. reslez

        There’s a large authoritarian bloc of the population that thoroughly approves of militant police tactics aimed at beating up whoever isn’t them. The more money for bullies the louder they cheer.

        Others are intimidated into silence. That’s what this is meant to achieve, and it usually works.

  4. bob

    As I read the initial restraining order, Supreme Court Justice Michael Stallman proselytized on several issues that were not even before him.

    It reads like a press release from Brookfield properties.

  5. Union Member

    Described as a “media Blackout” from a guy who owns a media company. A media company that services Wall Street, a media company which services Wall Street with trading information on the very dodgy financial instruments which beggared the public good, the very public interest he’s supposed to serve as Mayor.

  6. LeeAnne

    OWS protesters are back in Zacotti Park -legally -no tents or sleeping bags permitted. Watch the live stream at ‘TheOther99, Ustream.TV’

    1. craazyman

      that dude is a gonzo man

      can’t belive the hippies are back in the park!

      this really rocks. sitting here with my glass of wine (no xanax tonight I ran out) and ready to “man up” and go help the 99 hold the park in shifts.

      can’t wait for the Soul Kitchen to re-open.

      I think we just need to somehow find a way to bring back GlasssStegal (and the subway token booth attendants with their flashilights and blue sweaters — can’t belive they took the booth out of 86 & Lex station. It’s just a bare wall now. And where are the token booth attendants? In some shooting gallery with their veins blue? Or sitting on some stoop in the Bronx wondering what the hell to do before they die? The machine is a death machine. The death is a living death.

      Only the Soul Kitchen knows what to do in the face of the death machine. And the dude in the booth at 3 am with the blue sweater and the MTA badge. He is like a god of the night. And they’ve taken heaven away, the 1% with their machines, because they don’t know shit.

      1. aletheia33

        beautiful craazyman, thank you for this and for doing shift duty!

        i hope to spend thanksgiving at a soul kitchen near me, probably occupy boston.

        what better place to celebrate our so sweet and bitter harvest of the autumn of 2011?

        and yes the army of the heart, Occupying day and night, truly are watching over the rest of us, doing sentry duty to protect us from, and to forestall, the destruction of our very society. it’s hard to imagine a world without these divine ones now presiding through the nights, resting up together and joining their dreams in their sleep, stoking up their hearts for the next day’s fight.

        1. Christophe

          I am also planning to serve food at my local Occupy on Thanksgiving. Since I have plenty of food and warmth year round, what better way to give thanks for my plenty than by serving those who are hungry and cold.

          I encourage anyone and everyone who can to spend some time this Thanksgiving at their local Occupy taking care of our community. Firstly, because fighting a war takes a lot out of people. And, secondly, because media images of large groups of protesters celebrating Thanksgiving outdoors could be a powerful antidote to the MSM’s condemnation. Can you see the headline “OccupyWS as American as pumpkin pie”?

  7. bigsurtree

    It’s coming: 21st century Committees of Correspondence employing Underground Railroad strategies for surprise civil disobedience and poltical theatre. Ridicule the beast and cut off its ability to reproduce.

  8. Can't Make an Omelette

    Does anyone have thoughts on this… what do you think of the impartiality of Bloomberg the news source on stories where Bloomberg the guy is directly involved? I go there sometimes, like for Europe stories, because it seems like the reporting is dense and intelligent. (Like NC.) I notice in their latest OWS story, a typical disclosurey type sentence.. “… The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP…” which I assume they must run in articles all the time. Should they be taken with a grain of salt on stories involving OWC, the Mayor, or NYC? That’s a lot of stories, as a matter of fact.

    I would not want to overstate this type of macro-affects-the-micro irony, but I wouldn’t want to understate it either. There was a video clip maybe rerun on Jon Stewart, of Stuart Varney interviewing Rupert Murdoch on Fox Business. Varney asks a question about the News Corp scandals. Murdoch goes “I don’t wanna talk about that.” And Varney capitulates saying “Okay, Mr. Chairman…”

  9. JTFaraday

    According to OWS website (also NYCGA site), they are going back in:


    Posted 15 minutes ago on Nov. 15, 2011, 5:59 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

    Liberty Square is our home. The 1% stole the homes of thousands, but they will not steal Liberty Square! Reoccupation begins NOW!

    If you’re in the NYC area: join the thousands gathering to defend our home, our movement, and our rights! Come to Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) now!

    If you’re elsewhere: blast this call with every form of media the 99% can muster!”


    1. reslez

      Twitter/FB are the proverbial single point of failure. They can and have cooperated with the state, and they will again. Look what the Egyptians had to do when Mubarak cut off the internet.

      So I think the 20 year olds need to consider knocking on doors on their way to the park instead of just typing real loud. The Feds can shut down Twitter but they can’t stop you from asking your neighbor across the hall to join you at the square.

  10. Union Member

    During his statement today Bloomberg, from what I could see, only referred to the right to free speech in the First Amendment, yet he never mentioned the equally important guarantee to peacefully assemble.

    Was the press allowed any questions following Bloomberg’s remarks?

    1. Foppe

      Well, I do recall him yammering on a bit about how the right to free assembly is more circumscribed (in that it may only be exercised insofar as it does not cause “public health issues” and the like). So underemphasizing that part and right is probably a quite strategic move.

  11. Amateur Socialist

    Greenwald: “Could #OWS have scripted a more apt antagonist than this living breathing personification of oligarchy: A Wall Street billionaire who so brazenly purchased his political office, engineered the overturning of a term-limits referendum and then spent more than $100M of his personal fortune to stay in power and now resides well above the law?”

    He’s right out of central casting for chrissakes. What is this a Capra picture?

    1. Richard Kline

      Mayor 1% is perfect for the role, yes. A Wallstreeter to his marrow, self-made ethnic billionaries, sending in front end loaders to scoop up a 5000 book library, meditation space, and soul-kitchen-to-any and dump it in sanitation trucks, literally announcing thereby “This is garbage.”

      We know that speaker: He’s John Galt after plastic surgery, with a black-shirt-and-tie, and a brassard on with a $ sign where that former emblem used to be; even four-armed emblem as before. Mayor 1% is the living symbol of the oligarchy.

  12. Jesse

    “Notice that the ruling is from the New York Supreme Court, which is confusingly the lowest level of court in the state.”

    Wow, ~15 years of being baffled that Law and Order always took place at the Supreme Court level suddenly makes sense.

    1. Richard Kline

      Completely true and the larger message which the Occupiers can now wear on their chest. Bankers steal billions, violate every security rule, wipe their ass on property law = zero arrests, let alone indictments, and Mammon forbid any prosecutions. Somebody sets up a tent and “That’s agains the LAW!” We have _no_ law when the rule of law is blatantly violated by the 1$ without penalty, and indeed with the abettance of authority.

      What we have are rights, and we have them because others before us have stood their ground for the exercise of the same. And the actions to evict Occupiers only emphasize the rotten hand of money behind power all the more. Media black outs furthermore are _the_ symbol of unaccountable authority, more criminal in their way than the tactical actions—and they show that the oligarchs know that neither right, law, or the public are on their side. These actions would be publicized as examplary punishments if TPTB felt they had fact and opinion on their side. Hiding from scrutiny is a demonstration of _weakness_. That is part of the strategy of nonviolence at work here: the Occupiers do everything openly whereas the ‘authorities’ hide and skulk. The effect of that works slowly, but it does work.

      1. Richard Kline

        What we have now in action from authority in the US are rules, not laws.

        This is a critical civil rights issue, and I for one am glad that is being forced to the front end of political action by the response of authority. Those on the sidelines need to understand just how few of their rights actually remain functional to them in the present state of affairs.

  13. samplocracy

    the chess game is interesting. italy and greece are now formally in the hands of the banksters. maybe america will have a dictatorship of their own fairly soon.

    I’ve set up a new blog on direct democracy forms, if you are interested…. samplocracy.wordpress.com

    1. Richard Kline

      You’re late to it, samplocracy, if accurate I’d agree. We had a soft coup here in the US in November, 2008 when the TARP was forced through. We have been in a ‘friendly fascist’ seignory for three years _already_. The sham of democray was left in place and still remains, but 99% of the citizenry effectively lost all political rights in that hour, such as those rights remained after years of erosion. I’m not jesting, and I don’t think that I exaggerate really: this is my view of political order in the US which I said at the time and still believe. We’ve been in a corporate fascist securocracy for three years and counting . . . .

  14. Doug Terpstra

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” – Gandhi (attribution disputed)

    The velvet glove is coming off the fascist fist. In the tradition of Gandhi, Chris Hedges has a convincingly positive perspective on this current repressive phase of the second American Revolution: “This Is What Revolution Looks Like”

    I have not put on a pair of boxing gloves for 30 years. But I felt this twinge of euphoria again in my stomach this morning, this utter certainty that the impossible is possible, this realization that the mighty will fall.


    1. craazyman

      Seriously Doug I have to wonder whether Chris Hedges is totally insane. Not insane to the point of dysfunctionality or walking around barefoot in smelly pants on the street, or inability to cope with things like cooking a meal. More subtle.

      For me, Albert Camus said it all about this sort of thing — revolution and rebellion — in “The Rebel”, he traced it back to the Gnostic source point, where it’s a little dot like a reverse black hole. And if someone doesn’t get Camus or “The Rebel”, and the aftermath of rebellion, then I have to wonder. Maybe Chris Hedges gets it and maybe he’ll write about it at some point, but I sort of don’t channel that with him. And I love Chris Hedges’ (in a straight man kind of way, in an abstract way, and I’ve never met him) but I still think he’s flown a little to close to the sun.

      It’s not like this hasn’t happened before. Over and over and over. And over. It’s after the revolution that justifies the revolution. So what is the after?

      I’d settle for return of Glass-Stegal and bring back the subway token booth attendants and only buy things from businesses that pay a living wage (and I haven’t bought a fu*cking iPad because of the suicide nets where they make them, f&ck that, I don’t need a damn iPad anyway, what a piece of sH&t) and higher taxes on corporations and no corporate personhood. But humanity is half demon and half angel. It says this in the Dead Sea Scrolls. And if soembody’s too lazy to look it up (and I understand that LOL) then anyone can tell by themselves, if they are honest, just by channeling it. And no revolution will change that. Ever.

      1. patricia

        craazyman: I read Chris Hedges words the way I read any prophet: overly intense, a bit unbalanced, and probably essentially correct. He spent decades as a war correspondent. I don’t suppose one goes through that without either losing his soul or else losing his mind, just a little. Or maybe he found it just plain clarifying. I don’t know.

        But do you, with your name, quoting Camus (not the most rationally stable of beings himself), really find Chris Hedge’s words nonplussing?

        Another revolution seems to have begun and it’s frightening. That’s all.

      2. Richard Kline

        So craazyman, “flown to close tot he sun;” that’s great, I’m going to file that particular usage away for the right day. Yeah, Chris is rockin’ on, but remember he’s been up close reporting so many kinds of oppression and crookedness that he _is_ about ready for a ‘bring it on’ moment. —But then his goals may be broader than yours. And that’s just fine, we are many people parallel processing this one in real time, each with our own thread of throughput. If the connectivity is there, and the valence is more or less coherent and directional, we’ll get this thing off the ground and the Mountain will come to the visionaries on a squishy carpet where 1% of our problems were before.

        And speaking of valence, “half angel and half demon” so much of the problem is to get our two halves going the same way, rather than opposite trajectories or on a head on collision inside our own corpuses. Two halves make a whole through which to climb out of our hole if we can get ourselves together on this thing . . . .

  15. alex

    Yves Smith: “the Times’ Media Decoder blog says that journalists are describing the tactics, as we did, as a media blackout”

    What puzzles me is that this doesn’t result in every reporter ripping into Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg, the NYPD, etc., at every possible opportunity.

    I thought the first rule of PR was don’t get on the wrong side of the media, or have they been so neutered that it doesn’t matter anymore?

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      Journalists may be ripshit, but they have editors. And the big retail banks are among the biggest advertisers in the US. Unlike NC, most pubs don’t cross their advertisers (I don’t place the ads, my ad service does).

      1. lambert strether

        One “tell” that something was up: Two or three days ago, the headlines, which the editors control, started to associate violence with Occupations even when the stories, which the reporters at least originate, never supported any causal relations. I’m guessing that was DHS’s original media strategy — say, I wonder if there were any concalls with editors? — but cooler heads prevailed, in a victory for the Occupation’s reputation for non-violence — and the “health” and “clean[s]ing” strategy was adopted instead.

        1. LucyLulu

          I noticed the change in tone in the press, too, and was wondering what was up with that, i.e. how come suddenly Occupy wasn’t getting such bad press. Fortunately it wasn’t the public sentiment had changed toward the movement but only TPTB’s attitude.

    2. Richard Kline

      So alex, give it time. We’re not even 24 hours from the event, and many even in the profession may not have the particulars. The oligarchy showing its hand against the ground level but formal media will be a mistake that will only get worse. Now, the editors are able to keep the lid on the reporters. Consider, though, if the media folks on the firing line _collectively_ conclude that they are being lied to or silenced. It will be bad for the oligarchy if they lose control of the messaging _machinery_. And I do think that that will happen, but on the order of 6-12 months from now. But is that happens, if the rank and file of the media industry withdraw support from state action it will be, in my view, exactly BECAUSE of obviously deliberate violation of media rights and customs such as at Liberty today. So my message to Kelly and Bloomberg is, You go right ahead and shove your blackout into the media’s face; that’s on you.

  16. Keenan

    RE: National, Coordinated Effort:

    Perhaps Makana’s Occupy Aloha serenade at Obama’s APEC dinner party, tweaking the elites right inside one of their secure pow wows, was the last straw. The Empire Strikes Back.

  17. lambert strether

    Some great quotes from the NY Daily News live blog. My favorites:

    “It’ll be stopped by public discourse. I’m here for my kids, for my grandmother who I don’t want to live in the street, for the people who live seven to an apartment.”

    “I can’t tell you how many people thanked me for what I’m doing. The people are upset. Most people in this country our one paycheck away from homelessness. The mayor is out of touch with that. He allows a city councilman to be beaten and thrown in jail.”

    When people thank you like that, that also means they know the press coverage is bogus. I’ve had the same thing happen to me in my state on a big local issue, and it’s the sign of a tremendous sea change.

    1. reslez

      Out of touch or evil? I’m really bored of the milquetoasty language people are trained to use. And when I say bored I mean furious.

  18. Clark in Old Hickory

    On a bright note, I report that Occupy Nashville, while small, has been let alone except for arrests a few weeks ago (after which the judicial commissioner dismissed the warrants on two consecutive nights). As far as I can tell, the police are leaving them alone on Legislative Plaza. Their blog says that they’ve installed port-a-potties, etc. I hope that this detente will continue. The cops here are, strangely enough, the Tenn. Highway Patrol, which has jurisdiction over the Capitol area. Maybe the relative calm compared with the horror in NYC is because they don’t take their orders from Big Finance?

    1. Richard Kline

      From what I followed of the process there, Clark, I suspect that the police figured out that _they_ are in legal jeopardy making arrests. The local magistrate went on record releasing the folks the Highway Patrol were arresting to say that there were _no legal grounds_ for these arrests. That means that litigation is surely already impending from what was done.

  19. reslez

    As far as sleeping in shifts, you’ve got the logistics challenge of getting people to the site in sufficient numbers day in and day out. The cops have shown they’re willing to block off streets, halt public transportation and lock people in their buildings. It isn’t cost free for the police to do this, but they can. Still, the fact they’ve been forced to go this far — a multi-city coordinated effort! — must be recognized as a major, major victory for the occupiers.

  20. Paul Tioxon

    One of the comparisons to the tea party astro turf phonies that needs to be dispensed with is that they are protesting. The are reactionary defenders of things as they are, and should stay that way unless they could screw up the New Deal, The Great Society and all Civil Rights with the unrelenting proposals for Constitutional amendments for and against everything imaginable that suits the right wing agenda.

    Everyone who has been an Ouccpied Movement participant to any degree needs to continue to sell like a door to door salesforce to move into credit unions, but do NOT close your accounts, just cut off the flow of cash into the accounts and leave them open, languishing taking up valuable server space and costing them money to keep them operating. Let them close it whenever, but set up other accounts first, migrate cash and direct deposits second, and third leave the old accounts alone, empty. You do not have to march into a bank branch, just quietly move on. March into a credit union instead.

    1. Richard Kline

      Exactly Paul, leave dead accounts around. Even better, take out a credit card with them on your way out the door, charge $.99 to it and each month (or keep it at zero), and let them eat up server time and reserves against your nonexistent transaction flow.

    1. Yves Smith Post author

      You’ve just made an unsubstantiated ad hominem attack. The onus is on you to say what is wrong with the post. Sounds like you don’t like OWS but can’t make a credible argument.

      1. Jugo1502

        Madam Smith,

        I’m sorry you had to surrender three minutes of your life responding to Glib’s puzzlingly vapid pronouncement.

        To change the subject entirely, now that I have your attention; I’m curious to know if you’re involved with American Censorship Day tomorrow:




        A couple of buddies out in Silicon Valley sent this info along to me today, and sent it with a great deal of urgency. I’m embarrassed to admit that I had no idea that PIPA – S.968 or SOPA – H.R.3261 existed.

  21. psychohistorian

    The protesters are back in Zucotti park as I type this. They were just chanting about occupying Wall Street.

    I was at the Occupy Portland meeting tonight in a church that currently has no location. Compassion and sympathy are building but it still going to be a bumpy road.

    Onward into the breech….

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