Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg’s NYPD arrests French bagpipe players at OWS six-month celebration in Zuccotti Park. Also, police violence against the non-violent

Jeebus, Mike, who’s handling the PR on this Occupier thing, anyhow? That “Jake” kid that couldn’t shut Smith up? See, brutality is one thing, everybody understands that, but bagpipes? French bagpipes? What’s WRONG with you guys? And those Feds you’ve got downtown; wasn’t anybody watching the screens? Do you want the NPYD to look like your private goon squad?

* * *

From the New York Observer:

The N.Y.P.D. was holding back regarding Occupy Wall Street protest actions on Saturday night until they put the smackdown on a band of European bagpipe players* in nothing flat. The pipers showed around 11 p.m. and began playing for the assembly, but within 5 to 10 minutes they had been arrested, resulting in a sharp rise in tension in the crowd.

Smooth! (There were reports that the NYPD smashed one set of bagpipes, but I couldn’t verify them.)

And also under “dog bites man” we find Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg’s NYPD beating non-violent Occupiers:

1:20 @ShawnCarrie, arrested tonite in NY, tweets: “Police broke my left thumb and possibly my jaw. My right ear is bleeding and theres a bootprint on my face.” Posts cop’s name and badge number in another assualt. . …More arrests on march going on now. One guy (medic Jose) pushed into glass which cracks–right where I was walking earlier today. Ryan Devereaux: “Just saw police slam a protester into this door, 55 East 10th. Arrestee was punched in the face.”… @Jeff Sharlet: “At what point can we call this a police riot? Broken bones, broken windows, blood on the streets.”

See also Times photos and Meg Robertson (Dylan Ratigan producer). And see this from NY City Council Member Ydanis Rodruigez.

And also under “dog bites man” we find Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg’s NYPD refusing to take the handcuffs off a woman (Cecily McMillan) having a seizure (Greg Mitchell):


At one point, a woman who appeared to be suffering from seizures flopped on the ground in handcuffs as bystanders shouted for the police to remove the cuffs and provide medical attention. For several minutes the woman lay on the ground as onlookers made increasingly agonized demands until an ambulance arrived and the woman was placed inside.

And also under “dog bites man” we find Mayor-for-Life Bloomberg refusing to let the press cover the story, and beating them up.

Happy six month’s anniversary, Occupy! I’ll let an Occupier have the next-to-the-last word:

“It’s just a reminder that we’re here,” Brendan Burke said, as the crowd marched past the New York Stock Exchange. “It’s an opportunity to remind Wall Street that we aren’t going anywhere.”

And that’s it. None of the numbers are high, but they’re high enough to get a good reading. Like the Bourbons, New York’s favorite, or at least most visible, oligarch seems to have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing. While Bloomberg is full of nothing but himself, the Occupiers are full of creativity and commmitment. Violence is the last refuge of the stupid and/or evil, as the saying almost goes.

“They are who we thought they were.”

NOTE * Probably these guys (“Le bagad sera à New York du 14 au 19 Mars pour les festivités de la saint Patrick”). I’m trying to find out.

NOTE There are many tweets claiming that closing Zuccotti Park violated January’s court order keeping the park open; apparently Brookfield Properties security guys actually did it. But I can’t find anything authoritative.

UPDATE On reflection, “Mayor for Life” Bloomberg is hardly fair. After all, it’s hardly likely that Bloomberg would buy his office a fourth time, right? Sorry. My bad. Hey, kidding!

UPDATE Readers, I think that many of you are New Yorkers, so if you have more information, please post. Cross-posted at Corrente.

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. CB

    “Do you want the NPYD to look like your private goon squad?”

    Yes. The better to frighten you with, my dear.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Well, duh. See “last refuge” at the end. Except it won’t work. From a fine Village Voice account:

      A few blocks south of Canal street on Broadway, a young waiter smiled through a restaurant window and raised his fist in solidarity with the marchers. Nearly simultaneously, someone in an upstairs apartment of the Tribeca building upended their drink on the crowd.

      Happening all over. Also, check the link above for a fine example of blue shirt vs. white shirt division in the NPYD.

    2. Ned Ludd

      That’s the main purpose of police. They’re the stick that the powerful use to beat down the rest of us.

      [Brooklyn] Officers were told to arrest people who were doing little more than standing on the street, but they were also encouraged to disregard actual victims of serious crimes who wanted to file reports[…]

      In October 2009, [police officer] Schoolcraft met with NYPD investigators for three hours and detailed more than a dozen cases of crime reports being manipulated in the district. Three weeks after that meeting—which was supposed to have been kept secret from Schoolcraft’s superiors—his precinct commander and a deputy chief ordered Schoolcraft to be dragged from his apartment and forced into the Jamaica Hospital psychiatric ward for six days.

      1. just me

        What charges are these people arrested on? Do they get a court trial? Jury?

        “We the people … jury … jury … jury …” Oh now I get it.

        1. Ned Ludd

          I haven’t seen anything yet about what the specific charges are. However, the last time I recall OWS activists getting arrested was in January, when they did a mic check in Grand Central Station (video). Lauren Digioia, who led the mic check, was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.

          Digionia (while been hauled off): You pushed me away. I offered to talk to you guys; you pushed me away.

          NYPD officer: You tried to evade police arrest.

          I was at a protest a long time ago, about the time that police started using pepper spray on protesters. The police pepper-sprayed the closing speaker and the nearby crowd. People went to nearby homes, and sympathetic neighbors let them use their outdoor hoses to try to wash out their eyes (no one knew what else to do). Police arrested anyone they saw washing out their eyes. I asked a police officer why one guy was being arrested. I was told, “This man needs medical attention; we’re taking him to the hospital”. He was then handcuffed and stuffed into the back of a police cruiser; he was made to wait, in blistering pain, while they rounded everyone else up. They never took him to the hospital. The police officer then threatened to arrest me if I kept asking questions.

          The eventual charges: resisting arrest. Apparently, if you get pepper-sprayed, you should walk over to a nearby officer so they can handcuff you. Otherwise, you are fleeing.

          1. Richard Kline

            ‘Resisting arrest’ is the present charge sheet code for ‘beat up by police so we need an offset.’ Seriously, that’s the ‘charge’ being thrown about liberally against protestors, with higher bail. It’s a free pass for arresting police, reportedly mostly senior white-shirt NYPD types long tied to the bigoted repression in place for twenty years in NYC to face punch and pound arrestees liberally.

            It’s Intimidation 101 which shows exactly that the cops learned nothing since last Fall. It won’t work to suppress participation in Occupy agitation. It will generate lawsuits, many of which the City will ultimately have to pay to settle, but the imperial-powers-that-be in NYC just see that as a cost of doing business, to be charged to the taxpayer. Y’know, ‘protection.’ There’s going to come a point where the police kill somebody this year, quite possibly several somebodies, while they assault Occupiers and like-minded citizens.

            There is a potential upside to it, to me: the police clearly don’t know what to do with Occupiers. The existing police tactics aren’t really working, but the police haven’t innovated. Now, they may be waiting for legislation in Congress to essentially criminalize things occupied, so that that bogus arrests can have much more serious charges stapled on the faces of those snatched while trying to help their society. That would be bad. But given that the police don’t presently have any answers, tactical improvements by activists can potentially seize the initiative more fully. Will that happen? I have no idea. But the initiative rests squarely with the activists as the police are content to be thugs on camera for now.

        2. Ned Ludd

          Nick Pinto, a staff writer for the Village Voice, is at 100 Centre Street (the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse) and is tweeting updates as people are arraigned:

          • Mo from #OWS Legal with an update: 8 #OWS arrestees have been docketed, will likely be out tonight. – 3:08 PM – 18 Mar 12

          • I’m back inside 100 Center St now awaiting the first arraignments from last night. #OWS – 3:26 PM – 18 Mar 12

          • Police called to disperse the #OWS crowd outside 100 Center Street. Legal basis for that unclear. #OWS – 3:53 PM – 18 Mar 12

          • 1st occupier from yesterday, @arrested in the afternoon for dancing on the sidewalk, arraigned and released. #OWS – 4:31 PM – 18 Mar 12

          • As she exits 100 Center, cheers and hugs. Through tears, she says: “Mic check! Dancing! Is not! A crime!” #OWS – 4:33 PM – 18 Mar 12

  2. Matt

    “Do you want the NPYD to look like your private goon squad?”

    Of course he does – gives all the wanna-be Brownshirts currently calling themselves the “Tea Party” a HUEG boner. ;)

      1. Ms G

        “Do you want the NYPD to look like your personal goon squad?’

        Mike doesn’t just want that, he thinks he has it — anyone remember his declaration a couple months back:

        “I have my own army” (referring to the NYPD).

        This man is the epitomy of the Crony Capitalist — the zeal with which he transferred public money to private connected cronies is unmatched, even in this traditionaly Crony Municipality.

          1. Ms G

            Thanks for finding and linking to the actual quote. Which in a European country might have sparked mass street demonstrations and a call for resignation.

            And Commissioner Kelly announced, on 60 Minutes no less, that Bloomking’s private army has the capability of “takind down a plane” if it wants to. September 2011 — has the story (cant’ link).

            Since 9/11 Bloomberg-Kelly’s NYPD has morphed into a “state of the art” citizen-destruction machine.

          2. Ms G

            . . . and you’re right, the sentiments of the rank and file have nothing to do with the Tea Party, although alas, they know full well they have no alternatives to keep roofs over their heads and their families fed. There are no jobs anymore that provide the security and semi-middle class status (albeit severely diminshed, as you point out, and also due to asset inflation manufactured by Treasury, Fed and the Fin Markets) that a cop’s trajectory does. Thus trapped, survival instincts will result in hewing fanatically and blindly to order, with consequences that we are witnessing, particularly in the performances involving NYPD smashing peaceful protesters since last Fall.

            And wait until the domestic police and private security ranks swell with folks returning from service in the Middle East — the US army Afghanistan shooter is a canary in the goldmine.

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            Well, this is not a European country. If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, every day would be Christmas.

            A weapon is only powerful when a human is willing to use it. Which is why delegitimization, ridicule, splitting are all important strategies.

          4. Procopius

            @Lambert That reminds me of something Bernard Fall wrote — was it in “Street Without Joy”? I have to paraphrase, because I don’t have a source for the actual quotation: “It doesn’t matter if your army outnumbers the enemy three to one if the one enemy soldier is willing to die for his cause and your three are not.”

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Yes. So when you’re asking people to die for a cause, or even hinting about it, you’d better be sure of your cause and be able to explain it coherently, no?

  3. huxley-then-orwell

    Back in the U.S.S.A.
    Oh, flew in to Ameri-‘stan. The UAV’s
    Didn’t get to bed last night.
    All the way Fox pundits’ warnings on TV
    Man, I had a dreadful fright.

    I’m back in the U.S.S.A.
    You must wear your flag pin today, boy!
    Back in the U.S.S.A.

    Been away so long I hardly knew the place
    Gee, it’s ’83 back home.
    Leave it to some agents to fuck up my case!
    Can you disconnect these phones??

    I’m back in the U.S.S.A.
    You better watch what you say, boy!
    Back in the U.S. – Back in the U.S. – Back in the U.S.S.A.

    Well the hot spy girls really knock me out
    They kick Homeland’s behinds
    And TSA makes me take my junk out
    That latex glove is on ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-my mind

    Aw, come on!
    (awesome guitar solo)

    Yeah I’m back in the U.S.S.A.
    You better do what we say, boy!
    Back in the U.S.S.A.

    Well the Wall Street girls really knock me out
    They kick the Fed’s behinds
    My global owners wring the profits out
    That racket’s always on ma-ma-ma-ma-ma-my mind

    Oh, show me around the Rocky Mountains way out west
    Take me to your data farm
    Let me hear 2-minutes-hatred ringing out!
    Oil keeps your black hearts warm

    I’m back in the U.S.S.A.
    You don’t ask who’s righteous today, boy!
    Back in the U.S.S.A.

    Oh let me tell you…honey…

      1. Walter Wit Man

        Are you insinuating that if the protesters are met with violence this will be because they brought it on themselves?

        It does not matter how non-violent the protesters act, the police will engage in massive disproportionate force.

        Even if protesters do something to justify a legal response, this does not excuse police violence.

        Hell, as the above episode demonstrates, the protesters were being completely non violent and yet the police were violent.

        Where is the concern-trolling about the police violence? If a protester slammed a police officer to the ground without justification I bet that is all we would hear about.

          1. Jumping Hippy

            JP Morgan bestowed unto the fuzz a cool 5 million to break up the sprouting rebellion at one point. That’s just something we know about. We need Fatherland Security to step up and provide protection and safety to the Occupy movement, preserving civil rights, cracking down on brutality and of course, making ‘Murica more secure. IMPEACH BLOOMBERG!

          2. RanDomino

            Chicago 1968 was the same situation- the police mercilessly attacked. What could we possibly do differently that would cause their hearts to grow three sizes? It’s not like the rank-and-file are going to quit following orders, as much as liberals fantasize about it. They haven’t even in Greece, where everything- tyranny, attacks, and public hatred of the police- is at its logical extreme.

            Or do you mean it will be like Paris? Joyful insurgents joining with the working class, only to be betrayed by the union bureaucracy and threatened by the facsists with a civil war?

          3. Lambert Strether Post author

            This statement is demonstrably false (“It’s not like the rank-and-file are going to quit following orders”). In Egpyt, the army would not have fired; that’s why Mubarak never gave the order. In the WI Capitol Occupation, the police were successfully split from the Walker administration. Check Gene Sharp’s work for many other examples. There’s no “liberal” “fantasy” here at all.

          4. RanDomino

            Occupy buildings en masse (should have been done four months ago imo) and use defensive equipment at protests like shields and plywood sheets with attached handles. Also, form ACTUAL FUCKING AFFINITY GROUPS instead of everyone showing up as totally disorganized individuals.

          5. RanDomino

            Don’t you fucking dare lecture me about Wisconsin! I was there! For a week we yelled at them that they were breaking multiple laws and court orders by following illegal orders to lock the Capitol down. The MOST we got was that some departments refused mutual aid calls. NOT ONE COP actually refused an order! They brought in poor bastards from the DNR and UW for fuck’s sake.

            In Egypt, the army did not shoot in JANUARY, but subsequently they’ve been just as harsh against protesters as the police were (ahh but that’s not on the front pages, so it doesn’t count). Furthermore the Egyptian police DID follow orders to attack protesters, so what the fuck is your point?? And what did they win? They dropped the figurehead, how wonderful! Too bad the regime is still completely intact!

          6. RanDomino

            “Alrighty then.”

            You’re really something else. Even when I suggest PURELY DEFENSIVE tactics, you refuse to take yes for an answer. No confrontation at all, is that it?

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Well, I was trying to be kind, but since that didn’t work: I asked what you would have done differently in 1968 and get ***crickets***. I ask what you’d do today and get a low-level tactical answer like “plywood shields” (that, strategically, implies militarization*) and a call for “REAL” [shouting caps yours] affinity groups on the grounds that the event was disorganized. Had you read up on the events of the day, you would have seen many indications that OWS wasn’t “disorganized” , including training for future events on-site. And as for the shields, I mean, come on. Had you said “Society for Creative Anachronism chain mail” instead of “plywood shields” it would have added exactly the same value to the discussion. Alrighty, then.

              NOTE * Is that your agenda?

              UPDATE As far as buildings, it depends on the building, surely.

          7. RanDomino

            The training was a perfect confirmation of how disorganized they are. There are a few experienced people who pop in now and then to lend as much help as they can, and a huge mass of people who have no idea what they’re doing and, apparently, little interest in learning. Do people really think they can just cold show up to a protest and be effective?

            As for shields- They’re rare, but I can’t think of an instance that a group using them has been attacked. That’s the difference between us- you mock and belittle what you don’t have any clue about, but I’ve been paying attention.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Oh, please. Dish out “liberal” “fantasies” and then can’t take a little mockery. Maybe the shield is for your thin skin?

              Anyhow, I give. Wooden shields, sliced bread: Equally great. Pure tactics. No strategy to fit them into. Why go through the exercise again? And just to silence those crickets, you would have done what in 1968?

        1. different clue

          The SCLC marchers and demonstraters all through the 1960s
          were very trained in strategic and tactical non-violence. They knew all about how the various levels of police would get violent and they knew the propaganda-value of remaining non-violent-on-camera no matter how violent the various levels of police got on-camera.

          So strategic and tactical non-violence can be a higher-order weapon for seizing and holding the Moral Image High Ground. Which one can then fortify and from which one can then pour non-violent metaphorical “fire” into all sorts of enemy positions.

          1. Francois T

            What makes this whole situation so not like the ’60s is the servile obedience of the mainstream media toward the powerful. Remember: there are no journalists in the MSM anymore…only highly paid corporate employees who knows who’s is the BOSS

            Sadly, a couple of deaths in the hands of the riot police will be necessary to jolt the population out of its stupor.

      2. psychohistorian

        My personal opinion is that most stay off the streets until we build a big enough numbers to make military type suppression impossible.

        How do we get there? Not sure but I believe it will be through online education of the masses. My declaration of Nationalize the Fed is one attempt at that. A phrase like that is a challenge to the built in assumption that the Fed is somehow un-American. My E Pluribus Unum is along the same lines. How many people know it is the REAL motto of the US and not this Pavlovian response by our Congress Critters to pass another resolution every so often saying the motto is In Gawd We Trust. As you can tell by or co-comment F Beard, once you have the hammer of the bible, everything become a nail. I would like us to return to a secular Republic from a theocratic fascist empire.

        If this auspicious group could come up with 6-8 sectors that encompass human exchange, I have a methodology that would be educational to explore the past and future interrelation of them with.

        HEY SKIPPY! Please send me an email. I would like you to read a report I assembled 40 years ago and recently got scanned into a 40 meg pdf.

        1. RanDomino

          Marxists have been trying that for decades with nothing to show for it (which, frankly, is good, since that strategy lends itself to developing a power-hungry bureaucracy). We need to be changing the culture and developing a new society ‘in the shell of the old’- not forming an organization to throw a movement that changes the goverment but little else meet-the-new-boss-style

  4. Stubby

    I was wondering what Ferguson was getting at in that obscure article he wrote here about Obama meeting Bloomberg. Now it’s clear. In return for obstructing justice to keep bankers out of jail, Obama expects his dwarfish kleptocratic satrap Michael Bloomberg to suppress politically-awkward dissent with unlawful state violence.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Doesn’t matter. I go back to “They are who we thought they were.” If there’s anything new here from Bloomberg I’m not seeing it, and they’ve had, what, a quiet winter to think about it, plus unlimited funding? These guys are immobilized as surely as imperial garrisons.

    2. Dave of Maryland

      That’s a good point. Bloomberg and Obama plotted anti-Occupy strategy. As in, how far B could go, how much support O could give, how hard, how fast. Can you blame them? Occupy said they would be back. Surely you don’t think the B & O did not take notice, did not prepare?

      1. Herman Munster Goering

        Be effective. That means setting up ‘dissent-blogs’ that contain and manage perception on behalf of the very rent seekers who are the imaginary enemy of the blog.
        While Calipornia is raped by derivatives induced fraud and systemic catastrophe, they get thrown a bone. Two grand for your tract hovel.
        MoveOn, another marketer for disintegrating empire, will publically “comfort” evicted victims, but say nothing of royalty’s criminogenics. Co-option, infiltration, liberal boot licking civility. Don’t criticize Obama, momma Piven says. War forever! Go USA!

      2. Ms G

        Yes. And Obama really really needs the NY “democratic” vote, so important to parse just how “far” Tin-Pot Mike and Kelly the Bully should take the Violence Against Citizens thing. If events in the last 24 hours are any indication, Obama (the tool) must feel pretty confident that there are enough pseudo-democrats (sorry, Neo Liberals) to carry the vote for him.

        I wonder if Bloomberg every appreciates the close parallels between himself and Mussolini and the disturbing ironies that raises (e.g. treatment of Jews during WWII and treatment of peaceful citizens – with his blessing and encouragement – now.)

  5. Eureka Springs

    The only thing I see as possibly working peacefully is mass, repeated, extended general strike. A strike of this nature would not require placing onself in police harms way. SImply stop, stay home. With a very clear, concise short list of *demands.

    Shut it down!

    * Occupy doesn’t have the short list… certainly not an effective mass appealing one. (End corporate personhood meme is pure d party veal pen bulllshit.)

    1. different clue

      And if an outright strike is too dangerous for one’s own economic survival (job-retention etc.), then at least there is also mass-economic slowdown. A sort of National Consumer Sit-Down Strike.

      You can’t be fired for not shopping. Even if millions of people non-shop along with you.

      1. James Cole

        In the US you can be fired for anything at all, or no reason, unless it is part of a pattern of discrimination, or unless you have a contract or are represented by a union.

        1. Fred Gaines

          Employers know most won’t go to court. They blacklist troublemakers. If anyone dares fight, it takes a shitload of time, money and then Walmart wins anyway. They use credit ratings, arrest records, anything to keep what people need away from them, mainly a job,

          Banks behave precisely the same way – they wrote non-tracts to eventually steal homes, after first crushing Bnktpy protections and legalizing fraud. Court is where the bastards boast they will win everytime.

          Finally, Unions are badly needed, but collective bargaining is attacked by both corporate parties.

    2. Dave

      Is there a realistic date in the future for this to
      happen? It needs wide and early publicity to get their attention.

  6. Seal

    Until and unless you can get a STRONG message, read $$$$ lawsuit, against these guys, nothing will change. This is a FEDERALLY SUPPORTED [CIA, DHS, covert military] and FINANCED suppression. Some of the goon training took place in ISRAEL.

    Wise up – get a few GOOD lawyers and go to court. You don’t need food and tent money, u need legal help.

  7. Susan the other

    Shades of the South during the early years of the Civil Rights Movement. But I will say this for the NYPD cops, they are not behaving like brutal racists. Probably because of cell phones. I assume that Cicely was harmed when she was handcuffed, jerked around too hard or whacked on the head, maybe even accidentally, or accidentally hard. But she did have a siezure which claimed her 3 times even though she tried to get up. It was awful. I hope she is OK. And I hope Bloomberg learns a new lesson in civility. It is uncivil to deprive any group of people a sufficient voice. I say accomodate a new forum, open to all, and let the banksters come and state their case openly along with everyone else.

  8. justanotherobserver

    So 1/2 you folks in NYC voted for the little dictator.

    How does the other 1/2 that didn’t , but who has to live under him, feel about that ?

    Still can’t believe there were enough NYC voters to put him in office that 3rd time.

      1. Fred Gaines

        Can’t be stated enough. Voting is not Democracy, it is a part of a functioning Democracy.

        1. RanDomino

          Even voting is anti-democracy, unless it’s merely to poll opinions. The only truly democratic form of group decision-making is Consensus. Everything else is tyrannical in one way or another.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            Seems to me that saying “democracy” is any single process (whether majority voting or consensus) is bullshit.

            It’s like saying there’s one single best programming language for all purposes.

    1. Ms G

      It is not correct that 1/2 of the city voted for this man.

      The 2009 Mayoral election in NYC saw the lowest voter turnout in any race since 1969 — 26 percent of registered voters (4.1 million total) voted — down from 33% in 2005.

      See Gotham Gazette

      In addition, Bloomberg spent a record amount on the election (over $10 million) and only beat his opponent former comptroller Bill Thompson by a slim margin of approx. 4.7%.

      Most NY voters have given up on voting for Mayor (or any other local political officials). In 2009, the breathtaking arrogance with which BloomKing rearranged the law so he could run and then paid off cronies and “non-profits” and the City Council to voite for him, destroyed any remnant of hope that participating in the election (even with the pathetic gesture of a vote) meant a damn thing anymore.

      nearly 10 years later, we have Bermuda on the Hudson. It is a third world city where finance and real estate extract tax money to a few, while the many are increasingly being pressed into service jobs catering to the few. Let’s not forget the breathtaking pace at which this mayor has expropriated public property to create recreational areas for his heli-flying buddies (e.g., the Randalls Island park transformation into a private tennis club at the expense of all upper manhattan residents and their kids).

        1. Ms G

          Thank you LeeAnne for correcting massive typo that masked the absurd order of magnitude by which B’s campaign spending eclipsed many county budgets! :)

          1. Lee (formerly LeeAnne)

            Thank you. I didn’t know about Randall’s Island. I’m so preoccupied with the macro and currently nazified US of my origins to pay attention to every little fascist scheme on his honors little mind. I suffered through his attempt to build a sports stadium in his name on the Upper West Side, suffered through his initiation of ‘kettling’ and no-fly reporters edict at the UN site of demonstrations against the Iraq war of destruction, pillage and rape, followed by kettling and arresting peaceful, legally detaining more than 1200 of them in a prison designed in advance for the purpose, demonstrators at the RNC Bush 2004, and can’t abide the ninny nanny personage he is let alone the things he does. He’s despised by a majority of people in NYC. I didn’t vote at all. I no longer vote since voting for O’Bomber out of desperation against the former Bush regime. I can’t regret it. I can only acknowledge lesson learned. I don’t participate in the farce called voting any more.

            Bloomberg also chased out the artists who had traditionally lined the street space on 5th Av. with their work on either side of the Met Museum with their art, their presence and conversation. He got a judge to deny their former right to assemble with their work at that space and every other public space in the city including Union Square where, at both venues, they have been replaced, predictably, by merchants of plastic WalMart type shit.

            His crimes are too numerous … Poster boy for banker fascism. He was a partner of Solomon Brothers, at one time the only rival to Goldman Sachs before total global worldwide corporatist depression of everyone else.

            Billion is a term of fascist invention. There is no such thing. That amound of money doesn’t exist, never existed. Its a method for garnering power, a two-tiered monetary system. Numbers into infinity at no interest to as kissers and secret cult keepers; the rest of you can suck on a stick. That includes their own children.

  9. Dave

    So what are you going to do about it?

    Unless you are occupying, you can do things in your everyday life to counter the Moloch…

    Google “credit union finder”…Yeah, yeah, yeah, you’ve been seeing that for over a year now. But when are you actually going to withdraw your money from a big bank and put it in a credit union? What’s your excuse?

    Stop using credit cards for anything but purchases from
    corporate outlets like gas stations. Go to your bank and withdraw enough cash to live on once a week. Use cash only in small businesses owned by your cohort.

    Continue to learn about economics in excellent sites like this one and the ones this one links to. Look at the cute animal pictures now and then to ground yourself and lower your blood pressure.

    1. F. Beard

      Go to your bank and withdraw enough cash to live on once a week. Dave

      Why not once a month?

    2. different clue

      Every dollar is a bullet on the field of economic combat.
      I am not my keeper’s brother.
      Nobody owes the rich people a living.

    3. Glen

      Not that I’m “economically smart” or anything, but I’ve had all of my money in credit unions only for thirty years now.

      Even thirty years ago it was pretty obvious that “greed is good” Reaganism was taking over at the major banks.

      1. F. Beard

        but I’ve had all of my money in credit unions only for thirty years now. Glen

        What good does that do except you get to share in the looting of your fellow man?

  10. pws

    I thought it was “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent?”

    I think I’d amend it to “Violence is the first, last and only refuge of the incompetent.”

  11. Chrissy

    I feel whole-heartedly sad about those bagpipers (and of course, the others) getting beaten and arrested…French bagpipers celebrating st patrick’s day PEACEFULLY and supporting OWS only to have the NYPD treat them like cattle. Poor guys

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Especially because they’re guests, and (apparently) decided spontaneously to march on over, so what happens to them when they make that cool, beautiful, peaceful gesture? Nice work on the “I [heart] New York!” branding there, Mike. A regime that behaves with this level of outright stupidity isn’t going to be able to display the level of adaptability it will need to survive.

      UPDATE Of course I feel horrible everything else, too. But ridicule is a powerful weapon….

  12. Sack Buttocks

    When Ofraud wines and dines the G8 up in the mild hills of Catoctin Mountain Park, there will be no blowing baggers present? Not necessarily, each branch of the service integrates bagpipes. Perhaps the ‘U.S. Naval Academy Pipes and Drums’ will entertain the oligarchs as they lurch to and fro.

  13. tz

    And I thought there was a complete lack of regulation on Wall St. I was wrong. But that is unbridles government power. Like fire, it doesn’t go where you want. Call for more – you will get it.

  14. so it couldn't've been Kansas anymore

    “By morning there were scores of injuries, hundreds of arrests, no reported deaths but a handful of persons unaccounted for. In those days it was still unthinkable that any North American agency would kill its own civilians and then lie about it.” – Thomas Pynchon, “Vineland”, pg 248

  15. patricia

    Last fall I was stunned. Now I am enraged.

    Our gangsta government has taken to worshipping the child-burning god of Cash and feasting from the remains, causing the lethal pecunia virus to cross the blood/brain barriers and reduce their brains to slime. They are now certifiably nuts.

    We need to dethrone these asshats and lock them in our few remaining hospitals for the violently insane. I’d be glad to bring them their evening meals of Kraft macaroni and cheese. Heck, I’ll pay for the “food”.


  16. LeeAnne

    For all those going on about OWS not choosing issues to focus on, their principles are more important to their success on the big issues than immediate results. And I agree with that. Its the one principle, that and commitment to non violence, that will preserve the movement in spite of every kind of political pressure to exploit and destroy it.

    I applaud their approach. At the same time, I’d like to see OWS take credit for their accomplishments. Those accomplishments are huge.

    Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, having put themselves at risk of ill treatment by a brutish Police State backed up by powerful intelligence resources that observe and record every move they make have publicized for the whole world to see the US Police State in action with its brutishness and militarist orientation, as well as the Police State role in the repression of free speech, the arrest and abuse of journalists, confiscation of equipment, and the absence of a free press to record and distribute it.

    I would like to see OWS take full credit as the exclusive agent that has opened up the eyes of the public all over the world to these Police State conditions in the United States, formerly the hope of repressed people all over the world who didn’t know any better until now. Until OWS demonstrations, even the demonstrators believed in the myth that police were present at Zacotti Park for their protection. I know. I spoke to a few of them in the first days of the demonstrations before the stealth Police State manipulation and military tactics against peaceful demonstrators on the Brooklyn Bridge.

    I think its important to interview those demonstrators who have spent time in jail and held under arrest in police vehicles. They need to be recorded about their experiences and their observations while under police control.

    A young woman OWS demonstrator in the audience at a OWS fund raising literary event spoke about having been arrested for demonstrating and being held in jail for two months, while her contribution and those of others on the front lines have gone largely ignored.

    In these interviews, the questions I would like to have answered or at least asked are: Have you been required by authorities, including any attorney (who could be counter intelligence), to remain silent about jail conditions and your treatment, experience and observations while under arrest -any threats by authorities of marks against you of any kind?

    Are you on a watch list? A no-fly list? A ‘person of interest’ list? Were you interrogated in jail? Intimidated? Threatened if you speak to the press about your experience?

    In a world where the law has been turned upsidedown, from poice protecting the public to police survelliance, brutishness, and retaliation for cameras and public speech, to protection of crime on every level of the finance system against against individual property owners, and the public requirement to pay those same perpetrators for their crimes, to the president’s and his agents’ legal right to assassinate anyone anywhere on the basis of his personal feelings, its important to record the experiences of those like OWS demonstrators who have put themselves at risk while is is still possible to do so.

    1. b.

      “I would like to see OWS take full credit [having] opened up the eyes of the public all over the world to these Police State conditions in the United States, formerly the hope of repressed people all over the world who didn’t know any better until now.”

      Truth. The cycnic in me thinks that Bloomzwerg is going to take credit for any reduction in legal or illegal immigration, but yes, if anybody outside the US is paying the attention that the comfortably numb majority in the US is paying off, it is important to show where we are headed. Once dysfunction has become self-reinforcing, change can only take place beyond the borders, and it would be nice if the rest of the world would make up their minds before a collapsing dollar makes it convenient.

  17. alex

    re: link at “refusing to let the press cover the story, and beating them up”

    Most of the complaints by the media came from furriners and known pinkos, but there are some more mainstream entries: Meg Robertson (MSNBC) and Ciare Trapasso (New York Daily News) were also complaining.

    This is encouraging. Anger the media at you own peril.

    1. lambert strether

      Robertson looks like she’s actually covering the story, wotta concept, and the NY Daily News ran a fine live blog in the Fall. It’s really interesting to watch all the New York journalists — citizen, professional, freelance — interacting in real time on twitter, and the sources too.

      Adding… NYDN’s coverage was a lot more interesting and useful than the Times was. Metro, of all sources, was also interesting. Part of the OWS strength is that it’s part of a very rich information ecology.

  18. BranRuz

    Oh boy, are the NYPD in trouble now: Those are not “French Bagpipers” but Breton bagpipers, who are a tougher Celtic nut to crack.

    Breton piping makes Scot’s bagpipes sound sweet and soothing. Excellent for riling people up.

    Breizh Ataou!

    1. alex

      Breton. That makes sense. I’d never heard of French bagpipes. And I suspect that saying the Bretons are French could get you into serious trouble in some places.

  19. LucyLulu

    Had Fox News on yesterday in the background while doing tile work. They ran a story on OWS in Manhattan the Saturday night and actually presented the story as police treating protesters with unprovoked brutality and restricting press coverage. Fox News!!! It was shocking, positively shocking. I’ve noticed the last 3-4 months they’ve added some more balanced coverage to their mix, sometimes. Maybe Ailes got the memo that their reputation as a credible news source had gone down the tubes.

    1. Skippy

      Maybe Rupert is burnishing the brass knob on his front door… whilst his holiday homes burn.

      Skippy… I’ve noticed similar, in many places, almost a circling of the wagons, neoliberal preventive damage image control, et al?

  20. Elizabeth

    I walked across the park last night, dressed in business clothes, carrying a briefcase, right through the crowd of maybe 20 cops who had nothing better to do but stand around one handcuffed guy on the ground. The rest of the park was nearly empty. I walked right through them, saying, “This is a public park!” No, actually, “This is a f–in’ public park!” And, because of my fashion choices, I was allowed to pass. The kid was yelling, “Thank you!” Still arresting people, I see. What is it about this that makes my middle-aged blood boil, even though I used to think I didn’t have enough hormones left to do something stupid right in front of the cops? Perhaps I was still under the impression that I woke up in America that morning? Or I remembered a few things from high school civics class?

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