Occupy Wall Street is now one month old, and still going strong. It’s also spreading across the continent and around the world. Virtually all major cities in North America (and quite a few minor ones as well) now have “Occupy” movements. And, if the news is to be believed, the powers-that-be are getting mighty nervous of all this growing evidence of people power:
More than 7,000 Canadians signed an online petition Friday opposing the feared eviction of Occupy Wall Street protesters from New York’s Zuccotti Park, a property owned by a Canadian holding company.
Brookfield Office Properties, which owns the park where protesters have been camped out for four weeks, said it delayed the planned cleanup of the park at the request of local political officials.
The move came after thousands of people sent online messages to Brookfield and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and also showed up prepared to be arrested in defense of the right to protest in the park.
Among the online protesters were more than 7,000 Canadians who signed a petition at Leadnow.ca, a website run by a Canadian advocacy organization best know for sponsoring “vote mobs” in the last federal election.
“Frankly I think they backed down in the face of overwhelming public pressure,” said James Biggar, executive director of Leadnow.ca, said of Brookfield’s about-face.
“I don’t think either Brookfield or Mayor Bloomberg wanted to have a huge, messy, ridiculously violent confrontation, which would have been the only way to get them out of there,” Biggar said.
Brookfield Properties said the delay was temporary.
“At the request of a number of local political leaders, Brookfield Properties has deferred the cleaning of Zuccotti Park for a short period of time while an attempt is made to reach a resolution regarding the manner in which Zuccotti Park is being used by the protesters,” the company said in a statement.
“Any such resolution will be respectful of the laws of the City of New York and will ensure that the park is used in a way that maintains the health, safety and viability of the surrounding residential and business community.”
Yes, heaven forfend that the viability of capitalism should be questioned, never mind compromised. That’s what this is really all about: first the questioning, then the compromising. And then what? Well, it remains to be seen. But the indignation is snowballing, and it shows no signs of a meltdown. So far, all indications are that the protests will only grow and gain in strength, and that petitions on their behalf ARE working.
BTW, the occupation was at the top of tonight’s CBC newscast. Quite the change from two or three weeks ago, when almost no one was covering it. What was it that Gandhi said? “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”, I believe it was. For the first week they ignored, for the second week they laughed, and now, in the end of the third and fourth weeks, they’re fighting, complete with police brutality. Guess what comes next.
So, happy one month, OWS. May you enjoy many more. And may you not stop fighting this fight until the people win.
PS: There’s more, kiddies!
Fuck the Galt-going Randroids and their mythical Atlas. That’s my friend Dan there on the right, holding up the world from one of the many demos in California yesterday.
And just to add a little more awesome sauce, how about this?
The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations and other expressions of frustration with the global economic and financial system highlight the need for policy makers to show they are serious about forcing change, Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney says.
In a television interview, Mr. Carney acknowledged that the movement is an understandable product of the “increase in inequality” – particularly in the United States – that started with globalization and was thrust into sharp relief by the worst downturn since the Great Depression, which hit the less well-educated and blue-collar segments of the population hardest.
“You’ve had a big increase in the ratio of CEO earnings to workers on the shop floor,” Mr. Carney said, according to a transcript of the interview with Peter Mansbridge of CBC News, parts of which aired on Friday evening. “And then on top of that, a financial crisis.”
But Mr. Carney – a former Goldman Sachs Co. investment banker – suggested that while he understands the frustration, some of it is rooted in an overly pessimistic view of policy makers’ resolve to make it harder for financial firms to take the sort of risks that led to the meltdown of 2008 and the brutal recession that followed.
“There’s a frustration with policy and a frustration that, ‘are things going back to business as usual,'” Mr. Carney said in the interview. “If I may say, that is not going to happen, but I can understand the frustrations.”
Demonstrations like the Occupy Wall Street protests, which will hit Canadian cities this weekend, are a “democratic expression of views” and “entirely constructive,” Mr. Carney said.
And check out who showed up in London:
Yup, Julian Assange was there. Considering how quickly the sexual assault charges against Dominique Strauss-Kahn were dropped, shouldn’t HE have had his trial a long time ago? That is, if it really WERE a question of rape? Oh yeah, that’s right…Julian Assange isn’t actually being tried for that, but for revealing the secrets the powers-that-be don’t want revealed. Naughty, naughty.