Bruce Goes to Zuccotti Park
What he saw at Occupy Wall Street
Sunday was beautiful in NYC. Indian summer. I went to the OWS protest. Some observations and some pictures.
Zuccotti park is where the action is contained. This is a miserable excuse for a park. It’s about the size of a football field. Not a blade of grass to be found. As you will see from the pics, this place is already jammed. The limited space may prove to be an issue for this demonstration. You can’t get more than a few thousand in this cramped area.
The park is sandwiched between Broadway and Church. It’s bounded by Liberty St (and some other street I forgot the name of). On one side is the Brown Brothers Harriman Building (talk about white spats). On the other is the rapidly rising world trade building.
The cops have the place surrounded. But it was very clear that these policemen were not looking for trouble.
Two blocks away, I found where the police had set up a command post. I suspect the guys with the helmets were resting over there.
Congressman Eric Cantor made a foolish remark over the weekend. He referred to the happenings in lower Manhattan as a “Mob Scene”. Cantor’s an ass. He has no clue what is going on. This was just a dumb sound bite. He will regret it.
There was no mob. There were no professional provocateurs. There was festive attitude. There was no anarchy. The following pictures are the scenes that I saw. Look at the people in the background; you will not see anything threatening at all.
There was some attempt to bring order. A library, medical area, kitchen, a media center, legal aid and even a store for “essentials”:
Others were just painting people:
Wherever you looked there were signs. Just a few of the many:
I left the area thinking that this very small group of people couldn’t possibly make much of a difference. It’s a rag tag demonstration. More a party than a serious effort to change the financial system. But as I walked north I thought of a different time in history. One that I participated in. To me, there was a very similar feeling in Zuccotti Park in 2011 to what existed in San Francisco in 1967.
The 1967 Summer of Love was a period where social/political changes began. The allure of sex, drugs, and rock and roll were very powerful magnets for this 17 year old. I crossed the country and spent a few memorable months in San Francisco’s Haight Ashbury District.
I slept in a crash pad. I went to the Fillmore West and watched Jim Morrison of the Doors sing “Light My Fire” till the sun came up. And yes, there were drugs. And yes there was “Free Love” in the park. And yes, it was a hell of a party. And yes, there was not much relevance to the whole thing.
But three years later a million people marched on D.C. and it altered the outcome of a war. It also tore the country inside out. It would be a big mistake to dismiss what is going on in Zuccotti Park. Whatever is happening there, it’s not going to go away. It’s going to get bigger.