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Occupy Takes NYC’s Times Square

The Red Stairs in Times Square joined the growing list of New York City landmarks closed to those who threaten the corporate revenue of its billionaire mayor Tuesday, while local news outlets controlled by Michael Bloomberg’s fellow media tycoons continued to limit public awareness of his repressive actions.

Police blocked access to the Red Stairs to more than 1,200 peaceful protesters from the Occupy Wall Street movement, who had hoped to exercise their freedoms of speech and assembly there during a global day of action. The iconic stairs rise above Times Square.

The ruling political machine and its business allies previously have prevented the nonviolent protesters from visiting the 9/11 Memorial and the area around New York Stock Exchange. Bloomberg also evicted the Occupy tent camp in Zuccotti Park in a bloody crackdown on Nov. 15 that was emulated by big-city mayors across the country.

Occupiers still succeeded in bringing their cause into the public forum Tuesday, by demonstrating at the foot of the stairs and crisscrossing Gotham with marches.

“I grew up in a police state in Belfast, Ireland, and this is definitely what a police state looks like,” Mark Hamilton, 35, of Jersey City, N.J., said as he cradled his 3-year-old daughter in his lap. “We should be on those steps. They only roped them off to hinder Occupy Wall Street.”

Occupiers on Parade

After 20 years in the field I have to challenge myself to keep it fun. So, while the rest of you will...

May Day Protests Hit More Than 100 U.S. Cities

For a dead movement, Occupy Wall Street packs one helluva wallop.
 
The populist protest against economic disparity, political corruption, and predatory banking practices joined with organized labor Tuesday to spark May Day protests in more than 100 U.S cities, which drew more than 80,000 participants and resulted in at least 56 arrests. The largest gathering occurred in Lower Manhattan, where more than 50,000 people marched in the single biggest turnout in the brief history of the 8-month-old movement.
 
The strong showing was a collective rebuke for the political pundits who pronounced the American pro-democracy dead over the winter, after big-city mayors launched a coordinated series of raids against Occupy’s tent camps.
 
“Today's May Day march was a massive success, considering the protesters used a grassroots organizing strategy and lacked the support of major media outlets that the Tea Party enjoyed,” said Occupy Pundit Jesse LeGreca. “If we keep it up our political leaders will not be able to ignore the pushback against austerity and shock doctrine disaster capitalism that the financial elite are so hell bent upon. Remember, they only call it a class war when we fight back.”

Rallies Against Predatory Financiers Pepper Lower Manhattan

Populist anger toward Wall Street and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg boiled over again Wednesday as protests against predatory financial practices peppered Lower Manhattan, drawing more than 600 people.

The wealthiest elected official in U.S. history continues to use his office to shield a financial sector that helped him build a $20 billion fortune while precipitating the worst global economic meltdown since the Great Depression. Bloomberg, who views the New York City Police Department as his “own private army," sought to hinder his fellow Americans' First Amendment right to “freedom of expression without government interference” during a rally against soaring tuition costs, a march for universal health care, and an ongoing vigil against predatory financial practices.

More than 6,000 arrests have occurred nationwide since Americans began protesting the concentration of our nation’s wealth in the hands of the richest 1% in September, with the NYPD accounting for more than any other law enforcement agency. Bloomberg’s private army tallied another 19 of their fellow countrymen and women Wednesday.

Occupier Andrew Speirs, 22, of Dallas, said modern America bears little resemblance to the democracy he was taught about in school.

“This is corporate facism and here in New York it's a dictatorship, too,” Speirs said. “I came to New York City because the Bloomberg Nanny State epitomizes everything that’s wrong with America right now – the arrests, the divide between rich and poor and the mass amounts of advertising that are being used to mislead people.”

Occupying the Personal Trauma of Police Brutality

Trauma is always a possibility in any conflict. One would think the probability of developing war wounds at the kind of nonviolent actions associated with Occupy Wall Street would be small, but trauma is a reality for activists like Cecily McMillan, who experience both police brutality and the symptoms of trauma they produce.
 
Occupy has natural buffers to prevent a brutal crime from becoming a traumatic episode, but Occupiers still needs to be trauma-minded enough to look after their own. Especially those who try to tough it out by pretending nothing hurts them after being physically assaulted by an enraged officer they have been raised to admire.
 
What is trauma?
 
We tend to think of trauma in terms of its symptoms: withdrawal, anxiety and panic, fear, flashbacks, nightmares, mood swings, hyper-vigilance, detachment and the search to numb these experiences through drug use or self harm. But this is all very clinical and dry.

A more human understanding of trauma is that it is an event someone cannot yet write into their personal narrative, which separates that person from him or herself.

Occupier Recounts Monday Arrests Near NYSE

By Nicole Rose Pace Unseasonably warm air filled the streets of Manhattan as I climbed the stairs and exited the subway. I approached the intersection...

News Scrap: Cynical Times vs NY Times

I'm still getting some interesting feedback from last week's infiltrator column. The strangest so far occurred when a New York Times reporter publicly confronted...

Occupy Flash Mobs Stock Exchange

by B.A. Manning For months, New Yorkers have been treated to the odd spectacle of the nonviolent protesters of the Occupy Wall Street...

Occupy Wall Street Infiltrator Confesses All

The infiltrator witch hunts now poisoning Occupy Wall Street really piss me off, mostly because they're succeeding at turning people against eachother. You don't have to be a...

Working Class Hero: Richie Machado

Richie Machado doesn't look or sound much like the popular image of a revolutionary. In fact, he's the antithesis of a troublemaker looking to...

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