Random Observations on the Occupy Wall Street Protest of October 5:
1. You see that picture there? That's a microphone and a reporter for the China Daily. The Rude Pundit arrived in Foley Square in Lower Manhattan, near the courthouse, yesterday at around 3:15 for the 4:30 march. Sweet Jesus, the amount of media overcompensation was like a small-dicked executive buying an Escalade. At one point, there had to be a 10 to 1 ratio of protesters to media. You couldn't turn around without someone shoving a microphone, a camera, an audio recorder in your face. The Rude Pundit got interviewed twice, and he wasn't carrying a sign, playing a banjo, or wearing a funny hat. He spoke to people from no less than three Japanese news organizations, a German one, CBS, and Al-Jazeera English. He asked all of them the same question, about whether or not the protests had been improperly ignored at first. Everyone of the beleaguered reporters or camera operators, from outlets big and small, had the same answer: Well, the media's owned by corporations and they suck.
2. Yes, there were people there representing for not even tangentially-related causes. Sure, sure, the Indigenous Peoples group may have some valid concerns, but just because they had a dreamcatcher and a shirtless guy blowing a conch doesn't mean that the five of 'em deserved to be encircled by media. They didn't represent anything other than an opportunity to blow their own, well, shell in front of a big, big crowd. Oh, and if people couldn't smoke, then they shouldn't have been allowed to burn their stinky fucking sage bundle. "Oh, look," said one woman, gesturing over to the cloud of smoke nearby. "A shaman is purifying the space and blessing the crowd." It was the only time the Rude Pundit was tempted to commit violence.
3. To be sure, the crowd was huge. Thousands of people. The Rude Pundit walked away early, and, at Broadway, he met a line of marchers heading down to Worth Street, which you can see way in the back, to the top of Foley Square. It was far, far bigger than most might have imagined.
Oh, and on Church Street, a block further? He saw a line of paddy wagons, ready in case they were needed to haul away marchers.
4. Any dumbass who says that this is primarily a protest movement of white people can suck on this photo:
That's members of National Nurses United. They were there with other unions, including the transit workers, communications workers, and lots more. Some of the workers are, in fact, white. Some, in fact, are not. Just like the protesters.
Now, it's true that this primarily a protest against white people, who comprise the majority of that ultra-upper income bracket, the 1%.
5. Of course, there were fun signs:
But unlike other protests the Rude Pundit's been to recently, this one was far more serious-minded and less of a carnival, and perhaps that's because there is a chance, a growing chance, that the Occupy movement could end up having a significant effect on the 2012 elections, if not on actual legislation. That seriousness of purpose is what's garnering attention and supporters. This is life or death, and, unlike the war protests back in 2003 and 2004, the issues at stake really do directly touch the lives of nearly every American in clear and present ways.
6. Finally, regarding the police using batons and pepper spray on demonstrators who marched on Wall Street last night: Really? You're gonna Hulk out protecting the interests of Mike Bloomberg, who wants to cut your pensions, and his Wall Street cronies who fucked up your retirement funds over in the first place? Tell your white shirts to calm the fuck down. And let 'em march.