Occupy Wall Street at Washington Square Park

I’m back from the Occupy Wall Street assembly in Washington Square Park. One minute the crowd was of modest size and the next minute I was surrounded by thousands. The police wouldn’t let them use bullhorns, so whenever the speaker spoke, the crowd as one would repeat their words. It was very clever. Those of us further back wouldn’t have been able to hear a word otherwise.

Occupy Wall Street at Washington Square Park

I zoomed in to give the crowd a face.

Occupy Wall Street at Washington Square Park

This giant Statue of Liberty puppet gave the day a carnival/Halloween feel.

Occupy Wall Street at Washington Square Park

Lady Liberty in dire straights.

Occupy Wall Street at Washington Square Park

These police are watching from the top of the Washington Square arch. The quote below them is from George Washington’s address at the Constitutional Convention in 1787: “Let us raise a standard to which the wise and honest can repair. The event is in the hand of God.” Very apropos. While I was there, the police kept their distance for the most part.

I continue to be very impressed with the protesters and the growing movement. The speakers told the crowd which groups were meeting when, where to get more information, etc. I grabbed a copy of the newspaper they were handing out, The Occupied. I’ll read it later and let you know what it says. (I’m tired. Must rest. Watch lots of tv.)

Occupy Wall Street at Washington Square Park

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

9 thoughts on “Occupy Wall Street at Washington Square Park

  1. Wow! Sounds like a fascinating experience for you – AND the protestors. Reminds me a bit of the late 60s protestors against the Vietnam War. Peaceful and mindful protestors, but the brutality of the police eventually ended with innocent kids getting shot/killed.

    Hope those protestors will get fair coverage by the mass media.

  2. I have posted this one on Japanese twitter. Thanks.

    I,too, feel this is my kind of movement. I am totally disappointed by two Demo we had in Tokyo, lead by left activists and hope your article would give people ideas how should they act to win supports.

  3. Thank you for the photos. It’s so much better to read about it this way than just see it on the news. They had an Occupy Wall Street gathering yesterday here in San Diego.

  4. The downside of the leaderless aspect of the movement is that it’s too easy for it to get hijacked by people with other, less-benign agendas…for example, the attempt to close down the Smithsonian Air and Space museum in DC today (or more ominously, the “black bloc” confrontational tactics seen at some WTO protests & in Toronto last year). Unless a clearer, more organized set of demands comes forth, it’ll be really hard to claim after the fact “well, that’s not what we’re about.”

  5. I’m in agreement with tagryn. There have been incidents in other parts of the country that at least suggest the potential for volatility.

    These protesters will necessarily have to relocate to Washington, D.C., if they want to make progress on whatever issues they eventually decide on. Washington is where all of the laws and regulations were established that encouraged bankers to conduct their affairs in a corrupt way. No one on Wall Street can do beans about any of this even if they wanted to.

    Incidentally, for what it’s worth, so far the protesters have made no statements that would not be sympathized with by the tea party. The tea party (TEA – taxed enough already) simply has an agenda of lower taxes and smaller government. And thus far the protesters have not said anything especially antagonistic to tea party goals.

    There are many forces now trying very diligently to co-opt this movement into their own political agendas. It would be nice for once if they failed.

    If they have grievances, they have to get to Washington, and let’s hope they actually come up with an agenda.

  6. All very good points, I agree. Although they don’t technically need to be in Washington to be heard or make changes in Washington, no?

    Spiritually and culturally, the tea party and them are night and day. For instance, a big thing are their agenda is education.

  7. Maybe you’re right, Stacy. Most of the protestors seem to be young and idealistic.

    I, on the other hand, am an old, seasoned curmudgeon who has had some involvement in the political process. In my experience politicians will be happy to wave and smile at you, but if you want to get something done you have to put pressure on them and make them feel they might lose an election.

    If most of these protestors are from New York State, they might be able to put some pressure on New York politicians.

    I agree that the tea party and the protestors have a different sensibility. And estimates suggest that about 70% of the tea party vote Republican and about 30% vote Democratic.

    However, unlike the protestors thus far, the tea party has a clearly stated objective, which is fewer taxes and smaller government. People who show up have their own different concerns, of course, but the tea party as a movement has defined what it wishes to accomplish.

    The tea party objected to government bailouts of banks, and the protestors are angry at banks and want them to forgive loans. There might be more agreement than atmospherics would suggest.

    I think the protestors speak for a lot of Americans when they recognize that they were encouraged to take out huge loans for college only to graduate into an environment with no jobs.

    It’s one thing to get a bunch of student loans with a strong probability of being able to start a career on graduation. It is another thing to wind up deeply in debt in your early 20s working at Burger King with no chance of ever getting out of debt and getting your head above water.

    Obviously, financial institutions would have to be very circumspect about forgiving loans. But I think it might be wise to consider restructuring load repayment so that the amount is smaller and therefore places a smaller burden on the recipient.

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