This past year, however we saw some daylight in the darkness: the Occupy Wall Street movement represented the city’s first visible fight against the generational urban priorities of Mayors Rudy Giuliani and Michael Bloomberg. And there, marching with us, in between cancer treatments, was Adam “MCA” Yauch.
—A must-read from Dave Zirin, who remembers Adam “MCA” Yauch and the Beastie Boys as global ambassadors from a lost New York City since smothered under the weight of police violence and gentrification.
The family of Trayvon Martin joined thousands of demonstrators, who teamed up with Occupy Wall Street, to march across New York City last night to protest the shooting death of the Florida teenager. The “Million Hoodie March,” as it was dubbed, was organized to show support for the Martin family and call for the arrest of the George Zimmerman, the man who shot and killed Martin last month, but has not been charged after claiming self-defense. Martin’s parents spoke to crowd to thank them for their support and continue to push for chages to be filed against Zimmerman. Martin’s mother Sabrina Fulton told the gathered protesters that “My son is your son.”
After the formal demonstration ended, the protest — buoyed in part by the Occupy Wall Street supporters angry over recent clashes with the NYPD — evolved into a general anti-police rally. Much of the anger surrounding the Martin case has shifted from the shooter to the Sanford, Florida, police department that seems to have let him off the hook.
The protesters marched from Union Square to Times Square and back, where they encountered a massive police prescence, with lines of NYPD officers and barricades blocking off most of the park. Despite the ominous and aggresives stances from both the police and the protesters, the night ended calmly with no major confrontations.
I saw dozens of peaceful protesters violently choked, stomped on, and beaten with night sticks. I saw police wantonly beat retreating protesters trying to escape. I saw a woman get sent to the hospital after police brutally beat her and left her seizing on the ground. I saw the first broken window of Occupy Wall Street; ironically, it came from police smashing it with a protester’s head. Coming on the heels of recent reports of police infiltration and monitoring of the Occupy movement, it was a chilling vision of what democracy looks like in America.
While people are now beginning to learn that the police attack on Occupy LA was much more violent than previously reported, few actually realize that much—if not most—of the abuse happened while the protesters were in police custody, completely outside the range of the press and news media. And the disgraceful truth is that a lot of the abuse was police sadism, pure and simple.
As far as I can see, the Occupy movement is just ordinary people reclaiming rights which should always have been theirs. I can’t think of any reason why as a population we should be expected to stand by and see a gross reduction in the living standards of ourselves and our kids, possibly for generations, when the people who have got us into this have been rewarded for it; they’ve certainly not been punished in any way because they’re too big to fail. I think that the Occupy movement is, in one sense, the public saying that they should be the ones to decide who’s too big to fail. It’s a completely justified howl of moral outrage and it seems to be handled in a very intelligent, non-violent way, which is probably another reason why Frank Miller would be less than pleased with it. I’m sure if it had been a bunch of young, sociopathic vigilantes with Batman make-up on their faces, he’d be more in favour of it. We would definitely have to agree to differ on that one.
I want to start off by saying that I am not against student occupations, by any means. My first semester at Lang, I was 100% on board with the 2008 occupation of the 5th Avenue building. and even though I decided not to join this occupation because of my own issues with student space at the New School and my desire to not engage with certain forms of privilege in the space, I was never against the occupation. I am not against the right to student space. I am, however, against disrespecting shared student space. The image you see above is Kellen Gallery, the space the university president offered to the occupiers until December 22nd. Apparently, a group of people thought it would be really fuckin cool to come in and do THIS.
First of all, the very act of coming into this space and tagging up the walls denotes a very heavy class privlege. The students who are responsible for this are not going to have to come into the galley to clean up and paint. A working class janitor will have to come in and clean up, maybe they’ll make time and a half or maybe they won’t. Either way, it’s a safe bet to say they aren’t making more then maybe $13 per hour. And that’s a stretch. A student movement, even if the students are working class, has a certain amount of class privilege and social capital; both are things that working class, non-students lack. To go into a space, even if it is student space, and fuck it up is an abusive use of both of these things. As students, we (and I include myself) should not use our loan debt and our high cost of living/tuition as an excuse to abuse our privilege of education. To not have to think about the working poor who clean up after us (in our cafeterias, our classrooms, our bathrooms, and even in our occupied spaces), is a privilege. And what you see in this picture is a disgusting abusive use of that privilege.
Second of all, holla at that gendered language. It’s really great that whoever decided to tag up the walls wanted to call New School anarchists spoiled. I mean, I can think of several more effective and less violent ways of doing so but whatever. What I don’t understand is the need to then call them “pussies”. Because nothing screams revolution like equating a pussy to something you don’t like, right? And because it doesn’t really matter if you equate people with pussies to people you don’t like, right? I LOVE IT WHEN THE SO CALLED 99% ACTS LIKE THIS. IT MAKES ME FEEL SO WELCOME IN THE MOVEMENT. We should start calling everything we don’t like pussies! Like the cops!…OH WAIT.
It is really, really sad to see that this is what is being carried out under the guise of the 99%. I am the 99%: I’m a working class student trying to put myself through college and grad school, my father is disabled, my mom was a single parent…but this has nothing to do with me or most people in the 99%. If this is the revolution, then I’ll pass. This doesn’t speak for me any more then corporate greed and failed social policy.
In this photo from The New York Observer, Former Philadelphia police Captain Ray Lewis, sits in zip cuffs after being arrested today in conjunction with the Occupy Wall Street protests. Another photo of Lewis protesting can be found here.
Drew Grant of The Observerwrites: “There is simply nothing more bizarre than looking at images of a man in police uniform arrested and handcuffed by people wearing lower-ranking NYPD garb.”
Lewis’ arrest was caputured on video:
Lewis knew his arrest was a possibility. In a rousing speech last night, Lewis criticized the NYPD and its use of force, along with New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg. An excerpt:
“You should, by law, only use force to protect someone’s life or to protect them from being bodily injured. If you’re not protecting somebody’s life or protecting them from bodily injury, there’s no need to use force. And the number one thing that they always have in their favor that they seldom use is negotiation – continue to talk, and talk and talk to people. You have nothing to lose by that. This bullrush–what happened last night is totally uncalled for when they did not use negotiation long enough.
“They complained about the park being dirty. Here they are worrying about dirty parks when people are starving to death, where people are freezing, where people are sleeping in subways and they’re concerned about a dirty park. That’s obnoxious, it’s arrogant, it’s ignorant, it’s disgusting.
[The NYPD], they’re trying to get me arrested and I may disappear OK? But as soon as I’m let out of jail, I’ll be right back here and they’ll have to arrest me again. All the cops are, they’re just workers for the one percent and they don’t even realize they’re being exploited.”
Capt. Lewis truly understands what it means to protect and serve the people, and for that sir, I thank you.