Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Violent Eviction of OWS NY 11/15/11

Below is an eyewitness report of what happened in Liberty Square (Zuccotti Park) last night, excepted from http://truth-out.org

 <<<< Last night, I watched lower Manhattan turn into a militarized lockdown. The park known as Liberty Square was apparently cleared by force, though I arrived 20 minutes after the police barricades encircled a two-block radius, kicked out all media and prevented all foot traffic on public sidewalks surrounding the park.

This was expected. The emergency text message went out at 1:00 AM and read, "URGENT: Hundreds of police mobilizing around Zuccotti. Eviction in progress!" prompting a mass mobilization of people like me, part-time protesters who signed up to converge on the park for the looming police raid on the physical heart of the Occupy movement.

The police were prepared for this flood of bodies. Many subway stops were shut down, as was the Brooklyn Bridge. My go bag had been packed for weeks, waiting for just this moment. I laced up my boots, and spent an agonizing 20 minutes on the subway from Brooklyn.

Upon arrival in lower Manhattan, I struggled for about two hours to get to a position where I could see into the park, to no avail. From a block away, I saw massive piles of what used to be supplies dumped into waiting trucks. People's major concerns were two-fold: first, the health and safety of the occupiers locked in the camp; and second, the 5,000 books of the Occupy Wall Street library. What a picture it would be (maybe it exists) of police in riot gear gathering boxes of donated books and loading them into garbage trucks. A perfect metaphor for what appears to be the intention of last night's raid: destroying the body of knowledge that had been collected by a movement just two months old, which was built by collective effort, literally from the ground up.>>>>

Me again -- The occupiers had created a microcosm of a civilized democratic society in the park w/ everyone having a voice in the general assemblies. They had a library of over 5,000 books, a communal kitchen, medical center, legal aid center, & various committees like security details, cleanup etc. In the past few days the NY police policy has been to encourage drunks & street people (many of who have psychological problems) to go down to Z park. This created problems which the internal OWS security had difficulty handling & provided one of the excuses used to eliminate & "sterilize" the park.  Democracy Now was the only news organization on site recording the eviction -- see their video report.

It was heartbreaking for me to see the structures and especially the 5,000 book library bulldozed and loaded onto dump trucks. The mayor of Oakland admitted that these actions were coordinated with 16 other cities across the US, where police destroyed the OWS locations and arrested numerous protestors.

How terrified the 1% must be to use such force against peaceful protests guaranteed by the first amendment. Was Homeland Security involved in these actions? This of course was the least effective tactic the 1% could have used to achieve their goal of shutting down the OWS movement. In their violence they  achieved the opposite -- this will increase the movement's momentum.

The lives of the 99% will not improve with current policies so the OWS message will increasingly become more relevant to more & more people.

1 comment:

  1. I like your blog! Looks like we follow some similar thinkers. I really like your take on "Industrial and Financial Capital". Let's collaborate sometime