New York City Police arrested dozens of OWS activists who refused to leave Zuccotti, and on November 16 and 17 arrested hundreds more who tried to reoccupy the park or who attempted to disrupt business at the nearby New York Stock Exchange. Dozens more protesters were arrested on the 17th when they attempted to block traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge. OWS activists in Chicago, Seattle, and other cities also attempted to block or close down bridges as part of a “Day of Disruption” strategy.
For more than two months, the privately owned Zuccotti Park has been jam-packed with thousands of protesters, tourists, journalists, and media camera crews. Local residents and business owners have complained that the OWS invasion has caused the 33,000-square-foot “pocket park” to become a magnet for crime and disruptive, unruly, and unsanitary behavior, including public urination and defecation, public lewdness, nudity, vandalism, assaults, theft, and illegal drug use.
This writer visited Zuccotti five times during the period of October 11-16. The packed space did indeed reek of raw sewage, unbathed bodies, and marijuana. And, contrary to the OWS propagandists and their media allies, the occupiers do not in any way resemble the 99 percent of Americans they claim to represent. Unlike the much larger Tea Party events all across the country over the past several years that drew millions of working-class and middle-class Americans fed up with run-away government spending, taxing, and regulation, the Occupy Wall Street gatherings can be aptly described (for the most part) as counter-culture freak shows: bongo-banging tie-dyed Sandalistas and Woodstock wannabes spouting Marxoid drivel and socialist cant. Banners and posters featuring images of, and quotes from, Marx, Lenin, Mao, and Che Guevara, are plentiful. Some protesters do indeed also invoke Jefferson and Madison, but usually in a manner intended to fuse the statements of America’s Founding Fathers into an endorsement of anarchism, communism, or socialism.
Most of the liberal-left media commentators have tried to downplay or even deny the dominance of the OWS demonstrations by the extreme, radical fringe elements. Matthew Yglesias, for instance, writing for The New Republic, claims: “The notion that Occupy Wall Street is a fundamentally radical anti-capitalist movement is completely without foundation.”
According to Yglesias, “The participation of some radicals in the initial organization of the Zuccotti Park protest shouldn’t distract from the fact that the movement has grown by attracting a diverse set of adherents united primarily by an appropriate sense of grievance.”
Similarly, Jonathan Cohn and John B. Judis, senior editors at The New Republic, assert (in “Why Liberals Should Embrace Occupy Wall Street”) that the OWS activists are just normal, plain, peace-loving folks, in marked contrast (supposedly) to those vicious Tea Party activists. Cohn and Judis acknowledge that the actions of “members of an extreme antiwar clique free-riding on the Occupy protests and invading the Air and Space Museum, a favorite weekend destination for visiting tourists and their children, in order to protest a display of drones” were probably counterproductive. But, they claim, “These actions are not on a par with Tea Party members spitting on Rep. Emanuel Cleaver.... They pose no serious threat to civility or order. Most important, they do not seem emblematic of the movement as a whole.”
The main problem with the Cohn-Judis claim above is that there is no proof the alleged Tea Party spitting incident ever took place, and much reason to believe that the entire incident is fictitious. Nevertheless, it has been repeated so many times by the anti-Tea Party media mavens that the myth has become fact in the minds of many on the Left. However, even if that incident had occurred as claimed by those who seem to believe it, it would constitute one minor act of incivility by a small group of individuals out of millions who have participated in numerous Tea Party events. As such, it would hardly justify the accusations and levels of attack aimed at the entire Tea Party movement.
This is where the Occupy Wall Street mobs stand in stark contrast to the Tea Party. Tea Party events, although much larger, were devoid of the crime (rape, theft, assaults, vandalism) that have marred the OWS venues. The Tea Party organizers paid for permits, police, security, and porta-potties, and cleaned up after themselves; they did not stick the taxpayers with the tab. They did not camp out for days, weeks, and months on end, making nuisances of themselves; they responsibly exercised their rights to assemble and express themselves without violating the rights of others to use the same public spaces.
Cohn and Judis show where their hearts really are. Along with “the continuing protest against autocratic government in Ohio and Wisconsin,” they say, the OWS demonstrations “represent a genuine spark of grassroots political action — a chance, finally, to redeem the promise of Obama’s 2008 campaign.” “We have to make sure we don’t squander it,” say the TNR duo.
The “protests” in Ohio and Wisconsin, need we remind, are similarly violent, lawless, criminal occupations that have resulted in massive vandalism, disruption of traffic and government services and violation of the rights of other citizens who do not share the protesters' aims. The OWS abuses that Cohn and Judis admit to are not rare exceptions, but are indeed “emblematic of the movement as a whole.”
Also emblematic are the extreme fringe beliefs of the OWS “99 percenters.” The liberal-left media choir searched largely in vain to find extreme elements among the Tea Party throngs and shrieked in mock horror whenever they thought they had discovered an intemperate or insensitive sign hypercritical of President Obama. This was evidence, they insisted, of Tea Party racism and neo-Nazi sympathies.
But when it comes to Occupy Wall Street, there is no need to speculate. The leading activists openly display their Communist, Marxist, Socialist, Anarchist affiliations and orientations. One would have to be willfully blind and totally dishonest not to notice this. In this writer’s visits to Ziccotti Park, it was impossible to take more than a few steps without seeing publications of the Communist Party, Revolutionary Communist Party, Communist Workers Party, Socialist Party, Socialist Workers Party, Working Families Party, etc., as well as prominent posters with the communist hammer and sickle or the communist clenched fist symbol. In fact, the "official" OccupyWallSt.org website has adopted the communist clenched fist as the symbol for its homepage — as have many of the derivative websites.
In any direction one looked at Zuccotti Park, one would see signs with communist slogans declaring: “Class Warfare Now!”; “Class Warfare is Coming”; “Marx Was Right”; “Smash Capitalism”; “Capitalism Must Be Destroyed”; "Build Socialism”; “From Each According to His Ability, To Each According to His Need.” This appeared to be not completely unique to the New York City demonstrations, but fairly typical of the OWS gatherings across the country and around the world. Unfortunately, much of the OWS-sympathetic media have cropped their photos and video camera angles to minimize exposure of this extreme radical side of the movement. They know that the American public, as angry as it may be over the government bailouts of insider Wall Street firms, would find little sympathy with the solutions proposed by the OWS crowd, almost all of which call for vastly expanded government programs, which would lead to even more corruption and economic destruction.
The Brecht Kasama Project — "a communist effort to re-imagine and regroup for revolution in the U.S.”
One of the critical connections to the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations that has been studiously ignored by the major media concerns the steady infusion of intellectual direction, organization, and inspiration provided by a long list of professional revolutionaries operating out of New York City’s colleges and universities and its publicly funded think tanks and centers of counter-culture activism. Foremost among these is the Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School. Named for communist playwright Bertolt Brecht, the Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School has been for years an activist hub for communist-socialist-anarchist organizers. Located just a short three-mile jaunt up West Street from Zuccotti Park, it also serves as a key activist hub for organizing the OWS actions.
The Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School “faculty” includes a rotating lineup of 1960s celebrity activists from the SDS, the terrorist Weather Underground, the Communist Party USA, Socialist Workers Party, Democratic Socialists of America, the Black Panther Party, and the like: Angela Davis, Cornell West, Bill Ayers, Todd Gitlin, Francis Fox Piven, Van Jones, and Stanley Aronowitz, to name a few who have been providing intellectual direction to the OWS agitators.
The Brecht Forum/New York Marxist School web page for November 21 provides this important tidbit on the recent activities of three of its veteran activists in what it calls the “Kasama Project — a communist effort to re-imagine and regroup for revolution in the U.S.”:
From #occupy to revolution
Jed Brandt, Mike Ely, Eric Riebellarsi
Jed Brandt is an editor with the Occupied Wall Street Journal, and together with Eric Ribellarsi, has recently returned from deep investigations into the "movement of the squares" in Greece and the revolutionary movement in Nepal.
Mike Ely is a veteran revolutionary whose political life started with the early SDS and the Black Panther Party in the 1960s, and covers decades of experience attempting to build revolutionary organization, including among coal miners in the wildcat strike movements of the 1970s.
All three are participants in the Kasama Project — a communist effort to re-imagine and regroup for revolution in the U.S. All have been active in the Occupy Together movement in different cities.