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The kids: still all right

By Michael J. Smith on Friday September 30, 2011 11:43 PM

Comrade Doug Henwood has a nice report on tonight's Occupy Wall Street events here in New York. With pictures he took himself. I don't have any pictures because I was afraid to take the camera; I figured there'd be some nightstick action, and I can't afford a new camera. In the event, there wasn't any nightstick action, and I was the only person in the crowd without a camera.

Doug's vantage point was the opposite of mine; he was in the backyard of the municipal office building -- not City Hall, and most certainly not at the gangsters' lair known as One Police Plaza(*) -- at a smallish anti-cop rally, and I accompanied the likable young people up from Zuccotti Park to join 'em. Nice moment when the kids surged in and the two groups greeted each other.

Scattered observations:

-- The young folks liked it when speakers said stuff about inequality, and even capitalism. References to imperialism, though, didn't get much of a rise. Interesting, I thought. Some work needed here. They didn't like war, though, so the path is clear.

-- Electronic amplification is verboten; apparently you need a permit in order to use a bullhorn here in the Land Of The Free, and the activities so far have not had or sought permits, or so I'm told. I approve strongly of not seeking the permit, of course.

The alternative to bullhorns and such is that sections of the crowd repeat each phrase from the speaker to those farther out, so listening to it is like an old-fashioned analog reverb effect: "I represent" .. "resent" .. "sent"... "The Transit Workers Union " .. "bunion" ... "onion". You get the idea. This made-up example actually understates the accuracy of the repetition.

It's interesting from both a literary and social point of view. People repeat more strongly the stuff they like, so every phrase gets an instant referendum. And of course you have to adapt your speaking style to the medium, which is a challenge. One of the speakers was a relative of mine, and I thought she did quite well. But one needs to avoid words like 'nexus' -- as in, the nexus of inequality and repression, which is, of course, a fine and sound idea. She rapidly realized the error and said it again, using 'connection' instead. It was wonderful to watch the speakers learning the new rules as they went along.

-- A lot of us old Lefties have been doing some handwringing lately about the naivete and unstructuredness of the Occupiers. The companion of my life put this into perspective nicely for me after I got home. She did some simple arithmetic. I was born some sixty years ago. So suppose a person born sixty-odd years before had been at some of the demonstrations I was at in the mid-to-late 60s. That person would have been born not long after the turn of the 20th century; would remember both World Wars -- might have even served in the First, if he was well-grown and highly motivated and willing to lie about his age. He or she would remember the Depression and not one but two Red Scares. What would that person have made of my contemporaries?

These young people live in a different world than the one we knew. We certainly know a thing or two they don't. But perhaps they also know a thing or two we don't.


(*) 1 Police Plaza is a fine ugly looming overbearing example (c. 1973) of Brutalist architecture in-terrorem. In terrorem in every sense of the world, since the cops are terrified to let anybody near it. It's a fortress on the other side of a narrow and easily-defended bridge over Park Row, which serves as the moat. Park Row used to be a street, but the porkers closed it down after Nineleven(tm) and now use it as a parking lot for their grotesquely over-abundant vehicles.

Here's the google map; we were penned in the backyard of the municipal office building, approximately where the arrow is, and the bridge is at marker A:


A picture of 1PP itself, which none of us saw tonight:

Comments (11)


Electronic amplification is verboten...their grotesquely over-abundant vehicles

That's progress over 5 decades for you.

References to imperialism, though, didn't get much of a rise.

Time for teach-ins on Afghanistan.


that building is fantastic, next you're gonna tell me Boston city hall is ugly. gimme a break


That building is an eyesore, a blight upon the landscape, and a judgment of eternal damnation upon everyone involved in its design. Its only saving grace is that it's not quite the atrocity Boston City Hall is, but that's not enough to commute the sentence of death by controlled implosion which in a just world would be immediately pronounced and executed upon an aesthetic atrocity like that one.

It's also a sign of shitty government. But in light of history I really don't trust commies to do any better.

That's a really good read, MJS. I know we don't agree on their use of puppets and playacting (in this context), but I'm warming to 'em.

And hat tip to Corrente for highlighting this dude who really doesn't get it:



I didn't see any puppets or masks Friday. Or the previous times I went, either, for that matter. Perhaps the puppeteers have gone on to other engagements?


Ah yes we had use of bull horns in the 70's In Nueva York

The control regs have increased refinement these days

All the better to defy
come the time and place

Imperialism in my estimation is a poor term anyway for post colonial great power hegemonics

The casting aside of this relic might serve the movement well
Much about pax Yankee doodle is contrastable with Antonine Rome

And in another dimension
Such are the uses of clean slates as this latest cohort of raw heads are


Leave it to mjs

Dwelling on the medium is the message

But I must say his domestic partner sounds bright eh?

Haven't met her myself

of course
I'm kept well away from comrades alt gender partners

I tend to antagonize them....inexplicably

The old grammar school yard instincts remain

THEY after all are different from us boys

Opposites even


Had a thought
Roosevelts as our Julius and octavian

Imagine one day

Hail Roosevelt


Dugout hen wood
Is like the society page reporter for these genteel rads

The odor is sweat less

White folks defying cops in this manner strikes me as
Exercising the extented license of their privileges
In the context of captain pepper sprays damsel dousing


I guess so
In the fight fiercely pink harvard mode

Perhaps the unions can goose this up notch


I must say I don't share the response

Lok the kids are able to do what we vets can't do

Because the same shit happened in 67 -68

The corporate media likes the unfledged chickadees
In dudgeon mode
It's genetically inconsiderable

Shades of the Columbia occ back when in 68

The beauty comes when the raw heads and the wage class flow into each other
As Jack pointed out below the last post

Then it's more like Paris 68

Peter Ward:

I see they blocked the Brooklyn Bridge!

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