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By Michael J. Smith on Tuesday October 25, 2011 10:32 PM

I wish I could take credit for the eloquent image above, but alas, I just found it on the Web.

My daughter and I went down today to spend a couple of hours with the Wall Street occupiers, and she took a lot of quite nice cell phone pictures, but we couldn't figure out a way to get them off her phone. We'll keep trying.

She's been there more recently that I have; it's been a week for me. I was very struck by a couple of things.

The whole place is a tent city now. Tents were supposed to be strengst-verboten when the occupation started, but after the mayor backed down, week before last, it seems that the occupiers have taken the bit between their teeth. There are nice North Face tents and ratty Coleman tents and tents that aren't tents at all -- just thin cheap blue plastic tarps draped over nylon clothesline stretched between the spindly trees of the park.

The ratty and improvised greatly outnumber the spiffy and nice. There are beach umbrellas with tarps draped over them, and wild fantastical constructions supported on bungee cords and broomsticks and PVC tubing. There are areas of twenty by thirty feet or so entirely covered by such interlinked ingenuities, and although I didn't trespass, one has the feeling that the spaces so created are not sealed off from each other -- that there's a labyrinth of passages and portals and interconnections among the dozens of little cells under each integument. It made me think, oddly, of the notorious Viet Cong tunnel network back in the day.

Along with the residential development I felt a slight difference in the composition of the crowd. Much of today's group seemed like residents -- not just droppers-in, like me, or brave and praiseworthy fellow-travellers like a lot of the kids who came two weeks ago to face down Bloomberg's cleanup. A slightly sterner-faced, more committed crowd today: people who looked like they had been there for a while and might even be starting to think of it as home.

The natterers have been working overtime the last few days. First we were told that the drummers were going to spoil it for everybody else. Then there was a flap with something called the "Demands Working Group", vel sim, which seems to have come into conflict with other activist elements. The twists and turns of this latter story are a lot too complicated for my brain -- I can't even remember who's who in King Lear. But in this case too, the conflict seems to have fizzled.

On the subway, coming home, I mentioned to my daughter that people were saying the occupiers were a largely white and largely male group. She looked at me as if I had suddenly begun to practice glossolalia. "That's... crazy!" she said. "That's not true at all."

She's right. It's not. It's probably even less true than it was a week ago.

Comments (8)

D'aahh, jeezus, that lame old trope again? Is that the best they can do? Sounds like the same old crap they rolled out back during the Seattle/WTO/A16 days. It's gotten so that I'm not even bugged by that anymore; in fact, I've come to take it as a sign that a popular movement is a success, when the US media clowns start bitching about how "white" it is, as if white males don't belong in popular movements, and that their place is to hang around the dorm watching football and playing beer pong or waxing their Camaros or some shit.

Hell, I may as well go way out on a really long limb here and venture a guess that if a popular Left movment in this country isn't "black enough", it's because a huge chunk of Black America™ is still sitting around waiting for Barack Obama, the Democrats and the CBC to save them. Seriously; I understand that in spite of everything, black voters' approval rating for Obama is still lingering in the 90% ballpark.

There was an article in the Washington Post last week about the challenges the Obama campaign was facing in maintaining loyalty among black voters in spite of his having done exactly jack shit about the black foreclosure rate, the black unemployment rate, black mass incarceration, or any other critical issues facing Black America™. The opening paragraphs focused on talk-radio host Tom Joyner, depicting him having a big conniption on the air as he exhorted black Americans to "stick together" and vote for Obama next year just because he's black.

The real "money shot", though, comes in the third paragraph, which discusses Obama stooge Al Sharpton:

The Rev. Al Sharpton, an ally of President Obama who has a daily radio show and hosts a nightly cable television program, recently told the president’s black critics, “I’m not telling you to shut up. I’m telling you: Don’t make some of us have to speak up.”

Gee, Rev, you wouldn't be, like, threatening people or anything, would you?


Polls and 'approval ratings' have to be taken with a large lump of salt. In any case OWS at least (I can't speak for the other Occupations, or other 'left movements') isn't melanin-challenged. It just isn't. This canard is 100% bullshit.

Fadduh Smiff sez on 10.26.11 @18:26:
Polls and 'approval ratings' have to be taken with a large lump of salt...

...if not an entire salt mine.

...In any case OWS at least (I can't speak for the other Occupations, or other 'left movements') isn't melanin-challenged. It just isn't...

No shit. I'm more inclined to believe your daughter than any clueless media pundit, f'sure.

This canard is 100% bullshit.

Lemme put it to you this way... I've learned that pretty much anything I hear on the MSM "news", the exact opposite is true.

More like 110% if you ask me.


Divide and rule. Same as it ever was. It's way past time we deep six the "white male" bullshit. Whenever I hear that PC term of art I think "asshole" and if that's the best they can come up with to demonize the protestors, I'd say they are on solid ground.


Not to be dull and all demographic about this, but my observation down at OWS was the black contingent was probably a similar proportion to the black population in the US. So the notion that this is whites only is silliness.

You can't win, though. If there were "too many" blacks, this would be marginalized as Those People Who Don't Work and Want My Money. And if the place were flooded with working class folk, which would be lovely of course, then it would be about Those Evil Unions...and, "Get a job!" --- the latter of course always applies to blacks too.

I loathe the term "narratives" but it does apply here. Whatever the composition of OWS, the derisive, condescending, power-serving narratives have already been written in advance and saved on the hard drive.

PS: A big thank you to the Oakland police. Way to make a movement grow!


cz - thanks for mentioning oakland [what better than cops who shoot peaceful iraq war vet in head]

'and if the place' [NYC, Oakland, Chicago, Paris, Rome, Sao Paulo, Mex DF,,,]were flooded with working class folk...'

i'd guess it is so flooded, but, whatever the case, a musical video from Sao Paulo's Clarin -


...she took a lot of quite nice cell phone pictures, but we couldn't figure out a way to get them off her phone...

Can she do email with her phone? If so, she should be able to email the photo to anyone she wants, who then opens it on a computer and saves it.

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