More Than 180 Arrested on Occupy Wall Street's First Anniversary
By Allison Kilkenny / thenation.com

In the early morning hours Monday, Occupy Wall Street activists marked the first anniversary of the movement by protesting in the financial district. Hundreds gathered on Water Street and hundreds more in Zuccotti Park, the birth place of the movement, before marching through Lower Manhattan, occasionally pausing to occupy intersections and protest financial institutions like Chase and Bank of America.

It was one of the largest turnouts since the early days of Occupy, but Monday was also exceptional because of the high arrest figures. More than 180 people, including journalists, were arrested, and in at least some of these cases, the police were arresting individuals arbitrarily and without cause.

Protesters reported, and I witnessed firsthand, police dragging individuals off of sidewalks (previously considered the “safe space” of activists who don’t wish to participate in direct action and go to jail) into the street, where they were then arrested. When press attempted to rush forth to photograph these arrests, the police formed a wall and aggressively shoved back journalists, making it difficult to document the actions.

At one point, a NYPD white shirt supervising officertold a group of journalists, “You can’t stand and take more pictures. That’s over with.”

“I just got out of jail. Was arrested despite screaming over and over that I’m a journalist,” Chris Faraone, a Boston Phoenix staff writer, tweeted.

Julia Reinhart, a photojournalist, was also arrested even through she was wearing identification that listed her as a member of the National Press Photographers Association.

Another journalist from WPIX was arrested Monday, as was journalist and illustrator Molly Crabapple and independent journalist John Knefel. Knefel’s sister, Molly, described the arrest as “violent and unprovoked.”

Later in the evening, New York City Councilman Jumaane Williams was assaulted in Zuccotti Park by the NYPD. Protester Jeff Rae photographed a NYPD officer jamming his baton into the councilman’s chest.

As of this report, the National Lawyers Guild estimates that between thirty and fifty protesters are still in custody after yesterday’s actions.

Reports emerged almost immediately that the anniversary was a flop, or in the words of the New York Times’s Andrew Ross Sorkin, the event “fizzled,” a diagnosis preordained by a media that has never been particularly friendly to a movement it failed to understand in the first place. Sorkin is aTimes financial columnist who first checked out OWS only “after getting a call from the chief executive of a major bank,” who wanted to know how worried he and his CEO buddies should be about the movement. Sorkin dutifully hurried down to Zuccotti.

To say “Occupy is dead” is to misunderstand everything about the movement. Occupy can’t die as long as the dire conditions that inspired the creation of the movement continue to exist. In speaking with protesters, one can easily see all of their grievances are still real and present. One protester summarized the current state of Occupy nicely as he carried a sign around Zuccotti that read: “Nothing has changed.”

Students are still buried under loan debt. People are still losing their homes. People still can’t afford healthcare, and they still can’t survive on minimum wage jobs.

And protesters are quick to point out that it’s only been a year, and the timeline of any social justice movement is long. Perhaps “Occupy” will evolve into a different kind of movement under an entirely different banner, but the spirit that first served as a catalyst lives on.

No revolutionary force is without ebb and flows—that is without question—but it’s been interesting to watch the establishment media rush to slap a bow on the “Occupy story” and force a “The End” onto the movement. There is a borderline obsession in the media with numbers, as though there’s a direct correlation between protester turnout and the “seriousness” of a protest—as though small groups of highly dedicated individuals haven’t inspired real, lasting change in the past.

Several media outlets alluded to the “good ol’ days” of Occupy, and how this new Occupy is only a shadow of its former self. As if these aren’t the same media outlets who also dismissed the old Occupy, as well. Hundreds aren’t as important as thousands, who aren’t as important as millions, and the point is Occupy was never, ever going to impress the mainstream media, and so they never aimed to.

No one can predict the future of Occupy Wall Street, though organizers, who are mindful of the media’s desire to slap “DEATH” before its name, attempted to show they have a game plan for September 18 and beyond. For example, many protesters continue to work in the student debt and home foreclosure movements.

It’s telling that the “Occupy is dead” narrative never bothers to explore the reasons beyond why the oxygen was sucked out of what appeared to be, at the time, an unstoppable force like OWS. The same individuals rushing to declare Occupy dead never explore the systemic presence of severe police brutality that constantly sought to crush the movement, and ask if, perhaps, that is why the movement is a “shadow” of its former self.

This omission is made all the more odious by the fact that many journalists had their rights violated by police all across the country, but most recently yesterday by the NYPD.

The important takeaway is: no mainstream media outlet predicted the significance of September 17, 2011. Not a single one. Yet, the same crew seems all too eager to predict Occupy’s future. Those predictions—all of them—need to be judged with that fact taken in mind.

Illustrator Molly Crabapple was one of the many arrested at yesterday’s protests. Check out her coverage of the event, in drawings. All photos by Allison Kilkenny

0.0 · 0
What's Next
Related
Load Comments
Trending Today
"Desert Goddess" Remembers Arizona's Glen Canyon
7 min · 11,648 views today · In this excerpt from the award-winning documentary DamNation, filmmakers Ben Knight and Travis Rummel interview the "desert goddess," Katie Lee. When the Glen Canyon Dam was...
This Dude Just Used Jelly Beans To Convince Me To Live My Life To The Fullest
3 min · 7,355 views today · After watching this video, I just wanted to make the most of my free time. I also wanted some candy, so we will call that a 2 for 1. - Rafael Casal
Watch a Giant Suction Tube Gobble Up The Earth In This Brilliant Video about Our Economy
7 min · 4,592 views today · Modern production is based on extraction from the planet, and modern finance is based on extraction from the many for the benefit of the very few. What would a new economy look...
I Wish for You... Jeremy Irons is a Grandfather With A Beautiful Message for His Granddaughter
5 min · 3,778 views today · 'War Horse' author Michael Morpurgo and actors Jeremy Irons and Maxine Peake have joined forces to make a powerful new 5 minute film especially for you. Please watch and...
Varoufakis Leads European Left to Reclaim Democracy From "Authoritarian Technocrats"
Nadia Prupis · 2,374 views today · Democracy in Europe Movement 2025 seeks to find 'common solutions to common problems,' says former Greek finance minister
Feeling the Yern: Why One Millennial Woman Would Rather Go to Hell Than Vote for Hillary
Holly Wood · 1,639 views today · Stumping for Hillary Clinton this weekend in New Hampshire, hedge fund manager Madeleine Albright squawked, "There's a special place in Hell for women who don't help each...
Alan Watts: The World of Man and Nature
3 min · 1,572 views today · Words from Alan Watts combined with breathtaking timelapse footage by two amazing photographers, and beautiful music by Carbon Based Lifeforms.
John Lennon's "Imagine," Made Into A Comic Strip
John Lennon. Art by Pablo Stanley · 1,332 views today · This is easily the best comic strip ever made.  Pabl
Republicans Welcomed Bernie Sanders to Wisconsin By Calling Him an Extremist. His Response? Perfect.
5 min · 1,251 views today · This was just awesome. No wonder so many people love Sander's message. The opening minutes of the July 1st rally was a classic #FeelTheBern moment, delivered to a 10,000...
9 Ways We Can Make Social Justice Movements Less Elitist and More Accessible
Kai Cheng Thom · 1,211 views today · In my first year of college, I stopped calling myself an activist. It took attending just a few meetings of the campus queer group for me to realize that I didn’t fit in with...
HEIST: Who Stole the American Dream? (2012)
76 min · 1,123 views today · HEIST: Who Stole the American Dream? is stunning audiences across the globe, as it exposes the real truth behind the worldwide economic collapse, tracing its origins to a 1971...
Today I Rise: This Beautiful Short Film Is Like a Love Poem For Your Heart and Soul
4 min · 1,070 views today · "The world is missing what I am ready to give: My Wisdom, My Sweetness, My Love and My hunger for Peace." "Where are you? Where are you, little girl with broken wings but full...
Who Are You? This Breathtaking Video Might Change Your Life
2 min · 1,062 views today · "Normal is getting dressed in clothes that you buy for work, driving through traffic in a car that you are still paying for, in order to get to a job that you need so you can...
Nigerians Are Building Fireproof, Bulletproof, and Eco-Friendly Homes With Plastic Bottles and Mud
Amanda Froelich · 949 views today · These colorful homes are bulletproof, fireproof, and can withstand earthquakes. They also maintain a comfortable temperature, produce zero carbon emissions, and are powered by...
When Corporatocracy Replaced Democracy - a Dystopian Warning From the Future
Andrew Butler · 657 views today · Ever since Trump was elected the question on everyone's lips has been, "Who’s next?" The border between the US and Mexico is effectively closed to people, although it’s still...
F*ck That: A Guided Meditation for the Realities of Today's World
2 min · 559 views today · Just acknowledge that all that sh*t is f*cking b*llshit — you're here now, in this place, with your inner stillness. Take in a deep breath ... now breathe out. Just feel the...
The Lie We Live
8 min · 496 views today · Spencer Cathcart raises all the right questions, exposes collective lies and stories we tell ourselves all the while retaining a sense of hope for humanity. This video will...
Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed (The Real Reason For The Forty-Hour Workweek)
David Cain · 459 views today · Well I’m in the working world again. I’ve found myself a well-paying gig in the engineering industry, and life finally feels like it’s returning to normal after my nine months...
The Difference Between Empathy and Sympathy
3 min · 422 views today · What is the best way to ease someone's pain and suffering? In this beautifully animated RSA Short, Dr Brené Brown reminds us that we can only create a genuine empathic...
HUMAN (2015)
382 min · 403 views today · What is it that makes us human? Is it that we love, that we fight? That we laugh? Cry? Our curiosity? The quest for discovery?  Driven by these questions, filmmaker and artist...
Load More
Like us on Facebook?