MTL to NYC on Flickr.
“do you even know why you’re here?” on Flickr.
“Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner” on Flickr.
I only saw this woman with her Dirty Dancing sign at Zuccotti on this one day. I tried to figure out what her sign meant exactly. I know it is a reference to Jennifer Grey’s character in Dirty Dancing. But I don’t know what it has to do with OWS.
Either way, lots of the action within OWS is done “for the lulz” and I shouldn’t overanalyze this one.
NY1: NYC’s 24 hour news on Flickr.
Because of the 24/7 occupation of Cedar Street (adjacent to Zuccotti) by police cars and media vans, the Zuccotti Park Greenmarket was unable to unload their goods and therefore they moved their operation to West Broadway btwn Barclay St. & Park Pl.
Lookers-on on Flickr.
The face that OWS presents to the public is obviously really important. In their time at Zuccotti, protesters were able to circulate their message to passersby like these folks.
They asked people to come down to see Zuccotti in person and most people found that it wasn’t like what the media was describing at all.
Some protesters would ask those who took pictures, like the woman with the purple case in this picture, to upload them to Facebook. Alternative discourse has to circulate in order to be effective, and Facebook is a good a way as any.
Bloomberg, in his explanation of the eviction, said the park was not accessible to non-protesters. However, there were 2 info desks that were constantly welcoming people in to the park. I walked through the park every morning and no one ever made me feel unwelcome.
Tourists who might walk by Zuccotti may have brought back their perceptions to wherever it is that they live.
“Attack on Public Sector” on Flickr.
The open forum at 6pm on this day is titled “The Attack on the Public Forum.” This theme is part of what drives OWS and why it has garnered so much sympathy. It isn’t just that the 1% has accrued so much wealth — although it does kind of creep me out that 6 generations from now, all the descendants of John Paulsen will necessarily be millionaires or billionaires at birth.
More crucially, the wealthiest have been accruing their wealth at the expense of regular people. Access to public resources improves the quality of life for 99 percenters on a daily basis and it also allows them to improve their future chances. A hollowed out public sector means a less educated population who probably doesn’t get the right kind of exercise, and who is in major debt because they are paying for what was once available to all. They also don’t have enough lifeguards on duty, according to this article.
A good example is the park where Yankee Stadium now exists. That space was a park where Bronx citizens could go running or have a picnic, whatever the case may be. After it was allocated to the Steinbrenner crew, Bronxites now need to pay hundreds of dollars to enter Yankee Stadium. They were promised an equal amount of park space elsewhere in return, but the city is including new astroturf soccer fields on the top of parking garages as part of that park space. This hasn’t been a satisfying trade for many Bronxites.
This, to me, is a good example of the attack on the public sector, but it is happening in bigger and smaller ways on a daily basis. Last week, CUNY students protested the CUNY Board of Trustees meeting where they were raising tuition 31% over 5 years. The CUNY Board is made up of appointees by Governor Pataki, Mayor Guiliani, and Mayor Bloomberg. They got attention recently for blocking an award for Tony Kushner.
To the art historian Diane Kelder, one welcome outcome of this “whole shabby procedure” might be closer scrutiny of the board itself. Ms. Kelder, a professor emeritus at the university’s graduate center, is receiving her own honorary degree, from the College of Staten Island, where she used to teach.
“It calls the whole process into question,” she said in an interview. “Who are these people on the board? How do they make judgments? And when someone like this man stands up and hyperventilates, why is he given so much credibility?”
Flag October 14th on Flickr.
One of the themes of the Occupy movement has been that the government no longer represents the people. Instead, the government represents the interests of the very powerful, including huge multinational corporations.
When the United States spends taxpayer dollars on overseas adventures and on billions of dollars of weapons, the people who benefit are not regular wage earners but instead corporations like the ones visible in the flag in this picture. Corporations benefit when markets are opened up overseas and the military is one way of opening up markets.
There are some pictures from Zuccotti Park in which the American flag is displayed normally. On another occasion, the news media has been able to make inroads against OWS by showing protesters using the flag as a blanket. 
When groups want to discredit people as unpatriotic or extremist, one of the tactics is to use their relationship to the American flag. Barack Obama was inaccurately described as unwilling to wear a flag pin and that got circulated widely before the 2008 election.
“We before Me” on Flickr.
This sign argues for a change in rhetorical frames. OWS has been accurately been portrayed as being against the 1% who control an unacceptable percentage of the wealth, power, and influence.
However, as this sign suggests, OWS would like to see less groups being pitted against each other. The 1% wins when the public is distracted by neverending arguments between Democrats and Republicans, red-staters vs blue-staters, and whatnot. In that sense, OWS takes some of its philosophy from Obama’s 2004 Democratic convention speech.
Additionally, this sign plays into the theory of George Lakoff, who suggests that conservative political figures frame things in terms of individual failures and successes, while liberals tend to focus on how an individuals’ success depends on the groups in which he or she is a member.
The sign also reminds me of the homeless activist who pointed me to the sign that said “They say gentrify, we say unify.” The whole debate about gentrification has unfortunately pitted sections of the population against each other. OWS bears the possibility that the so-called middle class and the so-called working class can work together. So far, they have been able to.
“Class War Ahead” on Flickr.
In the United States, in recent years, attempts to raise the marginal tax rate on the wealthiest Americans has been portrayed by folks like Paul Ryan as “class warfare.” I don’t suspect that most people know what that means, but I think that when they hear it, it sounds bad and unAmerican. Either way, it is one of those arguments that is effective and has likely been focus-grouped and devised by the likes of Frank Luntz.
Economists like Joseph Stiglitz have argued, alternatively, that class warfare by the rich against the poor has been ongoing since at least the 1970s.
OWS, differing a bit from both Stiglitz and Ryan, is fine with “class warfare.” The 99% needs to fight to get back some of the power and wealth and resources that have been directed toward the 1%.
Wall Street on Flickr.
My commute to work usually takes me right past Wall Street and the barriers that went up in mid-September. I initially read them as an annoyance because they blocked my path. Eventually, like everyone else, I started to understand Occupy Wall Street and why the city was taking such a drastic approach to what seemed to me to be a small gathering of protesters.
In the lead up to OWS, activists were planning to set up camp right in front of the Stock Exchange. The arrests that followed and the barriers and police presence moved the activists over to Zuccotti Park.
That encampment at Zuccotti was harder to remove than the initial smattering of tents on Wall Street, but currently, as I write this on December 2nd, the barriers now surround Zuccotti Park, and have been taken down around Wall Street.
Unified Chaos 99% on Flickr.
Once again, the idea of “unified chaos” is one that remains pretty consistent in the rhetoric of OWS. Because it is a movement of movements, some have said that it is incoherent, unfocused, and unworkable. But those within the movement appreciate the diversity of goals, rhetorics, and histories of those who care about the movement.
Even if there is some chaos, there is unity in their sense that the domination by the 1% is what each of the factions needs to fight against.
This picture also gives a sense of the state of the flowers on October 13th: pretty good shape.
Fox News Parody on Flickr.
The back and forth between OWS and the News Corporation has been very interesting to watch.
Wall Street Stock Exchange on Flickr.
Protesters don’t need to follow trade bureacrats around the globe, harrassing them in Seattle, Prague and wherever else. Naomi Klein worried about that as a strategy in 2000 after the Seattle WTO protests. Since then, protesters seem to have realized that they can camp year-round at the home-bases of the powerful, whether it is Wall Street in NYC or Dalal Street in Mumbai.
Just like in Seattle though, the police will work to stifle that dissent, with horses, fences, pepper spray, evictions. The corporate media will help by portraying the protesters as undesirables, smelly, violent, crazy, lazy, immature, unfocused, drug-addled, over-partied, greedy, privileged, green-eyed, etc.