PAUSE FOR THE CAUSE Police officers received instructions as protesters, rallying against big businesses since the weekend, slept before demonstrating outside the New York Stock Exchange Wednesday. (Photo: Eduardo Munoz / Reuters)
“They tell you are we are dreamers. The true dreamers are those who think things can go on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers. We are awakening from a dream which is tuning into a nightmare. We are not destroying anything. We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself…
Carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day after, when we will have to return to normal life. Will there be any changes then? I don’t want you to remember these days you know, like ‘oh, we were young, it was beautiful.’ Remember that our basic message is 'We are allowed to think about alternatives’…”
Philosopher and critical theorist Slavoj Žižek addressing the Occupy Wall Street protesters this Sunday at Liberty Plaza in New York City.
“We are allowed to think about alternatives…” Consider this every single time a demonstration is arrested or pepper-sprayed. Thinking about alternatives, asking for alternatives, considering alternatives, etc… all this seems to be very intimidating to those in power.
Žižek speaks the truth when he proclaims that we are watching the system destroy itself. We are. Late capitalism is a snake eating its own tail.
Walking through Liberty Plaza at night is one of the current highlights of Downtown, with the glowing trees and lights in the floor causing people to stop in their tracks and reach for their camera phone.
The plaza demonstrates how floor lights can bring a sense of specialness to a place. The lights act as a beacon, welcoming passers-by to use the square, and should be used more widely throughout the city.
The police made scores of arrests on Saturday as hundreds of people, many of whom had been encamped in the financial district as part of a lengthy protest, marched north to Union Square. As darkness fell, large numbers of officers were deployed on streets near the encampment in Zuccotti Park, at Broadway and Liberty Street, where hundreds more people had gathered.
Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman, said in a statement, “There were approximately 80 arrests, mainly for disorderly conduct by individuals who blocked vehicular and pedestrian traffic, but also for resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and, in one instance, for assault on a police officer.”
Protest organizers estimated that about 85 people were arrested and that about five were struck with pepper spray. Among those was Chelsea Elliott, 25, who said that she was sprayed after shouting “Why are you doing that?” as an officer arrested a protester at East 12th Street.
“I was on the ground sobbing and couldn’t breathe,” she said. The continuing protests, against a financial system that participants say favors the rich and powerful over ordinary citizens, started last Saturday and were coordinated by a New York group called the General Assembly.
Many of those taking part have slept in Zuccotti Park, which is private, using it as a base. In the early afternoon hundreds of people left the park and moved north toward Union Square. Witnesses said that for much of the route, protesters spilled from sidewalks onto streets and added that the police used long orange nets at Fifth Avenue and 14th Street in an apparent attempt to block the march from proceeding.
…“They put up orange nets and tried to kettle us and we started running and they started tackling random people and handcuffing them,” said Kelly Brannon, 27, of Ridgewood, Queens. “They were herding us like cattle.”
Slavoj Žižek visited Liberty Plaza to speak to Occupy Wall Street protesters. Here is the original text of his speech:
Don’t fall in love with yourselves, with the nice time we are having here. Carnivals come cheap—the true test of their worth is what remains the day after, how our normal daily life will be changed. Fall in love with hard and patient work—we are the beginning, not the end. Our basic message is: the taboo is broken, we do not live in the best possible world, we are allowed and obliged even to think about alternatives. There is a long road ahead, and soon we will have to address the truly difficult questions—questions not about what we do not want, but about what we DO want. What social organization can replace the existing capitalism? What type of new leaders we need? The XXth century alternatives obviously did not work.
So do not blame people and their attitudes: the problem is not corruption or greed, the problem is the system that pushes you to be corrupt. The solution is not “Main street, not Wall street,” but to change the system where main street cannot function without Wall street. Beware not only of enemies, but also of false friends who pretend to support us, but are already working hard to dilute our protest. In the same way we get coffee without caffeine, beer without alcohol, ice-cream without fat, they will try to make us into a harmless moral protest. But the reason we are here is that we had enough of the world where to recycle your Coke cans, to give a couple of dollars for charity, or to buy Starbucks cappuccino where 1% goes for the Third World troubles is enough to make us feel good. After outsourcing work and torture, after the marriage agencies started to outsource even our dating, we see that for a long time we were allowing our political engagements also to be outsourced—we want them back.
We were called losers—but are the true losers not there on the Wall Street, and were they not bailed out by hundreds of billions of your money? You are called socialists—but in the US, there already is socialism for the rich. They will tell you that you don’t respect private property—but the Wall Street speculations that led to the crash of 2008 erased more hard-earned private property than if we were to be destroying it here night and day—just think of thousands of homes foreclosed…
We are not Communists, if Communism means the system which deservedly collapsed in 1990—and remember that Communists who are still in power run today the most ruthless capitalism (in China). The success of Chinese Communist-run capitalism is an ominous sign that the marriage between capitalism and democracy is approaching a divorce. The only sense in which we are Communists is that we care for the commons—the commons of nature, of knowledge—which are threatened by the system.
They will tell you that you are dreaming, but the true dreamers are those who think that things can go on indefinitely they way they are, just with some cosmetic changes. We are not dreamers, we are the awakening from a dream which is turning into a nightmare. We are not destroying anything, we are merely witness how the system is gradually destroying itself. We all know the classic scene from cartoons: the cat reaches a precipice, but it goes on walking, ignoring the fact that there is no ground under its feet; it starts to fall only when it looks down and notices the abyss. What we are doing is just reminding those in power to look down…
5:30 We will march from Liberty Plaza to rally at a nearby Verizon Wireless Store by 6pm (final store location not announced).
45,000 Verizon and Verizon Wireless workers are on the front lines of the struggle against corporate greed.
Verizon is the 16th largest corporation in America, with one of the largest union workforces. In the past four years, Verizon made $22.5 billion in profits and paid its top five executives $258 million —yet wants to slash workers’ benefits, force us to pay thousands of dollars more for health care, reduce our sick time, and eliminate our job security.
This is Dave. Check out his hat: Veteran - Battle Of The Bulge. When I met him he had just discovered he was pictured in that day’s New York Times. He asked me where to get it, and I said “There’s a cafe with a news stand around the corner on the left.”
Me on the left and my bestie Rebecca. she was actually held on Brooklyn Bridge for over 2 hours before being let go. My sign got alittle smudged by the rain but it says “Human Life, Not Profit. Fix our Healthcare – No More ‘Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free’ cards!”