Occupy Wall Street May Day 'Relaunch' a Monumental Fizzle
Exhibit A: This article in the Guardian describing the "relevance" of OWS goes on for more than 1,000 words without once mentioning any numbers as far as protestors in New York, Seattle, Oakland, and San Francisco.
Exhibit B: No mention of OWS May Day protests on front page of New York Times site today. They may have had something yesterday but if it had been impactful, they would have run front page stories for days.
Why? Suppose they began a revolution and no one showed up? If I was a left wing rag, I wouldn't have mentioned numbers either.
They billed it as "A Day without the 99%." Calling for a "general strike" and asking people to take "a vacation" from shopping and especially banking, as well as requesting students to stay home from school, the expectations before May 1 - which was also designated as the official relaunch of OWS - were very high:
"It's going to be important for the morale one way or the other of the movement," said Todd Gitlin, a social movement historian and Columbia professor who led Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s and is the author of a new book on Occupy Wall Street. "If you want to convince people who are not inside the circle of the committed that the movement is back then you have to be able to make a case to them. Numbers are the easiest way to do that."
Demonstrations will focus on midtown banks for the morning and early afternoon, when activists will march from a pop-up occupation of Bryant Park to Union Square and hold a 4 p.m. rally. Later, there is a city-approved march from Union Square to Lower Manhattan, where Goldman Sachs' headquarters could be targeted for protest.
"A success would be relatively good press and relatively decent numbers," said Gitlin. "If the numbers in New York turn out to be much smaller than the numbers from the big marches in October and November, it will be hard to spin that."
The Huffpo blog on the San Francisco-Oakland OWS May Day event begins, "Hundreds of protesters flooded the streets of San Francisco and Oakland on Tuesday as part of the nationwide May Day general strike organized largely by Occupy Wall Street."
"Flooded?" Who is the writer trying to kid? You don't "flood" the streets with only "hundreds" of protesters. Thousands or tens of thousands of protestors are needed to "flood" the streets. The fact that only 25 protestors were arrested the entire day tells the real story of participation in the May Day OWS relaunch.
San Francisco was also the scene of mindless violence as a couple of dozen black clad anarchists trashed about 30 businesses in the Mission district. The violence mystified the small business owners:
Owners of vandalized businesses said they were hardly representative of the corporations targeted by Occupy activists.
"They're coming through the Mission, where there aren't any corporations, just a lot of small businesses, which is what they're all about," Koskoff said. "It doesn't make sense."
Jeremy Tooker, owner of Fourbarrel Coffee, said a friend had stopped a protester from smashing the glass storefront with a crowbar - and had taken a hit to his arm. Someone else splashed paint on the window.
"This just seems like they're frustrated with their impotency at this point," Tooker said. "It's like, 'Look at me, I'm still here, I'm still occupying.' "
Although the march sprang from a rally for an Occupy action, other Occupy protesters shunned its participants as outliers. Several said police must have been to blame, including one man dressed all in black at Tuesday's May Day protest in San Francisco, who gave his name as Banana Mouse.
"I think it was infiltrators. I don't think it was Occupy," he said. "They (the police) were instigating."
Some business people, however, said Occupy bore responsibility for the damage.
"Occupy is saying it's not them, but we wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Occupy, now would we?" Michelle Horneff-Cohen, a real estate broker, said as she surveyed the broken window of her workplace, Property Management Systems.
When in doubt, blame the police. The cops made the wackos break windows, spray paint stores, and cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage? Nice story if you can sell it.
Seattle was the worst city as far as violence:
Leaving the park, the group soon grew from about 50 to a couple hundred people. While many in the crowd were peaceful, simply chanting and carrying signs, it soon became clear that a fringe group was ready to cause problems.
The group was easy to spot. Most were dressed in all black and had bandannas or scarves covering their faces. As the crowd wound its way through the streets of downtown Seattle, it eventually became violent. At the old Federal Courthouse at 1010 5th Ave., vandals smashed three plate glass doors on the back of the building.
Police reported recovering homemade incendiary devices made out of toilet paper rolls and fruit juice boxes.
A longtime KING 5 photographer was assaulted by a marcher dressed in black. Richard Departee said the marcher hit him with a wooden pole, bloodying the side of his head.
The group continued down Sixth Ave., eventually smashing plate glass windows at the NikeTown store. In front of the store, parked cars were targeted. Windshields on the cars were shattered, tires slashed. As the vandals moved farther down the street, Seattle Police arrived in full force. Dozens in full riot gear came up behind the group.
At least eight people were arrested for everything from vandalism to pedestrian interference to assault.
At an afternoon press conference, Mayor Mike McGinn said a group known as the "Black Bloc" did extensive damage to the Federal Courthouse, then moved on to block traffic.
"A number of the core group of 'Black Bloc' members returned to Westlake, where we saw some of them live on video changing back into street clothes and blending into the crowd," said McGinn.
Violence in several cities, promised tens of thousands who would take to the streets and revitalize the OWS movement not in evidence anywhere, a general stike that was a joke from the beginning and that 99.9% of the 99% ignored, and a liberal press that barely noted the events.
What does that sound like to you? The New York Post pegs it correctly: OWS is "now in the 16th minute of its 15 minutes of fame":
Which is to say, no one cares anymore - assuming anyone ever did.
OK, some did: Besides the usual suspects - anarchists, anti-capitalists and misfits - the "movement" had lots of support in the mainstream media.
Attempts to picket and disrupt local corporate headquarters essentially fizzled.
The closest thing to an actual disruption that was evident was a few bags of initially suspicious white powder - corn starch, it turned out - mailed to several banks. It all made for good video, but little else.
Fact is, the vast majority of New Yorkers - the real 99 percent, in other words - spent their day doing precisely what OWS had promised, and failed, to stop them from doing: They went to work and school.
Which is as good a response to May Day as we can think of.
On the count of three, everyone point their finger at the left and laugh. And then thank them for giving us a front row seat to see the end of Occupy Wall Street.