Occupy Wall Street na New Yorker
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Where is Wall Street? Occupy Wall Street’s skeptics—and there are a lot of those, though far fewer than there were a week ago—like to note the protesters are not actually occupying a street named Wall, but a park named Zuccotti; and that “Wall Street” is an archaic term, anyway, since many financial firms aren’t resident there. The protesters, in other words, were misdirected and naïve: they don’t even know where they are standing, let alone what they are standing against. But Saturday night, as the protests, which had already been replicated in cities from Boston to Seattle, moved up the city’s grid, to Washington Square Park and Times Square, and around the world, to have a glimpse of where they might be going. Where isn’t Wall Street, after all? It’s in one’s mortgage terms and student loans and legislatures. And where isn’t there anger?
Times Square, where forty-five people were arrested Saturday—with another forty-seven in Washington Square Park and elsewhere—would be a decent choice as a new base for Occupy Wall Street, not because it’s a commercial or corporate space (Condé Nast, The New Yorker’s parent, is one of the tenants) but because it’s a civic space. It’s a lot bigger than Zuccotti Park. New Yorkers know how to gather there. (So do tourists.) It is full of cameras, and full of delegates, at any given moment, from dozens of countries. It’s where one can get news, and share it.
Tags: new yorker, occupywallstreet
The O.W.S. protesters have been effective witnesses already. What is striking about this weekend is how well-tuned the echoes were, and the way the voices were joined. It wasn’t just a lot of people yelling about banks, with the Italians getting more out of control than most (though they did, burning cars in Rome). People in London, Hong Kong, Madrid, Tokyo, South Korea, Stockholm, and Sydney were carrying similar signs and claiming membership in the “99 Per Cent.” One shouldn’t dismiss that term as naïve or meaningless without looking at what’s happened, in the last few years, to income inequality: as Nicholas Kristof points out in the Times, “The top 1 percent of Americans possess more wealth than the entire bottom 90 percent.” Der Spiegel, reporting on protests in Berlin and Frankfurt, referred to the “Occupy-Märsche.” Wall Street has long been a multinational brand name; now Occupy is, too.
Another pair of complaints about the movement is that it is only about catchy rhetoric, and that it is inarticulate about what it wants. And yet somehow, as the marches spread, the ideas are getting more coherent, not less so. There is a global conversation going on now, and it would be foolish not to listen. For an anti-corporate movement, O.W.S. has a good sense of franchising—more importantly, it has something to say about enfranchisement.