wonkette on the streets

NYC Protesting and Palling Around With Anti-Terror Militarized Police

We stole this photo of Cornel West from our friend Nadia, on the Facebook. Sorry/thanks, Nadia!Good morning! Your dutiful Occupy Wall Street correspondent is still embedded with the Sandinistas of Zuccotti Park, who still want to destroy America with their nonviolent opposition to living in a terrible banana republic. We even accompanied the park dwellers on their daily morning march around Wall Street, which was filmed in its entirety by shadowy NYPD types armed with camcorders, probably so that they can tag us all on Facebook/add our names to the No Fly List/Assassination Queue. Famous non-white scholar Cornel West made a surprise visit, and we also accosted high school teachers and preachers, all of whom admitted on camera that they need to get a job.

The General Assembly

The backbone of the Occupation is the general assembly, which meets twice a day. General assemblies are “an open, participatory and horizontally organized process through which we are building the capacity to constitute ourselves in public as autonomous collective forces within and against the constant crises of our times” — also known as “an open forum where people talk about stuff.” It’s not a disorganized scream-fest, though. Agenda items are drawn up before each meeting, volunteers serve as facilitators, lists are made of people who wish to speak, and working groups with specific responsibilities and goals present the assembly with announcements and updates. But it can be an excruciating process: the police have prohibited the use of megaphones, which means every sentence is broken into five-word chunks and then repeated/yelled by the audience so that everyone can hear. Ignore the crabby sad-sacks at the New York Times — group rituals such as the general assembly illustrate that the demonstrators have created a high-functioning community committed to giving everyone an equal voice. (They sometimes refer to themselves as “an experiment in direct democracy.”)

Related video

In the above flipcam footage, a young lady reads a letter that the Occupiers received from a soldier stationed in Iraq. Throughout the day, workshops and discussion groups meet, and graduate students and professors host lectures and teach-ins:

A Weird, Physical Relationship With the NYPD

And then there’s the policia.

The New York Times wrote (and probably typed, on a monopolized computer!) that the NYPD’s recent pepper-sprayin’ and curb-stompin’ jubilee was “the flip side of a force trained to fight terrorism.” This horrifying statement is probably true! Members of the NYPD Counter Terrorism unit have been spotted lurking around the perimeter of Zuccotti Park. And let’s not forget about the “Moroccan Initiative” — a freaky CIA-NYPD circle jerk which involved putting “[brown] American citizens under surveillance” and “scrutinizing where [the brown people] ate, prayed and worked, not because of charges of wrongdoing but because [they were brown].” Yes, in this Post-9/11 World, the NYPD must always be on guard, which is why it has the necessary “weaponry” to “take down” an “airplane.” Fly safely! (Ha ha, even when you think you’re safe, high up in the sky, the NYPD will still find a way to mace you and/or blow you up.)

Since the original “9-11 Day” (which is sponsored by JPMorgan Chase and Best Buy, and no, we’re not joking), police departments around the country have become increasingly militarized, and the NYPD is leading the way, with its anti-aircraft pepper spray howitzers and CIA make-out sessions. (Eventually police departments will be replaced with Erik Prince Rape Squads, but this process takes time.) And this is all very scary and soul-crushing and sad.

Yes, the last week has illustrated that the NYPD is a quasi-military unit capable of heinous violence — but the actual relationship between the police and the demonstrators has been largely ignored by the media. Brookfield Office Properties, which owns Zuccotti Park, wants to remove the Hippie/Normal People Scourge as soon as humanely possible. But according to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Police Department “has urged the firm to let [protesters] stay” and “both Brookfield and the NYPD say they’re working together to resolve the situation.” Media coverage of police brutality, while certainly welcomed and warranted, misrepresents what has been — and hopefully will continue to be — a cooperative, peaceful coexistence between the people with the AA guns and the jobless losers. A policewoman strolling through the park on Monday engaged in friendly banter with demonstrators (“I’m not allowed to have a personal opinion [about Occupy Wall Street], but as long as everyone is safe, I’m happy”). And during a Tuesday morning march around Wall Street, protesters stopped banging their homemade drums and thanked the NYPD for their cooperation.

We’ll probably all still end up in FEMA death camps guarded by NYPD paramilitaries, but you never know!

Related

About the author

Riley is an "internet blogger." He has written for such internet websites as True/Slant and the terrible Brangelina gossip emporium "The Huffington Post." Riley lives in northeast DC, near H Street. Maybe you do too and want to hang out?

View all articles by Riley Waggaman

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130 comments

        1. tessiee

          Oh, please!
          Those goats are total sluts!
          I mean, more like who *hasn't* done it with them, right? Huh?
          Am I right?

          *crickets chirping*

  1. memzilla

    Look out for the "Roach Motel" ploy: when you see the NYPD handing out coffee and donuts — with the only proviso being that everyone line up in an orderly neat line to get them — RUN!!

    1. Lascauxcaveman

      Heck, even an ignorant caveman like me has heard of Cornell West. (I just thought it was a suburb of Ithaca, NY.)

  2. MiniMencken

    Don't you remember what Gil Scott-Heron declared in 1970? He predicted "The Revolution Will Not Be Televised." You people just didn't guess the reason why.

    1. Chichikovovich

      Gil Scott-Heron knew already in 1970 that Michael Jackson's doctor would be tried for murder and Nancy Grace would flash some boob on DWTS? A Nostradamus for our time, he was.

  3. DashboardBuddha

    The cops probably want you to stay in the park for two reasons:

    a. they're not done gathering intelligence on each and every participant (Gitmo isn't going to fill itself you know)

    b. they recognized that forcibly moving dirty hippies might be wrong bad for PR

    Or maybe both.

  4. Goonemeritus

    This is why the flippant use of the descriptor “terrorist” is so insidious. Once that word is uttered over 200 years of jurist prudence and civil rights are tossed out the window.

    1. BaldarTFlagass

      Hopefully the governor will call out the National Guard, and then we can see some real "heroes" to counterbalance all these "terrorists."

  5. Doktor Zoom

    Hey, if you see Cornel West again, could you ask him something for me? Just what is that thing he always wears around his neck?

  6. Wonderthing

    Revolutions are so boooooooooring. Can't we just have overnight change and my shoes shined and waiting for me outside my door?

  7. flamingpdog

    Jeeze, Riley, do you realize the attention span of the average American, including at least this Wonketeer, might get them through maybe the first half of your valuable and enlightening post, especially the youngz, like you? And some of us still have jerbs that we are supposed to be doing rather than reading your posts, all the while peeking over our shoulders for the boss. And I'm sure Kirsten has another couple of posts right behind yours waiting to steal your fans and viewers. Actually now that I've bitched and moaned, I don't remember what the whole point was. Keep up the good work, young nerd savior of our freedoms!

  8. SorosBot

    Is anyone surprised by cops engaging in racist illegal surveillance? I mean it's not like the police have no respect for the law or that every single cop in America is a huge-ass racist, who if not a racist to begin with learned to be one through training and from the racist culture every police department is infected with, or anything.

    1. user-of-owls

      It seems like the retailers put out their Drunken Parrot Season accessories earlier and earlier every year. These days, there's hardly any gap between DP Season and Stoned Stoat-mas.

      Sheesh.

    2. Lascauxcaveman

      My boyhood home (with large picture windows) was surrounded by a ring of mature mountain ash trees, which yielded a generous crop of berries each year about this time. When those babies would ferment, we'd have a lot of drunken kamikaze sparrows crashing into the windows for about a week.

      Mom would have me clean the little corpses off the front porch every day after school. Our cat wouldn't go near them, unless they were still twitching.

  9. BaldarTFlagass

    "A policewoman strolling through the park on Monday engaged in friendly banter with demonstrators "

    Good to see that Pepper Anderson is still on the beat.

    "You hippies want to see economic equality. I want to fuck Angie Dickinson. Let's see who gets lucky first."

    1. OneYieldRegular

      It's totally worth your while to watch the "Police Woman" episode entitled "Target Black," in which Pepper gets involved with a communist militant modeled after Angela Davis. A masterpiece of political kitsch, It should be running in continuous loop in some museum of American popular culture.

    2. Chichikovovich

      Pepper's just trying to distract the demonstrators so that the Mod Squad can infiltrate without being noticed.

  10. Mumbletypeg

    No snark here. That was a nicely balanced summary of the protesters' tactical approaches & challenges as observed with aplomb, and equally welcoming assessment of participants' relating w/ the police.

  11. BerkeleyBear

    Having seen some riots in my life, most of which had to do with ejecting the people from People's Park (to put in volleyball courts, among other things), letting them stay in the park is a smart call on the NYPD's part. You start trying to eject them, and I don't care how peaceful they were, you'll start seeing some shit get broken. Now, it mainly might be because the riot cops are busting laptops but still, it gets ugly quick.

    Fun fact – first and only time I was approached by a drug dealer in four years at Cal was during a riot. My idiot friends and I went to check out the nightly clash of protestors and riot police (from what we thought was a safe distance) when some guy in a dirty sarape/poncho approached me about whether I wanted any doses. I guess it was about the safest time to deal, since all the cops in Alameda County were working crowd control a couple hundred feet away.

    1. paris biltong

      What was the matter with you? Short hair? Wore a tie? Dressed like a cop? No tracks, I assume, but still…

      1. BerkeleyBear

        On various occasions, all of the above (although the cop look was just for that one party).

        At one point I was living in the same fraternity house as a guy who later got busted for dealing pot, and I had no clue. I should have, but I was just naiive enough to believe he had stolen a lab quality scale from the chem building for the fun of it rather than as part of an ongoing criminal enterprise.

  12. jus_wonderin

    "For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."

    Ominous, isn't it?

  13. PuckStopsHere

    I can't believe we are letting ordinary people as seen in these videos bother the Job Creators like this. And while they are at work at their places of business! Creating jobs.

  14. paris biltong

    Re. the picture, Lyndon Johnson declared war on poverty and look where it got him, not to speak of the rest of the country. It did help me, though, as I got a job tutoring the poorz in Harlem for what I remember was in excess of 200 bucks a week, a fortune at the time – in 1965.

    1. flamingpdog

      Bill Clinton hangs out in Harlem now, and he earned more than $10 million in 2006 from speaking engagements. Your service wasn't for nothing!

  15. user-of-owls

    The note that "graduate students… host lectures and teach-ins" is essentially superfluous, since the 'thick description' (Geertz!) cited below could only come from a graduate student. And more specifically, an ABD grad student.

    “an open, participatory and horizontally organized process through which we are building the capacity to constitute ourselves in public as autonomous collective forces within and against the constant crises of our times”

    1. OneYieldRegular

      Oh, you're just jealous of the hermaneutics employed by the constituently heterogenous student (/worker) class collectivized to foreground the exigencies of globalized corporate hegemony objectifying the subjectification of agency (both endo-and exo-genous) and exerting homogenized superintendence over irruptive/disruptive agitation directed via consolidated battle/Bataille against the "gaze" of transnational bellipotent pecuniary institutions. Admit it.

      1. user-of-owls

        DAVE: Carl? Can we accept that answer?

        CARL: Well, we were looking for Derrida, late-stage capitalism in a rentier state or (En)Gendering H(She)eros. But hermaneutics is close enough to give Oneyield 20 points and the lead.

        DAVE: OK!

    2. Chichikovovich

      So true. I remember back when I was a graduate student, finishing up after a long day's work, there was nothing I enjoyed more than my nightly horizontally organized process.

    1. revmod

      Step one: once it gets big enough and can no longer be ignored, Fox can start broadcasting about how "arab spring style protesting = Muslin sympathizers." There they are, camping out "just a few blocks away from the World Trade Center site!" It will become clear that this isn't so much a protest as it is a celebration of Muslin 9/11 victory, and of course the Muslin sympathizer President just lets this go on, right there on the same island where the heroes died thast terrible day. Why does President Barack Hussien hate Jesus so much?

      Step two: Terrified citizens = President Bachmann.

      Step three: tax cuts for the job creators (and who are these "rich" you speak of?)!

  16. friendlyskies

    I'm kind of surprised that the usual contingent of masked, violent protesters hasn't arrived to break windows and make trouble. You know, the same crew that is generally unknown to protest organizers, carries bizarrely obnoxious signs, and has even been photographed wearing the same style and brand of shoes as the police. Have the protesters taken some kind of precautions against possible agents provacateur?

    No snark, I'm just curious. Go Riley!

    1. Negropolis

      I get the sense that this protest was organized so well and the protest created as a marathon as opposed to a sprint, that the community has been able to effectively self-police. Anarchists are usually only good at hit-and-run, one-or-two day affairs.

  17. BlueStateLibel

    Thanks for the update, Riley, keep them coming. This puts the powers-that-be in an especially uncomfortable position, after constantly preaching to Arab governments they must allow protestors and democracy. Karma's a bitch.

  18. Oblios_Cap

    Those poor Wall Street types, trying to concentrate and keep this country solvent.

    Those bubbles ain't gonna create themselves, you know!

  19. riverside68

    Riley, Are you still wearing those Harry Potter glasses?

    If you are in the Park at 3-4 PM today come to the legal table near Broadway, I'll bring a beer for you. (I am another balding white guy with a beard.)

  20. Guppy06

    Yeah… the "general assemblies" sound like they have all the excitement and pathos of a typical county council meeting.

    1. littlebigdaddy

      In addition to sounding like the description of the peasants' anarcho-syndicalist collective in T.H.G.

    2. Negropolis

      Yeah, they should sounded super confrontational like the Peoples' Liberation Councils so they can just give the police a reason to beat them senseless. Let's just say better boring than stereotypical.

  21. Mahousu

    This being New York, I assume the Counter Terrorism unit wanted to know where the brown people were eating simply so they could keep up on the hottest new ethnic cuisine trends.

    Speaking of which, where are all those amazing nouvelle Iraqi restaurants? We've been devastating their country for a decade now; that should have produced enough refugees to staff a thousand restaurants.

    1. Negropolis

      It'd be nice if we'd actually let them in. Detroit (where most Iraqis, and Arabs in general, end up) is begging for them to open up the spigot, more, but to no avail.

  22. Chichikovovich

    Shocking news, guys! I went to cnn.com to see what they were covering instead of the protest, and in between the Jackson doctor and the Nancy Grace beluga-boob, there was this mind-blowing revelation, taking up (along with graphic) about 1/3 of the page:

    "David Gergen: One reason government is largely dysfunctional… is because the moderate center is being hollowed out."

    1. prommie

      What a fucking moron. The moderate center is still there, but its been relabeled "euro-socialist marxist fascist."

    1. flamingpdog

      They always went well in Penthouse until people ran out of new and interesting fantasies.

      I never thought I 'd be posting on Wonkette, but …

        1. littlebigdaddy

          Ken would be a great choice. Instead of senile meandering we would have off-the-wall ranting. While both can be unexpected, the ranting is more entertaining.

      1. revmod

        As much as I like these guys, I'd have to nominate Lewis Black. A little older, pleasantly meandering, and so, so angry. </OT>

    1. flamingpdog

      Letz see, if Riley took over from Andy Rooney tomorrow and didn't retire until he was as old as Andy, every animal except harp seals and cockroaches will be extinct, and people will be giant heads with tiny hands and feet with IQs of 690.

    2. Negropolis

      I nominate Ken. No, seriously, that dude should be on 60 Minutes. I want him to be so provocative that they have to fire him. Honestly, someone on television needs to tell the truth for once in their lives.

  23. chicken_thief

    "…non-white scholar…"

    Non-white. Scholar. ahahahaha!!! *cough, wheeze* Riley, you do crack me up!!!

  24. dustyrebel

    For a protest that keeps whining that they're the victims of a media blackout, they sure do get a lot of coverage. Seriously, in the 5 plus years I've worked in this part of Manhattan, this is one of the smallest protest I've ever seen. I was just at the "occupation camp" and there is less than 200 people there and most of them are real nutters, like the one with the sign that said "Zionist Pigs Rob Us All".

  25. johnnyzhivago

    That guy with the sign is right – if America could start an actual WAR on the poor – killing them and blowing up their homes – I am sure you would see some big bucks spent on it.

  26. bureaucrap

    "Living in a terrible banana republic"

    Try the one at Broadway and Prince Streets. It's much better. Nice restrooms, which is important if you're planning to live there.

  27. Tommmcattt

    an open, participatory and horizontally organized process through which we are building the capacity to constitute ourselves in public as autonomous collective forces within and against the constant crises of our times..

    Oh, kids, speaking purely from 10 years of corporate experience, horizontally-organized processes, particularly ones that are completely open for input by anybody, never work. NEVER. Ever tried to get ten people to decide on where to go for lunch through discussion and a vote? Multiply that by 1000 and see how far you get with this….

    Look. it's easy for me to write this sitting here drinking coffee at my desk, I know, but any project- and this is a project- requires planning and a definable goal. To do that, you need a recognizable spokesman, a committee to weed out bullshit and define your goals, and a leader with veto power. That's just how things work, and I'm afraid it is hierarchical.

    Snark back on after this, but if you want to be taken seriously, act in a serious manner. All this circular decision making hoo-hah isn't going to cut it.

  28. Tommmcattt

    Incidentally, who here would totally do Cornell West, even though he is kind of an old? I can't be the only one…

  29. James Michael Curley

    Ah, the good old days when NYPD meant pot bellies and directing traffic while munching a Sabbret from the cart.

  30. extreme_left

    As for all the bitching about the effectiveness of General assemblies, if they were called sit downs you crackers wouldn't be smart mouthing.

    Look up 'Tahrir square' for the effectiveness of such activity.

  31. ttommyunger

    On the bright side, our record unemployment frees up a lot of citizens for this kind of activity. Maybe Wall Street will figure this out and use some of those Billions lying around to actually invest in manufacturing and create some jerbs.

  32. Negropolis

    Ok, I'd give my whole fortune in whorediamonds to meet the kid that came up with the sign "Too Legit to Quit."

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