Zuccotti Park, New York City,
October 18th, 2011
When Rep. Jesse Jackson shows up in the park at dusk people gather around him asking questions. They get few answers. But it's a sign that politicians start to pay attention to the movement. Occupy Wall Street is going global, with protesters descending on dozens of US cities and many European towns. In Rome they got violent, smashing windows and burning cars. Here in NY they are peaceful, yet determined to stay and keep the flame alive. There's everyone on the street: preachers and grass smokers, jobless and white collars, musicians and poets, old ladies and teenagers, jewish activists and vegans, Nobel prize winners and bums, angry feminists and journalists. It looks like an old fashioned anti Vietnam War protest, but it's definitely different. In the US the middle class has had no increase in its real wages for thirty years, the poor grow desperately poor, with poverty in America reaching historic levels. The youth is badly hit by the economic recession. Last week the New York City police handcuffed over 700 peaceful demonstrators who were walking in solidarity across the Brooklyn Bridge.
I think the movement will not die down soon. In fact it could grow even bigger and more organized. Having watched the first Republican presidential candidates debate, yesterday on tv, my guess is that Obama will be re-elected by default: but surely he will have to give some answers to the people in Zuccotti Park.