Dispatch: Oct 1 2011: Unions Promise Support As #OccupyWallStreet Enters Third Week
By Danny Schechter, Author of The Crime of our Time
There had been rumor on Friday that the band Radiohead would be dropping by the #Occupy Wall Street encampment.
T hey had just been on the Colbert Report, and their fan base is huge among the very demographic of younger people drawn to the protests now beginning their third week.
And so more people came than organizers expected. Loads of people! Except, alas, for Radio Head. The band had reportedly called to express support that led some to conclude that they were on the way.
This demonstrates again the power of celebrity to draw a crowd. What did impress the activists in Zuccotti Park in the financial district is that the Radiohead fans actually stuck around and took part in the activities and a march that went North to Police Headquarters protesting the pepper spraying of activists.
That police action actually persuaded the media that had convinced itself that this growing assembly was not worth covering to cover it. Soon, thanks to research by the mysterious "Anonymous" activists able to identify the police commander responsible for using a chemical weapon against female protesters.
His name is Anthony Bologna, and soon his email was hacked and his record of alleged earlier abuse incidents was publicized, apparently with his online porn collection.
Then, Jon Stewart stepped on Thursday's Daily Show with a hysterical report on the same cop he called, "TONY BALONEY," ridiculing him and the police force.
Perhaps, that is why the NYPD was more restrained Friday night and backed down with threatened arrests of a group of activist bicyclists called Critical Mass, that had shown up to show solidarity. When it was announced at a nightly meeting called the "General Assembly" that the bikers were at risk, hundreds of activists rushed out to show some solidarity to them---and, then, there were no arrests.
Perhaps this incident was evidence of sign I saw reading "The power of the people is greater than the people in power."
#Occupy Wall Street has yet to attract the 20,000 militants they had hoped for but its growing and, more importantly retaining its sense of community, non-violence, and sense of a tolerant community. It is a decentralized
Most important is that similar actions are already taking place in other cities like a March on Friday in Boston against the Bank of America. An even bigger one is being planned for Washington in October.
Other organizations are supporting this emerging movement. Local 100 of the Transport Workers Union say they "applaud the courage of the young people on Wall Street," and are planning to turn out their members next week. I saw T Shirts of UAW members and met some activists from the Salvadorian community. Already #Occupy Wall Street sent over a hundred people to back a protest by postal workers trying to save their jobs and the Post Office.
The longer this lasts, and is allowed to last, the more it is likely to grow.
Already intellectuals and writers like Chris Hedges are praising the protesters as "the best among us" and are imploring the rest of us to get involved: