Isn't it wonderful that every birthday is so different? With each year, so much more...grown up?
Occupy's First Birthday after being evicted from Zuccotti was held in a tense and confrontive atmosphere in which Storm Troopers disguised as NYC police harassed and arrested 180 protestors. In fairness, Bloomberg's Boys In Blue arrested almost a 1,000 early on in Occupy's history.
In spite of this ongoing attempt at suppression, the early demonstration of People Power managed to deliver a clear message:
"We're here, We're alive, and We're Out to Change the World"
And, here we are, two years later.
The Bloomberg Support-Your-Local-1 percent Mayor's Office is no longer in easy control of events. "Stop and Frisk" has been turned on its head and in the recent city-wide elections a dozen definitely pro-working-folk city council members are on board and keep-it-like-it-is campaigners were rebuked.
Progressive Mayoral Front-runner (and likely our next mayor) Bill De Blasio has publicly announced his sympathies for the Occupiers -- and that was from almost Day One of the OWS encampment. The Wall Street Journal quotes him as saying, "As mayor ... I would work to build spaces where OWS and government officials could communicate and discuss ways to address their demands."
As these spaces cannot be provided in time for its birthday celebration, Occupy will be obliged to "occupy" spaces whether invited or not. Zuccotti Park and Wall Street are the natural gathering places to kick off the day. Will they be cordoned off, or will a rare example of our constitution's right to free assembly be on display? What about Union Square? Times Square? The streets?
Ah, the Logistics of it All
For a movement largely pronounced moribund by the mainstream media, there is a menu of activism that suggests otherwise. It will be a busy day.
The morning will start out in lower Manhattan with a rally at 8:00 a.m. for fast food workers at the McDonald's outlet on Broadway, not too far from Zuccotti.
At 10:00 a.m., there will be a "Reconnecting with the 99 percent" Press Event. Among other speakers, HSBC Whistle-blower Everett Stern will be there along with his new BFF's at OWS Alt.Banking to help hand out free copies of their freshly-published book, "Occupy Finance."
At noon, the famous People's Puppets will invade Times Square to declare "Money Warz" and battle the 1 percent Storm Troopers.
If robbing the rich to pay the poor has appeal, join the Robin Hood Tax folk in front of the UN building at 5:00 p.m. You will be rubbing shoulders with endorsers NY State Nurses Asso., the Amalgamated Transit Union, ACT UP New York, and the Progressive Democrats of America.
Prefer to take your grievances directly to those in power? Head from the U.N. to Pace University for the first hearing of the Commission on Political Corruption meeting which will take place at 6:00 p.m.
This hearing will focus on the electoral process, campaign finance laws, and the adequacy of state laws and regulations related to unethical and illegal conduct by public officials. Occupy and other activists who are deeply invested in getting money out of politics, will likely give the commissioners an hear-ful.
There are events galore, but these are my "critic's choice." Details on others can be found at here.
So, back to my original question of the lame-duck mayor and the NYC Finest.
Will Occupiers need to wear helmets, or are party hats encouraged?
I'll report on their answers in full on September 18. Stay tuned.