NY Protester Writes for Havana Times

Valerie Carmel

Photo: David Shankbone/wikimedia.commons.org

HAVANA TIMES, Sept. 19 — Parts of the New York City financial district have experienced intense days of democracy, activism and solidarity.

Several social movements have united under the banner of occupying Wall St. to demonstrate against the influence of American corporations on the political system.

The decisions made in Zuccotti Park — renamed Liberty Plaza — have been completely democratic. Every day general assemblies are organized in which the participants make decisions concerning logistics (concerning food, blankets, cleaning, etc.) as well as tactics (marches through the district, relations with the police, acts of civil disobedience, and others).

The most popular demands at this time are to increase the taxes paid by private companies and the millionaires, the re-institution of Glass-Steagall (legislation that separated the commercial and financial operations of banks), and the protection of social program that have suffered deep cuts.

Jaques Servin, a leading member of the culture jamming activist group The Yes Men, commented that the occupation is “fantastic” and “very intelligent because it’s time to organize something like this.” He added in his limited Spanish that he was there “para que los ricos paren de jodernos.” (so that the rich stop screwing us over).

Photo: David Shankbone/wikimedia.commons.org

Among the masses of people present are some Spanish citizens who have come to share their “15-M Movement” experiences in Madrid. In addition were demonstrators from Texas, Nebraska, North Carolina and other US states.

At nine o’clock in the morning of the third day (September 19) hundreds of demonstrators were mobilized and moved toward the New York Stock Exchange, where their songs drowned out the bells that announce the beginning of regular financial operations.

In this first mobilization, around six people were arrested for wearing bandanas covering their faces. In the afternoon two demonstrators were arrested for writing messages on the sidewalk (it should be pointed out that the demonstrators used chalk).

The sizable presence of the police (NYPD) inspired one demonstrator to declare “Welcome to 1984,” in reference to the work by George Orwell.

Although New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said he supports our right to protest, the presence and the actions of the police seem to suggest the contrary.

Despite some mishaps at nine o’clock at night EDT, the demonstrators celebrated one more day in a campaign that they hope will last months.