“…CLGC’s memo proposes that the ABA pay CLGC $850,000 to conduct “opposition research” on Occupy Wall Street in order to construct “negative narratives” about the protests and allied politicians. The memo also asserts that Democratic victories in 2012 would be detrimental for Wall Street and targets specific races in which it says Wall Street would benefit by electing Republicans instead…”
Update: to be clear, the section about possible bridge misdirection by police was not removed by the New York Times, it was moved.
By Glenn Greenwald
It’s unsurprising that establishment media outlets have been condescending, dismissive and scornful of the ongoing protests on Wall Street. Any entity that declares itself an adversary of prevailing institutional power is going to be viewed with hostility by establishment-serving institutions and their loyalists. That’s just the nature of protests that take place outside approved channels, an inevitable by-product of disruptive dissent: those who are most vested in safeguarding and legitimizing establishment prerogatives (which, by definition, includes establishment media outlets) are going to be hostile to those challenges. As the virtually universal disdain in these same circles for WikiLeaks (and, before that, for the Iraq War protests) demonstrated: the more effectively adversarial it is, the more establishment hostility it’s going to provoke.
Nor is it surprising that much of the most vocal criticisms of the Wall Street protests has come from some self-identified progressives, who one might think would be instinctively sympathetic to the substantive message of the protesters. In an excellent analysis entitled “Why Establishment Media & the Power Elite Loathe Occupy Wall Street,” Kevin Gosztola chronicles how much of the most scornful criticisms have come from Democratic partisans who — like the politicians to whom they devote their fealty — feign populist opposition to Wall Street for political gain. […]
The very idea that the one can effectively battle Wall Street’s corruption and control by working for the Democratic Party is absurd on its face: Wall Street’s favorite candidate in 2008 was Barack Obama, whose administration — led by a Wall Street White House Chief of Staff and Wall-Street-subservient Treasury Secretary and filled to the brim with Goldman Sachs officials — is now working hard to protect bankers from meaningful accountability (and though he’s behind Wall Street’s own Mitt Romney in the Wall Street cash sweepstakes this year, Obama is still doing well); one of Wall Street’s most faithful servants is Chuck Schumer, the money man of the Democratic Party; and the second-ranking Senate Democrat acknowledged — when Democrats controlled the Congress — that the owners of Congress are bankers. There are individuals who impressively rail against the crony capitalism and corporatism that sustains Wall Street’s power, but they’re no match for the party apparatus that remains fully owned and controlled by it.
But much of this progressive criticism consists of relatively (ostensibly) well-intentioned tactical and organizational critiques of the protests: there wasn’t a clear unified message; it lacked a coherent media strategy; the neo-hippie participants were too off-putting to Middle America; the resulting police brutality overwhelmed the message, etc. That’s the high-minded form which most progressive scorn for the protests took: it’s just not professionally organized or effective.
Some of these critiques are ludicrous. Does anyone really not know what the basic message is of this protest: that Wall Street is oozing corruption and criminality and its unrestrained political power — in the form of crony capitalism and ownership of political institutions — is destroying financial security for everyone else? Beyond that, criticizing protesters for the prominence of police brutality stories is pure victim-blaming (and, independently, having police brutality highlighted is its own benefit).
Most importantly, very few protest movements enjoy perfect clarity about tactics or command widespread support when they begin; they’re designed to spark conversation, raise awareness, attract others to the cause, and build those structural planks as they grow and develop. Dismissing these incipient protests because they lack fully developed, sophisticated professionalization is akin to pronouncing a three-year-old child worthless because he can’t read Schopenhauer: those who are actually interested in helping it develop will work toward improving those deficiencies, not harp on them in order to belittle its worth.
Shannone Ball, the mother of 19-year-old Rheannone Ball, who appeared on the front page of the NY Daily News Sunday screaming as cops tied her hands back. She was released from custody last night and has rejoined the protest.
Occupy Wall Street News Roundup, Sept. 24-25
Police pen up and mace female protesters [Raw Story]
Young man arrested simply for walking down the street [laurasthinkingwithportals]
Protester thrown over barricade by police [evanfleischer]
Protester shouts, “Is this what you’re about?”, gets cuffed [@LibertyPlazaRev]
In the News:
Occupy Wall Street makes the Sunday cover of NY Daily News [@DhaniBagels]
Gunning for Wall Street, With Faulty Aim [NY Times]
Arrests at New York anti-Wall Street protest [Al Jazeera]
Occupy Wall Street Calm So Far in Ninth Day [Village Voice]
Why ‘Occupy Wall Street’ makes sense [Amy Goodman]
Occupy Wall Street rediscovers the radical imagination [David Graeber]
Occupy Wall Street’s Leaderless Democracy [The Indypendent]
Must Watch: 9/11 first responder occupies Wall Street [evanfleischer]
Check out Occupy Together, a new site listing occupation movements across the country.
Watch the Global Revolution livestream.
[Photo: Alex Fradkin]
Scores of protesters were arrested in Manhattan Saturday as a march against social inequality turned violent.
Hundreds of people carrying banners and chanting “shame, shame” walked between Zuccotti Park, near Wall St., and Union Square calling for changes to a financial system they say unjustly benefits the rich and harms the poor.
At least 80 people were carted away in police vehicles and up to five were hit with pepper spray near 12th St. and Fifth Ave., where tensions became especially high, police and organizers said.
The National Lawyer’s Guild, which is providing legal assistance to the protesters, put the number of arrests at 100.
Witnesses said they saw three stunned women collapse on the ground screaming after they were sprayed in the face.
A video posted on YouTube and NYDailyNews.com shows uniformed officers had corralled the women using orange nets when two supervisors made a beeline for the women, and at least one suddenly sprayed the women before turning and quickly walking away.
Footage of other police altercations also circulated online, but it was unclear what caused the dramatic mood shift in an otherwise peaceful demonstration.
“I saw a girl get slammed on the ground. I turned around and started screaming,” said Chelsea Elliott, 25, from Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who said she was sprayed. “I turned around and a cop was coming … we were on the sidewalk and we weren’t doing anything illegal.”
Police said 80 protesters were arrested or ticketed at multiple locations for disorderly conduct, blocking traffic and failure to obey a lawful order but the number could rise.
If the NYPD’s excuse for this disgusting behavior — which should make decent police officers anywhere cringe with shame — is that the protestors didn’t have a permit, then fuck that. Of course, Mayor Bloomberg is probably off in Bermuda on his usual weekend getaway, so neither he nor his police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, won’t have to be held accountable for these wanton acts of police brutality until Monday. At least.
(Photo: Jefferson Siegel / Daily News)