When I first went down to Zuccotti last Saturday I left with an uneasy feeling about how it would end. I imagined that eventually the police would move in and clear it out. The kids would go home, dejected, defeated. And then where would we be. I want to see something honest and righteous build, not be so easily knocked down. This thing looked easy to knock down.
And last night it looked like it would end this morning. I didn't imagine what would actually happen, that the police would back down. I think they played it out and realized the situation was more complex than it looked at first. Then I figured it out myself...
I remembered a post by John Robb, which seemed to contain a brilliant insight. Something I hadn't thought of. I used to work with John at UserLand quite a few years ago. He's a smart dude, in an ex-Special Ops spookish kind of of way. He said there were three recourses for the protestors if Bloomberg's army invaded:
Now, 1 and 3 were obvious to me. I think in those terms. But I'm chickenshit when it comes to confronting cops -- people with guns and big sticks and mace, and the power to put us in jail. So my mind tends not to go there.
But man, if that isn't exactly what the occupiers did when Bloomberg backed down. Even if the plan wasn't written down somewhere, there were enough people in a place where you could easily disrupt a whole business day in Manhattan. They just marched around City Hall and down Wall Street. But they could have done much more.
Think about where they are. The Brooklyn Bridge is just a few blocks away. In the other direction, West St is a major north-south artery, also just a couple of blocks away. And on the east side there's FDR Drive. A couple of blocks south is the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel. And there's a subway entrance on every corner down there. A few thousand people could freeze a million. And it's pretty clear Bloomberg didn't even think of this when he planned the takedown on a weekday morning just as rush hour was starting.
But it's obviously a good deal to let them have Liberty Park. And probably any other park they want. The reason? Their grievance is real and it's fair, and as the idea spreads people are going to figure out that they agree. Strongly. The people might not mind if work in Manhattan stops for a day. Just to make the point that things have to change, now.
What's amazing is that more politicians haven't figured out yet that this is a tide that's turning. The parade they want to try to get in front of. What's also amazing is that they didn't realize there was a limit to how far they could push before people would go to the streets. We didn't dream what happened in August when the Republicans almost pushed us to default, and the Democrats couldn't say a thing about it. They ended up voting for the ransom the Republicans demanded. Isn't that just plain amazing. We would never let them do it now. That's even more amazing.
In the 60s one of our mottos was Power To The People. Of course we've always had the power. It was just sitting there waiting to be used.