NEW YORK CITY, NY — Last Tuesday, [October 4, 2011] three Keene civil disobedience activists joined me for an excursion to NYC- we wanted to see firsthand what Occupy Wall Street was really all about. With liberty brochures in hand, cameras charged and a desire to spread the message of liberty as a solution to the statism, which in our estimation, is the root cause for the ills plaguing society, we were ready.
Although I had watched several YouTube videos, including mainstream media clips, my intention was to approach the occupation “tabula rasa”. I was surprised by two things: first of all, the number of coppers was mind-blowing and second, the peacefulness of the occupiers and their agorist and voluntary services within the park was inspiring. I should not have been surprised by either however.
According to one cop, two million has been spent by the city in overtime pay for police who total 40,000 in number to essentially provide a perimeter under the guise of “keeping the peace and providing for [my] safety” can apparently be justified since Wall Street’s own JP Morgan Chase made a $4.6 million donation to the New York Police Department, despite it being an indictable offense for a regular Joe to do the same. Although I had peaceful and even productive dialog with the coppers and did not witness the beatings, pepper spraying or arrests, the very presence of the blue shirts and the 30, or so police vans lining the streets filled me with anxiety. I was hardly afraid of the occupiers, but had a planned escape route coordinated with other activists in the event that the cops decided to attack, which given the arbitrariness of the state, could have happened at any time; there was no need to fear the occupiers because they respected a simple word which happens to be the basis of all voluntary interaction: No.
Reason magazine posted a good summation of what is taking place there: “‘The banks got bailed out / we got sold out’ is probably the most common chant I’ve heard at Liberty Plaza, and I think it best encapsulates the protest’s overriding sentiment: that regardless of political persuasion, people are sick and tired of a select few billionaires, in collusion with government, making decisions that hurt the rest of us behind closed conference-room doors.” This complaint is hardly a leftist agenda and is shared by fiscal conservatives. The solutions offered range from increasing taxes on the super rich, which corresponds with Warren Buffet and Obama’s implication that it is the 1% who have subjected the 99% to poverty and have risen to riches at the expense of the working class to “End the Fed”, the mantra of the Ron Paul supporters who have brought to light the root cause of the economic debacle that has come to define this era.
As people continue to pour into NYC to join the occupiers, the space will soon become unsuitable. My suggestion was to go hang out around Michael Bloomberg’s place since he has come to be considered Mr. Wall Street and who, as the mayor, is responsible for ordering the cops to be present with such force, claiming police “did exactly what they are supposed to do” in carrying out the arrest of 700 people whom they had led onto the Brooklyn Bridge, corralling them and then punishing them for it. I doubt that will be the direction the occupiers go.
Jason Talley reported that a civil disobedience seminar, of sorts, is scheduled to take place next week. It is the first I’ve heard of any organized efforts other than the marches and human loud-speaker efforts. That makes me even more hopeful; Ron Paul agrees, “I think civil disobedience, if everyone knows what they’re doing, is a legitimate effort. It’s been done in this country for many grievances.”
Thanks to CDEvolution for sponsoring the trip. In addition to providing much appreciated Handy Wipes to the occupiers, it facilitated countless brochures on the Free State Project, Cop Block and Don’t Take the Plea to be disseminated. I can say with confidence that over 200 people had the good news of liberty shared with them and I believe strongly that since we are at a critical juncture, more opportunities like this are needed. Of course, one solution is to have all those who are truly liberty-minded move to New Hampshire where together we can have liberty in our lifetime.