Thursday, November 03, 2011
What does "to the barricades" really mean?
The Clarion Content has largely been a support of the Occupy movement, we feel a certain solidarity with their grievances. It is inarguable that the rich-poor gap in America is growing, that the ultra-rich are advancing faster than anyone else in our society, that the globalized movement of capital has once again tilted the balance radically in favor of investors. (Labor can not move freely in the same way.)
The nature of protest is always complicated, frequently during times of wrenching change things get worse before they get better. Is there the stomach for such change? Our New Jersey based political commentator, Storey Clayton, noted that increasing unemployment and underemployment has given folks more time and energy to examine the fine print of the social contract as it is now playing out. No surprise, people don't like the way the man is putting the screws to them. The question is: Can protest achieve change?
We read a sad story of a battle playing out at the barricades in Lower Manhattan. This battle, unlike Occupy's successful forays in Oakland, is amongst the 99%, rather than worker versus investor.
New York based DNA Info reports that Marc Epstein, the owner of the Milk Street Cafe, at #40 Wall Street, laid of twenty-one employees last week. He says he supports the protesters right to assemble and air their grievances, but feels his employees are collateral damage.1
The Milk Street Cafe says the biggest problem is that police barricades have lined Wall Street since September 17th. This makes it difficult for people to see the restaurant and cross the street to get to it. Local subway entrances are also closed and numerous police checkpoints dot the area.2
Not surprisingly the cops and the administration blame the protesters. Mayor Bloomberg, auditioning his head for a nifty place on stake said, "Protesters are trying to destroy jobs."
Occupy spokespeople noted, "The NYPD makes the decisions on the part of police barricades."
The owner of the cafe said no one from City Hall will return his calls about removing or reducing the barricades. In the most uniquely American twist to it all, he has asked his landlord to intercede with the city on his behalf.
And who might that be? Why, it's Donald Trump.
And the beat goes on.
1Better to be collateral damage on Wall Street than in Iraq or Afghanistan where the phrase is usually code for "Sorry about how that missile killed your family."
2Remember how the Palestinians are always saying that scads of checkpoints choke off their economy's ability to function normally? Well apparently when it happens on Wall Street, it's for real.