The Snowballing Story

Occupy Wall Street is gaining momentum. What started as a group of small disaffected people gathering to protest the bailout to the big banks and broking firms is slowly attracting attention. The phrase already gets over 20 million results on Google. It’s interesting how news evolves. From Sept 17th, there were a few stragglers holding up placards and demonstrating. Then, it snowballed. The TV cameras rolled in to record reactions. Editors of different political persuasions wrote from their point of view – damning it or praising it, depending on their affiliation

On the website, this is the explanation – Occupy Wall Street is a horizontally organized resistance movement employing the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to restore democracy in America. We use a tool known as a “people’s assembly” to facilitate collective decision making in an open, participatory and non-binding manner. We call ours the NYC General Assembly and we welcome people from all colors, genders and beliefs to attend our daily assemblies.

‘Horizontally Organised’ is the new system of promoting revolutions and aggregating people power. There is a daily agenda on the site to ratchet up the pressure on the government and the policy makers. On Facebook,, there are nearly 200,000 ‘Likes’ and over 125,000 people are talking about it. The Facebook page image is that of a ballerina dancing atop a bull. I’m surprised that the image has not been more widely publicised. The comments on the posts generate heat, support and plain nastiness.

From the Veteran’s side, this is one view: Major Wall Street banks occupy and control Washington. They recycle their officials in and out, make policy, and enforce it with money power supremacy for virtually everything they want. Political Washington salutes and obeys. Money power in private hands and democracy can’t co-exist. It buys what it wants at the expense of government of, by and for the people. It never was and isn’t now.

From Glenn Beck, a top radio show host the establishment view – Capitalists, if you think that you can play footsies with these people, you’re wrong. They will come for you and drag you into the streets and kill you…they’re Marxist radicals…these guys are worse than Robespierre from the French Revolution…they’ll kill everybody.

But from a Paul Farell column comes this summation – “Imagine … the dawn of the 13th day of the occupation … you’re tired, not sleeping or eating too great … you’ve been harassed, maybe tear gassed and beaten. Bloomberg is threatening to call in the National Guard. … But you are sitting tight because much of the nation is cheering you on … Al Jazeera and the BBC are beaming your struggle to a captivated world and the tension is building for Obama … It feels much like it did in Tahrir Square moments before Mubarak caved. You’ve never felt so alive!”

And on the ground: Various people in the park perform chores — cooking, cleaning, and ensuring that disputes are peacefully resolved — that we ordinarily associate with a municipality or a home. Because of this, the park is surprisingly clean and life there is surprisingly orderly, even after being occupied by protesters for four weeks.