The Bleeding Man
Maybe it's the mainstream media's fault that there's hardly an iconic image that sums up the ongoing Occupy Wall Street movement. Or perhaps the fault lies within ourselves since we ultimately choose what is iconic and what is not. Maybe we're all guilty in being much more prone to criminalize than to support Occupy Wall Street while that same MSM (and the Obama administration) gave the Tea Baggers one free pass after another. Either way, the lead picture from the NY Times on the clearing out of Zuccotti Park in the wee hours of this morning should reach iconic status. I'll call him the Bleeding Man.
This picture shows everything you need to know about the attitude of the Powers That Be toward the Powers That Will Be: Here, you see NYPD cops busily tearing down and destroying tents in Zuccotti Park while a dazed young man stands in the middle of this slow motion carnage, hunched over, profusely bleeding from his head with seemingly no concern on the part of the police that had obviously inflicted the wound to get him even first aid.
It's perfectly symbolic of a neofascist, hypermilitarized police state only too willing to do the bidding for Wall Street and its creations such as Bloomberg, one much more interested in illegal, wanton destruction and brutalization more common in places such as Iran, Yemen, Libya and other nations that had seen uprisings and invariably responded with brutality and oppression.
Indeed, Zuccotti Park, aka Liberty Square, looked like a Third World country, with police thugs coming in at 3:33 AM using bulldozers to move human beings just like Israel has used to move Palestinians, sound cannons, or LRADs like the kind Gen. Ross used on the Hulk, tear gas, batons, etc.
You want iconography, you say? I got it, right here.
It's obvious that the only cleaning that Bloomberg had in mind was cleaning out Zuccotti Park of embarrassing protesters, essentially treating them like human waste. Because the trillions that's made and lost on Wall Street every day is infinitely worth more than a single human life. It's a telling and indelible statement on our priorities that not one Wall Street tycoon has gone to prison for trashing the US economy and dragging down others with it yet thousands have been arrested and brutalized simply for calling attention to that fact.
The same supine New York Times that has reported derisively on the #OWS movement had parroted Bloomberg's office when it repeated that the park was to be cleared out "amid growing concerns over health and public safety." Coincidentally, when Occupy Portland was similarly cleared out last night, Mayor Sam Adams said doing so was "to restore public health and safety." Also coincidentally, when Philadelphia police began massing around Occupy Philly, Mayor Nutter said, police were gathering out of "growing public health and safety concerns."
It's worth noting, as had Michael Collins, that none of these mayors are Republicans (Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, whose police department has come the closest to outright murdering a protester, was also until recently considered a progressive Democrat). Bloomberg's a converted independent and Nutter and Adams are both Democrats.
Let's just put aside for a moment the irony of these big city mayors authorizing the beating of innocent protesters exercising their First Amendment rights and putting them in danger of exposure as winter approaches in the interests of "public health and safety." Likewise, let's not indulge in tinfoil-hatted conspiracy theories regarding the fascistic discipline of so many mayors staying on such a rigid message.
But there's good news. The secondary official response was immediate. The Laywer's Guild filed a complaint against the City of the New York and the NYPD and State Supreme Court Justice Lucy Billings filed a temporary restraining order against NYC, the NYPD, Brookfield Properties, the ownership group that owns Zuccotti Park and other agencies from interfering with the protesters.
Most telling is that the original restraining order form is heavily edited and interlineated with hand-written corrections and emendations. (For instance, the city is prohibited from evicting all protesters with the word "lawful" crossed out. Even better, it allows the protesters to move back in almost immediately "with tents and other property utilized [emphasis mine].)
Easier said than done, since the NYPD didn't merely take down the tents but destroyed them, which will strain Occupy Wall Street's budget. Plus, Bloomberg's office is expected to "review" the restraining order, with the expectation, despite the restraining order's expansion to include the NYPD, of setting up a police perimeter around Zuccotti Park.
Right now, the American laborer is the bleeding man in the streets of America but at least Justice Billings' restraining order shows that the entire system isn't against Occupy Wall Street. We can only hope that her fellow jurists will allow the US Constitution to prevail over that of corporate interests.