Friday 14 October 2011

Bloomberg vs OWS

A long overdue comment on Occupy Wall Street.

A few weeks ago NY City mayor, Michael Bloomberg, scored some points as a sensible man:
" 'We have a lot of kids graduating college, can't find jobs,' he said on his weekly radio show.
" 'That's what happened in Cairo. That's what happened in Madrid. You don't want those kinds of riots here.' "
(See here)
When the Occupy Wall Street movement started, the reaction in the US to the occupiers was a kind of amused disdain. Abroad, they did not rate even that: during its first week or ten days, the local media simply ignored the protests.

Gradually, as the protests spread within the US, international attention started to focus on them. And that's when local media began mentioning the movement. Apparently, it could no longer be ignored.

In Australia the local right-wing commentariat (see here, or here), as expected, did not wait to pour contempt and half-truths on the movement (surprisingly and probably accidentally, between his ideologically based sophistry, Berg did make some good points about which I may or may not comment later).

And now, once the protests start to gain momentum, mayor Bloomberg threatens to evict the protesters.

Given his September statement about social unrest, I can only assume Bloomberg is aware of the potential violence his decision risks to unleash.

In this case, I must conclude Bloomberg, deliberately or not, is testing the resolve of the protesters.

But now, unlike a few weeks ago, what happens in NY City will be followed all over the world. The way events turn out in NY City will be followed closely and may influence in one way or another similar protests in the US and abroad, including Australia.

The NY City mayor is playing a dangerous game.

" ‘Indignant’ protests to sweep across world
"MADRID — 'Indignant' activists, angered by a biting economic crisis they blame on politicians and bankers, vow to take to the streets worldwide on Saturday in a protest spanning 71 nations.
"It is the first global show of power by the movement, born May 15 when a rally in Madrid’s central square of Puerta del Sol sparked a protest that spread nationwide, then to other countries."
Agence France-Presse
See also 911 cities – 82 countries

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