Outrage! NYC Evicts Occupy Wall StreetWorkers and Students, Shut the City Down!
On October 5, 30,000 New Yorkers came out to a union-called demonstration (above, Foley Square) to
protest mass arrests by NYPD. (Photo: Occupy Wall Street)
NOVEMBER 15 – At 1 a.m. this morning hundreds of New York City police descended on Zuccotti Park in the city’s financial center to shut down Occupy Wall Street and drag out the protesters who have been camped out there for the last two months. Cops roughly set upon the sleeping occupiers, rousting them out of their tents minutes after the eviction order was read. At least 200 arrests were made, about 150 in the square and another 50 of people on the outside who came to protest the unannounced raid. Another 20 were arrested at midday as activists attempted to occupy a new site about a mile to the north.
Ordered by billionaire mayor Mike Bloomberg and overseen by New York Police Department (NYPD) chief Ray Kelly, the dead-of-night police attack is the culmination of two months of mounting pressure from NYC authorities and the recent unrelenting propaganda barrage against OWS from the media, both conservative and liberal. City rulers have been frustrated over their inability to silence the protesters denouncing political corruption and the looting of the economy by bankers and other corporate moguls. Unable to respond politically, the authorities used state power to raze the protesters’ camp.
The cops particularly targeted the
press, seeking to limit images and reports of the
heavy-handed police action. Journalists denounced the
deliberate “media blackout” by the NYPD, which was
clearly policy and was defended today by the mayor.
Yesterday the media were kept well away from Zuccotti
Park while the eviction was in progress. Reporters from
the New York Times and National Public Radio
were arrested, and a cop put a choke hold on a New
York Post reporter. (City councilman Ydanis
Rodriguez was also arrested.) Today a reporter and
photographer from The Associated Press, a Daily News
reporter and photographer for DNAInfo were led off in
Hundreds came out in the early morning hours of November 15 to protest the NYPD eviction of Occupy
Wall Street. (Photo: C.S. Muncy)
The eviction was clearly part of a nationally coordinated crackdown, coming just a day after a similar attack on Occupy Oakland in California, and weekend raids in Portland, Oregon, Denver and Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Democratic and Republican mayors have been united in their determination to put an end to the occupations, which drove the capitalist politicians nuts, even as some cynically claimed to agree with the OWS’ “aims” (but not its methods). Liberal Oakland mayor Jean Quan reported that she recently had “a conference call with 18 cities across the country who had the same situation.” So once the Oakland eviction came down, it was a go. Was the Obama White House consulted?
The National Lawyers Guild went to court this morning to require the city to allow Occupy Wall Street back into the park with their tents and to return their belongings. Although the NLG got an initial restraining order, the city got another judge (a former prosecutor) to overrule the first in favor of his pals, the cops. There is no justice in the courts for the exploited and oppressed. We look to the working people, the poor and oppressed, the students and youth of New York to enforce our rights. Together we have the power to defeat Bloomberg’s attack.
On October 5 in New York, 30,000 people came out to a union-called demonstration, jammed into Foley Square and then marched to Zuccotti Square, to protest the mass arrests by the NYPD of Occupy Wall Street demonstrators. And on November 2, following the brutal police eviction of Occupy Oakland, 40,000 people responded to a call for a “general strike,” marching on the port and shutting it down.
In the face of the cop assault on OWS, what is urgently called for is a massive mobilization of labor’s power to bring New York to a standstill over this police-state repression. During the early morning hours the Internationalist Group joined several hundred others in the streets of Lower Manhattan with signs declaring “Outrage! NYPD Out!” and “Defend Occupy Wall Street.” Today the Internationalist Clubs at the City University of New York (CUNY) together with Class Struggle Education Workers and the IG distributed hundreds of leaflets denouncing the eviction and calling for “Workers and Students, Shut the City Down!”
Speaking to a crowd of 300 outside the cordoned-off Zuccotti Park this afternoon, an Internationalist spokesman said, “Dozens of unions have opposed police repression against Occupy Wall Street. Unions have protested Mayor Bloomberg’s eviction order. But words are not enough. Solidarity must be put into action now. Labor, blacks and Latinos, students, undocumented workers need to mobilize our power against the eviction, against NYPD brutality, against racism, against Mayor Bloomberg, against Governor Cuomo, and shut the city down.” The crowd cheered and enthusiastically took up the chant.
NYC unions had already
called a major demonstration on Thursday, November 17
in solidarity with OWS. Given popular outrage over the
eviction, this now promises to be huge. The
labor protest should be turned into a citywide
strike, shutting down the heart of finance capital
and ensuring the freedom of OWS to reestablish its
CUNY Internationalist Clubs joined more than 1,000 workers and youth in defending Occupy Wall
Street against October 15 eviction attempt. (Internationalist photo)
In order to justify its raid, the city has resorted to all sorts of smears against Occupy Wall Street. After weeks of vilifying the occupiers for everything from noise, garbage, and sexual assault to germs, now the Bloomberg administration is claiming that protesters were stockpiling makeshift weapons, “such as cardboard tubes with metal pipes inside,” and that when 700 demonstrators were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge October 1, “knives, mace and hypodermic needles” were found on the roadway. But while making these wild accusations, not a shred of evidence was produced and no such items were found in the camp this morning.
The only knives in evidence were those of the police who systematically went through the camp slashing occupiers’ tents in order to make them unusable in the future. The cops took the 5,000 books from the Occupy Wall Street library and threw them into a dumpster. A big orange bulldozer was used to scrape up the protesters’ belongings, while sanitation workers shoveled everything into garbage trucks. The city cynically announced that people could later reclaim their belongings at a garbage dump, provided they brought personal ID. So anyone who tries to reclaim their laptop would risk arrest. Pepper spray was used on several campers. And the police used blinding lights and a counterinsurgency weapon, a Long Range Accoustical Device (LRAD), which blasted the camp with ear-splitting noise.
The city also used “complaints from community residents” as a justification for the raid. In fact, the local community board complained about the city’s “security” measures, including putting up metal grates everywhere to prevent demonstrations. The biggest complaint about noise in this largely business district was not about drummers in Zuccotti Park but about the pounding din of construction at the nearby World Trade Center site that goes on past 2 a.m. Even the rabid right-wing New York Post which pillories Occupy Wall Streeters as “bums” and “animals” reported today that its own poll showed that 57 percent of New York voters think the protesters should be allowed to stay in the public parks around the clock.
But the popular support for Occupy Wall Street meant nothing when the ruling class decided to unleash its uniformed thugs against the protesters. Unfortunately, even as the cop assault was taking place, OWS supporters were chanting to the police, “We are the 99 percent, and so are you” and “Police are the 99 percent.” Addressing “our brothers and sisters of the NYPD,” one facilitator told them “we’re all in this together.” Perhaps, but on opposite sides of the police baton. These are dangerous illusions. Unless demonstrators realize that the cops are not friends but professional repressors, the armed fist of capital, they will be unable to resist the blows of the capitalist state. Likewise, any illusions in the “neutrality” of the courts are deeply disorienting.
This vicious attack on Occupy Wall Street and the right to demonstrate underscores that the courts, cops and capitalist politicians all serve to enforce the “law and order” of the ruling class. This includes the racist “stop and frisk” police campaign that targets more than 600,000 New Yorkers, overwhelmingly black and Latino youth, every year. As we have said before, this police-state repression at home reflects the U.S.’ endless imperialist wars abroad. To put an end to this corrupt and oppressive system, we in the CUNY Internationalist Clubs seek to contribute to a working-class fight to expropriate Wall Street and the entire bourgeoisie through socialist revolution. Workers and students, shut the city down! nhich those who toil rule and genuine social emancipation will become possible in a communist society. ■
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