Expropriate Wall Street Through Socialist Revolution!
NYC cops arrest 700+ anti-Wall Street protesters as they try to march across Brooklyn Bridge, Oct. 1.
(Photo: Mario Tama/Getty)
Students and Workers: Shut the City Down!
With the okay
of NYC’s billionaire mayor Bloomberg,
the New York Police Department lashed
out at the “Occupy Wall Street” (OWS)
protesters Saturday, October 1,
arresting over 700 demonstrators as they
tried to march over the
The NYPD and the bourgeois media are now trying to baffle people with BS, debating whether the police “led” the marchers onto the bridge roadway where they could be arrested for obstructing traffic. In fact, it was “a planned move on protesters,” as a police official anonymously told the New York Times (1 October), which noted that earlier in the afternoon ten buses had been dispatched from the Rikers Island prison to transport the not-yet-arrested prisoners.
And it wasn’t
the first time. A week earlier, on
September 24, police penned in OWS
marchers as they were returning from
The escalating series of arrests, beatings and harassment by the NYPD have spurred city and national unions to come out in favor of the protest. Last week, the powerful Transport Workers Union Local 100 declared its support. On Monday the TWU sued the city to prevent the NYPD from using MTA buses as mobile jails, saying it backed the marches and the demonstrators should never have been arrested. Other major unions, including the United Federation of Teachers, Service Employees 32BJ (janitors and building staff) and 1199SEIU (health care workers), and the United Steelworkers and Laborers International have offered various kinds of support.
In all, around 1,000 protesters have been arrested in the past two weeks. Most have been released and issued summonses for violations. A few are still in jail and may face more serious charges. We demand: Release them all now! Drop all charges against OWS protesters!
thousands-strong march against police
brutality on September 30 that ended in
a rally at
But the response to the heavy-handed repression must also be political. The NYPD is acting as guard dogs of finance capital. As if to underline this, right after the mass arrests of OWS protesters, JPMorgan Chase announced an unprecedented “charitable” contribution of $4.6 million to the New York City Police Foundation. Many protesters have huge illusions about the police. Some carried signs calling on cops to join them, saying police are part of the “99%” of the population which the OWS seeks to represent. Dead wrong. The thugs in blue uniforms are not fellow workers but the armed fist of the class enemy: professional repressors and enforcers of racist “law and order.” The police are at the hard core of the capitalist state.
Not Illusory Cleaned Up Capitalism…
The Occupy Wall
Street protest in lower
bound to spark the discontent that is
growing in nearly every sector of
Right-wing media try to paint the OWS protesters as fire-breathing radicals, which the vast majority certainly are not. For communists what’s striking is how “mainstream” the protests are: liberal politics with a heavy dose of flag-waving populism. In fact, many of the largely middle class white protesters are youth who tweeted, texted and voted for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008. Now that it’s clear that there has been none of the hoped-for “change,” many have concluded that “No they can’t” achieve anything through the electoral system because the Wall Street banks own it all, including Obama, so they’re taking to the streets.
Railing against greed and corruption on Wall Street is hardly against the system. While there is no agreed-upon set of demands, only a long list of grievances in the style of the Declaration of Independence, the proposals that have been floated at most amount to a slightly reformed, cleaned up, “green” capitalism. Yet greed and corruption are the lifeblood of the production-for-profit system. And there are quite a few American flags at the protests. As the 700+ demonstrators were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge the crowd sang the national anthem, with a number standing at attention and saluting, and at the end broke into chants of “USA, USA,” to emphasize their patriotism.
The common ground shared by the angry liberals, social-democrats and populists who cohabit in the occupation’s assemblies – as well as the Ron Paul racists in the crowd and LaRoucheite fascists lurking around the corners of the square – is faith in U.S.-style (capitalist) “democracy” and visceral anticommunism, in which they are joined by the various anarchists. Mention the word “socialism” at the “people’s soapbox” and suddenly the “people’s microphone” cuts out, as occurred when an Internationalist Group supporter spoke at a meeting in the square on September 30.
on the march to police headquarters to
condemn cop brutality against the
occupation, IG supporters began chanting
“We are all Sean Bell, NYPD go to hell,”
whereupon a squad of “radical”
busybodies sporting a large
At that meeting
OWS spokespeople shamefully blamed
the police roundup on its victims. One
attacked the “small number of
individuals” who deviated from the
official plan. An OWS media spokesman
…But Workers Revolution
CUNY Internationalist Clubs at the October 5 labor demonstration in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street protesters against police repression. (Internationalist photo)
The source of the injustices that feed this new protest movement is capitalism, as many of the protesters recognize in some way. Whether there is (bourgeois) democracy or not, lots of corruption or little, appropriation of the surplus value by the capitalist owners of the means of production inevitably produces growing inequality and misery for the many.
Although the protest may “occupy” a square near the heart of finance capital, a Marxist understanding of the nature of capitalism and the revolutionary program to bring it down is rare. Involvement of labor and the union-backed rally could change things. The people who make the trains and buses run, who make the lights turn on, who daily feed, clean, build and maintain every city and town are the only ones with the power to defeat the capitalist class and its guard dogs in blue. The working class has scores to settle with the racist rulers whose “justice” lynched Troy Davis and whose police treat black and Latino neighborhoods like an occupying army.
working-class rebellion in
The gushing accounts by various left groups are silent about all this. On the street these reformists never talk of socialist revolution, since (a) they’re not for it, despite their names, and (b) they don’t want to “get out too far ahead” of the protesters. But we Internationalists believe in telling the truth, and the truth is that capitalism cannot be reformed to “serve the people,” it must brought down through a struggle for workers power. Demonstrators are getting a chance to see how the capitalist system works, and some may learn from their experience in the school of hard knocks.
inaugural issue of the Occupied
Wall Street Journal gushes about
“real democracy,” and features an
American flag, the only movement that
has ever brought down the rule of
capital, ended an imperialist war, and
served as a beacon to the oppressed and
exploited all over the world was the
Russian socialist revolution of October
1917. The CUNY Internationalist Clubs
join with the Internationalist Group,
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