The morning started with the New York Police Department and the FBI raiding the homes of people suspected of being part of the Occupy movement. "Questions included things like 'what are your May Day plans?' 'Do you know who the protest leaders are?' 'What do you know about the May Day protests?' and such."
In the early days of the movement when the number participating was small, it was overly aggressive policing that put them on the map. YouTube clips of women being pepper sprayed and arrests of people on Brooklyn Bridge went viral. Later arrests from a march across Brooklyn Bridge garnered more sympathy. An Iraq war veteran was critically injured in Oakland. Students at UC Davis were pepper sprayed as they sat in peaceful protest. The protesters weren't always non-violent either. It remains to be seen whether the Occupy movement has the staying power to effect lasting change. In Egypt, they’d been organizing (in far more difficult conditions) for five years before they reached a tipping point. I think the movement will be heard from throughout the summer. And I think the losing side will be whomever resorts to thuggish tactics.
It has become pretty routine for local police to engage in thuggery and run roughshod over Constitutional protections in the name of maintaining order, which increasingly means not annoying big companies. With habeas corpus suspended, our own Attorney General maintaining the Administration has the right to kill suspected terrorists without a trial, and electronic surveillance ever on the rise, it might seem hard to get worked up about small suspensions of the right to make a political point in public. In Charlotte North Carolina, they are getting ready for the Democratic convention this summer. OWS should make both conventions exciting for a change. The Charlotte City Council has just passed some tough security rules, such as expanded ability to search and detain, for what is deemed an extraordinary event, such as the convention. So, local businesses Bank of America and Duke Energy persuaded the council to deem their annual shareholder meeting as extraordinary events. The ACLU is not happy, particularly since the city council never contemplated nor approved having shareholder meetings deemed “extraordinary events.” Notice how no one questions this use of public funds? This is all about demonstrating who really wields clout in the social order.
As the Occupy Wall Street protesters take to the streets, the big banks continue to rack up gains. About two years ago, Bank of America tried to come up with ways to improve the bottom line; they gave their new (money-making) mission a special codename: Project New BAC. The answer was to reduce expenses. That's banker-speak for cut jobs, and over the past year, BofA fired 30,000 people. Today, they announced they would fire 2,000 more. The shares were up 3.5% today.