After two months of an occupation that took nearly half a billion dollars out of the pockets of area business people, Mayor Bloomberg has finally seen fit to have the Occupy Wall Street rabble removed from the increasingly dangerous and filthy Zuccotti Park.
The NYPD arrested two hundred protesters. The scene left behind by Occupy was not fragrant:
The cops were followed by Sanitation workers, one of whom was overheard saying, “We’re gonna disinfect the hell out of this place.”
The New York Post, which has a vivid description of the clearing of the shantytown, sums it up this way:
My sentiments exactly.
What bothers me so much about Occupy Wall Street is that they have engendered sympathy from so many of the country's most prominent political leaders, President Obama and Nancy Pelosi foremost among them.
Even people who are highly critical of OWS often begin their observations with a cowardly throat clearing, noting that the Occupy thugs "have a point." C’mon. Stop humoring people who harm small businesses and shove grandmothers to the ground.
To the extent that they are coherent enough to express concerns, they are in favor of the destruction of the free-market system that has provided the greatest prosperity for the largest number of people in human history.
Sure, Occupy has the right to protest—but it doesn’t have the right to occupy property and to harm others.
Mayor Bloomberg deserves—oh, let’s say—a cheer and a half (sorry, but two cheers would be far too generous in this instance) for belatedly wising up. It is too bad he didn’t dare to remove Occupy much earlier, when the damage to businesses would have been less.
Unfortunately, like most things in contemporary society, New York’s success in beginning the cleanup is headed for litigation.
According to the New York Post, the National Lawyers Guild is taking the city to court to prevent further removal of debris and permit the rabble to return with their tents and sleeping bags.
Will you allow me to engage in some reminiscences prompted by the intervention of the National Lawyers Guild? Well, here goes:
Many years ago, in my leftwing youth in New Orleans, I was “communications coordinator” of something called the Mardi Gras Coalition. Our sole purpose was getting legal aid for hippie types who got busted during Mardi Gras, usually for drugs or unruly behavior.
What has changed so much (besides me) since then is that we were considered suspect. We met with various city officials but we never had the warm, highly-public embrace of the top-echelon political leadership. This was absolutely correct, I now know. After all, most of us were (like me) inspired by people such as Frantz “Wretched of the Earth” Fanon, Herbert “One Dimensional Man” Marcuse and others who hated the American system.
(I may well be the only IWF senior fellow who has actually met Saul Alinsky. He was a very old man, and I can't remember why he had come to New Orleans. What I do remember–to my shame–is that I was quite prepared to swoon over him, except that he was very rude to me. Did he sense a budding conservative?)
But here is my point: the destructive left of our era never had the kind of mainstream approbation that Occupy garners.
It does not bode well for the country that many of our top political leaders have been willing to make common cause with Occupy Wall Street.
Please, take it from a reformed communications coordinator.