I was out and about on May Day last week. Meant to get these photos up sooner, sadly.
Occupy Wall Street designated May 1 as a general strike day. Frankly, seeing general strike graffiti made me think I was living in a Terry Gilliam movie. It was that surreal.
Here’s the gallery, a new WordPress feature, perhaps.
The most notable thing about the protests was the large police presence. I’d say there were 5-10 uniformed officers for every 100 protesters, making it clear the city didn’t think too highly of the demonstrators.
I didn’t hear too much about the event beyond what I saw, but you can read the Times‘ coverage here. Many of its photos are of some of the 34 arrests the police made, and interestingly, the Times doesn’t actually give a precise number protesters, just using the term “thousands.” I heard the number was 30,000 but won’t bother to look up the source.
I don’t have too much else to say about it. I saw a lot of non-protesters milling around the city that day, so it didn’t feel mobilized. Maybe I’d be more satisfied if there was a leadership class to the movement that I could (dis)agree with, or maybe I think more favorably of acute protests over specific issues rather than general ones, such as the hundred thousand or so throng that stood at and in the capitol in Madison, Wisconsin last year. The problem I have with Wall Street as the political opponent isn’t that it’s obscenely overpaid, distorts our politics, doesn’t create real value, and gets endless bailouts while the poor suffer. The problem with Wall Street isn’t that it’s a parasite on the American economy; rather, it’s a parasite on the investment class that’s a parasite on the American economy. Thus, I find it easy to rag on bankers–and they do deserve it–but I’m not sure if the protesters are willing to attack the myths of owner-occupied housing, endless education, and trade deficits.