Spring is in the air! The birds are chirping, the diners at Pastis are eating their mussels outside, and Tinsley Mortimer has awakened from her long winter's nap. But down on Wall Street, something is stirring, and it's not Grey Goose martinis. The sleeping giant known as the 99% has shaken off its snow, stroked its mighty beard, and typed into its Twitter app: "#May1."
Yes, on May 1, the organizers of Occupy Wall Street are calling for a general strike, encouraging all members of the 99% to skip school and work in solidarity with the cause. The news of the strike came out after 73 people were arrested at last Saturday's protest in Zucotti Park, which marked the 6-month anniversary of the occupation.
Due to the warm weather and the crowds of St. Patrick's Day, hundreds of people turned out at Zucotti last Saturday, many with signs declaring the comeback of the movement. "Spring is coming," one sign threatened. And on another, a letter:
"Dear 1%, We fell asleep for awhile. Just woke up. Sincerely, the 99%." [Business Week]
(Wait - weren't they criticizing the 1% for falling asleep on the job?)
But as night descended on the park, and dozens of protesters still remained, security began urging the crowd to clear out. Finally, at 11:30 p.m., the police arrived, purportedly because the protestors violated the park rule against setting up tents.
Batons were raised. A protestor threw a glass bottle at a bus. And the rest, naturally, was a shit show. Many have been critical of the way police handled the crowd control. On March 18, The Huffington Post spoke with Sandra Nurse, a member of Occupy's direct action group, who claimed the police were lying about the sleeping bags and tents that were supposedly being set up in the park. She stated:
"I didn't see any sleeping bags," she said. "There was a banner hung between two trees and a tarp thrown over it ... It wasn't a tent. It was an erect thing, if that's what you want to call it."
Gawker followed up with protestors, who had set up a small encampment in Union Square, dubbed "Solidarity Square," which was quickly dismantled by NYPD earlier this week. Josh Wedes, a member of the Occupy Wall Street Media team, stated:
"I think that there's a convenient narrative which is, 'Occupy went underground, and that's completely false... They continued to meet at 60 Wall Street, or at different spaces around the city. They continued to keep doing what they were doing."
But there's problems! Unions have expressed reservations against joining the May 1 strike since, you know, no one wants to lose their job in a recession. And the veterans who weathered the protest through the winter have been critical of the fair weather friends of Occupy, who only turn out when it's warm outside. So there's still some wrinkles to iron out before the May 1 deadline.
But who doesn't love a comeback? We'll be watching, OWS!
For our past coverage of Occupy Wall Street, go HERE.