American Spring?

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Photo by David Shankbone

There have been mobs of protesters in Zuccotti Park in Manhattan since Saturday, protesting greed on Wall Street. But if you haven’t heard much about it, that could be because, according to some critics, there’s an unofficial mainstream media news brownout of the events. Philadelphia Daily News writer Will Bunch makes an analogy to the Arab Spring protests, which garnered so much American media attention last winter — less so on the protestors’ home turf.

What do you think was running in the pro-government, pro-Mubarek newspapers in Egypt back in February, when crowds of unhappy and often un- or under-employed citizens began crowding into Tahrir Square? I don’t know the answer to that, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say there probably wasn’t a lot of coverage of what was happening in Tahrir Square, at least at first. They were probably running cute feature stories about an old-time falafel stand in a changing Cairo neighborhood, or maybe articles on parking problems at the Great Pyramids. They certainly weren’t going to call attention to the elephant in the room that was about to knock over a corrupt and decadent society.

Anti death penalty advocates, meanwhile, have been taking it to the streets (including one rally in Glassboro, NJ) to protest today’s planned execution of convicted murderer Troy Davis.

Closer to home, it’s the alleged unfairness of the Port Authority’s recent toll hike that led a New Milford man file a civil rights lawsuit. Cliffview Pilot broke the story yesterday of Bergen Community College student Yoel Weisshaus, who filed suit in federal court saying the fare increase penalizes the poor, including him. Although Weisshaus admits that he owes the Port Authority money, and has even had debt collectors at his door, he says he shouldn’t be footing the bill for construction at the World Trade Center.

Further, [I] did not destroy the World Trade Center; neither did [i] authorize its destructions and should bear no responsibility in its reconstruction through travel taxes…. The World Trade Center has been since 2001 property leased by private developers, and is a political real estate development.

Now that our local petition saga appears to be at a close, what’s bugging you — Wall Street, death row, the Port Authority — or something else?

7 COMMENTS

  1. I didn’t know that was the name of that park/plaza. Zuccotti, hmmmnn, sounds like a pasta dish. Back in the ‘day’ you could have a nice lunch – the park being surrounded by a plethora of food vendors – there and be treated to all kinds of street entertainment varying from ‘Rush’ tribute bands, to local jazz ensembles, to jugglers, mimes, comics, you name it. Then, sometime during the Giuliani administration, it all dried up and blew away; noise complaints by greedy Wall St. types, no doubt.

    The financial district used to be a pretty cool place to work/visit. Maybe it still is but I can’t go there any more. To many painful memories, and not just 9/11. The place symbolizes, to me, a great malaise. It’s a bastion of human indifference. It’s depressing to even think about it.

  2. MB, Stone St. is still a great place to hang out. The road is closed to traffic, so the street is filled with tables overflowing from the bars and restaurants. String lights hang from one side of the street to the other. Maybe the best street in the financial district

  3. The Arab spring yields to an American winter. Our kleptocrats will nut go quietly into the night. They’ll buy the night and charge us rent for the darkness.

  4. I walked by these protests yesterday and today…I’d hardly call it a ‘mob’. Very sparse. Just amazes me that whenever you have an event like this the filth and litter they cause is disturbing.

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