Sunday, October 16, 2011

Occupy Journal Square

Depressing and unpleasant, I am sad to report, was my experience visiting Occupy Journal Square. As readers know, I am supportive of Occupy Wall Street, having blogged about it here, the October 5th demonstration here, and how Jersey City was supporting them here. I consider myself a New Deal Democrat. This movement gives me hope.

Except for a short stint in the Lower East Side of NYC, I’ve lived in New Jersey all my life. And my experience has been that by and large, people from New Jersey, not all, just the majority, have their heads so far up their asses that…fill in the blank.

The head up their ass part is the main constant. Luckily, many have other attributes than their brains being placed deep inside their rectums.

Jersey City is to New York City what Canada is to the United States, the pretty good, e-for-effort place that is forever overshadowed by the last great hope for mankind.

At first glance, that’s what I thought when I saw their encampment, outside of an empty lot where a construction project, knocked down an urban strip mall in the name of development and now has been temporarily abandoned.

Some people folding a tarp, what looked like food was on other table, a few books in a library; it was a miniaturized mimic of Occupy Wall Street. Endearing, at first. Sitting Bull stenciled on American Flag. We are the 99 percent signs. Right on… but… Unlike other places in America or New Jersey, at JSQ you can take a 10 minute Path ride to the real Occupy Wall Street, which the whole world is watching.

JSQ a smaller occupation, less than a dozen were there when I stopped by on Sunday afternoon. I was happy to see it actually happen. A rag tag bunch – I clicked like on their Facebook page – attempted an occupy last week, tried to occupy Colgate park at Exchange Place, but the rumor was that our dipshit Governor ordered the JCPD to barricade. This was just implied in the press, who didn’t bother to get a police confirmation or even quote. Anyway, they tried it at Grove Street Path, on a Thursday, when there’s a Green Market. They pissed off the green market vendors, who told me business was off 40 percent. Where occupiers go police follow. So they wound up at Journal Square, been there almost a week.

I wish I could say right on. One of the controversies of this movement is that it is leaderless and there is no single message – the majority of the messages revolve around issues of Economic Justice, which I am generally an enthusiastic supporter of. But there are tangential and unrelated messages, a minority to be sure, but I feel they can turn people off, even highjack what is trying to be accomplished. At Journal Square, my fears were realized. Several signs were not just turn offs but all I could think of was how easily they could be used by those who oppose economic change too squelch the movement.

Obama is Wall Street was a particularly infuriating one. I mean, do they think McCain would be better, less Wall Street?

Oh he’s just a rock star, it doesn’t matter who is president, I was told.

Huh? Another sign was End Palestine Occupation. Whoa! Where does Israel/Palestine issues come into to the need for U.S. economic reform? That is not a criticism of Israel government or military policies, which I am critical of, nor is it supporting a two state solution. Israel does not have the right exist is the message being sent there, not a return to the 1967 borders. It’s an anti-Semitic statement.

End The Fed Now was another one. For some reason I see this sentiment only in New Jersey Occupy stuff, at least on Facebook. It’s an immature and anti-intellectual statement. Change the Fed, sure, but I mean, what about the FDIC? The Federal Bank is different than the bailout of Wall Street or the fact there hasn’t been prosecution of the bankers who caused our financial mess or unjustly foreclosing on homes. What is that about?

How could I even ask the question an JSQ occupier responds: Do you see how the media is ignoring Ron Paul.

How are they ignoring him? He is allowed to debate with those other republican maniacs, his platform is on the internet. He spouts idiocy, is my opinion.

Oops. The wrong opinion.

So, Occupy JSQ has Ron Paul supporters? WTF?

Global Warming doesn't exist was the next part of his platform. It is a myth perpetuated by Al Gore because he is making money off carbon credits.

So, pollution so has no impact on the environment?

On the environment, but not on the planet.

Interesting distinction.

This dude is wearing a 911 was an inside job t-shirt. I got him started. His argument is that the way the towers imploded proves that Al Queda is media fantasy and Bin Laden a CIA agent.

Seriously, he was serious.

I said what about all the Fatwas issued by Al Queda during the 90s, but the attacks on the Korbel Towers, Tanzania, the Cole. What do they have to do with 9-11?

Huh? They don’t prove that al queda was around before that September?

Seriously, what an infuriating conversation. I never met a 9-11 Inside Job person before, I heard they existed, but nothing can prepare one for encountering the real thing. Conspiracy theorists. Good lord. Of course, he had not been camping there, although he told me people had. He hadn’t attended the New York Saturday rallies.

I was afraid for them, JSQ can be a dangerous place after nightfall. I’m not afraid of the neighborhood, I’m afraid of the police, they have itchy trigger fingers, he said. Sort of a douchey thing to say. He was not camping out, he was just there representing. Ugh.

That’s my experience there at JSQ. Solidarity in my heart, totally for the movement, and I meet Head up their ass Jersey ites – the same lame brains I have known and been ashamed of being from the same state for my entire life.


9-11 was an inside job? Anti-Israel statements?


I asked if any of Jersey City union members came by to show support, I was told no.

Who can blame them?

So, I still support Occupy Wall Street. In the abstract, I still support Occupy Journal Square. But in reality, OJSQ is an embarrassment. Dopes and nut-jobs was my impression, none of the intelligent, engaging discussions one has at Freedom Park.

Occupy Journal Square seems emblematic of the challenge this movement faces. The lack of specificity also means anyone can latch on to the protest to further their own agenda. That’s what I saw happening in JSQ, at least the Sunday I came by. If somebody wants to believe 9-11 was an inside job, inspite of the facts, have at it. But it seems to me to be a dangerous distraction to the change Occupy Wall Street proposes. Welcome to New Jersey! Luckily, the movement that gives me hope was only a PATH train ride away.

1 comment:

  1. Brother you hit it right on the head. I never saw a group of bigger misfits in my life in one place. I hope the police use that trigger finger and rid Jersey City/the world of pure idiots. (just kidding) I think...