|Police fire on protesters blocking an intersection|
The Occupy movement, at its core, is about putting an end to business as usual for Wall Street - putting an end to the unquestioned reign of the "1%" over the "99%." Occupy, then, is about disruptions - so is the General Strike. The purpose of both is to stop the flow of capital. But this is hard to do when marches simply rush through the streets or sidewalks. disrupting little and certainly not halting the flow of anything.
The unpermitted march inhabits a strange place on the spectrum of public protest. It is not a state-sanctioned event, so the police remain antagonists instead of facilitators - but it is not an act of civil disobedience. In most cases, walking with a group down a sidewalk is not illegal, but it is still moderately disruptive and it irritates police. Occupy has often been reluctant to use flat out civil disobedience - such as public sit downs and blockades of city streets- out of fear of directly violating the law and the sensibilities of mainstream Americans. Occupy's strategy, instead, has been to tread the line of legality in the hope that a violent police response will win the movement sympathizers. But this strategy has not worked. Those the movement hoped to win over simply react to the roving sidewalk protests as a nuisance. "Shut up and stop crowding the sidewalk" is a common response. If the public is not receptive to timid attempts to remain within the bounds of the law, then the law must be broken.
If we're going to get arrested anyway - snatched and grabbed off the street into a paddy-wagon - then let's get arrested the right way! What better method of clotting the arteries of capitalism is there than to sit our asses down in the middle of a Times Square intersection with 5,000 of our closest friends? The cops will need to do more than "snatch and grab" to get rid of us. And we can be sure the amount of time that would be enough to turn those clogged arteries into a stroke. But to successfully induce a cardiac arrest, we need more people in the street; as long as the number of protesters remain in the thousands, the media will continue to ignore them.