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Just a brick in the Wall … Street

Obviously, many of you will be aware of the #OccupyWallStreet protest by now.

If you’re not, it may be that you were at #SIBOS when it all started, so here’s the low down.

My friend who lives on Wall Street told me that a bunch of around 200 protestors set up camp in the park by Wall Street just over two weeks ago, and they started taking it in shifts to block access into and out of Wall Street holding up placards and shouting with drums.

Protest_wall_street1

It’s very annoying he says.  In fact, it’s very, very annoying.

Protest_wall_street2

And that may be how it started, but it’s gradually getting more and more serious.

For example, the police didn’t know how to handle a ‘peaceful protest’, so they started to deal with it by manhandling people with force …

Unfortunately, in this age of never ending streaming smartphones and tweets, you can’t get away with anything.  The result is that the mood is now also anti-police, with chanters shouting: “racist, sexist, anti-gay! NYPD go away!”

This is due to the mass arrests that have been taking place since the protests became so belligerent and irritating to everyone in downtown New York, with 700 arrested on Saturday alone.

Mind you, it's not irritating everyone as celebrities from Susan Sarandon (particularly vocal) to Mark Ruffalo (who?) are  getting involved.

To keep up with what's happening, I suggest you follow #OccupyWallStreet on twitter, as it is a great source of news and views about what’s going on.

It's also interesting to see that the US protesters are using Vibe to avoid the UK tactics where, , after the UK rioting, the police forced Blackberry's hand to share instant messaging details about the riotous organisers.

Vibe allows users to send any-to-many messages, similar to twitter, but the message are always anonymous and can be set to self-destruct after a set period of time.

Another difference is to note that, due to the viral nature of such social networking, the protest is now spreading.

It’s no longer Occupy Wall Street, but also Occupy Any Business District from LA to Seattle to Chicago to Boston.

What do they want?

No-one knows, except to protest.

Protest about what?

The economy, banking, unemployment, welfare, prices, life … the government.

The message is mixed because there is a core group who offer a manifesto with a list of demands and a declaration that is being refined …  but they have been joined by so many other protest groups that there appears to be no big message, except that people are angry about the world and want change (something I thought Barack Obama had promised).

This has been critiqued by many but, as one tweeter puts it, it “is more than just a protest. It's the start of a new government. A government free from greed and corruption.”

And how do the banking fraternity feel about this annoying development?

Watch this (one minute in) …

I'm sure the musical version will be here soon, with a slightly different theme tune:

We don't need no occupation 
We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm from the government
Police leave them kids alone
Hey! Police! Leave them kids alone!
All in all it's just a brick in the Wall … Street.
All in all you're just a brick in the Wall … Street.

 

About Chris M Skinner

Chris M Skinner
Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog, the Finanser.com, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal’s Financial News. To learn more click here...

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5 comments

  1. Chris, You’re wrong about nobody knowing what the Occupy Wall Street protesters want. Glenn Greenwald put it pretty clearly in Salon.com: They want an end to the “Wall Street corruption, criminality and unrestrained political power — in the form of crony capitalism and ownership of political institutions — that is destroying financial security for everyone else”? Here’s the full article:- http://politics.salon.com/2011/09/28/protests_21/singleton/
    I also strongly recommend you read this manifesto:- http://bit.ly/r58NIa and this declaration (which I believe is still being refined) http://bit.ly/opehLd

  2. that video of bankers drinking champagne will go down in history as one of the stupidest displays of arrogance ever. wall street and the police seem determined to give more and more oxygen to occupywallstreet, it’s simply in their nature.

  3. Since my earlier post, I’ve found a more succinct summary of the protest’s goals. This came from NYT DealBook:-
    “The demonstrators are seeking accountability for Wall Street and corporate America for the financial crisis and the growing economic inequality gap.”
    Read full article here:- http://nyti.ms/pI7lWi

  4. You’re right Ian
    I meant to put the declaration in there and forgot – have now added it – but point is that there are too many groups involved that (a) core message has become confused and (b) the core message was unclear to start with.
    Chris

  5. Are bankers that disconnected?
    From the perspective of the public: The GFC has been accompanied by almost no jail sentances, no investigations, no take-overs, no shutdowns. The banking community got away with the heist of the century.
    And they’re still there! And it’s happening again!
    What’s so difficult to understand?

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