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Brooklyn Street Art

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Occupy Wall Street: A Month-Long Wake Up Call In the Streets

Posted on October 19, 2011

Despite some clumsy attempts to draw parallels between the Tea Party protests in the summer of ’09 and the Occupy Wall Street marches that are now passing the one-month mark, the video and images have been perfectly clear. Back then we saw right wing cable hosts hard selling and health insurance companies charter-bussing as many fans as they could to rallies to give the impression that there was a populist sentiment against radical ideas like affording a doctor visit and preserving the social safety net.  All we really learned is that a lot of white people are irked they have a black president. Shocking.

This autumn these motley mismatched marchers have found their voice and the directions to Wall Street on their own, creating their own media on the way. True, the Grey Lady whose eyes have clouded to marches in New York over the last decade reluctantly put down her sherry to acknowledge these people eventually. After a few weeks of relative silence the “liberal” newsies are now interviewing OWSers in Zuccotti Park and Washington Square Park and Times Square, but these people didn’t drive the story, they followed it. A pendulum has begun to swing back with a multitude of so-called leaders in tow.

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The images coming during this one-month-old movement have presented at times a perplexing variety of placards and ideas, confusing boffo Biff Newsreader who relies upon a three word phrase to sum it all up before breaking for a pharmaceutical commercial.  But this is New York, a land of 11 million stories and more than a hundred languages and tens of religions and the non-religious. These signs and skin colors and accents are what makes New York so stunning, so strong; and now this startlingly un-silent majority in all it’s complexity is teaching us the simple truth of just showing up. Who knows what the one big message is? These people here are the message.

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

Polls out at the one-month mark say New Yorkers favor the “Occupy Wall Street” marches 3 to 1.  Unlike the largely monoculture Tea Party protests, it looks like our streets are primed for these conversations because we’ve been working out our extreme differences and have found constructive ways to talk to each other – without spitting on each other or on passing congressmen. This looks like direct action democracy with many visions and voices, the majority peaceful, and many a little tired from the late nights and walking. If you can come to these streets right now and say you are frightened by what you see, get your head examined. Old people. Kids. Dogs. Respectful lively debate. Does this scare someone?

Here’s another installment of photos from the developing story on the street – a panoply of faces and messages; artful, pedestrian, human.

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Tough New York pigeons dropping in to lend a wing. Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011. According to the guy with these lavender fabric strips; The combination of red, white and blue in the American flag gives you purple. He said they are a symbol of unity in the whole country. All are invited to join, to occupy, to ask for a fair share of the country’s wealth. (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. The pantry. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. Ben of Ben & Jerry serving free ice cream. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. Jerry of Ben & Jerry serving free ice cream. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. An artist drawing the scene at Zuccotti Park on October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Occupy Wall Street. October 14, 2011 (photo © Jaime Rojo)

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Signs of the Times; local so-called liberal media eventually were forced to acknowledged what quickly became a global story, if only to gently patronize. (photo © BSA)