Location: New York, New York, USA
November 5th was “Bank Transfer Day,” and J.P. Morgan Chase national HQ on Park Avenue in Manhattan was guarded by NYPD like it was a national monument. The call to the masses to cash-out on the big banks and move their money into credit union accounts and local financial institutions was spearheaded by progressive organizations like MoveOn.org. But November 5th was also “Guy Fawkes Day,” a day to remember the legendary man and his “gunpowder plot” to overthrow the British monarch in 1605. For some people Guy Fawkes has become a symbol of the Occupy Wall Street movement. But I am not sure if Mr. Fawkes would see eye to eye with the Occupy-Wall-Streeters.
By the time I arrived at Chase HQ at 12:30pm on the fifth of November there was not a single protester there. Groups of NYPD officers loitered around the building in a display of solidarity with Chase Bank, which was my cue to move along. I headed downtown to Zuccotti Park to see what the Occupy-Wall-Streeters were up to. Mingling about the tent-village that has overtaken most of the park were several people in Guy Fawkes masks. These infamous masks were popularized by the film “V for Vendetta” in 2006. However I did not get the feeling there was any “gunpowder plot” underway.
The scene at Zuccotti Park was more like a First Amendment circus than a revolution. A pair of young women taped dollar bills over their mouths and staggered and crawled around the park like baby giraffes taking their first steps. A disheveled middle-aged man hollered over the crowd that George Washington was his Jesus and the Founding Fathers were his disciples. A twenty-something year old vagabond asked my friend for some change while we photographed the plethora of signs, banners, and tents surrounding us.
What I witnessed in Zuccotti Park on November 5th was not a revolution or “gunpowder plot,” but it was something to be taken serious. Critics of Occupy Wall Street have disregarded the movement as a rally of misguided hippie-wonnabes that will be evicted by winter’s chilly approach. However I believe it is unwise to label the Occupy-Wall-Streeters as irrelevant. One day very soon a charismatic, Guy Fawkes-wannabe may emerge from his tent in Zuccotti Park and turn this rally into a real revolution.
Written by Paul T. Lotierzo