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Occupy Wall Street: The Night of the Raid

November 19, 2011

Above is what I wrote on a piece of cardboard, while sitting in the barricaded kitchen area watching our tents getting destroyed and us non-violently resisting with words and linked arms and music, waiting for the police to come.  I stood up, trying to see and hear all of what was going on around me, until the last few minutes when I sat next to 2 guys with their arms linked in mine.  I got cuffed with my backpack still on me, the cuffs so tight they cut off circulation in my left wrist, asked for new looser handcuffs and got a pair that didn’t make my thumb numb but hurt like hell with every small movement, asked again for new cuffs and got told “They’re not supposed to be comfortable.”  I was lucky, another woman had her backpack cut off of her back and was hit in the back with batons, still another woman’s ID was taken from her pocket by a cop and thrown out onto the ground.  She had an epileptic seizure and asked them to give her the medicine in her bag.  They just stood there, claiming liability issues.  We were arrested but we weren’t told “you’re under arrest” or read our rights or anything like that.  As the paddy wagon dropped us off at One Police Plaza, I overheard one cop say to another cop: “So what are we gonna charge these guys with?”  They ended up charging us with various counts of trespassing, jaywalking(!), disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest.  That last one was the charge they gave to the people they’d beaten up, to provide legal cover.  We got out of jail at various different times, from that evening to the afternoon of the next day, and faced all kinds of bureaucratic hassles in getting our stuff back.  The stuff in my backpack was mostly there, but the soap and deodorant were missing.  The message was unmistakable: the ruling class doesn’t want us carrying soap and deodorant, they want us to smell bad, to better discount our ideas.

On Wednesday evening, I went back to Zuccotti Park to see what was going on.  A few people were still there, but overall the place looked painfully barren and inhospitable without the tents.  To my mind, the lights coming up from the ground made it look exactly like the 9/11 memorial.

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