General Assembly at occupation of Puerta del Sol, May 2011
Last night I spoke to an audience at Patio Maravillas, a community center in Madrid where people with interesting political ideas gather. Firmly established in a lovely old squatted building downtown, the Patio was one of the places where plans for the May 15 demonstrations in Puerta del Sol were hatched.
Veteran hacktivist “iokese” (trans: “what-do-I-know?”) invited me to give a talk comparing the movement of the Spanish “indignados” to similar events happening now at Occupy Wall Street sites. A buzz filled the room as people shared news of the brutal crackdown on the Occupy Wall Street in New York City the night before. In fact, much of my presentation featured questions and answers about Democracy Now videos of city police clearing the encampment.
Shortly before I began my remarks, a wonderful surprise message arrived from the honorable Michael Bloomindales, Mayor of New York. Here’s the full text.
My greetings to members of the flourishing the research center at Patio Maravillas!
I want to extend my most cordial invitation for you to attend the upcoming Grand Opening Ceremony of the newly cleansed and restored Zuccotti Park in the historic Wall Street district of New York. To help plan your journey, here are some key points to keep in mind.
I know you’re eager to obtain news and photos of the forced eviction of Occupy Wall Street. Regrettably, for the time being, direct news coverage is forbidden and all reporters have been banned from the site. We assure you, this is for your own protection.
We New Yorkers take great pride in the right of free speech widely practiced in our fair city. However, as you know, all freedoms have their limits and carry very heavy responsibilities. In view of your flagrant abuses of free speech in Spain last May, you will be subject to arrest if you venture anywhere near Wall Street. As an alternative, may I suggest an uplifting afternoon at our world famous Metropolitan Museum of Art or, perhaps, Zabar's?
Another freedom we cherish in our city is the right to be free from searches of one’s person and possessions unless a warrant has been issued by a court of law. To that end we have begun a policy of random police searches of those who visit “Liberty Square.” I assure you, there is nothing personal here – just random pat downs by our men in blue. For some in the Patio group, this could be the highlight of your tour!
I understand that books and other written materials have been spotted in Patio Maravillas recently. The city government of New York has now declared items of this kind a threat to public health and safety. If you insist upon bringing any books, manifestos, anarchist software, or similar materials to Zuccotti Park, they will be immediately confiscated and taken to the nearest landfill. We simply cannot risk another epidemic of unconventional ideas here.
As you may have heard, our nation’s Bill of Rights recognizes the “right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” The key term here is “peaceably.” For that reason we have recently instituted occasional beatings of citizens in their assemblies. This step removes any hint of peacefulness and facilitates the difficult work of securing the safety of our streets and sidewalks. Please keep this in mind if you intend trying anything peaceful during your stay.
Finally, I am pleased to announce that the evictions, kettlings, arrests, beatings, and gassings of both U.S. citizens and visitors will continue until democracy and public order are fully restored and Wall Street can return to business as usual.
I sincerely hope you enjoy your visit to New York City.
(not be be confused with the ill-named "people's mike")