I’ve had a difficult time writing about Occupy Wall Street. I’m either too exhausted, stunned, or ambivalent about what I have just seen or taken part in that very little of what I write ends up coherent or somehow nuanced.A great deal of incredible writing has been generated by this movement, and on Monday I will be posting an Occupy Wall Street Reader to highlight some of the work. Still, something happened this morning that I can’t just keep in my head: Michael. Bloomberg. Blinked.

While standing at the special General Assembly this morning after a night of nervous speculation (would the Unions show up?, what’s the Direct Action plan?, why are people duct-taping themselves into boxes?, Is that weed or is someone smudging the space with sage? If smudging, awesome),  I was as certain as ever about how this was going to end. The police were going to arrest everyone who stayed in the park past 7 am, the hour that Bloomberg (in person!) had told protestors to vacate the space.

This is how third-term Bloomberg do — he is ham-fisted and obstinate, especially when things aren’t going his way. To back away from this arbitrary deadline for the removal of protestors would be to back down from the idea that his rule is somehow imperfect, or meriting an actual debate besides his usual blunt force. But he is not a politician- he is a Wall Street businessman, especially targeted by these protests for his staggering accumulation of wealth. The $1-a-year mayor made $4.5 billion in 2009, at the height of the economic recession. To think he acts out of the interest for anyone besides the business elite is the wonderful result of an extremely shrewd marketing campaign (one that he spent $5.6 million on last year). In short, he is a rich man who would like to wave a dismissive hand at these protests like they are the work of a belligerent child.

In the early morning, the park kept filling. By the time of the special general assembly, it was as crowded as I had seen it since the massive march of October 5th. I grew incredibly nervous. How was this going to play out? We agreed to form a human chain around the park. No one wanted to lose this space. They would have to arrest over 1500 people. Around 6:30 AM the general assembly received word that Brookfield Properties was postponing the clean-up, and would work with the protestors on a way to clean the park together.

An eruption, total joy, followed by the usual general assembly bickering, but for a moment, absolute release. And I thought about how this moment might be the biggest yet. A man who gets his way, who bought a third term, who represents all that is wrong with a financial system that believes it is righteous, above-the-law, and too important to not have its way, blinked. He bended to a group of people who refused his edict. In the history of the the Bloomberg mayorlty, this is unheard of. This is something to celebrate.


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