text and photos by Brian Awehali | originally published in Earth Island Journal
October 13, 2011
“The biggest difference I see between China and the US is that in China, our government owns the corporations and in the US, the corporations own your government.”
–Chinese people’s historian Liao Yiwu (廖亦武), July, 2010
On September 27th, the Occupy Wall Street rebellion was clearly gathering momentum. The NYPD’s macing of several peaceful protesters the previous weekend, and their arrest of roughly 80 demonstrators in the following days served primarily to spark more coverage, outrage and broad-based support for the movement. Donations were pouring in, a group of hundreds was turning into thousands in lower Manhattan, and similar occupations were blooming in dozens of other U.S. cities.
In the first days of the occupation, most corporate media reporters approached the protesters as would any good B-movie alien delegation: “Take us to your leader,” they demanded. Confronted with a decentralized organizing culture, they furrowed their brows, demanded demands, preferably in sound bite form, and generally derided protesters for being young, unrealistic, weird-looking, and/or unhygienic.