The Cinch Review

A note on OWS numbers in New York City

This morning’s much anticipated and ballyhooed “Occupy Wall Street” march in the financial district, and attempt to shut down the New York Stock Exchange, attracted anywhere from a few hundred to somewhere between one and two thousand participants, according to the media.

In this city of New York, you can gather a crowd like that if you stand on the corner giving away free samples of some new protein bar. I mean, really. Considering the non-stop publicity and promotion of this event taking place (for free) in all outlets of the mainstream media, the level of participation is nothing short of dismal. This is not the 99%. It is more like the 0.000001%. In addition, as is well known, many of those in the hardcore membership of this OWS “movement” in New York are in fact from out of town. Take them away and you have a complete non-event. It’s a non-event anyway: the whole escapade of the past two months has been created by and remains dependent upon the wildly disproportionate attention of the media, in pursuit of a political narrative that suits their own preferences. (And we must not forget who in the political world supported it from the beginning.)

Perhaps, as the afternoon wears on, and the kinds of people who like to participate in these things begin rolling out of bed and rubbing the sleep out of their eyes, the numbers will puff up a little for their planned “occupation” of the subways; i.e. their plan to obstruct the journey home this evening for ordinary hardworking New Yorkers. A more senseless approach to communicating their in-any-case-utterly-incoherent message could hardly be imagined by a third-rate community organizer on psychedelics.


Since this performance began in September, there have been some polls purporting to show that a majority of New Yorkers “support” the Occupy Wall Street movement. Those responses are simply born out of the knee-jerk sense that “everybody has the right to free speech;” which, of-course, is true. The vast majority of New Yorkers have not even seen the OWS protesters—let alone contemplated actually joining them. And to date the same vast majority of New Yorkers has not been inconvenienced by them. It has been a non-event, in those terms. And the only way the OWS crowd apparently can see a way forward is to start inconveniencing ordinary New Yorkers, to the degree that their paltry numbers will allow.

Interesting business plan.

Addendum 8:50 p.m.: In the evening, the numbers were swelled by well-organized union members, especially for a march over the Brooklyn Bridge. According to Barbara Ross of the Daily News, union groups included “1119 SEIU, Local 32 Building Workers, CWA, DC 37, CSEA, TWU, AFT, UAW, RWDSU, Retail Workers, Hotel Trades Council, Teamsters, Local 3 of Electrical Workers, Plumbers Union, Air Conditioners Union, and PSC-CUNY Professors.” That says plenty about the ability of unions to turn out demonstrators whenever they care to do so, but little about any true grass roots support for the Occupy Wall Street movement, obviously.