New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s legacy may be determined tomorrow when sanitation workers show to clean-up the Zuccotti Park base of operation of “Occupy Wall Street.”
Will billionaire Bloomberg risk being remembered as the guy who “cleared-out” the park on behalf of the high-rollers on Wall Street who helped trigger the financial mess?
The mayor is on the record of supporting the occupiers’ First Amendment rights. He says protesters can remain in the park following the big sweep-up as long as they don’t lie down or use sleeping bags. Huh! He might as well say, "Go home boys and girls."
Activist groups such as the Working Families Party believe Bloomberg’s threat to enforce the no-sleeping rule is a “back-door attempt” to put an end to the protest. It is asking members to be there when the sanitation crews show up at 6 a.m., setting the stage for a confrontation with the police force that is already keeping a close eye on Zuccoti Park.
Meanwhile, support grows for the Occupiers. A Time magazine poll finds that 54 percent of Americans have a favorable impression of OWS, while 23 percent have a negative view. [The token booth at my Brooklyn subway station has put up a big sign that gives directions to Zuccotti Park. The attendant told me that he was tired of telling people to "take the R-train to Rector."]
Poland’s former president and Solidarity founder Lech Walesa told the Associated Press that he backs the Wall Street protest. “We cannot accept a situation when capitalism is making huge money and then does not know what to do with it. It should invest in new jobs,” he said.
The former shipyard worker spoke as plans are in place for an Occupy Warsaw demonstration this weekend. Walesa says he either plans to visit Zuccotti Park or draft a letter of support to the Occupiers. He better act quickly.
If Walesa does opt for a visit to NYC, he should drop by and have a chat with Mayor Mike.