The drums are silent.
At one o'clock this morning, New York City police swept in and removed the protesters and their gear from Zuccotti Park, the privately-owned space near Wall Street. In the operation, 142 occupiers were arrested and 50 to 60 protesters were arrested on the streets near the site for the two-month old demonstration. The protesters' tarps and tents were torn down and stowed into NYC Sanitation trucks.
At a press conference this morning, Mayor Michael Bloomberg defended his decision. "I have become increasingly concerned - as had the park's owner, Brookfield Properties - that the occupation was coming to pose a health and fire safety hazard to the protesters and to the surrounding community."
The mayor said the park is being cleaned and people will be allowed back but they cannot bring any paraphernalia for sleeping out. At press time, protesters are marching to a new location.
It's about time.
We were coming up on the two-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street movement and this protest, which caught on in cities across the US and around the world, was in danger of falling into parody. The Mayor did the residents, business owners and workers of the financial district a favor. The protesters are gone and an eyesore - with reported sexual assaults and assorted sanitary and health concerns - has been erased.
What's next for Occupy Wall Street? If they're smart - and I think they are - they should regroup and plan Phase 2.
Here are some ideas:
1. Have a leader. Or at least a spokesperson. There are some very thoughtful people among you, but who is in charge?
2. Have a clear agenda. What are your aims? No large bonuses on Wall Street? Higher taxes for the rich? Re-instate Glass-Steagall? Your signs are all over the place.
3. Get rid of the fringe. Those 'Smash capitalism' signs might make you feel good but it's pointless. Ain't going to happen. Push for stronger regs. Oh, and eject the crazies. You are losing the middle class when you dress like freaks and look like people who could never hold a job even if the economy weren't in the toilet.
4. Obey the law. Funny, I don't remember any reports of sexual assaults at Tea Party rallies.
5. No more drum circles. Or flutes, for that matter. Pathetic. Show some respect to the people who live and work around the area. You've had no impact on the Wall Street firms - none - but your protests have taken a stark toll on local businesses. Way to go, Rainbow.
The Occupy Wall Street brigade have some very serious points but in order to be heard they will need to coordinate, get serious and be prepared to make a real difference. Waving your freak flag may make you feel like a free spirit but you look like someone who has no idea how the real world works. Regroup, rethink and plan ahead.
Stop turning a much needed effort - change in the way America works and treats its citizens - into an orgy of silliness and self-regard. It's time to grow up.Phil Albinus is the former editor-in-chief of Advanced Trading. He has nearly two decades of journalism experience and has been covering financial technology and regulation for nine years. Before joining Advanced Trading, he served as editor of Waters, a monthly trade journal ... View Full Bio