It is strange, to say the least, that Michael Bloomberg’s role in shutting down Occupy Wall Street (OWS) has been overlooked so far during his presidential campaign. While his “stop-and-frisk” racist policies as New York City Mayor have rightly been the focus of critical attention, nothing seems to have been said about his hostility toward the Occupy movement, which galvanized New York City and subsequently the rest of the country in autumn 2011, during his contentious third term as mayor.
Indeed, such a focus might highlight the glaring ironies of this Wall Street-connected billionaire wanting to become president, or at least stop a “democratic socialist” from winning the Democratic nomination.
In early October 2011, with OWS protesters camped out in Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park since September 17, Mayor Bloomberg complained on his weekly radio show that OWS protesters were “trying to take the jobs away from people working in this city,” from “the people that work in finance”. A week later, Bloomberg claimed: “It was not the banks that created the mortgage crisis. It was, plain and simple, Congress, who forced everybody to go and give mortgages to people who were on the cusp [financially].”
Trying to shift the blame for the 2008 Great Recession from the banksters, Bloomberg pushed the idea that the real culprits were Congress and government-sponsored housing lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. “They were the ones that pushed the banks to loan to everybody,” Bloomberg claimed.
Bloomberg’s friends on Wall Street made billions by “securitizing” those loans, slicing-and-dicing the mortgage derivatives and selling them off to pension plans and banks across the world. As a result, the “contagion” spread around the planet, with many billions of dollars lost, while millions of people lost their homes to foreclosure and their jobs to huge layoffs.
This massive fraud in the private financial sector was the focus of OWS, whose meme “We are the 99 Percent” resonated widely and brought many out to their demonstrations. OWS was basically calling on elected governments to work on behalf of ordinary citizens rather than for the wealthy elites.
Within weeks, however, Michael Bloomberg had shut down Zuccotti Park, and a violent crackdown was unleashed against OWS protesters.
Documents later obtained in 2012 by a non-profit NGO revealed that the FBI considered OWS a “terrorist threat.” As I wrote in my book Beyond Banksters, the documents showed a “close partnering” among the banks, the New York City police, the New York Stock Exchange, the FBI, a branch of the Federal Reserve, and the Department of Homeland Security to “target, arrest and politically disable peaceful American citizens”. We need to know more about Mayor Bloomberg’s role (if any) in coordinating this partnering.
The OWS meme about the 99% still resonates – maybe even more strongly than in 2011 -which is a key reason why Bloomberg is using his billions to run for president. OWS members need to shed more light on Bloomberg’s 2011 role in shutting them down.