Feminist Author Naomi Wolf Doubts New Yorkers Were Inconvenienced by Occupier March

November 18th, 2011 3:31 PM

Feminist author Naomi Wolf insisted on today's Now with Alex Wagner that New Yorkers were not really all that inconvenienced by the Occupy Wall Street movement.

"Yesterday, commuters and small business owners couldn't get to work the Occupiers were blocking subway entrances, you [also] had the Brooklyn Bridge" pedestrian walkway crammed with Occupiers, conservative columnist S.E. Cupp complained in a panel segment on Occupy Wall Street's political objectives, if any.

"I didn't see any of that. There's no reporting about that, I follow the reporting very carefully," Wolf retorted (see video below page break).


When Cupp informed Wolf that there's been "story after story after story" in the New York Post about  inconveniences to commuters and workers, Wolf snarked that the Post wasn't "fact-based" and dismissed the paper for not being as "as well-sourced" as other outlets.

But aside from the New York Post, ABC News also recorded the frustrations of everyday commuters in major cities such as New York and Philadelphia:

As part of Occupy Wall Street’s plans for its largest protest ever, occupiers may garner more disdain from the 99 percent than the 1 percent by attempting to clog New York’s subway system. The notion of disrupting transit in the nation’s largest city isn’t sitting well with commuters, few of whom are Wall Street titans.

One commuter to the financial district expressed her frustration today over delays on her commute every day this week. Her normal commute should last about seven minutes but now takes 25 minutes.

“This has been every day for this past week, 25 minutes to get from Canal to Wall. It’s shameful — we are all 99 percent, this is ridiculous,” the unidentified woman told WABC.


At least one commuter defended the protests.

“It’s a small inconvenience for the ability to have everybody to be here on the street letting their voices be heard,” an unidentified man told WABC.

But commuters across the country are losing their empathy or patience with the protesters.

In Philadelphia, Gina Carrano, 30, said her biggest concern during her commute to city hall, where Occupy Philadelphia protesters have gathered, is sanitation.

“The subway is right below so a lot of protesters were going down and relieving themselves,” the legal reporter said. “I used to take their train to work but a week or two after the protest started, I stopped because the stench was so bad.”

John Tabacco, CEO of Locatestock.com, was so frustrated with the disruption by his office near Zuccotti Park that he started a “Free Wall Street” campaign on Thursday.

Tabacco is inviting other financial firms, business owners and commuters, to “rally” in opposition to Occupy Wall Street.

“The way to end any Occupation is to form a coalition of freedom fighters to rebel against the unwanted occupiers,” he said in a statement. “Since its inception, Occupy Wall Street protesters have caused problems for local businesses and hard working people that work on Wall Street and surrounding offices near Zuccotti Park.”

Liberal journalist Michelle Goldberg of the Daily Beast also noted the frustrations of average New Yorkers (emphasis mine):

Around 9 a.m. on Thursday morning, a man in the financial district pushed through a crowd of chanting protesters to talk to a policeman. “I work at 48 Wall Street,” he said. “How do I get in?” The cop shrugged. “You can’t,” he said.


“They claim to represent my interests, and I can’t get to work and earn my living,” said Kathleen Brady, a self-employed career counselor who had previously been sympathetic to the protesters. “They have served their purpose. They have made people aware of the issues, they have people talking about it, which is fabulous. But they’ve got no endgame.”

I asked some of the protesters blocking the corner of Wall Street and Hanover what they thought of the woman who sobbed because she couldn’t get to her office. “As far as individuals go, yeah, that’s unfortunate,” one began. Another jumped in, arguing that no one would get in trouble with their bosses because they all had good excuses. Then, a man named Luke Richardson told his fellow protesters to stop explaining themselves to me. “Don’t answer the question they’re asking,” he said. “Tell them what you want to tell them. Don’t talk about the people who are inconvenienced.”

Why, I asked Richardson, is it illegitimate to ask whether Occupy Wall Street threatens to alienate local workers, some of them far from wealthy? “It’s certainly not the story we want to talk about here,” he replied. “I mean, it’s definitely a consideration, but it’s something we already considered.” The implication is that it’s not necessary to engage with those who don’t already share the movement’s ideology. This strikes me as unproductive.

What's more, the Brooklyn Paper reported this morning on the "occupy the subway" protests (emphasis mine)

Who needs Zuccotti?

Occupy Wall Street took its incendiary movement underground at two subway stations in Brooklyn on Thursday as part of a huge day of protests celebrating the two-month anniversary of the first settlement at a once-obscure Lower Manhattan park.

Anti-Wall Street protesters gathered at the Broadway Junction and Borough Hall subway stops at around 3 pm to decry economic inequality but also to urge surprised bystanders to join them.

“We are the 99 percent,” the hundred or so protesters chanted as they marched from Cadman Plaza to the Manhattan-bound 4/5 platform. “So are you!”

Protesters filled up three cars on the empty train, using the “human mic” to share personal stories of economic hardship to win over surprised straphangers who had not planned to be a part of the day’s protests.


For some, the subway protest was a rude intrusion into what is one of the city’s most hallowed rituals — the daily subway commute.

“I’m not so happy to see these people.” said Olivia Tufo from Williamsburg, who not only had difficulty getting to her waitressing job in Lower Manhattan, but then didn’t get much business once she got there. “I made 20 bucks today.”

But the occupiers insist that discomfort is part of the plan for change.

“Inconvenience is a small thing compared to changing the country,” said Noah Fischer, an activist who’s started speaking out loud in subway cars on his own about Occupy Wall Street on his way over to Zuccotti Park from where he lives in Prospect Heights. “There are some moments in this that may be uncomfortable and that’s OK.”

Organizers also said that the subway protest is part of the movement’s attempts to radically redefine the notion of public space.

For his part, liberal panelist Richard Wolffe seemed to agree with Cupp that the Occupy movement was an inconvenience to city residents and commuters but then echoed the Occupiers by snarking, "you guys [conservatives] inconvenienced the entire world economy."

"Thank you!" a grateful Naomi Wolf crowed in agreement.