This was a game changer, a turning point. What happened in Oakland was a very big deal. On the same Wednesday, there were big, big #occupy events in several other cities. But will Washington pay attention?
I haven't been living in a tent at City Hall and I freaking hate drum circles. But I did go the day after the odious tear-gassing of American citizens less than a mile from my home. I found it puzzling and then inspiring.
While there may be a few "Marxists" and "radicals" at Zuccotti and other sites, you don't have to hang around long to sense that many are middle-class people who think they are getting a raw deal and fear for their future.
Elected officials and police forces need to take a deep breath and gain some perspective. The Wall Street bankers have done far more damage to cities and counties by tanking the economy and local tax receipts than a few hundred protesters could ever do.
More important to the continued success of OWS will be the extent to which, like participants in the "Arab Spring" they creatively use the multi-platforms of communication with one another and the public at large associated with the social networks of Facebook, Twitter, et al.
In 2000, when today's financial debacle was just a worst-case scenario forecasted by quants, gold bugs, market regulators and other Chicken Littles, Daniel Suelo dropped his final thirty dollars in a phone booth and walked away.
Some of the charm of OWS comes from the belief of the young and the idealistic that they have somehow discovered something new; in fact, with the exception of their use of social media, it's very, very old.
Most of Bank of America's competitors have decided not to impose a debit card fee and even Bank of America itself is looking to modify (or hopefully eliminate) the charge. Chalk this up as an Occupy Wall Street victory.
Results of our interviews show a population more motivated by reform than massive overhauls of existing systems, a group well-educated and well-versed on relevant policy issues rather than a radical movement likely to resort to violence.
The people really don't have power anymore, which is the underlying complaint of the whole Occupy Wall Street movement. And, for a country whose Constitution starts with "We the people," that should be troubling for everyone.