Yesterday I was physically attacked at #OccupyWallStreet.
I'd like tell you all about my day, but first, I'd like to make the following statement. This has nothing to do with any official or unofficial volunteer work I am doing on behalf of #OccupyWallStreet. This one is personal.
To Mr. James O'Keefe,
You, sir, are an absolute coward. You skulk around the space I occupy like a thief, damn well knowing I am right here, but you fear me, because I am your worst nightmare, Jimmy. I am dead broke and I tell the cold hard truth while your pockets are lined with a fortune paid in lies. You are the corrupt tool of an international crime syndicate called News Corporation, you are a criminal and a charlatan, a huckster selling snake oil, and you don't have the chops to stand toe to toe with me, and you know it. I am everything you are not. I have honor, you are a gutless coward. I don't hide myself, I have my Union Army hat on, I don't hide my face because I have nothing to hide, you hide your face because what you do is shameful. I don't wear costumes. You know who I am, you know what I look like. If you want to pick on someone and distort their words so you can slander this peaceful occupation that stands in defiance against the greedy billionaires whose fingers you lick, come and find me at #OccupyWallStreet. I am easy to find.
I doubt you have the guts to debate me one on one. I am certain that you would never have the nerve to face me when I have my camera rolling because you are a punk, and I know you only like unfair fights because that is the way all cowards behave. Unlike you, I have nothing to fear, because you and your wealthy owners have robbed the working 99% of everything and we have had enough. You are helping the wealthiest 1% steal our future. At the very least, Jimmy, you should be publicly shamed as the criminal smear artist you are. Your unaccountable lawlessness is the perfect example of what we are fighting against at #OccupyWallStreet. You should be in jail for breaking the law, the same way anyone who isn't a paid operative of the Oligarchy would be if they did the same things you have done.
You, sir, are a coward, a criminal, and a sniveling worm, and a pathetic excuse for a man. You are violating your probation, Jimmy, and we have proof.
So be warned, and tell your coward bosses I have nothing to fear. You better bring your A game, punk.
The worst part is, you have all the money in the world backing you up and yet you FEAR me. That proves EXACTLY what a gutless coward you really are.
Jesse Eric LaGreca
Please recommend this diary by fellow Kossack alguien, titled: Video: O'Keefe Brands OWS Protesters as Money Grubbers+ People should see this pathetic smear artist in action. I think he is jealous because I got on This Week and he is too much of a disgrace to be taken seriously in public without his costumes.
More below the fold
I was physically attacked yesterday at #OccupyWallStreet.
This is my full report.
I arrived at Liberty Square before noon and the crowds were huge. I could hardly walk through the throng of people. Today was the first time I truly understood that I can no longer have the public life I used to enjoy, and don't get me wrong, I love each and everyone of my supporters, but I simply can't do the job I want to do when I am at #ows, not without a personal security team. Unlike that crooked snake James O'Keefe, I don't have money to hire security. I have $300 to my name. O'Keefe has billions backing him up. If I must sacrifice my previous public life on behalf of this movement I will do so gladly. It is that important.
A man was going berserk, screaming in the face of people and throwing a total tantrum, and when I see that my automatic response is to calm the situation down, that's what I learned as a bouncer. The man who was pitching a fit got everyone's attention. We weren't sure if he is just disturbed or what. I approached him calmly and tried to get him to calm down. Then he got right up in front of me and spit in my face, challenging me to a fist fight right then and there.
This guy was half my size. It would not have been a fair fight, but reacting was the farthest thing from my mind, considering my current position. This guy was obviously provoking me.
Soon after, I found out O'Keefe was sniffing around my people's home. I quickly alerted security and encouraged them to alert the crowd to O'Keefe's presence and history by using the "People's Microphone". We conveyed O'Keefe's past and description to the occupiers. Soon afterwards, O'Keefe the coward was no longer to be found. Later I thought of the guy who spit in my face. This is me openly speculating, of course, but put two and two together.
Then I found a rightwing troll out front on broadway conducting misleading interviews. I had met this guy before, and during a debate that started in honest dialogue. The troll conducting the interview asks participants if they want money out of government, then, when the participants respond, the troll interviewer informs them that unions spend more than corporations in elections. The first time I heard this I presented FACTS to the interviewer, which he rejected. I tried to explain to him that unions by definition can NOT spend more money on campaign donations than special interests, and without going into details I hit him with facts until he looked like a fool, and then, when he insisted on inventing facts I gave him a dressing down. Today I saw the same guy and went through the same thing, blazing through his lies until I lost patience because he was wasting my time, so I walked away and gathered a group of protestors to surround him peacefully with a bombardment of questions. If you are going to attack workers I won't stand for it. By the time we tried to find the guy he had taken off. Damned cowards.
I tell you, the trolls are coming. The empire has begun to strike back.
After all this I got overwhelmed, so I walked down a quiet street alone and sat down to think. These are the conclusions I have come to.
From now on, I need personal security at #OccupyWallStreet
Fame is great when people love you, but being attacked has shocked me out of my awe. The guy who spit at me could have been random, or an O'Keefe troll or I don't know what. I love everyone who is involved with #ows for the right reasons, but now I must take concern for my safety. Several kossacks in NYC have agreed to assist me with security, and the official security team at #ows is really professional, so I feel good on that count, but no longer will I walk the crowds alone if I can avoid it. I am not afraid, they can't scare me away from this fight, they can't buy me, they can't own me, but I have to be smarter now and protect myself.
I will no longer be giving interviews to non-verifiable reporters.
Students, fans, respected journalists and photographers will always be allowed time with me. I just don't know how to say no and I really want to hear every personal story because I genuinely care. There but for the grace of God go I. Jesus stuff.
But from now on I will ONLY be giving interviews to trusted news outlets, and I will make the decision on who is trusted and who is not as I see fit. My schedule is too heavy to waste time with trolls, and honestly, even though I know the smears of these slimy rats would never harm my honor in the eyes of the honest people who support me, I do not want to give our corrupt enemies ammunition to use against this honorable reform movement.
Now, on to the good stuff.
I was scheduled to do an hour of livestream for #ows along with three meetings, and I had hoped to write a diary earlier today about getting a shout out and endorsement from The Howard Stern show. I thought that was really cool. My best friend's wife was at work, her boss listens to Stern all the time, and when my name came up she called my buddy who called me. As a NYer, getting Howard's praise was a special moment for me. Dear Howard Stern, if you'd ever like to chat I will gladly make myself available.
HankNYNY had just gotten back from #OccupyDC and got himself tied up in meetings with Ollie Garchey and our good friend Tim, who is a tech genius, so I was on my own. After getting spit on, dealing with RW troll reporters and hounding out O'Keefe, I felt the burden of celebrity for the first time. It is fun when people express love for you and want to shake your hand and take pictures because you can express to them your love for them and share your experiences on a personal level, but when you get hit with wave after wave of people and you have no time to yourself to think or breath it can get overwhelming. After slowly getting through the crowd I got to the media desk where security personal and a barricade of bags and boxes gave me a sense of personal space again, but that wouldn't last because every reporter on earth seems to want my interview all at once, or a picture, or a statement, and I simply don't have the time to take down every single phone number people want to give me. #Occupy like a rock star has its' drawbacks.
On a brighter note, an ex Federal Reserve employee handed a huge stack of $20's to us for our general fund. He approached me and said that he has read my work on Daily Kos for a long time. He told me that if I had any real idea of the totality of the crime going on at the Federal Reserve my head would explode. "However bad you think it is, it is one thousand times worse."
It's not just dirty hippies out here, we have bankers and doctors and professionals with jobs, and they sleep in this park with us because the wealthiest 1% is robbing them too.
Hours had passed and I had still yet to write a single word down. Despite my media appearances, of which I am still kind of stunned by and haven't got entirely used to yet, I see myself as a writer first and a pundit second. Therefore, I will no longer attempt to write diaries while I am at #ows. I will continue writing as always, of course. I just can't sit down and be left alone long enough to compose my thoughts while I am at Liberty Square. If I have to write I will do it off location, that way when I am at #ows I can focus on meeting people and helping our team of activists with whatever they need
As the afternoon led into the early evening I met up with our fellow kossack Tool, who has quickly become one of my best friends. There, we met some kind people who offered help to me as a PR adviser. I honestly get around what seems like 400 emails a day and I can't keep up with my schedule because I have been my own assistant. So between writing, making appearances and doing radio spots, keeping my own schedule, managing incoming messages (it seems like my phone alone could create a job if I had any damned income) and many other tasks I decided I needed some help. For that, Tool has been invaluable. I would rather have a friend with me along this crazy ride, and I couldn't ask for anyone better than Tool.
Tool sat down with our new volunteer PR assistant to discuss my needs, and quickly we realized that those needs required more than we had initially realized. Basically, I need a manager. Lucky for me, Tool and my PR assistant (I'm inventing titles, friend works better) helped me straighten out all my missed messages and my schedule for the next few days. I have given all my passwords to Tool for my email and social media accounts, and he was kind enough to help me delete junk mail and hatemail as well as organizing my email and schedule going forward. I feel as though I can really trust Tool. We have only known each other for a month. Funny how things work out, huh?
At 7pm I went to my meeting with a volunteer media adviser who helped me work on my body language when on camera. I was given a lot of great advice by this volunteer, to whom I am quite grateful. During our conversation 5 blocks down from #ows people stopped me at least 12
After trading contact info with my media adviser I got a message from Markos regarding some radio interviews. Thanks, Markos, and I'm sorry you and our editors here are getting my mail at DailyKos, I will try to fix this ASAP. Oh, and brother Markos, thank you for giving me this place to be heard. It has changed my life and taken over my life, and for the better on both counts.
Soon after I received a message from Jeff Sharlet of Rolling Stone. He was at #ows and wanted to meet. This was AWESOME, as I am a big fan of Jeff's work on C Street, in fact that was the first time I was covered by Fox News. Funny how they will promote me when I attack corrupt Democrats, but not when I criticize their own criminality. Fail and balanced.
Jeff and I walked around the park for a moment with Tool, my PR manager (who shall remain anonymous) and a friend of Jeff's. While walking towards a place where we could sit down a woman yelled to me (this happens quite a lot, actually. I'm still not used to it.) The woman was wearing a union army hat. She made me smile, and we chatted for a bit before I took her contact info and thanked her for coming down to join our peaceful discussion. This moment touched my heart in a very deep way, it reminded me of my despair of the recent past, and gave me a gentle but needed reminder that no matter who you are, we all matter, we are all loved, and we can all change the world.
After a great meal which I sorely needed Jeff decided to hunker down for the night at #ows. Tool decided to stay with him, and I think Jeff lucked out, because Tool is a great guy. Exhausted, around 1 am Tool insisted I take a cab ride home to get some much needed sleep and to rest my voice.
Tomorrow I will be appearing on RussiaToday TV. Afterwards I have several meetings with other #ows activists and my impromptu team of invaluable volunteer advisors who are helping me organize my schedule and taking care of my contacts and other things. I'm very grateful, as all of this was starting to overwhelm me, and though I can kind of handle it, I still get by with a little help from my friends. I will be meeting up with kossack Danger Durden in the evening, and hopefully I will see some of my other Daily Kos friends there as well. I will be doing Crooks&Liars radio with Susie Madrak at 9pm ET. CrooksandLiars.com is one of my must read websites everyday, and Susie is a journalist who I deeply respect, so I am trying to save my voice for her show and my other media appearances. People are talking about having me travel a bit around the country to help lend my voice to other occupied territories. Although I am nearly dead broke, I'd love to do it. If you guys around the country can figure out a way to get me to where you are occupying, I will try my best to do a bit of traveling if my schedule allows it.
If you'd like to help out the protests directly . . .
1. Get this message out there. Get the word out about these protests of Wall Street's greed to everyone you know. Raise awareness, even if it is via word of mouth, every little bit helps.
2. Use the twitter hashtags #OccupyWallStreet and follow us on facebook and twitter accounts related to the ongoing protests. Help put this video on your facebook pageand any other social media that you use. Make it viral.
3. Make a donation to WeAreTheOther99%'s media fund. They need funding to stay active, and without huge corporate interests backing us up like the Teabaggers have, the only way this works is with your small donations.
4. Go to OccupyWallSt.org and make a donation to our General Fund to support the ongoing protests.
5. To send care packages to Liberty Square, go to OccupyWallSt.org for more information. WE NEED WATER.
6. Find out if there will be an #Occupation event in your neighborhood and participate and contribute there if you can't come to NYC.
7. Be a better person to your brothers and sisters around you.
This is Jesse LaGreca, reporting on Day 23 from the frontlines of the class warzone, wishing you good health and prosperity to you and yours, and reminding you that they only call it class war when the working class fights back.
You can follow me on the series of tubes they call Twitter @JesseLaGreca