Depending on your point of view, the Occupy Wall Street movement may be 1968 — or 1970 — all over again. And this week may mark the point where the bank protests go viral — or take a dangerous turn for the movement and those who support them. Such is the struggle by both sides to assign symbols to OWS.
Police attempts this week to clear protesters from encampments in Oakland, Atlanta, and other cities, complete with tear gas and horse-mounted police, brought to mind images from 1960s and ’70s era anti-war clashes. Then, on Tuesday night, Scott Olsen, an Iraq war veteran, was seriously injured after apparently being hit in the head by a police projectile. (The San Francisco Chronicle reports this morning that Olsen has been upgraded to fair condition.) Soon images of the bleeding Olsen flew around the Internet and this Tweet went up from #OccupyWallStreet: #occupyoakland=New Kent State. The comparison with the 1970 shooting of students at that Ohio university by National Guard troops—which left four students dead—seemed to draw mostly derision (“Not even close. No one is dead.”) and caution (“Let’s hope we never EVER get to that again.”).