“It’s going to be important for the morale one way or the other of the movement,” said Todd Gitlin, a social movement historian and Columbia professor who led Students for a Democratic Society in the 1960s and is the author of a new book on Occupy Wall Street. “If you want to convince people who are not inside the circle of the committed that the movement is back then you have to be able to make a case to them. Numbers are the easiest way to do that.”
If righteous indignation is the lifeblood of popular social movements, it doesn’t hurt that bankers have enlisted Pinkerton security consultants — yes, that Pinkerton — to help them prepare for May Day, one top Pinkerton analyst comparing banks bracing for occupation to elk fending off wolves in Yellowstone National Park.
Demonstrations will focus on midtown banks for the morning and early afternoon, when activists will march from a pop-up occupation of Bryant Park to Union Square and hold a 4 p.m. rally. Later, there is a city-approved march from Union Square to Lower Manhattan, where Goldman Sachs’ headquarters could be targeted for protest.
“A success would be relatively good press and relatively decent numbers,” said Gitlin. “If the numbers in New York turn out to be much smaller than the numbers from the big marches in October and November, it will be hard to spin that.”