A nonviolent protest against police brutality in New York City played out like a script from the satirical Colbert Report on Saturday as at least 14 marchers were arrested and many more were manhandled, including a 16-year-old girl whose shirt was torn off.
"Another day, another few notches out of the right to assembly in Bloombergistan," of the March 24 arrests. "A march against police violence was broken up by – guess what – police violence."
Messiah Hamid's arrest stunned veteran members of the Occupy Wall Street movement, who shouted at police "that is a 16-year-old girl" and "that's a kid" as she was carried away, hands tied behind her and shirt torn open to expose the red bra underneath.
One video of the incident suggests Messiah was targeted by officers after she exchanged words with the driver of a police scooter heading the wrong way through marchers on a congested one-way street. The 16-year-old and several other young women subsequently became entangled and fell to the pavement, according to a bystander.
The 99% sent a message to India's self-appointed business and political aristocracy as they demanded a minimum wage, permanent jobs for 50 million contract workers with virtually no job security, regulation of runaway living costs, and a halt to the sale of stakes in profitable public companies to the 1%. Commerce ground to a halt in entire regions of the world's second-most populous nation as organized labor funneled populist anger into a show of support for true democracy.
"This is a historic occasion," Gurudas Dasgupta, general secretary of the All India Trade Union Congress, told reporters. "We are fighting for our rights against a government that is anti-people."
Boxing trainers use the phrase when they want a pugilist to stop being cautious and pound away at an antagonist with unbridled fury. The effect in the business world has been to turn the clock back on customer relations to a time when more businesses had a moral compass and worried about how they were viewed by those who purchase their products and services.
Consumers have used their wallets to rout both Netflix and Bank of America (BofA) in the past month in a collective show of force that suggests a new activism has replaced their former apathy, which long allowed business leaders to treat them with disdain. The result may be a sea change in the way business has been conducted in America the past 30 years.
Instead of purchasing political and media influence to facilitate the exploitation of their own customers, particularly in industries like banking and cable TV, corporations now must rediscover how to treat them fairly again.