Occupy Wall Street chief organizer unravels, ponders calling it quits

Josh Peterson Tech Editor
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NEW YORK — During the final moments of what was meant to be a weekend of rejuvenation for the Occupy Wall Street movement, a key organizer looked to call it quits.

Aaron Black is a protester who emerged in recent months to take up the mantle of leadership within a movement that prides itself on being “leaderless.” He expressed his own frustration with Occupy Wall Street in a tone of defeat.

The movement celebrated its first anniversary Monday at Zuccotti Park, right on Wall Street’s doorstep. Black was among hundreds of protesters arrested during the weekend. Without going into details about his time in custody, he said he was not treated well.

When the Daily Caller asked Black what was next for the movement, however, he personalized his answer.

“You mean, what am I going to do next?”

“I hope you don’t take that the wrong way,” he said. “I am the organizing arm of Occupy Wall Street.”

Black was released from police custody just in time to make it back to Zuccotti Park to witness the few remaining protesters fizzling out. It was an anti-climactic end to a highly energetic weekend.

He had time to greet friends and walk around, but on the edge of the park, Black told TheDC he was frustrated.

“I’m tired of this,” he said, as the clock neared midnight.

“I’m tired of them,” he said, pointing to the remaining contingent of Occupiers in the park.

“I’m tired of them,” he said, pointing to the NYPD.

“I’m tired of this whole fucking thing.”

Black said he remains open to organizing a protest around the presidential debates, but he didn’t sound convinced of himself. He also said he might start his own “org” — a nonprofit organization.

He helped organize an Occupy protest in July outside conservative philanthropist David Koch’s home, during a fundraiser for then-Republican presidential nominee hopeful Mitt Romney. He also helped organize the bus ride from New York City to Tampa for the Republican National Convention at the end of August.

While in Tampa, and then in Charlotte for the Democrats’ convention, Black openly expressed his support for Barack Obama, even insisting that occupiers did not really want to protest against the president.

But despite his efforts, his sweat and his enthusiasm, Black’s personal and political views have alienated him from many within the movement. Discord ran through the Occupy encampment in Charlotte as other protesters expressed their frustration with Black’s attempts to speak for the movement.

To anarchist insiders who hate both political parties, he represents the Democratic Party’s co-opting of Occupy Wall Street.

In New York last weekend, that sentiment did not waver.

Grae Stafford and Zach Gorelick contributed reporting.

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