Monday, 5 December 2011

Anger and anarchy on Wall Street from 1920

With dozens and dozens of Occupy movements springing up across the US (see a map of them here), it’s important to remember that this isn’t the first time such anger has flooded Wall Street. Back in 1920, nine years before the official start of the Great Depression, anarchists set off a car bomb that killed 39, the largest domestic terror attack in the US until the Oklahoma City bombing 75 years later. Today’s protestors are non-violent, but the anarchists of 1920 didn’t give a Chance.

Now obviously, I seriously doubt anyone’s going to go that crazy on Wall Street these days, but the financial district of NYC has clearly been pissing people off for nearly a century.

    Descriptions of the event on Wall Street might seem eerily familiar. “It was a crush out of a blue sky—an unexpected, death-dealing bolt,” one witness observed, “which in a twinkling turned into a shambles the busiest corner of America’s financial center and sent scurrying to places of shelter hundreds of wounded, dumb-stricken, white-faced men and women—fleeing from an unknown danger.… Looking down Wall Street later I could see arising from the vicinity of the subtreasury building and the J.P. Morgan and Co. bank, a mushroom-shaped cloud of yellowish, green smoke which mounted to a height of more than 100 feet, the smoke being licked by darting tongues of flame.”

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