I'm getting the biggest kick out of the fact that those who've benefited from economic exploitation finally know what it's like to be on the receiving end in a class war:
As the Occupy Wall Street movement has gained steam, the city's well-heeled have become the target of protests aimed at embarrassing them in their neighborhoods or places of business. Drawing on tactics honed by labor unions, the protesters have visited restaurants, theaters and luxury apartment buildings to deliver pointed messages to some of the city's most notable power brokers.
Protesters have infiltrated an eatery run by Danny Meyer, who sits on the board of Sotheby's, the art auction house that has locked out workers for almost three months; and showed up at the home of Jamie Dimon, the CEO of JP Morgan Chase, which has been targeted for its mortgage practices.
“People who sit in board rooms and only deal with people of a certain social strata don't necessarily feel or see the impact of their decisions,” said Jason Ide, president of Teamsters Local 814, which represents Sotheby's workers. “We want to make sure they get the message very clearly, that people are suffering because of what they're doing.”
Last week, protesters visited the homes of Mr. Dimon, billionaire businessman David Koch, financier Howard Milstein, News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch and hedge fund maven John Paulson as part of a so-called Millionaires March to call for an extension of the state income-tax surcharge on high earners, which is set to expire at the end of the year.
On Saturday, the Alliance for a Greater New York and Occupy Wall Street teamed up to launch occupytheboardroom.org, a website that lists the names of 200 top executives and board members from Bank of America Corp., Citigroup, Goldman Sachs Group, JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley and Wells Fargo. “Just got evicted while your banker gets bonuses?” the site asks. “Share your special story with someone who ought to know.”
Occupy the Boardroom encourages users to click on the bankers' names and send them personal letters, which are collated on the site. By Tuesday afternoon, the project had already been tweeted nearly 3,000 times and shared on more than 8,000 Facebook pages. More than 88,000 page views from 161 countries had been tallied, and more than 5,000 letters had been submitted.
Even Gawker has gotten into the act in recent days, posting the cell phone numbers of Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein and Citigroup CEO Vikrim Pandit and urging readers to share tales of economic woe.
The protesters have drawn some criticism for singling out individuals and for interrupting New Yorkers' meals and theater experiences.
“I don't know what they gain by personal attacks against wealthy individuals,” said George Arzt, a veteran political consultant. “I think their anger has to be put into some positive policy changes rather than into ad hominem attacks at bankers and other wealthy individuals.”