An Ex-Banker and Occupier walk into a Jail, guess which one’s serving Time?

Published on The Guardian, by Chris Arnade, June 15, 2014:

Cecily McMillan is behind bars, unlike any of the architects of the financial crisis. In an exclusive conversation with the Guardian, she explains why her sentence serves a purpose …;

A former banker visits the only member of Occupy Wall Street to receive a prison sentence: it sounds like the set-up of a joke or a parable of the modern age. Instead, it was a real scene last Thursday, when I went to see jailed OWS activist Cecily McMillan at Rikers Island.  

That the opposite would never have happened was not lost on Cecily or me: bankers don’t get sent to jail, and, when they rarely do, they certainly don’t get sent to Rikers … //

… I wanted to catalogue her experiences, too, but visitors aren’t allowed to bring recording devices. I wanted to write down her exact words, but visitors aren’t even allowed paper or pencils. So I came in my capacity as a former banker who has spent the last three years focusing on the injustices I have seen in my work with addiction. I came partially because I wanted to further understand the injustices that I, as a banker, might have helped create.

Cecily has spent most of the last month focused on trying to find a way to use her story to broaden her social activism, and to refocus the attention on her sentence to help people understand that incarceration is commonplace for many communities.

 I had two years to prepare for this, she explained. Most everyone else in here had no time to prepare – but a lifetime of realizing it will happen to them at some point. Jail, and negative confrontations with the police, is for many a reality.


Join the conversation: Cecily McMillan’s jail sentence. This is why street criminals fill the prisons and white collar criminals are rarer prey: Not out of institutional bias, although that certainly exists, but simply the practical fact that it’s a lot more expensive, a lot more complicated, and a lot less emotionally fraught for the public than street crime. – JoJo McJoJo

(full text).

(See also:

  • Cecily McMillan didn’t get off easy, Her case is a threat to the future of protest, on The Guardian, by Allison Kilkenny, May 19, 2014: Three months in jail might seem like a light sentence. But the Occupy movement was suppressed by the heavy hand of police brutality – and a legal system that discouraged and ultimately dissolved dissent;
  • New York settles with Occupy Wall Street demonstrators, on The Guardian, by Jon Swaine in New York, June 10, 2014: City agrees to pay $583,000 to group of Occupy demonstrators who alleged they were wrongfully arrested in January 2012 (Picture: The NYPD pursued a policy of arresting thousands of people who had done nothing wrong, said David Thompson, an attorney for group of marchers).


Gazprom puts Ukraine on gas prepayment plan after chronic failure to pay debt, on Russia Today RT, June 16, 2014;

US Carrier reaches Gulf, on ZNet (first on Informed Comment), by Juan Cole, June 15, 2014;

Iraq crisis: US embassy workers evacuated as Republicans slam Obama, on The Guardian, be Dominic Rushe in New York, June 15, 2014;

Anti-racism work is being undermined by football’s leaders, on Left Foot Forward, by Claudia Tomlinsons, June 15, 2014: The many achievements of the Kick It Out campaign risk being undermined by the game’s leaders;
The Kick It Out Campaign;

Greek Women, on ZNet, by Nikos Raptis, June 14, 2014;

The Problem with Philanthropy, on In These Times, by DAvid Sirota, June 13, 2014: the occasional $120 million check doesn’t offset tech billionaires’ erosion of the public sector;

An open letter to Tony Blair from Iraq, on Socialist Unity, June 13, 2014;

Class Segregation and the Housing Market, on NYTimes eXaminer, June 12, 2014;

Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, on en.wikipedia … abbreviated as ISIS or alternately ISIL, is an unrecognized state and active Jihadist militant group in Iraq and Syria influenced by the Wahhabi movement.[31][32] In its unrecognized self-proclaimed status as an independent state, it claims the territory of Iraq and Syria, with implied future claims intended over more of the Levant — including Lebanon, Israel, Jordan, Cyprus and Southern Turkey.[33] It was established in the early years of the Iraq War and pledged allegiance to al-Qaeda in 2004. The group was composed of and supported by a variety of insurgent groups, including its predecessor organisation, the Mujahideen Shura Council, al-Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), Jaysh al-Fatiheen, Jund al-Sahaba, Katbiyan Ansar Al-Tawhid wal Sunnah, Jeish al-Taiifa al-Mansoura etc, and other clans whose population profess Sunni Islam. Its aim was to establish a caliphate in the Sunni majority regions of Iraq, later expanding this to include Syria.[34] In February 2014, after an eight-month power struggle, al-Qaeda cut all ties with ISIS …;

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