That Time an Undercover Cop “infiltrated” Occupy Wall Street

"Activism" = Send in the clowns

Marching past the Metropolitan Museum of Art: June 17, 2012

I don’t write about the failings of “activism” as part of some kind of bitter vendetta. Instead, I present posts like this as cautionary tales. I lived it. It took a while but I learned from it. Now, I implore others to blaze new paths in the name of urgency and survival. We can and must do better.

Al Sharpton, basking in the glow of his deception

It was June 17, 2012, and the scene was a silent march from Harlem to the Upper East Side to “protest” the NYPD policy of stop-and-frisk. Yeah, I know, why would anyone imagine a bunch of people walking quietly through Manhattan (led by one of the all-time fake “activists,” Al Sharpton — see above photo) would do anything to provoke the NYPD to consider changing its policies? Don’t ask me.

As a white male activist, I reflexively attended such mass gestures to virtue signal my sincere “ally-ship” and “intersectionality.”

When I wasn’t at the front of the parade taking photos, I marched with a group of people who still identified as Occupy Wall Street — and one dude who was totally faking it. That dude was undercover cop, Wojciech Braszczok.

As we’d all learn later, he had smoothly “infiltrated” OWS and this news freaked out a bunch of occupiers. I guess some were completely naive as to how law enforcement works while others simply could not accept that such savvy revolutionaries as themselves could’ve ever been tricked by a mere “pig.”

Following the well-worn script

In June 2012, however, Braszczok’s cover hadn’t yet been blown so he joined us dangerous [sic] subversives [sic] in the Stop Stop & Frisk charade. At one point, he noticed I had a small red felt square pinned to my bag. This was a popular form of virtue signaling that summer as the OWS crowd showed solidarity with students in Quebec, but 99% of people (see what I did there?) didn’t really understand why.

Anyway, a red square also became a signatory of the “Strike Debt” movement [sic] ostensibly designed to “end” student debt. So, Officer Braszczok chatted me up to find out when and where the next Strike Debt demo would take place.

If this was a measure of Braszczok’s undercover skills, well, he was even more inept than we were! As I told him at the time, all the treasonous details of the Strike Debt March were readily available on the public Facebook event page. Why didn’t he and his superiors realize how silly it was to waste any resources tracking OWS when we presented as much threat to the system as the local Bernie Sanders fan club?

But that’s the magic of “activism,” isn’t it? We rebels loyally follow the time-worn script and then pat ourselves on the back for being so badass that the “pigs” have no choice but to come after us.

Speaking of “pigs,” that silent march in the summer of 2012 ended when NYPD officers forced us away from then-mayor Michael Bloomberg’s townhouse onto a narrow side street where inevitably, tempers flared and the cops, well… they un-ironically roughed us up, arrested some “occupiers,” and basically stopped and frisked some people of color.

A photo I took shortly before the Silent March started

Let’s recap:

  • Led by one-time FBI informant Al Sharpton, a large crowd of New Yorkers was engaging in a wholly symbolic and utterly ineffectual parade to announce both our disdain for stop-and-frisk and our lack of imagination and vision.
  • On that day, a group of folks loosely affiliated with Occupy Wall Street seized on the opportunity to remind everyone that reports of our demise had been (allegedly) exaggerated.
  • Embedded within this exhibitionist swarm of pseudo-subversives was an undercover cop who perhaps believed that infiltrating OWS was worth his time but hey, it was Sunday and that meant extra pay!
  • Meanwhile, his overtime-collecting colleagues unselfconsciously engaged in the type of unaccountable behavior that was being “protested” in the first place.

Let’s update:

  • One decade later, stop-and-frisk still exists but the NYPD is now way better at disguising it.
  • In case you’re wondering, my red felt square somehow did not stop student debt from escalating. Who knew?
  • The so-called activist [sic] “Left” now wears Covid masks, enforces vaccine mandates, supports cancel culture and censorship, and promotes groupthink.

Imagine if those who are passionate about living in a more sane, equitable, and compassionate society, took steps that actually contributed to that noble goal.

It’s never too late to try something new…

Mickey Z. is the creator of a podcast called Post-Woke. You can subscribe here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on New York City streets. Spread the word. Read other articles by Mickey.