Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupying OWS

Yesterday morning New York Police cleared out Zuccotti Park. That was followed by a day of legal arguments back and forth, finally ending with the OWS protestors coming back in even larger numbers.

The eviction early Tuesday morning, which ended with the arrests of 140 bleary-eyed protesters who had not heeded the orders to clear out, capped two intense weeks in which Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his aides tried but failed to negotiate with members of Occupy Wall Street. They concluded that the protesters were unwilling to negotiate and unable to address their encampment’s growing problems on their own.

On Tuesday evening, after a judge agreed that officials could ban tents and tarps, several hundred protesters without sleeping gear returned to the park in Lower Manhattan, began to meet and prepared for an uncertain future.

“I think everyone’s still in the processing mode,” said Nate Barchus, 23, a protester from Providence, R.I., who acknowledged feeling rage and disappointment. “This will be a catalyst. This reminds everyone who was occupying exactly why they were occupying.”

The Times article goes on to speculate that the OWS movement faces an “uncertain” future because the Bloomberg administration was taking these steps to put an end to the encampment. I don’t think so. The Occupy movement is bigger and deeper than just a hundred or so people camped out in a New York City park, and as they proved, they came back in larger numbers.

Any large crowd will draw unsavory people, and there were certainly some folks who joined in who didn’t care at all about whether or not Wall Street and the 1% were greedy bastards; they were there for the high and the free pizza. (And, as Charlie Pierce points out, if they had been carrying a semi-automatic weapon, the cops probably would have left them alone. Hey, they didn’t shoot anybody.) But whether it’s New York, Oakland, Miami or wherever, it’s not just the idea of occupying a space; it’s the idea of getting voices heard. No police sweep is going to stop that.