Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
As expected, Occupy Philly and LA camps were evicted last night. Occupy Oklahoma and Dayton are facing deadlines. Most likely other sites will do the same. About last night’s actions, media and Occupy reports indicate largely peaceful evictions and arrests. Both LAPD and Occupy LA have talked about fairly good relations, in general. It was still what an NPR affiliate station reporter called the “largest police action” he’d seen in LA., with some 1400 officers making more than 200 arrests. But it mostly occurred without resistance or excessive force. The same reporter said he heard the occasional individual apparently trying to “provoke” police, but when that happened, Occupiers around that individual immediately called for him / her to stop, emphasizing peaceful words and actions.
You can read more, and find links to two sets of photos of the “Raid at #OLA” at Occupy Los Angeles.
In Philadelphia, a reported 40 to 50 arrests were made. Apparently most Occupiers moved, as ordered, to sidewalks. Some chose to stay and be arrested. Things didn’t escalate to the extent we’ve seen elsewhere, but horses were once again used to move into a crowd. There’s a video here in which you can see some of this happening.
As I keep saying, I don’t think the Occupy / 99% movement will end with the evictions because the spaces created for conversations and actions are simply much bigger than the physical encampments. The movement itself is much bigger than, and too different from, the existing political system to be accepted as is.
The general movement isn’t limited to the U.S., of course. From England today are press reports of “two million” people engaged in a “walk out” related to the “austerity” measures taken by the government. The reports say these are people primarily from the public sector. Predictions that passengers at Heathrow would encounter long waits weren’t accurate (as of my last check), because the government sent people from various offices and departments to do the work of those who walked out. Which, one would reasonably assume, means the work those government employees usually do went undone. Among other things, the public sector workers are reacting to proposed cuts in their pensions as an “austerity” measure. It’s another indication of a familiar OWS’ message: “The banks got bailed out, we got sold out.”
The “what happens next with OWS” questions continue. I don’t think anyone knows, as Occupiers continue making decisions in the “horizontal” model of General Assemblies, emphasize peaceful actions, and affirm their position outside the Two Party System. Here are a few examples of some of the actions being taken, including in NYC, where eviction from Zuccotti did not end the movement.
With over 70 acts lined up, Occupy Broadway announces:
On December 2, 2011 New York artists will introduce tourists and New Yorkers going to Broadway shows or shopping themselves into debt to the idea of occupation as CREATIVE resistance with non-stop free performances.
From Occupy Chicago, The Occupied Chicago Tribune is announced, “a four-page broadsheet newspaper with an anticipated first issue print run of 20,000.” When much of media is so entwined with The System which is being challenged, other ways to disseminate accurate information, and different ideas, are devised. This isn’t new. It happened long before Twitter or “the personal computer” or a copy machine existed. But it’s as important now as in every other challenge to The System.
One relevant tweet: “kiplet RT @luketadams: If only Woodward & Bernstein had known that the authorities didn’t want them to report on Watergate…”
I heard or read, in at least four different stories today regarding Occupy LA and Philly, reporters asking some version of: “How can Occupy maintain it self without the camps as a focus?” I hear in that: “How can they expect us to keep paying attention if we don’t have our accustomed visuals? How can they expect to succeed if they don’t do things the way they’re ‘suppose’ to?”
I recently included actions by Move To Amend in examples of possible co-opting efforts. This news, from Occupy Denver, seems to provide an example of efforts to work together, an encouraging thing. From Occupy Denver:
On Monday, November 28, a representative from Move to Amend participated in the General Assembly and proposed Occupy Denver join with other Occupations like Miami, Memphis, and Nashville in endorsing the passage of Move To Amend’s Amendment intended to curb the pernicious effects of corporate personhood.
Perhaps we’ll see more such efforts of working together. Organizations like Move to Amend have important jobs to do, and finding ways to work together is significant. But it seems a bit strange to me when assumptions are made that it’s the job of Occupy to do the work of “inside the System” organizations. Different kinds of work, different roles to play, but with good possibilities of joining forces around particular projects and actions.
As more Occupied sites are shut down, the evolution of ideas and actions continues. This Saturday, for example, “Is there life after eviction?” will be discussed at an “Occupy Portland Town Hall” gathering, at First Unitarian Church.
Occupy Portland’s Vision & Strategy Committee invites you and members of your communities to join us for conversation, food, and networking. We want to provide a friendly setting for dialogue, to explore the varied views people have of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Portland. As more and more camps are being dismantled, many wonder what might be next. We invite campers, supporters, curious bystanders, skeptics … to join us to pause and reflect on what we think OWS and OP have accomplished, and where the movement might be headed.
Our hope is to follow this Town Hall with many more open discussions, to sustain the dialogue that has been started and to help shape of the movement’s future.
We often hear that “democracy is a messy process.” An actual democratic process isn’t neat and tidy. The emergence of a different way of organizing and working is just as messy. You learn as you go, create and revise, make mistakes and make progress. As long as the reasons for the actions remain, actions can evolve. Or, as this tweet puts it:
TCFdotorg Richard Leone: Occupy Politics: Until the causes of its discontent are addressed, the movement has staying power http://t.co/mH5MVPq7#OWS.