Zuccotti Park Cleared (Updated)

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liberalism and progressivism

In the dead of night the NYPD came, evicting everyone in Zuccotti Park and destroying what infrastructure had been cobbled together there.

Juan Cole has written an eloquent argument about First Amendment rights; worth reading.

The obvious question — what’s next? This development could be an opportunity, not a defeat, for OWS. It was probably about time to move on to a new phase, anyway. Earlier this week the founder of Adbusters — the magazine/organization that originally called for the occupation — had suggested it might be time to declare victory and scale back the occupations.

The founder of Adbusters, Kalle Lasn, raised the idea that it might be time for a tactical retreat earlier this month, telling CBC Radio, ”Now that winter is approaching, I can see this first wild, messy, crazy occupation phase kind of slowly winding down.”

Last week, Mr. Lasn added, in an interview with The Guardian, that he was concerned that “The other side is owning the narrative right now. People are talking about drugs and criminals at OWS.” To change that, Mr. Lasn said, it might be time for “a grand gesture.”

Lasn’s idea was a weekend of big global demonstrations followed by cleanup and evacuation of the encampments. I’m thinking that frequent, smart, coordinated, and nonviolent “guerrilla” demonstrations — something like raves — could serve to keep OWS alive.

Prairie Weather has a good roundup of news and comments. See also comments by the Talking Dog and Steve M.

Update: See the Maddow Blog for photographs and links to videos.

Update: Mayor Bloomberg is served with a temporary restraining order requiring the park to be re-opened to protesters. I understand there is to be a hearing. Whether BLoomberg is abiding by the order, I do not know.

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Nov 15, 2011 @11:50 am

    OWS has been very, very effective, in my opinion.
    And I would have liked them to show real tenacity by staying out there the whole winter – but that’s easy for me to say, since it isn’t my fat butt that would have been out there freezing.
    Maybe 10 years ago, but not now. I’ve been wanting to go for a long time to join them, but I’m short of money, and besides, my handicap wouldn’t let me walk longer than a few blocks, let alone let me stand for a long time.

    I do like the ‘raves’ idea.
    But the problem is that those may be harder to control, and keep thugs from turning them into ‘rave’ing gangs, hell-bent on violence and destruction. Ratf*ckers will have an easier time in small groups than in a large one.

    And the real problem is, that when you keep trying to take away the the people’s voice, you remind them that they still have fists. So, no ratf*ckers may even be needed – just a lot of angry youth, sans leadership.

    Oh, and perhaps the most egregious action taken by our .00001% Lord Mayor, is the media blackout he imposed last night while forcibly evacuation the park.
    Ah, yes, a media blackout!
    How very smart, Lord Mayor.
    Because if no one sees, hears, or reads, about the protesters being arrested on TV, the radio, the newspapers, or on the internet, everyone will forget that there were any protests at all!

    Person 1 on their way to work: “Say, what happened to those kids and their tent’s that were protesting there yesterday?”

    Person 2: “What kids? What tents? Someone was protesting something?”

    Person 1: “Yeah, you’re right. Must have been some movie I was thinking about…”

    Hint: The more you try to suppress our lazy and stupid MSM, the more you actually wake the worthless bastards up a little bit.
    So, keep it up, Mr. Mayor. Keep on keepin’ on…

  2. Stella  •  Nov 15, 2011 @12:06 pm

    I’m confused by the statements that “they kept the press away.” Would that be the official corporate press? They’ve moved on to more titillation, since the violence was minimized.

    Aren’t we a brave new society where everybody can report with their phones and blogs? It’s time to recognize “the press” as part of the problem. Let them report honestly and try to win back their dignity. But there’s no money in that, so why bother?

  3. Stephen Stralka  •  Nov 15, 2011 @1:20 pm

    In terms of occupying our fiefdoms in the Middle East, the general notion is that the next step is reconstruction. Not that we’ve been any good at that over there, but Occupy America has the potential to be extremely effective over here.

    I’ve been thinking, for instance, of the different meanings of the word occupy. Occupy Wall Street, of course, is a military metaphor, but of course an occupation is also a synonym for a job. And we’ve got a jobs crisis.

    And around where I live, and most likely around where you live too, there is a lot of commercial real estate that is unoccupied.

    And of course there is plenty of work to do–little things like, you know, transforming the entire energy basis of our economy. Over the past couple of years I’ve been thinking about this absurd situation where we’ve got all of these people who need work, and all of this work that we need to do, and we can’t figure out how to put 2 and 2 together. Maybe Occupy America can change that.

    (Well, more precisely, and to be fair, we know damn well how to put 2 and 2 together. The problem there is that we’ve got the Republicans perpetually insisting that 2 + 2 =5.)

  4. jpe  •  Nov 15, 2011 @2:43 pm

    I doubt Cole is correct as a descriptive matter. Maybe the first amendment ought to compel the press to be present during a potentially dangerous police action, but under current law I’d be quite surprised if it did.

  5. Felicity  •  Nov 15, 2011 @4:08 pm

    Good news this morning from my UC Berkeley granddaughter. The University has scheduled for today a noon teach-in, a 5 PM rally at Sproul and a speech by Robert Reich at 8 tonight – in support of OWS. What’s important here is that the University is organizing the events. Until institutions and other established groups take up the banner, OWS protests will continue, a fear expressed by maha, to be a series of disjointed and largely unsupported by people with clout events.

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