Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Morning After: Bulldozing Liberty Square

In the middle of the night on November 15th cops finally decided to oust the protesters from Zuccotti park, on the flimsy premise that they needed to clean it, that the park was unavailable for other users, and that the protesters would be welcome back, sans any of the tents, awnings, and other structures that make the physical location of the movement tenable. Nice compromise, NYPD. There's also some schlock out there about the peaceable dispersal of a few hundred people, which is glaring sharply with some protester accounts of sound cannons and teargas. I don't know, I wasn't there. But this guy was...

(this photo was floating around in a very prominent news source's photo essay until today, when it inexplicably went missing. #copwash.)

I was present, the night before, in the public atrium on 6o Wall St, where a buzz of different groups organizing with diverse tactics filled the air.
photo thanks to Jameswagner.com, who has a nice write-up about the space.

I was present in Charlotte's Place for a conversation with Ted, from the Open Source working group, about the future and power of the movement. "I love having this locus, where people can congregate, share ideas, give a face to the movement." At the time I had been thinking how permanent and filled with momentum Zuccotti park was, how it couldn't be washed away nearly as easily as Salt Lake, or Oakland, or other evicted movements. Ted shook his head. "We're to the point where we don't need to be centralized, there's too much going on to stop." He smiled. "In fact, destroying the park would just let us be one step ahead..."

I hope he's right. At the moment it's clear what a resource the park was, a place of free shelter and free food for a diverse group of activists to come together and focus, in their gamut of ways, on problem solving. Tactics as diverse as the energy bikes built by Time's Up...

here being rounded up and presumably trashed (as per the Police's statement that all objects 'left' in the park would be destroyed) by the Police after a huge effort to construct them) to the great art of Rachel Schragis and the Call to Action working group (headline image).

Yesterday this movement seemed full of productive energy, which to the guardians of status-quo and order was untenable. Now we evolve, in an unknown direction, but the work will continue and the people who labored, loved, and were activated behind the barricades and under the tarps won't easily lose the education they gained in Zuccotti park.
(one of many good before/after images from enhanced buzz)

See you November 17th.

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