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Occupation is not equal to camping

Buried deep within this Reuters story, a gem:

A couple of dozen protesters took refuge at two Manhattan churches that offered them a place to sleep. Hundreds more were put up by New Yorkers who offered their homes, [OWS spokesman Ed] Needham said.

Looks like Abigail Field's suggestion is coming true:

The only way to regain the power of the protest, to eliminate any shred of pretense for police state action, is to sever occupying and camping.

So how do we do that? By enabling the Occupiers to camp with you, and occupy the square in shifts. If sleeping and all the biological needs of the occupiers–can be handled in your space, the Occupiers can stand vigil in our space. Can’t you see it? The afternoon shift giving way to the graveyard shift, sunrise greeting the morning shift as it arrives for its duty. Or maybe there’s just two shifts, day and night. Either way, shift work is very 99%, a tactic that’s on message.

Look, the People are with the Occupiers; the Occupiers are having an impact; we need the Occupation to continue; we need to respond to the police state with jujitsu, with refining the situation so their assaults increasingly miss their mark. If we successfully separate occupation and camping, ALL action against the occupiers will be totally unjustifiable. The police state side loses.

But that can only happen if individual New Yorkers are courageous enough to stand up and invite a stranger into their home; if unions are courageous enough to really provide a platform for the Occupy movement’s fight; if the clergy in their synagogues, churches, mosques and temples spread their teachings by living the example and provide sanctuary.

Huge, if true.* But I'd say individual New Yorkers are being courageous enough. So are the churches. Does anyone know what the unions are doing?

NOTE * Yes, the quote is single-sourced to the OWS spokesman. New York readers, do you know of anybody who's giving an Occupier shelter for the night?

NOTE It's a shame that we've got to mine the press to get the occasional nugget of real news, but that's where we are.

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Submitted by Fran on

I had not read about this. I just thought - well, they can occupy in shifts around the clock. I guess there might be fewer people, but it would help give them endurance.

btw, In Philadelphia, the Mayor has posted notices that the occupiers now need to leave as the start of the construction project in immanent. (not sure I am convinced of this, but it was projected for mid-November) He is giving people time to pack up their stuff. (I did not understand why they did not at least do that in NY.) He wants to meet with the group to discuss alternative locations where they could go, although he is not at present offering any commitment. Apparently the group plans to stay anyway, as I was talking about previously. Tomorrow, our group of supporters, led by the Granny Brigade, will be meeting to decide where they stand on supporting the group if they defy the eviction notice.

I personally don't think it is necessary to camp out. I like the idea of going ahead and holding 24 hour vigils in other locations, if necessary, with shifts coming and going. Disperse and regroup everywhere. There are friends of mine who have been holding vigils against the war every single week since we invaded Iraq.

I do think it is particularly important for OWS to maintain its presence, its profile, because it is the image of Occupy and is significant around the world even.

btw, When my son went up to NY early on, some ladies took him out for dinner when he arrived in the city. Then they wanted to take him home. But, somehow, I don't think they were actually supporters of the Movement. He went to the park and slept on the ground. They were impressed by his commitment, however.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

The occupiers need to occupy spaces but need shelter in bad weather. The point of occupying is to say "This is PUBLIC space." I am not a fan of "vigils". Yes, we have had vigils since Iraq here. A valiant group of boomers standing on a corner. But Vigils are not direct action. Anarchism is about direct action and direct democracy. So the general assemblies are vital to this movement. There should be general assemblies every day to determine the next direct action.

It will be interesting to see if labor does anything. The sanitation workers obviously had great fun dumping the books of OWS. Not a good sign.

Submitted by Fran on

I really meant a presence. I agree there should be direct actions and general assemblies. The park can be, and has been, the starting point for many actions around the city. I think that is excellent - to not just be in one place - but to have a 'base'.

I definitely think they should hold - ie occupy - the space, tents or no tents.

Submitted by MontanaMaven on

It's a word that gets thrown around a lot here and I've said that I just can't do "vigil". So presence is most excellent. We need a presence. Kind of a vigil without the candles and singing and looking like old hippies. They need some cold weather gear and look vigilant.
Kind of like people guarding the watch tower in "Game of Thrones". Or guarding against "the Barbarians at the Gate".