OWS protesters at Zuccotti complain about those ‘occupying’ their park
posted at 6:01 pm on October 31, 2011 by Howard Portnoy
A recent article in this space exposing an ungracious scheme by Zuccotti Parkers to “starve out” an unwanted element that had invaded their space prompted an indignant email. “You should try reporting honest reporting,” the writer memorably admonished. As evidence of my dishonesty, she provided a link to an AtlanticWire article citing denials by protesters that they had attempted to dissuade moochers by switching from nightly feasts of spaghetti Bolognese and heirloom potatoes to a more spartan gruel-centric diet.
The article quoted food committee member Megan Hayes:
No, no, no, we just need a chance to get organized…. Because we hit the ground running, we became a full-on restaurant in the park in under a month without having a chance to have any organization, any clear guidelines for volunteers. We need a chance to catch our breath, to say all right, winter’s coming, we’re not going anywhere, how can we maximize our output and get as many people as possible fed?
Another organizer Chris O’Donnell, was even more vehement in his denials that the occupiers are trying to force the bums out:
I can definitely tell you that none of us are concerned about ‘freeloaders.’ All of us have concerns about general camp security, but it wouldn’t be fair to say this is an attempt to get freeloaders or homeless people or anybody like that out of the park.
But another story that appeared Sunday in the New York Daily News suggests at the very least that Hayes and O’Donnell don’t speak for everyone at the park. Writer Harry Siegel reports:
The ‘model’ civilization that’s sprung up at Zuccotti is itself increasingly divided between the stakeholders in the nascent movement … and hangers-on, including a fast-growing contingent of lawbreakers and lowlifes, many of whom seem to have come to Zuccotti in the last week with the cynical encouragement of the NYPD.
But where the story gets interesting is about halfway down, where Siegel acknowledges that the protesters have asked New York City’s finest to “intervene with troublemakers inside the park.” [Emphasis added] Two paragraphs earlier, the Daily News reporter writes:
Even when organizers have requested their intervention, police enter to a mixed chorus of ‘brutality’ and ‘pig’ calls side by side with chanted reminders that ‘you are the 99%.’
Siegel also admits to being incredulous at the conventional police response to demands that they should evict the bums:
‘He’s got a right to express himself, you’ve got a right to express yourself,’ I heard three cops repeat in recent days, using nearly identical language, when asked to intervene….
For good measure, Siegel quotes one of the occupiers as quipping upon hearing this pat response from the pigs—I mean, police— “The first time I’ve heard cops mention our First Amendment rights.”
If the irony hasn’t sunk in, consider this observation by James Taranto:
The Obamavillians [protesters]—who, keep in mind, describe themselves as ‘occupying’ a publicly accessible plot of private land—are complaining that the cops aren’t tough enough with those they don’t want around.
So to summarize: The protesters consider the police enemies and hurl insults (and sometimes worse) at the men in blue. Yet, they demand that the cops take action to expel the unwanted element, who have precisely the same rights to the space as do the protesters themselves. If that scenario isn’t a microcosm of the Obama presidency, nothing is.
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