Conn Carroll wonders whether this means the end of OWS. Unlikely. Having now experienced the hivemind awesomeness of the “human microphone,” the media’s not about to let the left’s Leaders of Tomorrow quit.
Protesters with the Occupy Wall Street movement threatened on Thursday to block any efforts by clean-up crews to enter their camp to clear away three-weeks worth of debris, raising concern about a potential showdown between demonstrators and police…
Owners of the park notified protesters that once each section was reopened after about four hours for clean up, rules would be enforced against camping and/or the erection of tents and other structures, lying down on the ground or benches, placing tarps or sleeping bags on the ground, storage of personal property.
Occupy Wall Street pledged to resist any effort by cleaning crews or police to enter the park, asking protesters to create a human chain around the area to “peacefully/non-violently stand our ground,” according to a post on its Facebook page.
It’s not just a clean-up, in other words. The landlord’s telling them they can’t stay overnight anymore. Said one OWSer, very much off-message, “I’m worried there is going to be a riot.” Said another, “There’s a lot of stuff we wouldn’t have to clean up if the city provided basic human rights, like a Port-A-Potty.” Good point. Think how much cleaner the park would be right now if the city had provided the basic human right of building a hotel for them on the site where they could stay free of charge.
Their new strategy is to clean the commune themselves this afternoon to deny the NYPD any reason tomorrow to push them out and for MoveOn to push a petition calling on Bloomberg to back down. That’s not going to work, though, and they know it, so here’s an excerpt from what’s circulating among protesters tonight:
Tell Bloomberg: Don’t Foreclose the Occupation.
Join us at 6AM FRIDAY for non-violent eviction defense…
PLEASE TAKE ACTION:
1) Call 311 and tell Bloomberg to support our right to assemble and to
not interfere with #OWS. If you are calling from outside NY use this
2) Come to #OWS on FRIDAY AT 6AM to defend the occupation from eviction.
I’m sure the resistance will be peaceful, notwithstanding the hair-raising threats that have crept into the rhetoric of some OWS sympathizers online. (“There are images circulating of senior executives being decapitated, images of blood. Artists are releasing images of banks on fire.”) After two and a half years of liberal pants-wetting about the tea party, the universe simply couldn’t withstand the cosmic irony of their first big grassroots gathering devolving into mob violence. If it happens, the sun might blink out from the force of the hypocrisy.
Anyway, three different reactions to watch tomorrow. First: The protesters’. Part of their problem is that they are, in fact, squatting on private property, and not even the mainstream left wants to set a new rule in which it’s okay for people to do that. (If they do, it’ll be used against them later, rest assured.) They’d be on firmer ground legally if they decamped to a public park. Which, maybe, is what they’ll do. Second: The NYPD’s. If they get heavy-handed with the protesters, it’ll generate sympathy for them and embolden the movement, which means the problem will get worse, not better. If they use a light touch, I think New Yorkers will side with them. The force is generally well respected here, especially after 9/11, and plenty of locals downtown seem to be fed up with having Woodstock suddenly spring up two blocks from Ground Zero. And the disruptions are only going to get worse. Apparently, the protesters are planning to throw their own little party in Times Square at 5 p.m. on Saturday and then to “occupy the subway” later at 6:30. Take it from me — New Yorkers may lean left, but they hate being inconvenienced. The more inconvenienced they are, the more they’ll support the city going forward. Third: The Democrats’. If this does turn into a cops vs. protesters clusterfark, the 1968 flashbacks will be so vivid that Obama will need bed rest. According to a new poll from National Journal, Democratic insiders are already almost evenly split on whether the party should ally itself with the movement. If the optics tomorrow are bad, that split won’t be even for long.
Via Ace and Verum Serum, here’s Chris Matthews from last Friday talking about “radical solutions” to economic problems and citing the Revolutionary War as inspiration. In an alternate reality, delivering a message like that in the context of growing protests would qualify as irresponsible, but luckily Matthews is a liberal so everything’s cool.