Pushing out Occupy Wall Street

Political and practical opponents to the Zuccotti Park Occupation are now visible on the horizon.

The political opponents probably help.  National Tea Party organizations have begun to use Occupy as an occasion for fundraising (as Robin Pravender and Kenneth P. Vogel report in Politico).  Sal Russo, of Tea Party Express, the most effective electoral arm of the Tea Party, has dismissed comparisons with the Occupiers, calling them “laughable.”  FreedomWorks’ Brad Steinhauser has focused on the Occupiers’ tactics, comparing them to Malcolm X and Stokely Carmichael, while reserving Martin Luther King as a better comparison for the Tea Party.  (This is OBVIOUSLY so ridiculous on so many levels that I will leave it to you.  My first comparisons are here.)

Although Occupy may help these groups raise money, this effort will encourage a broader public to polarize–and the Tea Party just isn’t that popular with most Americans.  There will also be a battle about defining just which movement represents real America. You’re known by your enemies as much as by your friends.   (This “real America” label is also silly.  The retired pharmacist who’s never engaged in politics; the young woman with a fresh college degree and student debt unable to find more than minimum wage work; the thin and bearded anarchist rambling on about democracy; the armed woman railing on about illegal immigration—they’re all American.  The lists–it’s just like Walt Whitman said.)

The practical threat is more dangerous.  Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that Zuccotti Park needs to be cleaned, and that activists have to clear out by Friday morning.  The demonstrators can return, he’s said, but not with tents and sleeping bags.  (Yes, Mayor Bloomberg said a few days ago that the protesters could stay indefinitely.)

Conservative media hype the mess

Releasing a letter from Brookfield Office Properties, which owns Zuccotti Park, the Mayor says that this maintenance is necessary to preserve the park.  The Occupiers view their removal and the cleaning as an effort to get them out, and thus, a threat to their survival.

Three thousand miles away, I’m prepared to believe that they’re both right.

Occupy Wall Street has responded on two fronts.  First, the group has announced a resistance campaign that will include non-cooperation with the police, as well as letter-writing, phone calls, and public engagement.  Second, the Occupiers have announced their new Good Neighbor Policy:

OWS has zero tolerance for drugs or alcohol anywhere in Liberty Plaza;

Zero tolerance for violence or verbal abuse towards anyone;

Zero tolerance for abuse of personal or public property.

OWS will limit drumming on the site to 2 hours per day, between the hours of 11am and 5pm only.

OWS encourages all participants to respect health and sanitary regulations, and will direct all participants to respectfully utilize appropriate off-site sanitary facilities.

OWS will display signage and have community relations and security monitors in Liberty Plaza, in order to ensure awareness of and respect for our guidelines and Good Neighbor Policy….

Note: In conjunction with local community members and their representatives, OWS is also working to establish off-site sanitary facilities such as port-a-potties.

The Good Neighbor Policy is unlikely to satisfy Brookfield or many of the local merchants.  More significantly, the New York Police Department is certainly capable of evicting hundreds, even thousands, of non-violent protesters and blocking off the park–even if it means mass arrests.  This will be a story for a few days, but if Occupy Wall Street becomes focused only on Zuccotti Park, the emergent movement loses.

The Occupiers need to find a way to maintain their efforts absent the first Occupation.

About David S. Meyer

Author and professor of Sociology and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Pushing out Occupy Wall Street

  1. gringoguapo says:

    Discussing issues with liberals is like chasing a squirrel with a tennis racket. Your knowledge of econ and human nature is found wanting. For the former I suggest reading “Basic Economics” by Thomas Sowell (contains no graphs). For the latter, I think it is too late. Again, all money diverted to social security comes from the employer. Some bookkeeper can artificially divide it into 6% and 6% but it all comes from the employer and is a cost to him, her or it of doing business and hiring you. I heard a Wall Street “protestor” being interviewed who wanted someone to throw him a bone and pay his student loan. When asked why someone should pay for his student loan why not his car loan, he replied, because that’s what I want. If the US continues down this left wing path of no personal responsibility and half of citizens paying NO fed income taxes and voting thusly, we will become a giant Greece spot on the world map.

  2. Kim says:

    Yep. They need an exit-the-park strategy. They can’t stay there forever. Too cold anyway.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.