Maybe it was the petitions to stay the eviction bouncing around the internet (Moveon.org had one) and gathering tens of thousands of signatures in short order. Maybe it was the Occupiers’ new Good Neighbor program–accompanied by vigorous cleaning efforts. Maybe it was the strong support from the AFL-CIO, which included encouraging thousands of union members to join the Occupiers to make eviction more difficult and costly. Maybe the management at Brookfield suddenly realized that this current use for Zuccotti Park was an even better contribution to the quality of life in New York City than an open urban space.
Maybe Mayor Michael Bloomberg assessed the costs, financial and otherwise, of a contested mass eviction, accompanied by hundreds (at least) of arrests, and thought about alternative ways of dealing with the Occupation. Whatever else he is, Mayor Bloomberg is a smart and pragmatic politician. If the Tahrir Square analogy commonly thrown around is mostly inappropriate, he certainly didn’t want to make Tiananmen Square an analogy that fit better.
In any case, this morning Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that the cleaning would be postponed and that police would not be removing Occupiers–unless they broke the law. Delighted, the Occupiers claimed a victory.
You can see the delight–and relief in the video above.
But the postponement is a small tactical victory. The point can’t just be to maintain a semi-permanent outdoor campground in New York’s financial district. To the extent public consideration of the Occupy effort focuses on tents, trash, and toilets, certainly understandable at the moment, the campaign is missing the moment.
Occupy Wall Street has opened a much broader consideration of economic and political inequality in the United States, and the campaign succeeds only as much as it feeds this emerging debate.