Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Poking a beehive with a stick
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wearing helmets and wielding batons, New York police evicted Occupy Wall Street protesters from a park early on Tuesday, two months after they set up camp and sparked a national movement against economic inequality.
Hundreds of police dismantled the sea of tents, tarps, outdoor furniture, mattresses and protests signs at Zuccotti Park, arresting 147 people, including about a dozen who had chained themselves to each other and to trees.
It was just matter of time until Mayor Mike joined the Hall of Shame. Along with the mayors of other cities who conspired via conference call to coordinate their evictions & crackdowns.
George Lakoff discusses "framing." in relation to Occupy Wall Street. Framing is a very useful word in its newer meaning, over-used but fills a purpose.
Media was "framing" OWS Zuccotti Park as an urban encampment settling in for winter permanence. The questions were changing from "What are you protesting?" to "Where do you pee?" This change in focus wasn't some media conspiracy; for a street reporter the details of life there were where the daily stories about OWS were to be found. "Where do you pee?" was a real issue. But it also played into hands of NYC Mayor & faux limousine liberal Bloomberg & his Wall Street pals & allies. Bloomberg watched how Occupy evictions played out in other cities, apparently became convinced downtown Manhattan wasn't Oakland or Berkeley (it isn't), & finally did what everyone knew he would do eventually. His timing was off. Bloomberg probably should have done it last week under cover of the Penn State scandal.
I hope Bloomberg poked a beehive with a stick.
If the "agenda" of OWS devolves to asserting a right to a permanent squatter camp, then it has become too small & provincial. Yes, it's the source of the "Occupy" in Occupy Wall Street. As a center of resistance, Zuccotti Park served a purpose. But its PR value has been declining for weeks, & the public wasn't much interested in how it governed & policed itself. I think Americans were beginning to imagine what an annoyance the place was to the 99% simply trying to go about their business in the vicinity. OWS has to be careful not to turn itself into into its own 1%.
The agenda of OWS is to point to the truth of the agendas of the 1% at the top.
The Occupy movement successfully appropriated the word Occupy, & that counts for something. You can take that word anywhere now, into any form of protest against corporate exploitation & unjust entitlement, just as Solidarity gained new, positive, universal meaning as it spread out of Poland in the '80s. & there will be more Occupy camps. Occupy isn't going away. .