UAW Solidarity House | 8000 East Jefferson Avenue
Detroit, Michigan 48214 | p. (313) 926-5000
© Copyright 2013 UAW. All Rights Reserved.
There has been a great deal of media coverage around New York City Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to clear out Zuccotti Park earlier today. Think Progress, Mother Jones and the original #occupywallstreet Tumblr blog are providing constant updates on the aftermath.
LOCAL OWS PROTESTS
Evictions and Arrests
Overnight, hundreds of police cleared Zuccotti Park of OWS protesters under the orders of New York City Mayor Bloomberg. Police arrested 150 people, according to a New York Times story. Among those arrested was City Councilman Ydanis Rodriquez, a Democrat who represents northern Manhattan. New York City Mayor Bloomberg defended his decision to clear Zuccotti Park by saying “health and safety conditions became intolerable” and said the city had planned to reopen the park on Tuesday morning after the protesters’ tents and tarps had been removed and the stone steps had been cleaned. The park had been due to reopen on Tuesday morning and the protesters were to be allowed to return as long as they followed new park rules that included a ban on sleeping bags, tents and the storage of belongings in the space (Reuters). However, Bloomberg has ordered the park remain closed until a court order is clarified. A Daily Kos story noted that there was a media blackout on the raid.
A New York Times story mentioned weekend crackdowns in Salt Lake City (19 arrested), Denver (17 arrested), St. Louis (27 arrested) and Albany (37 arrested) and an Associated Press story mentioned arrests by city police in Rochester (50 arrests). For the third night in the row, police arrested Occupy Albany protesters, arresting 19 late Monday night (Associated Press). Meanwhile, Occupy Buffalo protesters thanked Buffalo police for their support on Monday and highlighting that police are part of the 99%. CBS affiliate, NBC affiliate, Buffalo News Report).
Responses by Elected Officials
The chief legal adviser to Oakland Mayor Quan resigned after what he called a "tragically unnecessary" police raid of the Occupy Oakland Camp, reported the San Francisco Chronicle. Dan Siegel, a civil rights attorney, said the city should have done more to work with campers before sending in police. Tension between Occupy Philly and city officials escalated Monday, with each side accusing the other of a failure to communicate at a news conference, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Santa Cruz city leaders have been very careful to say they don't plan to dismantle the camp even if a judge rules Wednesday that the Occupy Santa Cruz campsite is a public nuisance, according to the Santa Cruz Sentinel. Leaders also said that the city-issued permit for the campsite that happens to expire Wednesday won't automatically prompt clearing the campsite. Protesters and Chapel Hill officials differed in their views on a police raid on Saturday according to the Durham Herald-Sun. About 70 people had occupied a building and assault rifle-bearing policemen arrested seven who were charged for “breaking in.”
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has become the latest group to be mic-checked by Occupy protesters. On Monday, protesters disrupted the Chamber's event on health care, highlighting that "the one percent in the health care industry" is only interested in profit and decrying the influence the health insurance industry wielded in the debate over the Affordable Care Act (Think Progress, Politico). The group also called for "Medicare for all" or a "single payer health system." C-SPAN caught the interaction on video. Occupy Chicago protesters joined forces with an anti-Iraq-war organization Friday afternoon to honor former soldiers and to advocate for the end to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, reported the Chicago Tribune. Many said they attended because they felt that war veterans also represent the 99%.
Next steps for OWS
In a “tactical briefing” issued on Monday before the OWS camp was raided by police, editors of Adbusters, the Canadian anti-consumerist magazine that prompted the movement, suggested it might be time for protesters to “declare ‘victory’” by throwing a party, festival or some other grand gesture, and then scale back camps before winter sets in, according to the New York Times. The briefing noted the concern that camps might lose morale as the weather gets colder. Kalle Lasn, the founder of Adbusters said in an interview with The Guardian, that he was concerned that “the other side is owning the narrative right now. People are talking about drugs and criminals at OWS.”
Matthew Yglesias of Think Progress wrote that NYC Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to forcibly clear Zuccotti Park was realistically the best possible endgame for the group, given that the other alternative could have been that protests fizzled out as people lost interest. Ezra Klein wrote a similar post for Wonkblog, arguing that Bloomberg’s aggressive clearing of the park has spared protesters the fate of dwindling protests due to weather or flagging morale and can temporarily reinvigorate protesters and give OWS a good chance to figure out whatever it will become next. Klein argues that the success of post-Zucotti OWS will depend on skilled organizers who can keep protesters involved and who can come up with solutions, or at least problems, protesters are willing to fight for.
A New York Times story focuses on a potential trend of OWS groups moving from city public spaces to campuses as city officials across the country move to disband OWS encampments. Currently there are encampments at Harvard and UC Berkeley and a single tent at Duke University.
Conservatives have been responding to the Zuccotti Park eviction by siding with Mayor Bloomberg (conservative blog Hot Air) and issuing sighs of relief that the OWS “nuisance” has been cleared (NY Post via Daily Caller, a conservative blog).