Zuccotti Park, the epicenter of the Occupy Wall St. movement, was given notices of eviction on November 15th at one in the morning. Yes, one in the morning.
While the reasoning by NYPD to hand out these orders at such a peculiar hour is not definitively known, there are two distinct possibilities: to catch the OWS camp off guard so as to prevent the chaos that was seen during the Oakland eviction (it must be added that both protesters and police alike acted unsavorily), or because Zucotti Park, the eviction notice read, posed “an increasing health and fire safety hazard to those camped in the park, the city’s first responders, and to the surrounding community.”
Of course, these things are a blemish on a legitimate political movement. They give those who are critical of the OWS movement, myself included, just another reason to call them directionless, smelly, flea-infested vagabonds.
But so what?
None of these protesters were being forced to stay in Zuccotti Park. They were free to come and go as they pleased. The now famous park was neither like the slums of India nor like a 5 star, LEED certified hotel. Risks were very much understood by all.
That’s why so many of them chose to eat at the central kitchen that they knew and trusted, not from some sketchy figure offering Zuccotti Joe’s. That’s why so many of them (except our beloved Defecating Man) did their business in a McDonald’s that has been dubbed their official latrine. That’s why the smokers of the crowd know who to buy their hand rolled cigarettes from.
Was it a perfect system? Of course not. But could their ever be such a thing in an urban park in one of the largest cities in the world? Doubtful.
There is a very cruel irony in all of this. Despite the complete non-threat to New Yorkers, safety, health, and environmental regulations were used to oust the protesters from their Motherland. Perhaps some of the older and more experienced of the Occupiers were among those that helped put “safeguards” into law.
As diverse are the views of Occupy Wall St. are, it’s very clear that regulation is a common theme. Whether it be the banks, the environment, the food supply, education or how businesses hire, everything must be regulated.
Karl Marx famously said, “The last capitalist we shall hang shall be the one who sold us the rope.”
Will the occupiers regulate themselves out of existence? Only time will tell.Published in