I wrote this at the bottom of a question I was answering earlier, but it hasn’t gotten any responses, so I’ll give it its own post because I am legitimately curious:
Can someone explain why the camping is seen as necessary? Why would it be a problem for people to just be there all day, every day, but not set up housekeeping? I get that it’s probably partly a money thing, but surely there’s a strong enough network in place at this point that those who actually live in NYC/whatever city could offer their couches/floors/guest rooms (ha! — guest rooms in NYC apartments) for out-of-towners to crash. It seems to me this would actually make more sense because it would eliminate much of the bad blood with local businesses.
So can someone more intimately involved in the movement than I weigh in by replying to this post or messaging me? I’m not asking to make an argument for or against camping for protests, I just want to know the reasoning behind it.
I actually remember when the protests were originally being discussed in some chats during the summer, so I think I have a bit of a better idea than a lot of protesters, actually.
This was one of the points brought up; why sleep? A few people thought it was ridiculous. Still, the original intentions of OWS were, in fact, to capture the attention of people who actually worked on Wall Street and stay there as long as possible to get people talking.
The original people with the idea, most likely peaceful Anarchists (which seems like an oxymoron but it really isn’t), felt that this would be the most effective way to get the point across. Obviously, there are very few alternatives other than Anonymous’s regular DDoSing methods. They obviously did their research, because it is, in fact, legal to sleep on public property as a form of protest. And, well, it’s working to get attention, no? Isn’t that a protest needs to do?
Right now, they’re in Zuccotti Park because they closed down Wall Street itself in anticipation of the protesters, as some press releases from the NYPD long before the protests revealed. However, had they opened Wall Street, it would probably be a much different protest than you see now. I took a visit there one morning, and they do their best to keep clean. They have trash bins everywhere, they have some cleaning supplies laying around, and everyone keeps within their tents for the most part.
In terms of “dealing with bad blood,” it’s not like every business has issues. Some have learned to cope, others have helped, and yet others are whining. I’m sure that local eateries are swimming in money from the tourists’ money, with OWS on top of the 9/11 memorial down the street. There are some business complaining about the drums/music, but other issues can be solved by adding an extra 30 seconds of walking time and going around the park itself.
Plus, there still isn’t much trust in our country, much less NYC, in terms of housing strangers, and even if people were willing to give housing, there wouldn’t be enough people to house all the protesters. At any given time, perhaps 50-200 people occupy the area, and the people there are always changing. I know personally that I wouldn’t want someone from [insert faraway state here] sleeping in my room for an undetermined amount of time.
Symbolically, the Occupy movement’s camping tactic means different things to different people. Personally, I see it as a symbol that corruption affects us 24/7, and sleeping where it apparently stems from would be an “ironic” move, but it can be interpreted in any way you wish.
Hope I answered your question.
“You probably heard they had a midnight raid and the cops went down and cleaned out Zuccotti park… so if you’re keeping score, here it is: Protesters arrested, 70; Wall Street executives arrested: 0. The mayor said the reason protesters were thrown out of Zuccotti was because the conditions were hazardous, dangerous, and unsanitary and I’m saying, if that’s a reason to throw people out of the park, we’d ALL have to leave New York City.”
Reblogging for the quote.