You probably have heard by now: Occupy Wall Street--the big kahuna--the occupation in New York City--got evicted last night. While it doesn't sound like the police brutality there was quite as bad as what has been happening in California, the protesters were still manhandled. I'm actually kinda astonished at how little information has gotten out--all the media sources that I've been looking at (NYT, Common Dreams, my lefty blog roll, Slog out of Seattle) have roughly the same story, with only bits and pieces coming out around the edges. The real story is probably on YouTube, which I haven't checked yet. I'm watching a livestream from Berkeley right now, and there a stream says that NYPD are keeping press away from the occupation there; people are reoccupying as I write. Several early sources said that the OWS library was the most famous and most mourned casualty of the raid, with tales of destroying the 5000 curated books, who absorbed sound waves from Jonathon Letham and other prominent writers who read around them; as well as excited chatter from really good protesting conversation; as well as, well, they are BOOKS, fucking damn it. DON'T DESTROY BOOKS. I mean, really super plus don't destroy people, but next to people...
Other sources now are saying that the collection was not severely injured, and maybe the protesters can pick it up from city storage. Not sure what the truth with that is. In any case, there were at least 200 arrests of peaceful protesters last night, demonstrating again that our rights to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression are illusory at best as far as the law is concerned.
Weird stuff is going on in California. I wish I had been following it closely enough to comment more intelligently, but from what I hear several members of the English faculty and many students at UC Berkeley suffered quite a bit of police brutality. A friend of mine at UCLA reported a large march there resulted in the arrest of several activists who were then jailed, with ridiculous bail.
Losing the permanent Occupy Lawrence camp a few weeks ago was sad, frustrating, but expected. Losing Liberty Park is hard--but also, it seems like we're ready to take the fight to a new level. Now that we recognize that the movement is literally about repossessing public spaces for public good, we have to recognize the bellicose element here. War: strategic land games. I don't want to be at war with the police. I don't want us the people to have to arm our spirits against the state--but we have no choice. (I said arm our **spirits** not our camps. I do not endorse any kind of physical violence that is not in defense of self or one who is defenseless, ever.) We must recognize we have become persona non grata in our own countries, written out of decision making by money and power.
The eviction can be, will be, should be a galvanizing event. Even this anarchist who prays daily for the turning of the world was skeptical about the Occupy movement, with its ill defined objectives, until this morning when NPR woke me up with the news of Liberty Park's eviction, and I recognized how much hope OWS gives me every single day that it is in existence. I may not be camping (I may be too much of a wimp, or too calculating, or both, to get arrested, to engage in much civil disobedience), but my spirit knows that OWS is working for me in a way that the government and the corporations never have.
We are two days away from two months into the revolution. As Flogging Molly says,
So take me down to where the worlds collide
I need to be here 'till I'm satisfied
There'll come a day when all of us will show
We all feel free!
Although we crash it we will burn
Let the revolution
The revolution begin