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Occupy Wall Street Without the Occupation

What comes next?

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Protesters outside Zuccotti Park this morning.(Mario Tama/Getty Images)

In what may have been a move coordinated with several other American cities, the New York City Police Department cleared Zuccotti Park late last night at Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s orders. There have been approximately 200 arrests, including of a few journalists, both at Zuccotti and in a space nearby on Canal Street to which many protesters went following the raid. The future status of the park and the occupation is currently in the court system. The police also confiscated the nearly 6,000-volume People’s Library (the one with tomes by Alan Dershowitz, Leo Strauss, and, indeed, Michael Bloomberg); it seems likely a report that a Torah was destroyed is inaccurate, and instead it’s a Tanakh that was.

Not to go all fashionably counterintuitive, but Ezra Klein’s early take is compelling:

The occupation of Zuccotti Park was always going to have a tough time enduring for much longer. As the initial excitement wore off and the cold crept in, only the diehards—and those with no place else to go—were likely to remain. The numbers in Zuccotti Park would thin, and so too would the media coverage. And in the event someone died of hypothermia, or there was some other disaster, that coverage could turn. What once looked like a powerful protest could come to be seen as a dangerous frivolity.

In aggressively clearing them from the park, Bloomberg spared them that fate. Zuccotti Park wasn’t emptied by weather, or the insufficient commitment of protesters. It was cleared by pepper spray and tear gas. It was cleared by police and authority. It was cleared by a billionaire mayor from Wall Street and a request by one of America’s largest commercial real estate developers. It was cleared, in other words, in a way that will temporarily reinvigorate the protesters and give Occupy Wall Street the best possible chance to become whatever it will become next.

Any ideas on what that should be?

Protesters Vow to Retake Empty Park [NYT]
Did Bloomberg Do Ocuppy Wall Street a Favor? [Wonkblog]
Earlier: A Few People’s Library Authors You May Not Expect

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From the New York Times, 1/26/2009:

Mr. Bloomberg, the self-made billionaire founder of the Bloomberg financial information firm, donated $235 million in 2008, making him the leading individual living donor in the United States, according to a list released online on Monday by The Chronicle of Philanthropy.

Mr. Bloomberg’s donations have increased steadily over the last decade, including a doubling of contributions in 2000 to $100 million from $47 million, at a time when he was laying the groundwork for his run for mayor. His fortune was estimated to be $20 billion before the current recession.

“As the economy took a turn from bad to worse, I felt it was the right time — the essential time — for someone like me, someone who’s been so fortunate in my own life, to step up and give back even more,” Mr. Bloomberg said in a statement. “I don’t think of it only as a responsibility, but as a privilege.”

That, in a nutshell, is the problem with Occupy Wall Street, whatever sleazy agitprop Ezra Klein might peddle.

Daniel Winter says:

What is needed is an Urban Homestead Act. For untold generations the landed gentry has been in a position to leverage its wealth, rooted in real property, to fund police, military and, as capitalism has evolved, financial power, in order to make a buck on the natural gentrification cycles of young artists and hipsters. An Urban Homestead Act would allow young (but as yet undiscovered and therefore bereft of capital) artists and hipsters the opportunity to gentrify affordable neighborhoods w/o that social good being converted into profit for speculators. There is plenty of room in now marginal neighborhoods for the retention of populations who have been living there for long periods of time to remain w/o being subject to rising rents. Another, more aggressive option, is for sympathetic property owners and/or buyers to make gifts of deed to non-profit land trusts that are tax exempt. In this time of public budget shortfalls, if the Occupy movement begins speaking seriously about removing significant amounts of currently private property from the tax rolls, municipalities will have no choice but to take notice.

philip mann says:

Some of the protesters are talking about how to survive winter,such as heavy duty tents and such. They`re missing the point, and it seems that just protesting has become an end in itself for them.

After all this time, they still have no solutions to offer,no clear goal other than staying where they are. They have no spokesperson,no serious organisation, none of that hard stuff that would lead to a political movement. They were lucky to be evicted before they sufferred the misery of leaving on their own.

brynababy says:

oh, so right! All of the above.

Take it back to the local neighborhoods. Take it home. Motivate people to stay in touch with their elected officials and let them know they will be held accountable if it’s business as usual. Take the money out of politics, make the corporations pay taxes amnd give the 99% some relief.

I simply prefer the information a lot, I actually do we do hope you could very well weblog a lot more about this.

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Occupy Wall Street Without the Occupation

What comes next?

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