The media today and yesterday is focused on looking at Occupy Wall Street every which way. The orchestrated middle-of-the-night ousting of Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park by Mayor Michael Bloomberg raises so many questions but here’s a few:
In today’s cities, should there be places people can mobilize from 24-7 if needed? Who decides? Perhaps the pure definition of public space and its usage needs to be revised. Our parks have become about rules and control vs. being actual public spaces geared to what people want. There needs to be a balance and currently it’s tipped too much one way, as we see again and again.
Then, there are large overarching questions about Bloomberg’s decision to shut down media coverage of what went down – as it happened. I understand it was not particularly convenient for him if there were images and reporters on site recording his NYPD in action. But does that mean he shuts it down? And is allowed to, with no repercussions? Yet, again he shows his controlling nature while spouting his great love of democracy.
Thankfully, Judson Church, across from the park, stepped in – in the middle of the night – and offered shelter space to those ousted from Zuccotti and again last night. I stopped by yesterday morning and it was very heartening to see the space opened and welcoming to those who needed it.
Some snapshots from the media coverage (more photos from yesterday coming) —
From Daily Kos via Reader Supported News: Media Blackout on Mayor’s Raid on Zuccotti Park” 11/15:
When New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg decided to stage a middle of the night raid on the Occupy Wall Street protesters in Zuccotti Park, there was one thing he didn’t want … media coverage. So Bloomberg said screw the First Amendment:
New York Observer Politics Reporter Hunter Walker:
I was blocked from viewing nypd raid at #occupywallstreet along with reporters from cnbc, nbc, cbs, wsj and reuters #mediablackout
New York Times Reporter Brian Stelter:
I’m w/ a NY Post reporter who says he was roughed up by riot police as Zuccotti was cleared. He thinks violence was “completely deliberate.”
Mother Jones reporter Josh Harkinson:
Cops just violently shoved me away as I tried to shoot this man in a stretcher being loaded into ambulance http://twitpic.com/7efa2v
And from the gothamist:
During our coverage of the eviction of the Occupy Wall Street protesters early this morning, a NPR reporter, a New York Times reporter, and a city councilmember were arrested. Airspace in Lower Manhattan was closed to CBS and NBC news choppers by the NYPD, a New York Post reporter was allegedly put in a “choke hold” by the police, a NBC reporter’s press pass was confiscated and a large group of reporters and protesters were hit with pepper spray. According to the eviction notice, the park was merely “cleaned and restored for its intended use.” If this is the case, why were so few people permitted to view it?
New York Times, Beyond Seizing Parks, New Paths to Influence11/15:
In New York, where the police temporarily evicted Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park early Tuesday, and in other cities, dozens of organizers maintained that the movement had already reshaped the public debate. They said it no longer needed to rely solely on seizing parks, demonstrating in front of the homes of billionaires or performing other acts of street theater.
“We poured a tremendous amount of resources into defending a park that was nearly symbolic,” said Han Shan, an Occupy Wall Street activist in New York. “I think the movement has shown it transcends geography.” …
Dr. [William] Galston [a senior fellow in governance at the Brookings Institution], predicted that though protesters across the country were being pushed out of their encampments, their issues would endure.
“The underlying reality to which the movement has called attention is too big, too pervasive, too important to go away,” he said.
New York Times, Zuccotti Park Largely Unoccupied and Quiet 11/16:
Many protesters, however, did not stay at the park.
At Judson Memorial Church, across the street from Washington Square Park, about 60 protesters were sprawled out on blankets in the church’s lower parish hall, said Lisel Burns, a volunteer there.
“They came in all night,” Ms. Burns said. “Some were so tired they just fell right asleep.”
The Guardian, “Occupy Wall Street: You Can’t Evict an Idea Whose Time Has Come” (Statement) 11/15:
This burgeoning movement is more than a protest, more than an occupation, and more than any tactic. The “us” in this movement is far broader than those who are able to participate in physical occupations. The movement is everyone who sends supplies, everyone who talks to their friends and families about the underlying issues, everyone who takes some form of action to get involved in this civic process. …
Such a movement cannot be evicted. Some politicians may physically remove us from public spaces – our spaces – and, physically, they may succeed. But we are engaged in a battle over ideas. Our idea is that our political structures should serve us, the people – all of us, not just those who have amassed great wealth and power. We believe this idea resonates with so many of us because Congress, beholden to Wall Street, has ignored the powerful stories pouring out from the homes and hearts of our neighbors, stories of unrelenting economic suffering. Our dream for a democracy in which we matter is why so many people have come to identify with Occupy Wall Street and the 99% movement.
More photos from yesterday coming.