New Orleans It’s time to take another look at the state of the Occupy movement in the USA. It’s not easy. It’s an eyesore and a headache.
From city to city where Occupy still holds some ground (speaking in a spatial, rather than a political sense) they continue to be rooted out like the last vestiges of the Al Qaeda when they were presumed to be in unforgiving caves in the mountains. The new paramilitary urban police forces that from any camera angle seem to have been displaced without camouflage from Baghdad alleys to city streets were pulled out time after time to forcibly evict, bully, and intimidate the pockets who were left in Occupy camporees around the country.
Oakland and New York City may have gotten the big headlines, but the current status of Occupy Miami is perhaps as good an example as one can find that is struggling to survive though pushed dangerously under the radar. Cold and snow couldn’t do the job in Miami obviously, so they’ve had to call the troops in on wild joint actions between local police, FBI, and god knows what from the looks of it. The big Miami newspapers and TV from what I can tell, and what I’ve hear from friends, have been mum on all of this, but over the last week the repression has been intense, dramatic, and, need I say, unprovoked. The most gripping videos were taken at the scene of “Fort Peace,” where there was a tactical assault on the space that some Occupy Miami folks had been given in the Overton neighborhood. Some were arrested though listening to the YouTube video it seems clear they were clueless. The cops took them to a unit that deals with drugs and terrorism. It’s all harrowing, but judge for yourself:
At one level this is the same downward slide experienced by the Black Panthers and other groups that became marginalized when movement forces allowed a tactic to devour a strategy and then had the trap clamped down on them. Will we see more attempted encampments seek to revive the tactic as spring spreads?
I think perhaps not so much.
In the ways of our times Occupy may have ceased to be a movement and instead become a brand that resembles the movement though may have been expropriated, sometimes for good reasons.
We now have Occupy Banks which seems a coalition that is only tangentially related to the original Occupy forces but has given purpose and some traction from place to place by community, labor, and other forces long fighting in the vineyards against the foreclosure victimizing millions around America. There were coordinated actions on Bank of America where there was an “occupy” action to great effect in rally the forces of good.
Occupy might not be a bad brand. Unfortunately, we still need a movement to go with the sentiment. That’s a bigger spring cleaning project than many may want to tackle.