Occupy protesters played drums, cymbals and trombones, held group meetings and waved signs with a variety of messages — “Disobedience is civil” and “Sorry to inconvenience your apathy” — as they marked the movement’s third-month anniversary with a major direct action that could give them a new home as authorities continue to shutter camps nationwide.
A few hundred protesters — flanked by police officers — coalesced on a nearly half-acre plot about one mile northwest of their former camp at Zuccotti Park. But their potential new landlord at Duarte Square, Trinity Church, has voiced strong opposition, and the move by Occupy is seen by some as applying strong pressure to them to cave in and let the protesters install themselves.
Under the banner of “Re-Occupy,” the protesters said more than 1,400 people — elders of the civil rights movement, prominent artists, faith leaders and community members — will help them try and set up camp there after they were evicted from Zuccotti Park on Nov. 15.
“I’m just loving seeing everybody from Zuccotti Park and it really puts an exclamation point on the (question) that’s been asked today so many times, ‘Do you guys need a space?’ … and the answer is, ‘yes.’ When you walk around and see the familiar faces and the kindred spirits and the unification of effort, then you realize yes we do need a space so that we can all be together and function as whole as a group and move forward, no doubt,” said Thorin Caristo, a 37-year-old protester who is part of an independent livestream team.
Activists at Occupy Wall Street have issued a call to thousands of protesters across the US to reoccupy outdoor public spaces to mark the movement’s three-month anniversary.
The Occupy movement has stalled in recent weeks after a wave of evictions swept away a raft of encampments, including the largest in Los Angeles, Philadelphia and New York. On Wednesday, it suffered a fresh blow as police in riot gear cleared Occupy San Francisco camp on the orders of the mayor, who had been sympathetic to protesters, while Occupy Boston lost legal protection against eviction.
Organisers said they hoped the call to reoccupy on the 17 December would galvanise and grow the movement.
Amin Husain, a press spokesman for OWS, said: “We know that occupation empowers people and eliminates fear. It permits individuals to assert themselves as political beings even although the system doesn’t represent them.” […]
In a piece published this week in the first issue of Tidal, a magazine published by the Occupy movement, Judith Butler, academic and feminist theorist at the University of California, Berkeley, spoke of its importance.
Butler said: “When bodies gather together as they do to express their indignation and to enact their plural existence in public space, they are also making broader demands. They are demanding to be recognised and to be valued; they are exercising a right to appear and to exercise freedom; they are calling for a liveable life.
“These values are presupposed by particular demands, but they also demand a more fundamental restructuring of our socio-economic and political order.”