A New Dawn: Occupy Wall Street, Midnight to 9 a.m., 10/14/11
Liberty Park -- For most of the night, the air hovered at the midpoint between high humidity and fog. For the rest of the night, rain poured down in silver sheets, reducing Occupy Wall Street to the Park of Many-Colored Lumps, each lump consisting of: one green/yellow/red/blue plastic tarp glistening under lightning bolts and the relentless glare of police car headlights, and 1-4 huddled recent graduates with $120,000 in debt, no employment prospects, the reading skills to write a dissertation on 12th century French troubadour poetry, and an overwhelming distrust of capitalism.
When it wasn’t actually raining, the Lumps emerged from their tarps and fell into two warring camps: Those Who Cleaned, and Those Who Complained Bitterly.
It had been decided by the previous General Assembly that Zuccotti Park/Liberty Plaza should be cleaned, as a way of pre-empting the cleaners hired by Mayor Bloomberg as an obvious ruse for ridding himself of Occupy Wall Street, which has struck fear into the heart of the American ruling class unlike anything since...what? The Minneapolis General Strike of 1934? Hard to figure the analogy, but Those Who Cleaned really wanted to keep it going, whatever it was, by cleaning every flat stone slab in a park that was almost all flat stone slabs. There were about two platoons of Those Who Cleaned vigorously with stiff-bristled brooms.
There were about the same number of Those Who Complained Bitterly. What they complained about was Those Who Cleaned.
“Why are you cleaning the same stone slab that someone else just scrubbed three minutes ago?”
“Because we’re the Sanitation Working Group and the General Assembly voted we should clean.”
“But it doesn’t make any sense. It’s been raining for an hour.”
“Mayor Bloomberg will say the park is dirty if we don’t clean it.”
“But it’s already clean, and he’s going to say it’s dirty whatever we do.”
“Why don’t you grab a broom and help us?”
When confronted with a broom of their own, Those Who Complained Bitterly complained bitterly amongst themselves. Mostly they complained about tactics. The city was going to clean the park in thirds, so one third of the park would have to be evacuated at a time. The city promised that demonstrators would be allowed back into the cleaned area, but no sleeping bags or tarps would be allowed with them, which would doom the occupation. So the demonstrators would refuse and bring back their stuff, at which point the serious civil disobedience would begin.
“Why are we surrendering a third of the park? This is insane.”
“We must defend the entire park! It is a liberated autonomous zone!”