OT Downtown: The Future of OWS

Written by NY Press on . Posted in Posts.

Zuccotti Park—Immediately after the Occupy Wall Street encampment was
forcibly removed by the New York Police Department (NYPD) in the Nov.
15 pre-dawn sweep, the ground lights were flipped back on. The now
barricaded plaza has shimmered like an ice rink every night since, with
Brookfield Properties’ security guards in yellow vests manning the two
entranceways and patrolling inside. (Brookfield Properties is the owner
of Zuccotti Park.) Once in a while someone haggard-looking will risk
putting his head down on one of the benches only to be jolted by one of
the many guards saying, “You’re not allowed to lie down here.”—

While a handful of hardcore activists stay in the park through the
night, Brookfield Properties’ new prohibitions against “tents,” “tarps”
and “storage”—enforced jointly by private security and the NYPD—have
effectively stymied re-occupation. And without its 24/7 physical anchor,
the movement has lost exposure. These new circumstances also beg the
question: Without an encampment at Zuccotti Park, the birthplace of the
“Occupy” actions, will this media sensation still turn into a political
and social revolution? Or will it slowly lose steam not only in New York
City but across the nation and become a distant memory of a
much-buzzed-about story? And, if the protesters are vigilant in
continuing their efforts, where will the movement move next?

Some haven’t lost hope of re-inhabiting the park and many former
occupiers promise they have not gone away. Charlie Meyers, a 20-year-old
who dropped out of college in his home state of Arkansas to be a part
of the movement—and spent 40 hours in central booking after being
arrested during the sweep—estimates there are “between 500 to 1,000” OWS
folks hunkered down locally waiting for “the next occupation.”

 — To read the full article by Matt Harvey, pick up the latest issue of Our Town Downtown, or click here