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November 15, 2011

Zuccotti Clean Out: 24 Hours Will Tell

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Leading off this rough edit is last night’s iconic photo of the White Shirts manhandling Occupier youth as Zuccotti was taken, along with eviction stills from CNN. The second is more telling in terms of the massiveness of the police presence crawling over the place like ants, but, of course, the key juxtaposition is between #1 and #3.

What we have here is a massive PR war — the battle for hearts and minds (and noses) — playing out between the protesters and the city in front of the media. So the question, when we get to the end of this 24-hour media cycle, will the Reuters photo win the action for Occupy? or, will the Mayor’s gambit pay off? In other words, will more people sympathize with Bloomberg and the police action based on floods of grimy shots of NYC’s sanitation force cleaning up the remains?  (The last shot, the NYT photo, is just a more artful reference to “the swill.”)

(photo 1: Lucas Jackson/Reuters. caption: A New York City police officer scuffled with protesters on Tuesday. photo 2:
Robert Stolarik for The New York Times  caption: Hours after police officers cleared Zuccotti Park early Tuesday workers cleaned the the park. Mayor Bloomberg said protesters could return to the park, but without tents and tarps they used in the encampment.)
  • http://profiles.google.com/thomasgokey Thomas Gokey

    Last week you had images up of property damage in Oakland, some broken windows by the black bloc. It’s always bothered me the way that property damage has been called violent and equated with violence that actually physically hurts a person. It’s also bothered me that property damage has been used to discredit the movement. But if property damage is discrediting, then the NYPD should be thoroughly discredited. They thew tents in the garbage, they threw peoples personal belongs, their backpacks with clothing and gear in the garbage, they threw over 5,000 books from the OWS library in the garbage (I wonder if there are any images of this, uniformed police destroying books is always makes for an eerie image).

    And the source of cleaning in the bottom image is quite bizarre. Having worked on the sanitation crew I can testify that Zuccotti is the most thoroughly scrubbed block in NYC. It only looks cleaner now because they removed the cluttered look of all the tents and things, the uniformity of the workers as opposed to the freak show of the protesters, and the flood lights. But the actual cleanliness? It’s no more clean today than it was yesterday.

    And this lead me to other imaginary images, of the police dressed in riot gear kicking the bankers out of Wall St, giving it all a good scrub. I’m sure the protesters wouldn’t mind doing that work themselves if given the chance.

    However it plays out today will be a key turning point. If the protesters are let back to Zuccotti, will they be allowed to set up tents (an absolute must for survival as the wind rain and snow get worse). Without tents the occupation is doomed, this cleaning could all be a ploy to take away the tents and start fresh, reestablishing the strict no tents policy that the police had earlier as a way to slowly let the weather kill the occupation.

    Or will this cleaning give the occupiers the credible excuse that they need to trade up for a better, larger, more suitable location to occupy? Now with increased numbers. If enough people decide they are “arrestable” and are willing to take a stand a mass arrest in the thousands may be in order as the curfew falls on Foley Sq.

  • Bugboy

    It’s funny how we are constantly crossing the line between public and private here.  The public employee is being used to clean private property that is by law required to be held open 24 hours.  One might ask why they waited until the middle of the night?  Did they have a book burning while they were at it?

    The commons is no longer public real estate, it is in the space of law.  The Brooklyn Bridge is no longer for sale, not even to the lowest sucker.

  • glenn

    The right wing talking point is about the violence of the OWS movement, but here the rage is in the face of the police.

    What could cause such rage? I can understand fear, adrenalin, resolve, but this level of rage?

  • Bystander Again

    We could have our answer soon.

    PublicPolicyPolling

    Going to have some pretty bad numbers for Occupy Wall Street tomorrow…movement not wearing well with voters

  • Bystander Again

    We could have our answer soon.

    PublicPolicyPolling

    Going to have some pretty bad numbers for Occupy Wall Street tomorrow…movement not wearing well with voters

    • Bystander Again

      If only there was a preview key…

      https://twitter.com/#!/ppppolls/status/136589473319358464

    • Bystander Again

      If only there was a preview key…

      https://twitter.com/#!/ppppolls/status/136589473319358464

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  • Foodandculture

    The books are safe.  They were not put into a dumpster.  They went into a sanitation truck and can be retrieved on Wednesday:  http://gothamist.com/2011/11/15/occupy_wall_street_library.php

    Regarding clearing the park out in the wee hours, as grim as this sounds to me, if the park was going to be evacuated, that is the safest way to do it.  I can’t imagine Zuccotti Park campers filing out of the park  if they were given a notice earlier in the day.  On the contrary, they would most likely stand their ground, right?  The early morning raid was the best way to safely evacuate everyone.  

    • http://profiles.google.com/thomasgokey Thomas Gokey

      That’s great news about the books.

      The cleaning aspect is a total alibi to shut down the occupation. We shouldn’t treat it as anything else. The occupiers themselves care more about the cleanliness and sanitation of the occupation than Brookfield or Bloomberg do. What Brookfield or Bloomberg really want is to get rid of the tents and even the sleeping bags and tarps. They want to try to use the weather as a weapon to end the occupation. The report is that police are not letting anyone in with a sleeping bag and not even letting anyone lay down or sleep.

      I’m worried that the occupation is now going to take on aspects similar to a hunger strike, where to continue a peaceful assembly will mean risking your life in the cold. Brookfield and Bloomberg don’t care at all about the safety and security of the protesters, they just elevated the danger that protesters face significantly. What they are hoping to do is create a situation that makes the occupation so dangerous that people will volunteer give up their freedom to assemble. It’s a full frontal attack on democracy in the US.

    • Bugboy

      The whole property rights and the definition of public commons is at hand here. I learned recently the circumstances of Zuccotti park being required open 24 hours,,,it was due to an exemption granted for building height restriction on a building the property owner had on another property.  Those terms defined the park as commons for the benefit of that waiver of building height. 

      Now they appear to have changed the terms of that exemption.  A valid question would be if the building’s additional height should be adjusted to match the new terms of Zucotti Park’s public access.  Under what legal authority is Bloomberg enacting this policy if the exemption defined how the land is to be used?

      This makes OWS a unique legal case unfolding in front of us. 

  • http://shellcreditcardonline.net sHElL cArd crEdIt

    why are they so fierced? i think these demonstrations sometimes comes into the strikes.

  • http://shellcreditcardonline.net sHElL cArd crEdIt

    why are they so fierced? i think these demonstrations sometimes comes into the strikes.

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