Whose park? OUR PARK.

Ladies, gentlemen, and everyone in between or opting out, WE HAVE GOT THE PARK.

I’ve been following Occupy Rochester and the movement in general very closely–I even made it out to a General Assembly at Washington Square Park. You may have caught a Tweet or ten (thousand) on the subject.

A major fight for us has been the freedom to assemble in that park past its hours of operation, a la Zuccotti and the original Occupy Wall Street, and so many of its siblings that have sprung up in these two months. Forty-eight people were arrested for the sake of that freedom, one of whom was a schoolmate of mine at MCC, the last person you’d expect would get hauled off in a paddy wagon. His middle name should be “peaceful”, for frak’s sake.

Those forty-eight arrests were not in vain. We have gained that freedom, and those who are capable of occupying 24/7 can now do so without worrying whether they, too, will face charges. Hell, set up a warm enough corner of the park and I’d like to spend a night there. I’d also like to take my flute out for a spin. Surely the occupation could use some Bartok?

So. Whose park? Our park. And may it remain that way indefinitely.

4 thoughts on “Whose park? OUR PARK.

  1. If you choose to go, please be extra, double careful. There have been some really terrible things happening in the long-standing Occupy 24-hour sties, and I really wish everyone would just go home for a night or two. Hell, here in Portland, a guy got arrested for a Molotov cocktail. The Occupy people here claimed he wasn’t “one of them,” but he’d been staying with them for awhile and kept getting busted setting fires and no one kicked him out.

    Not trying to scare you into not going. I’m just keeping up with the coverage, and the coverage comes back as violent shantytown from a lot of sources.

  2. Oh, honey, thanks. ❤ To try and calm your fears: Ours is still a tiny occupation, and the park is about as big as my backyard, kid you not. Streaming footage here, for a virtual visit: http://www.livestream.com/occupyrochesterny

    Mister Molotov Cocktail definitely wasn't acting in the spirit of the movement and deserved whatever he got (or didn't–I wouldn't be too quick to bail him out, for example). Was this covered locally? I'm not sure it made national news, or where it did if it did.

  3. It was local, and there were others like them. I figure Rorchester is a smaller place where the people actually know one another, so the chances of it going to the bad places some of the others have is pretty minimal. There’s a news station here that refuses to do any more coverage because every single time they’ve shown up they’ve gotten harassed, and it’s escalated to pushing and yelled threats. I’m getting pretty fed up because the Occupy Portland people keep saying, “Oh, they’re not with us,” and then lead these people back into the crowd. It’s frustrating, because it’s about a city block or two of park they have, and it’s in a busy section of downtown, and while they are staying off the sidewalks, there is an air there that really disquiets me. Portlanders aren’t particularly kind to their police officers at any time, and I worry what’ll happen, you know?

    Damnit, I lost my thread in all that, so here it is again: I trust your instincts, and I hope the best for your Occupy.

  4. Lord, yes, we’re small, and we’re making a point of staying identifiable to each other, in a very “Trust but verify” sort of way. We’re also making a point of remaining friendly to police and to press; that, I think, is one of the benefits of living in a city with such a blend of politics. See, to me, the police are mostly just that guy next door, or that lady who came to speak to your fifth-grade class. They haven’t gotten violent with us as in Oakland; mostly I’m ticked that the order came down to monitor us when there were actual criminals in need of arrest, you know? Forty-eight peaceful protesters hauled in at $200 a pop and the drug dealers went free. That’s a problem from the top down. The wo/man on the street is just doing hir job. I was at the GA where some of this was discussed, taking minutes; you can read them on the site (4 November ’11).

    I hope your Occupy gets better. Sounds like something’s gone off the rails, and I worry, too. For everyone.

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