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#OccupyBoston Update: After week of bad press, problems, and precipitation, Dewey Square preps for big weekend

It's no secret that there's been some turbulence at Occupy Boston. As the Herald dutifully reported (to the delight of many of their readers, I might add), and as anyone who's walked down Atlantic Avenue has likely noticed, there's a bit of a vagrancy problem in Dewey Square. The scenario is more complicated than many have surmised – while some homeless occupiers have indeed been using hard drugs and urinating openly, a great deal of those who otherwise bounce between shelters have taken on responsibilities and made a proud home of the camp. Still, there are issues that become more visible as tent city settles further in.

There's been a significant amount of theft in Dewey Square. Several around-the-clock inhabitants report getting everything from wallets to essentials like boots swiped from tents, while two nights ago a member of the media team's laptop went missing from the spiritual area. Thursday morning, a shitfaced rogue had to be hauled off twice; he was trying to fight everyone who he thought accused him of robbing folks the night before. That's all in addition to the homeless man who was famously ejected from the area for threatening protesters while packing a syringe.

Despite organizational advances in some departments (more on message, media, and winterization coming soon), there's definitely been trouble in paradise, and it's no wonder that a majority voted earlier this week to place locks on all the tents. On top of all that, three straight days of rain proved devastating, with the donation hub flooded along with a heap of clean clothes that a number of campers were relying on. Wednesday night, due to the day-long deluge, the nightly general assembly was even cancelled – the first time that's happened since they moved in three weeks ago.

On the bright side of tent city (where addicts aren't nodding off on park benches), one doesn't have to look far to see progress. Actively participating homeless people – who are concerned that cracked-out members of their faction will compromise their place in Dewey Square – say they finally feel they're being listened to. That's important, because otherwise this camp and all others with the same problem will devolve into pathetic microcosms of the classist caste system they're allegedly rejecting. Should such divisions thicken it's only a matter of time until the revolution eats itself.

While nights have been sketchy (I wouldn't quite say dangerous, but definitely sketchy), days have been relatively productive. And though weather stunted some recent activity, this weekend is poised to re-stimulate the outside attention that Occupy activists grew both used to and sick of over the first two weeks. Tomorrow evening, you can bet your ass that media will swarm on Occupy the Hood in Dudley Square, where a number of Dewey Square residents have expressed interest in linking with the black community. On Saturday, lefty don Noam Chomsky is set to speak at 6pm, and is sure to attract new sympathetic blood.

Finally, there's also a Saturday night afternoon march (see below) to raise awareness about Boston Police Department misconduct, and a number of upcoming actions spearheaded by local orgs that are now aligned with Occupy (plus a Social Movements/Digital Revolutions conference where organizers will be discussing the direction of the Boston theater, and where I am a panelist). This Friday (October 21) at noon, MassUniting forces will be blowing up Mitt Romney's spot by blasting his jobs record outside of John Hancock Tower, nest to his former company Bain Capital. And there's no doubt that City Life will keep blocking evictions and fighting banks. Ray Flynn doesn't like it, but chances are that even he'll come around after a few more visits. If anyone has a soft spot for ideologically aggressive communes where grown people wear silly clothes and make rules up as they go, it's the former mayor from South Boston.

 

Here's an updated press release from the Occupy Boston people about their solidarity with Occupy the Hood, and the Saturday action behind Boston Police Department headquarters:

 

"Occupy Boston" Announces Solidarity With "Occupy The Hood"

Boston, MA [10/21/2011] This Saturday, in recognition of the the 16th annual National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, Occupy Boston will mark a historic development in it's movement. The demonstration will take place on Saturday, October 22 from 12:00pm - 3:00pm at the Southwest Corridor Park, behind BPD headquarters @ Schroeder Plaza, Boston, MA 02120. On this day, activists from the Dewey Square Occupation will be joining activists from Occupy the Hood in a joint demonstration of strength and solidarity against police brutality. Not only will Occupy Boston be rallying against recent local and national police repression of the occupy movement,; more importantly, the organization will also be rallying against the police violence experienced by poor folks and communities of color every day in this country. Both organizations will also be rallying on the one year anniversary of a recent, unresolved case of police brutality in Boston: the beating of a 16 year old boy arrested at Roxbury Community College, just blocks from BPD headquarters (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXDJvBaTTDQ).


In calling for this demo, Occupy Boston aims to use the international spotlight on it's movement to illuminate the ongoing struggles against police brutality in our communities.  Occupy Boston stands in solidarity with Communities all over America that face systematic problems of racial oppression that do not receive attention on a national platform.

In the spirit of solidarity, and in recognition of the diversity of experiences of all members of the 99%, Occupy Boston invites all their supporters to join them in having these discussions by rallying on  October 22 at 12:00 PM behind the BPD headquarters in the southwest corridor park, near the Ruggles and Tremont Street intersection and a short walk from the Ruggles stop on the Orange line. There will be a march directly following the demonstration ending in Dewey Square where author Noam Chomsky will be speaking at 6pm.

The Occupy Boston General Assembly has officially ratified the following statement of Solidarity with Occupy The Hood:

"Occupy Boston stands in solidarity with the Occupy the Hood rally taking place Friday, October 21 at 6pm in Dudley Square Plaza. Occupy Boston will activate our solidarity by sending volunteers to appropriately assist and support the initiative with excitement, RESPECT, and HUMILITY. We hope to see Occupy the Hood grow into an inclusive and democratic step towards unifying ALL the 99%. We recognize that our support for initiatives like this one is part of a process of listening to, learning from, and deepening our connections to many more local community members, groups, and organizations."

For more information about this demonstration, please visit facebook, https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=229229533804314 where 4 distinct action-point demands are also described in detail. For more information about Occupy Boston please visit http://www.occupyboston.org/


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Occupy Boston started in Dewey Square in Boston on September 30, 20011 and has been directly inspired by our brothers and sisters at Occupy Wall St. in New York, and we stand in solidarity with them.  The spirit of Occupy Wall Street has spread nationwide, and has an unofficial hub at Occupy Together.  There is also a list of occupations and Facebook pages at Daily Kos. While these different occupations share many goals and attitudes, they each operate independently, and there is no national organization that can speak for all occupations.



Gunner Scott
Occupy Boston Media Team
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