All Photos By Aaron Spagnolo . . . More Pics Here
up early last Friday in Chicago, where I was covering that city's
Occupiers and their push to move into a rented space. It was an
exciting week, as the night before there'd been a heated general
assembly, as well as news that Mayor Rahm Emanuel had possibly
cancelled an event because of threats that students affiliated with the movement might protest.
despite those developments, I saw no mention of Occupy Chicago on any
Windy City news cast Friday morning. Instead, the activists who I'd
been covering for months back in Boston had followed me to Illinois –
and bogarted the cycle. Halfway through a buttered bagel, I looked up
at the tube only to see familiar Dewey Square squatters clinging to a
steel sink and chanting “Let us do the dishes!”
wasn't totally surprised. I'd assumed that all eyes were already on
Boston since the day before, when Occupiers had their anticipated
court sashay with the city. Still this was a significant feat – in
addition to network and cable buzz all around the country, the sink
showdown went viral thanks to lifts from Daily Kos and Wired, among
others. All this with minimal arrests, violence, and injuries.
there something clicked with the often savvy, yet sometimes
self-destructive Occupy Boston info disseminators. As demonstrated at
their inclusive off-camp assembly in Copley Square this past Saturday
– attended by dozens of newly interested Occupiers – Hub
operatives are actively showcasing that they're not the dirty and
disorganized Neanderthals that bureaucrats have pegged them as.
the sink, Occupiers highlighted the irony in claims that their
encampment is unsanitary; the powers-that-be say that Dewey Square is
infested, yet won't let them improve conditions (they've also yet to
cite them for health-related violations). Similarly, despite claims
that the camp is combustible, they're not permitted to install
Occupiers gathered on the South Station side of Dewey for the arrival
of a military tent the likes of which police have been instructed to
keep out (along with any other building materials or so-called
structures). This was no sneak job, like when their ninja unit
smuggled in the current food tent two weeks ago. This was a PR job –
announced days ahead of time.
the sink incident was a phenomenal lesson that evolved from a
practical mission – to secure an apparatus with which to help
clean dishes – the tent event was pure theater. Occupiers never
intended to actually erect it or throw down with cops – they just
wanted the press, whose attention they had after the sink story, to
see first-hand how ridiculous police are being.
the symbolic cue of the tent, Occupy forces got an opportunity
to debate inspectors and authorities in front of a crowd filled with
reporters. On that front protesters also delivered a decisive
beat-down, as Boston is essentially arguing that while it was alright to
bring tents in before, that is no longer the case. The city's insincere stance
was cherry-topped with its suggestion that Occupy secure permits.
campaign can't go on forever, as looming decisions in county court –
and ultimately at City Hall – will dictate the fate of Dewey
Square (whether Occupiers stand their ground or not). There's also an
outside chance that campers will dismantle things themselves and call
it a win. But for the time being, there's no doubt about which side
looks justified, and which is making rules up on the fly.