As Clock Winds Down at Dewey, Occupy Boston Prepares Statement for the Ages

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Occupiers are clearing tools out of the logistics and media hubs, unplugging chords and carting off their operations. The canopy of blue and green tarps atop Dewey Square is being dismantled, revealing bright tents that haven't seen sunlight in months. A bucket of butternut squash gets loaded into a van. So do the canned goods, which are headed to the Pine Street Inn. There are books from the fabulous Occupy Boston library boxed up everywhere, some free for the taking.

OCCUPYBOSTON LIVE BLOG: live video, tweets, and photos from Dewey Square as City's midnight deadline looms

The Green Day working group has yet to blast “Time Of Your Life” over the speakers, but it's a last-day-of-high-school kind of feeling down here today. People are mostly calm – with one notable exception in perpetual nuisance Phil, who wears a kilt and gave an extended middle finger to facilitators during the afternoon assembly. But there's a looming optimistic sadness for sure.

Not much was accomplished at today's emergency powwow, which followed the morning announcement that Occupiers have until midnight to vacate Dewey (which followed yesterday's Suffolk Superior Court decision). Some vague announcements gave way to a vague arrangement for working groups to continue making plans on their own, with facilitators encouraging one and all to engage in creative autonomous actions.

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As is not unusual, de facto spokespeople Alex Ingram and camp librarian slash rally booster John Ford blessed the press and crowd with some send-off bangers. Ingram dropped “Breakfast Club” knowledge, telling everyone that he'll remember them regardless of whether they wake up together in the Square tomorrow. Ford then addressed, in a single sentence, what was on everybody's mind, asking people to think about “how much of a power play” it would be for the whole occupation to pack up and vacate on their own terms.

It seems like a logistical impossibility to clear Dewey clean at this stage in the game. But they seem to be moving right along. Because while Occupy Boston's horizontal democracy does not convene until 7pm tonight – and hence there will be no consensus decision on evacuation plan tactics until after that time – right now exodus seems like the plan. Tents are being dismantled, labeled, and stored for another day – whenever, wherever that may be. After nearly three months, it's beyond strange to watch.

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In less than two hours, trucks are coming to cart away the media, spirituality, food, medic, library, and women's tents. In the rush I was warmed to hear that some Occupiers are busy helping homeless people make arrangements for not just tonight but for the coming weeks. Still there's a ton of work to be done. The food crew alone has been hauling crates and boxes for hours now and is just now finishing up. Contrary to popular right-wing belief, a lot of Occupiers have day jobs, and they're not yet available to help the effort.

One Occupation supporter who I spoke with said this whole thing reminds him of a governor's last day in office, when he or she triumphantly walks down the Statehouse steps and enters the crowd, never to be seen again until returning as a lobbyist or presidential candidate. I'm not sure that's the right analogy, but I get what he's saying. As the longest-running Occupy camp in the country, Occupy Boston has a lot of eyes on it. To disappear before midnight, only to return in another place at another time, would be a statement for the ages. If they can pull it off.


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