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Occupy's Discontent

Some of Occupy Providence's core members are upset with how the group's General Assembly vote yesterday to leave Burnside Park - in exchange for a city-sponsored daytime shelter for the homeless - played out.

I just spoke with Jared Paul, a performance artist and writer who has been a central figure in the movement. "Myself and other people are not fucking happy," he said.

Paul said he is not necessarily opposed to leaving Burnside. But he said the vote yesterday felt rushed and Occupy Providence - its raw debate around deteriorating conditions at the park played out before an extensive press corps - projected an image of defeat.

Occupy, he insisted, is still strong and is poised to move into a period of intense political activity. The movement, he suggested, would have done better to convey a sense that it is leaving the park of its own accord - and moving into its next phase with a head of steam.

But some at the meeting yesterday said they were pleased to have the General Assembly meeting open to the media - to have a debate more authentic and democratic and transparent than what plays out in our legislatures.

And one occupier who raised objections to the leave-Burnside proposal yesterday - Annie Rose London, a recent Brown University graduate - suggested that she is coming around to the General Assembly's decision.

She said it will be key, if Occupy does leave the park, to find some other locale for its "24/7 living experiment" - a vital effort to work through the challenges of multicultural living and present a model to the broader world.

But more broadly, London said, she is excited by the possibility of moving deeper into the community and strengthening ties with allies.

Paul, too, shared this optimism about the next phase; he just didn't like the transition.

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