It's a fair trade vegan anniversary cupcake - we swear!
everything is fine and sunny down at Dewey Square today, the
beginning of this weekend was hellish, as rain, sleet, snow, and even
hail howled down on tent city. As happens every time the weather
fouls up in these parts, new challenges arose and tempers got tested.
There are some natural nightmares that all the tarps on earth can't
a day of marching through the rain and announcing to everybody
within earshot that they plan to stay through winter, Occupy Boston
returned to their soaked camp at around 3pm Saturday. From there, the
focus fell on winterization – whether that meant individuals
securing their own tents, or committees holding formal meetings to
it all, I made a point to pay attention to the range of occupiers –
from homeless degenerates, to the helpful homeless, to the educated
thirty-somethings who tend to anchor working groups and make
decisions. There are glaring disparities between these elements, and
they're becoming more obvious as days get shorter and nights colder.
A lot of full-time campers don't even attend General Assemblies.
arrived at yesterday's winterization meeting in South Station about
an hour late, expecting to hear plans for a cool igloo, or at least
an incredibly dynamic snow-shoveling strategy. Instead what I
encountered was a contentious powwow that somehow addressed important
issues in painfully granular detail and not at all. I swear five
minutes were dedicated to the merits of wool socks.
end they seem to have worked some things out – the group okayed
buys like boots, scarves, gloves, and waterproof suits, and they'll
also be getting military grade tents for working groups. Still I was
amazed that last night's GA wasn't entirely devoted to comforting
full-time squatters – I suppose that wouldn't have left time for
the announcement of an upcoming Occupy Philosophy group.
the only thing less surprising and more amazing than their lack of
focus in the clutch was the arrival of perennial public office
candidate Doug Bennett, who appeared out of nowhere at the Saturday
GA. His beet red melon swaying back and forth, Bennett interrupted at least five times, saying nothing of
consequence and making few friends in the process.
course there were some critical agenda items besides winter. The
issue of security – a concern since day one that's been highlighted
in the media recently – came up in several forms, from changes in
safety crew shift lengths, to sentiments regarding a need for an
eviction process. “I can't just sit around listening to time bombs
threaten people nightly,” said one member of the Direct Action
then there's the lack of hot food. At this point only two restaurants
are donating regular meals to Occupy Boston – The Middle East, and
Life Alive, a new veggie joint in Central Square. I'm not sure why
places are holding out, but I hope it's not because they're afraid of
yuppies getting mad at them. Dummies simply don't attend to such
of a lack of participation from local eateries, occupiers are
enduring hostility from South Station vendors. Whereas Au Bon Pain,
for example, used to hook up leftover croissants, that's no longer
the case. And the same goes for some other places. It's unclear
whether the change is a result of police pressure or corporate
policies, but it certainly makes camp life more difficult.
that said, Occupy Boston is here to stay through the winter. The
resolve is so strong among so many occupiers that I'd almost dare a
force to move them. If they can evict foul elements and heal the
strain between disconnected factions, they even have a chance to grow
through the cold months. Their critics can at least count on that,
and on having Occupy around to bitch about indefinitely.