Tent versus Camping

Also, SFPD Chief makes a funny:

The city shut down the camp after police and other officials stopped being able to communicate with the protesters, authorities said. The crew of campers that had once been negotiating with the city was no longer there, said Police Chief Greg Suhr. "We weren't getting our e-mails returned."

The chief added, "Most of the people in this neighborhood are part of the 99 percent, and they needed some relief. So this part of the 99 percent removed that part of the 99 percent to give the other part of the 99 percent some relief."

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7 Responses:

  1. "The problem with all the constant raids and evictions is that it distracts from our original purpose," said Oh, referring to the movement centered on the global frustration over major banks, multinational corporations and the economy.

    Then stop going places which you'll be raided and evicted from. Jeez, it's like that Simpsons episode where Bart keeps touching the electrified cupcake.

    Police arrested two young men, including one who was injured, who were in the perimeter of the circle. They also arrested a man and a woman who tried to cut him free from hand bonds.

    I really hope this attitude isn't widespread. Obstructing the police is a no-no.

    • asan102 says:

      I got in a lovely internet argument over this Youtube video of an OccupyMN protestor getting almost-tackled while trying to take back a confiscated tent from the police truck, which they're trying to drum up outrage over.

  2. gryazi says:

    While Wonkette points out the insanity/creepiness of “Little in the way of expression is outlawed in the United States Constitution, but an act which incites forceful response is unlikely to pass as expressive speech.”*, the decision on the Occupy Boston kids' motion for injunction makes for some interesting reading and starts to create a logical framework (in MA law, at least) for considering this sort of protest:

    http://thinkprogress.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/occupyDecision.pdf

    Basically, aside from technicalities (which are still important, and not unreasonable), the judge finds that everything the protesters are doing is speech, but the being physically present is not speech, so the state is free to have laws [delegating rulemaking authority to the park Conservancy] controlling the use of public property, which can include 'no sleeping' and 'at some point we let the fire marshal or health department kick you out.' This isn't totally insane; to the extent that we aren't just cold having a revolution, you can't really expect to let everyone/anyone "occupy" a police station or an elementary school just because it's public property - so because of this whole representative-democracy thing, you have to rely on your elected officials to legislate use rights fairly [as controlled by federal law and the Constitution, so the rules can't be discriminatory on the basis of race, say].

    While it's boring/seemingly-awful to have rules to have to play by (permits and "free speech zones", anyone?), hopefully the end result will be some legislative enhancement of protest rights after all the shenanigans of the Bush era - guaranteeing the use of public parks from 9 to 5 with no littering, say. But I could easily be an idealist there.

    ---
    *It's really hard to tell if that's foot-in-mouth, dark humor, or both. The nice thing about these shindigs are that, of course, they're forcing people to think about this stuff and figure out what the rules really are or should be, and by tossing this out there, the judge sure got a lot of people to think about "Wait a second, defining any speech that gets a cop to taze you as unprotected can't be right."

    • 205guy says:

      Your comments are especially lucid tonight.

      The thing with the sleeping in a tent (notice I didn't call it camping) 24/7 in a public park is that it is technically illegal. It is not a necessary action to enable protected speech. Filibusters in Congress aside, it is not humanly possible to speak continually 24/7. Also, the park could be continually occupied by awake protestors in shifts, who would then sleep in a non-contentious place (whether it is at home or under a bridge). In that way, the occupation could be making a statement.

      However, I also believe the sleeping in a tent in the occupied park gives the movement a slight air of civil disobedience. Mind you, I'm not equating it with the civil disobedience that was involve in breaking the racial segregation laws. But it does say that they're willing to defy the authorities, even on a minor point.

      So what, you say? Well, I believe it is the authorities (and the jackboot lickers) who look foolish enforcing these minor laws, and that is a minor moral and media victory for the occupiers.

      • Rick C says:

        Hah. That sounds like the rolling hunger strikes some people were proposing a few years back, although obviously it's not the same.

  3. DFB says:

    What is the point of hanging around outside, anyway? Don't these people know how to file documents at the District Court Clerk's Office? It's not like the city government can do anything about income equality, but if everyone filed a decent complaint about bank usury or lack of access to Congress in violation of the equal protection clause or something with a in forma pauperus application, that would be a lot more effective than shouting at pissed off cops.