Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Observations from the Edge 12.6.1

At the end of my day of wandering Saturday I stopped in at a bar close to home for a quick drink. While I was there I ran into a guy I had meant weeks ago at Liberty Square but hadn't really talked to since. I honestly don't know if he knows as much or knows as many 'insiders' as he said he did but we did have an interesting conversation about where OWS goes over the winter.

One thing we agreed on was that the eviction of November 15th probably wasn't a bad thing. There really was no way the camp could survive a winter like the one we had last year. Being close to the water the winds would howl up the streets in a storm and anything approaching last year's snowfalls would have buried them, all their energy would have been spent simply surviving. Imperial Mike may have done everybody a favor in shutting Zuccotti down and would have better served himself by letting everybody freeze.

That being said the winter months are going to be very important to the movement's future. A time to organize, grow, and prepare for its part in the coming presidential election campaign including the rumored occupation of both the Democratic and Republican conventions. During a recent visit to OWS Jesse Jackson said, “At some point, movements must take on some form, some identifiable agenda. At some point, water must become ice.” Whether those in attendance liked hearing it or not, and I'm thinking not, this is very true. Not that I think the movement needs some set of concrete demands, everybody seems to have their own, but I do think it needs a clear direction, maybe destination is a better word, an end game to strive for.

I'll have to get back to that conversation some other time because I wanted to mention something that began today and ties in somewhat. Organizing for Occupation (O4O), a 200 member squatter group, and Occupy Wall Street today launched the Occupy Our Homes campaign. The idea is to disrupt foreclosure proceedings, liberate foreclosed properties, and help people facing eviction. With squatting on the rise O4O was formed months before OWS but in recent weeks over 50 new squatting support groups have sprung up, many affiliated with local occupy groups. Banks seem to be sitting on foreclosed homes at record levels akin to the trillions of dollars in cash they are sitting on overseas. In parts of the Bronx as much as 40% of the housing is foreclosed and empty as the unemployed go homeless.

“The Occupy Wall Street movement and brave homeowners around the country are coming together to say, "Enough is enough." We, the 99%, are standing up to Wall Street banks and demanding they negotiate with homeowners instead of fraudulently foreclosing on them."
You can read more at OccupyOurHomes.org.

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