Burlington, VT (October 28)–Our own local group of Occupy Wall Streeters began a weekend encampment in City Hall Park in Burlington today, but it’s unclear whether theyll be allowed to stay in the park overnight. Under city ordinances, people are forbidden from sleeping in parks after 10 p.m. or setting up tents and bedding for that purpose. The Vermont Workers’ Center, meanwhile, “encourages everyone to stop by with family and friends to celebrate the right to peaceably assemble and to exercise the right to free speech.”
It’s a real conflict. Most of Burlington’s city government is pretty much on the OWS side but there is a farmer’s market in the park on Saturday, so Occupy Wall Street is gonna end up Occupying Main Street and fouling local commerce.
“Real change can happen and it feels to me like it’s starting to simmer…” my friend Enola “Fanny” Guay said.
That may well be, but the issue still comes down to a single question: Do the protesters have a defined goal?
I was in college during the anti-war protests of the 60s. Looking back on my actual experience, there were a lot of different, non-homogenous groups running around but they all had one over-riding goal: they would shout and shout until the war came tumbling down.
I don’t remember any protesters shooting each other.
Burlington, VT (November 10)–Police are investigating three deaths — two fatal shootings and an apparent overdose — at or near Occupy protest camps last Thursday.
A young man was fatally shot Thursday evening just yards from the Occupy Oakland encampment outside City Hall. And a homeless veteran died after shooting himself in the head in a tent in Burlington’s City Hall Park, where the local Occupy movement has set up tentkeeping. Police here cordoned off part of the park as a crime scene sparking a confrontation with the protesters.
Also on Friday, a 42-year-old man was found dead inside his tent at Occupy Salt Lake City in Utah. Officials believe he died from a combination of drugs and carbon monoxide poisoning.
This sign is making the social network and email rounds.
“It’s obvious the sign maker and all the Facebook copycats are either blind to or unwilling to discuss the class advantages and good luck that bolstered their hard work,” Fanny Guay said.
That’s Fanny-speak for “we need to take away that advantage so no one can get ahead of anyone else.”
It’s particularly worrisome that most of the OWS simmering comes together that way. After all, most of Vermont’s flower children had liberal college educations that their parents provided. Many of Vermont’s flower children have grown up to accumulate the advantages and luck
And here in Vermont, it is mostly the children and children’s children of privilege who band together to protest.
All curmudgeonliness aside, OWS could be a good thing if they stay peaceful. Protesting our problems is an American tradition and Wall Streeters getting $100 million bonuses from tax money is a problem.
If the simmering does come together, the OWS might have something to shout and shout about, a cause that allows every man, woman, and child to live in an identical, government-owned house, with identical, government-provided healthcare, watching identical, government-programmed television. As long as everyone can have a television.
I wouldn’t bank on it.
For now? It seems like all noise and no tumbling. And it’s dying a blusterous death.
These people have a common goal. Except that they do not know what it is. Media are likewise confused, but that is okay with them because their mission is not to inform, but to fill time space with interesting and/or amusing items; and nonsensical rhetoric meets that requirement.
We sensible watchers know that evil doers are funding these demostrations and that a reciprocal value exchange is in place. It’s a new twist on the old saw of cronyism: “You scratch my gander, and I’ll goose yours.” Or something like that.