Occupy 2.Zero: One Month After Raid, Protesters Look Beyond Zuccotti
Shortly before the brand new York Police Division forcefully evicted Occupy Wall Street protesters from Zuccotti Park on Nov. 15, The Huffington Publish spent 24 hours surveying life in their tent metropolis. One month later, with the tents lengthy since slashed open and thrown away and virtually each sign of what happened there erased from the park, HuffPost surveyed those same protesters to see whose occupation continues and who has moved on.
However as protesters gear up for Saturday’s “Occupy 2.0” and the three-month anniversary of OWS, they’re also trying beyond Zuccotti. And most nonetheless say the motion is more than a moment.
‘It isn’t GOING Wherever’
On a shiny, brisk Saturday morning in November, Katy Ryan, 35, marched with lots of of Occupy protesters from Zuccotti up Broadway, beyond Metropolis Hall to Foley Square. Ryan’s 8-year-previous daughter, Mary Jane Thorne, held her hand and marched alongside.
They’d traveled from Jersey Metropolis to take part within the march, organized in conjunction with a marketing campaign to encourage people to transfer their financial savings from giant financial institutions to group banks and credit score unions.
“I need her to see what it is to be an lively citizen of her nation,” Ryan mentioned during a quick break. When requested what she thought in regards to the march, Mary Jane appeared bashfully at her mother, then at the bottom. She did voice her opinions on another matter, however, once they resumed walking. “My sock is so annoying,” she stated, yanking on the offending footwear. “It won’t stay up.”
The marchers spilled over the sidewalks of decrease Manhattan, stalling site visitors. The driver of a paralyzed SUV honked his horn, whereas passengers caught their arms out from beyond tinted windows and made peace indicators.
It was the primary protest for Mary Jane, whom her mom calls MJ. “I put every little thing to her in the simplest of phrases,” Ryan mentioned of her daughter. “I did tell her in regards to the bailouts, and how the common individual is suffering extra resulting from irresponsibility by the banks and our government.” Later in the day, MJ appeared on the OWS video livestream, sticking her tongue out at every bank as she marched by.
Little over per week before the NYPD raid on Zuccotti Park, Ryan speculated about the future of Occupy Wall Avenue. “After all, I hope one thing more tangible comes of it,” she mentioned. “I feel we’ve only seen the beginning. It isn’t going wherever, even if they did are available in and dismantle the park.”
In the month since police did just that, slashing tents, trashing books and arresting bus-a great deal of protesters, Ryan has turn out to be more concerned in OWS. She says she visited the park the morning after the raid to see what was left and located herself galvanized.
Ryan has since joined Occupy Wall Street’s “direct motion” working group, which presently meets in group areas and workplace buildings inside a couple of blocks’ radius of Zuccotti — which she and other protesters call “Liberty Square.”
The NYPD raid could have supplied the jolt that Occupy Wall Avenue needed, Ryan said. A month in the past, she had grown pissed off with what she saw as stagnation: a packed, stifling encampment beset by folks extra curious about picture ops than protest. “They made what we had been all enthusiastic about look ridiculous from the surface,” she stated.
With those hangers-on largely gone, Ryan said, it’s been simpler to give attention to “day of motion” events. Most not too long ago, she and her daughter visited Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood as part of a protest that occupied a foreclosed house.
However for Ryan, these occasions have been fewer and farther between as the holiday season has approached. A freelance make-up artist and hair colorist, she nonetheless manages to make meetings two or thrice every week during “mom-allotted hours.” Mary Jane spends half the week together with her father — Ryan used to spend these nights in the park.
“This time last yr I was working at a salon for the 1 % 10-12hrs a day,” Ryan stated in an electronic mail Friday. “My previous schedule would not have allowed for this, and who knows how my outdated employer would have responded contemplating the clientele.”
Nonetheless, she plans to make time for Occupy 2.0, the subsequent main OWS event, scheduled for Saturday.
“We are re-occupying,” Ryan stated in an electronic mail. “I’m glad I did not put my sleeping bag and tent again in storage but too!”
Ryan mentioned Friday that MJ might be attending the brand new occupation, carrying a yellow balloon figuring out children of Occupiers and sporting a beloved T-shirt she made at an art station in Zuccotti. It options two scenes, as Ryan describes them: “In the first scene it was the banks stealing our money. The second scene was her strongest Pokemon taking it back and giving it to individuals.”
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College OF Exhausting KNOCKS
Some Occupiers are a part of the motion more in thoughts than body, and have been less targeted on protest in the month since the raid on Zuccotti, a key entry level for both originators and onlookers.
Desiree Frias, 18, a scholar at Bard School at Simon’s Rock, was a informal Occupier in November. She and her fiance, Hector Acevedo, 22, who research at John Jay Faculty of Criminal Justice, attended rallies on weekends when they weren’t busy studying.
Frias was arrested after the OWS Transfer Your Money protest arrived at Foley Square. Lots of of protesters flooded the sq.which is normally a deserted public space surrounded by mammoth authorities buildings, and started an hours-long standoff with police who tried to disperse them.
Uniformed NYPD officers lined up throughout the street on the steps of the new York State Supreme Court constructing. After a few failed attempts to shoo the protesters away through megaphone — “We don’t desire nobody to get hurt!” was the final such warning — police unfurled orange netting and began pushing the group, together with a HuffPost reporter, again off the sidewalk. Others shoved protesters who resisted.
Within the chaos, the police made an instance of Frias, dragging her, sobbing, up the courthouse steps and cuffing her beneath the phrases of George Washington etched into its edifice: “The true administration of justice is the firmest pillar of fine authorities.”
“I just want to return to varsity,” Frias cried as officers walked her back down the steps and past the barricade. She requested for help finding her fiance.
At the Manhattan Criminal Court Constructing, where Frias was expected to be arraigned, a security officer barred HuffPost from coming into. Occupy Wall Street protesters had arrived to decry the arrests of Frias and a minimum of 21 others, according to figures later supplied by Moira Meltzer of the Nationwide Lawyers Guild. Authorities had the court constructing on lockdown till the gang dispersed again to Zuccotti.
In response to the courtroom clerk, Frias was charged with assaulting an officer, a felony, as well as with obstructing authorities administration and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors.
“She’s freaking out, keeps saying over and over, ‘I need to get out of here,'” her fiance Acevedo advised HuffPost that night, back at the OWS kitchen in Zuccotti. “She doesn’t even know what happened … I’m just staying right here for the night, as a result of that is what we were going to do. If she doesn’t get out tomorrow, I don’t know what I am going to do.”
That was the only night time Acevedo spent in Zuccotti. Frias spent it in jail. Since then, they’ve had to worry extra about finals, work — Acevedo holds a full-time job — and Frias’ legal points.
“Her trial is not over,” Acevedo said in an email. “We’re each still not utterly over all that has happened.” He said he and Frias could not remark any further, given the pending court resolution.
The crash course in political protest has not thwarted their interest in Occupy Wall Street. “If something, it simply made us want to do greater than we already have been,” Acevedo mentioned.
In the last few weeks, he has switched majors, from criminal justice to political science.
Big Issues, Massive Cash
Upon returning from the protest of Frias’ arraignment, tempers ran excessive. A man who entered the camp’s “data tent” angrily questioned HuffPost about available bathroom services earlier than two Occupy Wall Street organizers stepped in.
After shooing him off, one of many organizers, Darrell Prince, dismissed the incident and related confrontations as “plant issues,” or makes an attempt by opponents to undermine Occupy Wall Street. Extra critical circumstances of violence and drug use had arisen at Zuccotti, however Prince and other organizers likewise attributed such problems to malefactors from outside the Occupy movement.
Prince himself spent years in what he calls a “thankless job in finance.” Burrowed into his coat on a cold stone bench, he mentioned he had been wanting to claim a trigger for his personal at the same time that OWS began to receive donations on a scale that organizers had problem processing. Prince, who describes himself as a “rights particular person,” mentioned he came to Zuccotti every single day in the first week of the occupation and then most days after that.
When he first arrived, he mentioned, a member of the finance committee was keeping $10,000 in cash in the park. “I made her go to the financial institution,” he said, shaking his head. They switched the money to the Amalgamated Financial institution owned by the Employees United labor union.
Like Katy Ryan, Prince, 35, stated he is been frustrated by the difficulty OWS has had in managing its development, though he cited the formation of a “spokes council” because the signal of an evolution towards centralized authority.
“Look, we would not be in Iraq proper now if George Bush had to come in entrance of the [GA],” he stated. “But it is idealistic to think that everyone speaking about every little thing at the identical time will get you anywhere.”
On the night time of the NYPD raid, Prince was at a media group meeting when he heard screaming, then noticed the thousand-plus police when the NYPD trucks hit the park with their lights.
To prevent such surprises in the future, Prince mentioned he’s now creating the OWS Transparency Act, an inside road map for Occupy communications. “Making an attempt to keep abreast of what is going on is a full-time job,” he said. “There ought to have been ongoing negotiations with the city.”
A secondary purpose is to increase transparency around the movement’s working budget, at the moment allocated by a brand new incarnation of the monetary working group stone island denim jacket pink that Prince joined early on. It’s now called the accounting working group, and one other member mentioned the NYPD’s destruction of the Zuccotti encampment spiked donations to Occupy Wall Avenue, which have risen above $600,000 in total since September.
Prince additionally helped set up last week’s anti-foreclosure day of motion, Occupy Our Properties, which some protesters saw as a new focus. He’s helping Occupy Wall Avenue itself search for a new, extra permanent residence.
Throughout the day, nevertheless, he solutions to a unique boss. Again in early November, Prince stated that he was again in sales and advertising. When requested the place, he pointed towards the darkened skyscrapers of the financial district however declined to elaborate. His LinkedIn page lists his current occupation as advertising and operations consulting for Maria’s Cup, Inc.a personal espresso firm, but it surely does not appear to have been recently up to date.
“Of course I see the irony, however I am type of trying to do something else,” he said of his time in enterprise, which has included a stint at pharmaceutical large Merck. “I’ve principally averted it in the course of the time I’ve been in New York. I haven’t got a very good feeling in regards to the stuff they’ve carried out.”
Requested in November whether or not the Occupy movement can survive, Prince said, “Properly, I hope so,” with some reservation. “We need an alternate voice.”
In an interview final week, he didn’t hesitate. “There are huge points, huge issues,” he mentioned, “and most people appear incapable of talking about it.”
John Friesen has no trouble talking, but he takes a unique view. “By its own actions, the existing energy construction has exposed itself as illegitimate,” he stated last week. “These institutions and structures must be dismantled, and a extra humane society must be built from the bottom up.”
As night time settled in after the arrest of Frias and others, Friesen began his “neighborhood watch” across the Zuccotti encampment with a stroll past a cluster of police officers. In pairs, neighborhood watch volunteers would spend several hours per night surveying the park for safety concerns, both internal and exterior. Circling the park, nevertheless, gave them no forewarning of the thousand-plus riot cops headed their means every week later.
Many of the watch volunteers had not been skilled for reconnaissance or security work, although some stated on the time that they were taking mediation classes. Friesen, 27, described himself primarily as an activist from Berkeley, Calif.who had been involved in protests for years. He hasn’t held a “conventional job” since 2007, Friesen stated, but “I’ve turn out to be extremely resourceful. I live kind of with out money.”
He stated he had been visiting New York to observe the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks when Occupy Wall Street started in earnest, and as soon as he visited Zuccotti, he could not imagine leaving.
Rumors of an impending NYPD raid had circulated by means of the OWS encampment in the weeks main as much as the police motion. While the tents still stood, Friesen stated he thought an “inevitable” police crackdown would only strengthen the Occupy movement.
When it lastly started, Friesen was wrapping up a planning assembly in a small park close by for a later Occupy day of motion. He and other OWS organizers made it back through the police cordon and clustered across the kitchen at the heart of the park.
“They could not stand the direct critique, the nascent counterpoint of a free society, the explosive expressions of genuine freedom and humanity,” Friesen mentioned of the police. “Although the raid physically scattered us, it also permits us the opportunity — compels us, really — to gather ourselves, re-consider and refocus, using the expertise of these miraculous months.”
Friesen and plenty of other OWS protesters still spend some days at Zuccotti, whereas at evening they stick with hosts throughout town. However he says he and other organizers have develop into extra fascinated by actions that they believe may have a extra direct affect, such Occupy Our Properties and a march to Goldman Sachs’ New York offices in solidarity with sister protests out west.
Friesen believes that many OWS protesters have been freed up to take part in more actions, now that they are not obliged to worry about maintaining the Zuccotti camp. “We’re making an attempt to achieve out to marginalized communities that we have not yet handed the mike to,” he says, “and crank up the quantity.”
One a part of maintaining the camp consisted of maintaining order and good conduct. An indication headed “Good Neighbor Coverage,” posted on the marble wall surrounding Zuccotti, listed the OWS guidelines:
“Following respectful and good religion dialogue / zero tolerance for medication or alcohol anywhere in Liberty Sq. / zero tolerance for verbal abuse / abuse of non-public or public property.”
Round midnight following the Transfer Your Cash march, a protester standing atop the wall joined in a game of “Marco Polo.” Roy Sharkey, fifty one, read beneath a streetlamp nearby.
Sharkey has been many issues, together with a musician — “it’s schizophrenic, partly Jimmy Hendrix and part James Brown” — and a author. A native New Yorker, he acquired involved in OWS after he noticed the mass arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge, the first OWS occasion that basically acquired his attention. Before that, he says, “I assumed it had been ‘Occupy for a Day.'”
After that, he spent most nights at Zuccotti, discovering it more durable and more durable to return residence to Lengthy Island to sleep or shower. Within the park, “even the young youngsters are educated,” he mentioned, “and you really study from individuals once you sleep shoulder to shoulder.”
Priort to the raid, Sharkey stated, “I believe I’ll be living here the remainder of my life.”
Even the police stationed along the edge of the park supplied classes. Up the sidewalk from where Sharkey was studying, NYPD Officer Solar talked casually with a member of OWS. Each said such chats have been common through the mostly-quiet night hours.
Sun said he and other police acknowledged the frustrations of Occupiers. If you liked this short article and you would certainly such as to receive even more info regarding OPENS kindly go to our web-page. “It is like they have $one hundred bill in his pocket and are shoplifting a shirt,” he mentioned as he gazed across the financial district. “We get it.”
At the time of the raid, nevertheless, Sharkey had made certainly one of his infrequent trips residence. Since then, he is been in Florida visiting his two young daughters and largely “out of touch” with the motion. But Sharkey has by no means thought of OWS when it comes to weeks or months. “I believe it’s long-time period, not a ‘this yr’ or a ‘2012 election’ thing,” he mentioned in November.
A month later, he restated his conviction, suggesting that Occupy protesters should lobby members of Congress and maybe type a 3rd celebration. “The response since the raid has been to re-consider the movement and try to decide the easiest way to increase support from the American individuals.”
In an e mail, Sharkey stated he was nonetheless determined to combat for the rights of all People, together with those he derides as “pathetic scared rabbits whose heads are caught in the sand ready for all the pieces to be calm and blissful.”
Holding THE Movement ALIVE
Zuccotti is almost as quiet in the early hours because it was on that chilly morning in early November when the medical tents that marked an early victory for Occupy Wall Street have been nonetheless standing.
Then, Pauly Kostora, 27, a trained nurse with a bullring in his nostril and a stethoscope round his neck, described his role in the Occupy Wall Avenue medical group as “AIC — Asshole in Charge.”
His mission, he said, was easy: “be sure individuals stay alive.”
“It’s not our accountability to offer you every part you want,” he added. “It’s our responsibility to ensure this motion goes on.”
Kostora, who can also be a photojournalist, was on a five-month cross-continental highway trip along with his canine, Zephyr, getting by on dwindling financial savings and no matter his guitar could earn him when friends at home in New Mexico told him he should take a look at what was occurring in New York.
In Montreal at the time, he headed south, intending to stay a couple of nights in Zuccotti and take photos, but the weeks handed quickly. “Time gets clumped right here,” he mentioned.
While on watch, he swapped struggle tales with the opposite medical volunteers, some who arrived after full-time jobs the place they’d daily rotations of eight to 12 hours. They wore red crosses made from electrical tape, which matched the larger crosses on the tents.
In a case that is still fresh in Kostora’s mind, a patient came in with osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone marrow. “That foot was like a well-accomplished barbecue,” said Alex Homolind, 20, another medical volunteer.
“We’ve had a number of coronary heart attacks, saved a couple of lives,” said Maxine Dade, 17, a self-styled “avenue medic.” Although Dade was greater than just a few years away from a medical degree, patients did not hold that in opposition to her. “There are rather a lot of people who come to see us who haven’t seen a doctor in years,” she said, “who wouldn’t be cared for in any other case.”
At the other end of the spectrum, retired New York physician David Stead, 69, graduated from medical school a long time earlier than Dade was born. Stead got here down to Zuccotti after seeing it on the news, and upon arriving, he volunteered for the medical team.
“I simply consider in the cause,” he said. “I think there must be more equity and distribution of cash, and extra well being care for anybody. It should be something individuals should be capable of expect, as a result of the U.S. actually has the money.”
The night time of the raid, Kostora was visiting a bathroom away from the park when riot police began to advance. He barely made it again to the medical tents, where one patient was being handled and another protester with heart problems was seeking protection.
In keeping with Kostora, police dragged him and the girl with heart problems across the road and threw them to the bottom. Dr. Stead stayed behind to attend the other affected person, even as cops slashed open the medical tents, he said.
“I went up to each excessive-rating officer I could find and told them we have patients in there, we have medical data in there, and they can not — it is illegal for them to enter and not using a court order, and they just ignored me,” Kostora recounted a month later.
Since the raid, Kostora has targeted on “rebuilding.” His group has been making the rounds to sites all through the town the place Occupy protesters have gathered. This Saturday, they’ll debut four “mobile clinics,” which Kostora described as suitcases of medical equipment that the group can use during demonstrations. Different plans are in improvement for a more permanent, registered clinic “that can provide free health care to everybody, one hundred percent,” and a medical commentary team, at the moment looking for volunteers, that will attend protests to reply to — and document — protesters’ injuries.
On the entire, “I stone island denim jacket pink believe that the leadership within the Occupy motion is beginning to come back out,” Kostora said. “We do not have a park to handle anymore, so now we can actually give attention to where we take the movement.”
But Kostora mentioned Friday that he is kind of run by means of his financial savings, now counting on OWS food and the generosity Stone Island Clothes UK of buddies. “I don’t really require too much,” he mentioned, “apart from pet food.”
He is been on the lookout for jobs but says his work with the OWS medical staff is a full-time position.
“Don’t assume I’m going again to New Mexico soon,” Kostora added, “or anywhere for that matter. I’m too deep.”
‘Individuals AREN’T GOING TO Cease’
Across from the medical tents, at the guts of the park, was the individuals’s kitchen, run almost fully on a formidable stockpile of donated provides and some money from the finance working group.
The kitchen feed 1000’s daily, stated volunteer Patrick O’Black, 24, back in November, seated on an overturned bucket within the kitchen whereas a big man — “Simply Ice, from Jamaica, Queens, baby” — washed dishes in plastic tubs.
A truck driver from Morristown, N.J.O’Black quickly turned enmeshed in Occupy Wall Avenue after seeing the identical reviews of the Brooklyn Bridge arrests that mobilized Roy Sharkey. His job has him on call across the clock to make deliveries throughout the tri-state space — “Mainly, I just hearken to NPR all day,” he mentioned — but had been able to spend most subsequent nights within the park.
“I went from, ‘I’m gonna stay the evening’ to ‘I am gonna dwell right here,'” he said.
Before the raid, O’Black stated he believed the Zuccotti encampment was there to stay. When it was destroyed, he and his fellow marchers had just arrived at Occupy Philadelphia, en route to Washington, D.C, and they spent the remainder of the evening watching streaming video of the melee in New York.
“We knew the raids would happen ultimately,” O’Black stated. “The state responds to any risk with violence. We are able to see this repeating throughout modern history.”
Once the marchers accomplished their 240-mile trek to the nation’s capital, some prolonged their route another roughly 700 miles to Atlanta.
In the wake of continued crackdowns at other Occupy sites, a few of these protesters took the raid as a problem, pledging to “occupy the highway” in lieu of an encampment.
O’Black, nevertheless, returned to Zuccotti, and has taken part in Occupy Our Properties and different “day of motion” events.
“My function in the park now could be very comparable,” he stated final week. “I nonetheless work, delivering clothes and food to those in need. We just haven’t got a house base right now.”
Wherever it eventually goes, O’Black expressed confidence that the Occupy motion will endure. “People aren’t going to cease being upset about the present state of affairs in this country,” he stated, echoing his name to motion from a month earlier: “Why would you presumably sit there and let things get worse