Occupy 2.0: One Month After Raid, Protesters Look Beyond Zuccotti
Shortly before the brand new York Police Division forcefully evicted Occupy Wall Road protesters from Zuccotti Park on Nov. 15, The Huffington Post spent 24 hours surveying life in their tent metropolis. One month later, with the tents long since slashed open and thrown away and nearly every 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 stone island shadow project ultra light water resistant jacket the three-month anniversary of OWS, they’re also wanting beyond Zuccotti. And most nonetheless say the motion is more than a second.
‘It isn’t GOING Anyplace’
On a brilliant, brisk Saturday morning in November, Katy Ryan, 35, marched with tons of of Occupy protesters from Zuccotti up Broadway, beyond City Hall to Foley Square. Ryan’s eight-12 months-previous daughter, Mary Jane Thorne, held her hand and marched alongside.
They’d traveled from Jersey Metropolis to take part in the march, organized along with a marketing campaign to encourage people to switch their financial savings from large financial institutions to neighborhood banks and credit score unions.
“I would like her to see what it’s to be an energetic citizen of her country,” Ryan said during a fast break. When requested what she thought about the march, Mary Jane seemed bashfully at her mother, then at the ground. She did voice her opinions on one other matter, nonetheless, when they resumed walking. “My sock is so annoying,” she stated, yanking at the offending footwear. “It won’t stay up.”
The marchers spilled over the sidewalks of decrease Manhattan, stalling visitors. The driver of a paralyzed SUV honked his horn, whereas passengers stuck their hands out from past tinted windows and made peace indicators.
It was the primary protest for Mary Jane, whom her mom calls MJ. “I put everything to her in the best of terms,” Ryan stated of her daughter. “I did inform her concerning the bailouts, and how the common particular person is suffering more as a consequence of 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 way forward for Occupy Wall Road. “In fact, I hope one thing extra tangible comes of it,” she said. “I think we’ve only seen the start. It isn’t going anywhere, even in the event that they did are available and dismantle the park.”
In the month since police did simply that, slashing tents, trashing books and arresting bus-loads of protesters, Ryan has grow to be more involved 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 Road’s “direct motion” working group, which at present meets in neighborhood areas and workplace buildings inside a couple of blocks’ radius of Zuccotti — which she and other protesters call “Liberty Square.”
The NYPD raid might have supplied the jolt that Occupy Wall Road wanted, Ryan stated. A month in the past, she had grown annoyed with what she saw as stagnation: a packed, stifling encampment beset by individuals extra curious about picture ops than protest. “They made what we had been all obsessed with look ridiculous from the skin,” she mentioned.
With those hangers-on mostly gone, Ryan mentioned, it’s been simpler to concentrate on “day of motion” occasions. 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 residence.
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 still manages to make conferences two or thrice a week during “mom-allotted hours.” Mary Jane spends half the week together with her father — Ryan used to spend these nights within the park.
“This time last 12 months I was working at a salon for the 1 p.c 10-12hrs a day,” Ryan stated in an e mail Friday. “My outdated 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.Zero, the following major OWS event, scheduled for Saturday.
“We’re re-occupying,” Ryan stated in an e mail. “I’m glad I did not put my sleeping bag and tent again in storage yet too!”
Ryan said Friday that MJ will likely be attending the brand new occupation, carrying a yellow balloon identifying kids of Occupiers and carrying a beloved T-shirt she made at an artwork station in Zuccotti. It features 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 again and giving it to individuals.”
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School OF Exhausting KNOCKS
Some Occupiers are part of the motion extra in mind than body, and have been much less centered on protest in the month since the raid on Zuccotti, a key access level for each originators and onlookers.
Desiree Frias, 18, a pupil at Bard Faculty at Simon’s Rock, was a casual Occupier in November. She and her fiance, Hector Acevedo, 22, who studies at John Jay School of Criminal Justice, attended rallies on weekends once they weren’t busy studying.
Frias was arrested after the OWS Move Your Cash protest arrived at Foley Sq.. A whole bunch of protesters flooded the square, which is often a deserted public space surrounded by mammoth government buildings, and started an hours-lengthy 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 Courtroom constructing. After a couple of failed attempts to shoo the protesters away by way of megaphone — “We don’t desire no one to get harm!” was the final such warning — police unfurled orange netting and began pushing the gang, including a HuffPost reporter, back off the sidewalk. Others shoved protesters who resisted.
In the chaos, the police made an example 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 government.”
“I just want to go back to stone island shadow project ultra light water resistant jacket school,” Frias cried as officers walked her back down the steps and beyond the barricade. She asked for assist discovering her fiance.
At the Manhattan Criminal Courtroom Constructing, where Frias was expected to be arraigned, a safety officer barred HuffPost from getting into. Occupy Wall Street protesters had arrived to decry the arrests of Frias and at least 21 others, in accordance with figures later offered by Moira Meltzer of the Nationwide Lawyers Guild. Authorities had the courtroom constructing on lockdown until the group dispersed back to Zuccotti.
In accordance with the court docket clerk, Frias was charged with assaulting an officer, a felony, in addition to with obstructing government administration and resisting arrest, both misdemeanors.
“She’s freaking out, keeps saying time and again, ‘I wish to get out of right here,'” her fiance Acevedo told HuffPost that night, back at the OWS kitchen in Zuccotti. “She doesn’t even know what occurred … I am simply staying here for the night, as a result of that is what we were going to do. If she doesn’t get out tomorrow, I do not know what I will do.”
That was the only evening 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 issues.
“Her trial isn’t over,” Acevedo said in an email. “We’re both still not fully over all that has occurred.” He said he and Frias could not remark any further, given the pending court decision.
The crash course in political protest has not thwarted their interest in Occupy Wall Avenue. “If something, it simply made us want to do greater than we already had been,” Acevedo stated.
In the last few weeks, he has switched majors, from criminal justice to political science.
Big Issues, Large Cash
Upon returning from the protest of Frias’ arraignment, tempers ran high. A man who entered the camp’s “information tent” angrily questioned HuffPost about obtainable bathroom amenities earlier than two Occupy Wall Street organizers stepped in.
After shooing him off, one of the organizers, Darrell Prince, dismissed the incident and comparable confrontations as “plant issues,” or makes an attempt by opponents to undermine Occupy Wall Avenue. More critical cases of violence and drug use had arisen at Zuccotti, however Prince and other organizers likewise attributed such problems to malefactors from outdoors 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 said he had been wanting to assert a cause for his own at the same time that OWS began to obtain donations on a scale that organizers had problem processing. Prince, who describes himself as a “rights particular person,” said 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 said, a member of the finance committee was maintaining $10,000 in cash in the park. “I made her go to the financial institution,” he mentioned, shaking his head. They switched the money to the Amalgamated Financial institution owned by the Workers United labor union.
Like Katy Ryan, Prince, 35, said he’s been frustrated by the trouble OWS has had in managing its progress, although he cited the formation of a “spokes council” as the signal of an evolution toward centralized authority.
“Look, we wouldn’t be in Iraq right now if George Bush needed to are available in front of the [GA],” he mentioned. “But it’s idealistic to think that everybody talking about every thing at the same time will get you anywhere.”
On the evening of the NYPD raid, Prince was at a media workforce meeting when he heard screaming, then saw the thousand-plus police when the NYPD trucks hit the park with their lights.
To prevent such surprises sooner or later, Prince stated he’s now growing the OWS Transparency Act, an inner road map for Occupy communications. “Attempting to maintain abreast of what’s going on is a full-time job,” he said. “There ought to have been ongoing negotiations with the town.”
A secondary aim is to extend transparency across the movement’s working finances, at the moment allocated by a new incarnation of the financial working group that Prince joined early on. It is now called the accounting working group, and one other member stated the NYPD’s destruction of the Zuccotti encampment spiked donations to Occupy Wall Road, which have risen above $600,000 in total since September.
Prince also helped arrange last week’s anti-foreclosure day of action, Occupy Our Houses, which some protesters noticed as a new focus. He is helping Occupy Wall Road itself search for a new, more permanent dwelling.
In the course of the day, nonetheless, he solutions to a distinct boss. Back in early November, Prince mentioned that he was back in gross sales and advertising and marketing. When asked the place, he pointed towards the darkened skyscrapers of the financial district but declined to elaborate. His LinkedIn web page lists his current occupation as marketing and operations consulting for Maria’s Cup, Inc.a non-public coffee company, nevertheless it doesn’t appear to have been just lately updated.
“Of course I see the irony, but I’m form of seeking to do something else,” he said of his time in enterprise, which has included a stint at pharmaceutical big Merck. “I’ve mainly prevented it throughout the time I’ve been in New York. I don’t have a very good feeling concerning the stuff they’ve finished.”
Asked in November whether the Occupy movement can survive, Prince mentioned, “Effectively, I hope so,” with some reservation. “We need another voice.”
In an interview last week, he didn’t hesitate. “There are big issues, massive problems,” he stated, “and most individuals seem incapable of talking about it.”
John Friesen has no trouble speaking, however he takes a distinct view. “By its personal actions, the existing power construction has exposed itself as illegitimate,” he mentioned final week. “These establishments and structures must be dismantled, and a more humane society must be built from the ground up.”
As night time settled in after the arrest of Frias and others, Friesen began his “group watch” across the Zuccotti encampment with a stroll past a cluster of police officers. In pairs, neighborhood watch volunteers would spend a number of hours per night surveying the park for safety concerns, both internal and exterior. Circling the park, nonetheless, gave them no forewarning of the thousand-plus riot cops headed their way a week later.
Many of the watch volunteers had not been skilled for reconnaissance or safety work, although some mentioned 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 have turn into extraordinarily resourceful. I live more or less with out money.”
He stated he had been visiting New York to observe the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 assaults 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 way of the OWS encampment in the weeks main up to the police motion. While the tents still stood, Friesen stated he thought an “inevitable” police crackdown would solely strengthen the Occupy movement.
When it finally started, Friesen was wrapping up a planning assembly in a small park nearby 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 authentic freedom and humanity,” Friesen said of the police. “Though the raid bodily scattered us, it additionally allows us the chance — compels us, actually — to collect ourselves, re-consider and refocus, utilizing the experience of those miraculous months.”
Friesen and plenty of other OWS protesters nonetheless spend some days at Zuccotti, whereas at night they stay with hosts all through the city. However he says he and different organizers have change into extra curious about actions that they imagine will have a more direct impression, 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 as much as participate in additional actions, now that they’re no longer obliged to fret about sustaining the Zuccotti camp. “We’re trying to reach out to marginalized communities that we haven’t but passed the mike to,” he says, “and crank up the volume.”
One part of maintaining the camp consisted of sustaining order and good behavior. A sign headed “Good Neighbor Policy,” posted on the marble wall surrounding Zuccotti, listed the OWS rules:
“Following respectful and good faith dialogue / zero tolerance for drugs or alcohol anywhere in Liberty Square / zero tolerance for verbal abuse / abuse of private or public property.”
Around midnight following the Transfer Your Money march, a protester standing atop the wall joined in a game of “Marco Polo.” Roy Sharkey, 51, learn under a streetlamp nearby.
Sharkey has been many issues, including a musician — “it’s schizophrenic, partly Jimmy Hendrix and half James Brown” — and a writer. A local New Yorker, he bought concerned in OWS after he saw the mass arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge, the primary OWS occasion that basically obtained his consideration. Earlier than that, he says, “I thought it had been ‘Occupy for a Day.'”
After that, he spent most nights at Zuccotti, discovering it tougher and harder to return house to Long Island to sleep or shower. In the park, “even the young youngsters are knowledgeable,” he stated, “and you really learn from individuals if you sleep shoulder to shoulder.”
Priort to the raid, Sharkey said, “I feel I’ll be dwelling right here the remainder of my life.”
Even the police stationed along the edge of the park supplied lessons. Up the sidewalk from where Sharkey was reading, NYPD Officer Solar talked casually with a member of OWS. Both said such chats were widespread during the largely-quiet evening hours.
Solar mentioned he and other police recognized the frustrations of Occupiers. If you liked this information and you would certainly such as to get more information concerning OPENS kindly see the website. “It is like they’ve $one hundred invoice in his pocket and are shoplifting a shirt,” he stated as he gazed around the financial district. “We get it.”
At the time of the raid, nonetheless, Sharkey had made one among his infrequent trips dwelling. Since then, he is been in Florida visiting his two younger daughters and largely “out of touch” with the motion. However Sharkey has never thought of OWS by way of weeks or months. “I believe it is long-time period, not a ‘this 12 months’ or a ‘2012 election’ factor,” he said in November.
A month later, he restated his conviction, suggesting that Occupy protesters should foyer members of Congress and maybe kind a 3rd occasion. “The response because the raid has been to re-consider the motion and attempt to decide one of the simplest ways to increase assist from the American individuals.”
In an electronic mail, Sharkey said he was nonetheless decided to struggle for the rights of all Individuals, together with those he derides as “pathetic scared rabbits whose heads are stuck in the sand ready for every part to be calm and blissful.”
Protecting THE Movement ALIVE
Zuccotti is nearly as quiet in the early hours as it was on that chilly morning in early November when the medical tents that marked an early victory for Occupy Wall Street had been nonetheless standing.
Then, Pauly Kostora, 27, a educated nurse with a bullring in his nostril and a stethoscope round his neck, described his role in the Occupy Wall Road medical group as “AIC — Asshole in Charge.”
His mission, he mentioned, was easy: “be sure that folks keep alive.”
“It’s not our responsibility to offer you all the pieces you need,” he added. “It’s our duty to verify this motion goes on.”
Kostora, who is also a photojournalist, was on a 5-month cross-continental street trip with his canine, Zephyr, getting by on dwindling financial savings and whatever his guitar could earn him when pals at dwelling in New Mexico advised him he ought to check out what was happening in New York.
In Montreal on the time, he headed south, intending to stay a couple of nights in Zuccotti and take photos, but the weeks handed quickly. “Time will get clumped here,” he said.
While on watch, he swapped struggle stories with the opposite medical volunteers, some who arrived after full-time jobs the place they had day by day rotations of eight to 12 hours. They wore purple crosses made from electrical tape, which matched the bigger crosses on the tents.
In a case that remains to be fresh in Kostora’s thoughts, a affected person got here in with osteomyelitis, an infection of the bone marrow. “That foot was like a well-performed barbecue,” said Alex Homolind, 20, another medical volunteer.
“We’ve had a few coronary heart attacks, saved just a few lives,” stated Maxine Dade, 17, a self-styled “street medic.” Despite the fact that Dade was greater than a couple of years away from a medical diploma, patients did not hold that against her. “There are loads of people that come to see us who have not seen a doctor in years,” she mentioned, “who would not 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 before Dade was born. Stead got here down to Zuccotti after seeing it on the information, and upon arriving, he volunteered for the medical team.
“I simply consider within the cause,” he stated. “I believe there needs to be more equity and distribution of money, and extra health care for anybody. It must be one thing individuals ought to be able to anticipate, because the U.S. actually has the money.”
The evening 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, the place one patient was being treated and one other protester with coronary heart problems was in search of safety.
In accordance with Kostora, police dragged him and the girl with coronary heart problems across the street and threw them to the bottom. Dr. Stead stayed behind to attend the other patient, at the same time as cops slashed open the medical tents, he mentioned.
“I went up to every excessive-ranking officer I might find and instructed them we now have patients in there, we have medical data in there, and they cannot — it’s unlawful for them to enter with no court docket order, and they only ignored me,” Kostora recounted a month later.
Since the raid, Kostora has targeted on “rebuilding.” His team has been making the rounds to sites all through the town the place Occupy protesters have gathered. This Saturday, they will debut 4 “cellular clinics,” which Kostora described as suitcases of medical tools that the workforce can use during demonstrations. Other plans are in improvement for a more permanent, registered clinic “that can supply free well being care to everybody, 100 p.c,” and a medical statement crew, at present in search of volunteers, that may attend protests to reply to — and document — protesters’ injuries.
On the whole, “I feel that the management within the Occupy motion is beginning to come back out,” Kostora mentioned. “We don’t have a park to handle anymore, so now we will actually concentrate on the place we take the movement.”
But Kostora mentioned Friday that he is kind of run via his savings, now counting on OWS meals and the generosity Stone Island Clothes UK of buddies. “I don’t actually require a lot,” he stated, “besides dog food.”
He is been searching for jobs but says his work with the OWS medical staff is a full-time place.
“Do not assume I am going again to New Mexico soon,” Kostora added, “or anywhere for that matter. I’m too deep.”
‘People AREN’T GOING TO Stop’
Throughout from the medical tents, at the center of the park, was the folks’s kitchen, run virtually entirely on an impressive stockpile of donated provides and a few money from the finance working group.
The kitchen feed 1000’s each day, said volunteer Patrick O’Black, 24, back in November, seated on an overturned bucket within the kitchen while a large man — “Just Ice, from Jamaica, Queens, baby” — washed dishes in plastic tubs.
A truck driver from Morristown, N.J.O’Black rapidly grew to become enmeshed in Occupy Wall Street after seeing the same reviews of the Brooklyn Bridge arrests that mobilized Roy Sharkey. His job has him on call around the clock to make deliveries throughout the tri-state area — “Principally, I just take heed to NPR all day,” he said — however had been able to spend most subsequent nights within the park.
“I went from, ‘I’m gonna stay the night time’ to ‘I am gonna stay right here,'” he said.
Earlier than 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 so they spent the remainder of the night time watching streaming video of the melee in New York.
“We knew the raids would happen ultimately,” O’Black said. “The state responds to any risk with violence. We will see this repeating all through trendy historical past.”
As soon as the marchers completed their 240-mile trek to the nation’s capital, some extended their route another roughly seven-hundred miles to Atlanta.
Within the wake of continued crackdowns at other Occupy websites, some of these protesters took the raid as a problem, pledging to “occupy the street” in lieu of an encampment.
O’Black, however, returned to Zuccotti, and has taken half in Occupy Our Houses and other “day of motion” events.
“My position within the park now may be very similar,” he mentioned last week. “I nonetheless work, delivering clothes and food to those in want. We just haven’t got a house base right now.”
Wherever it finally goes, O’Black expressed confidence that the Occupy motion will endure. “Folks aren’t going to cease being upset about the current state of affairs in this nation,” he said, echoing his call to action from a month earlier: “Why would you probably sit there and let issues get worse