Occupy Boston: “We might have been evicted, but we shall not be moved.”

by mkleit

Occupy Wall Street - Boston

Two days ago, in a reversal of prior claims to support OWS, the Mayor of Boston threatened to evict Occupy Boston. In response, supporters from across Massachusetts and the country gathered at Occupied Dewey Square:

They came by bus from New York and DC. They carpooled from Providence and flew in from Chicago. They drove from Worcester, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine. Last night, demonstrating how clearly Occupy Boston’s message has been heard and understood, two thousand people traveled from near and far to defend Dewey Square. They painted signs and spoke in General Assembly. They chanted and sang, “Which Side Are You On?” six times, at least, as a brass brand blew steam into the frozen December night. They rallied at midnight, making circles two deep around tents, as the Veterans for Peace stood guard, white flags snapping in the wind. They dressed as bankers so that bankers might be arrested for once. And when the news came that no raid was coming, no eviction imminent, they danced in the streets to celebrate.

The police did eventually come. They waited days, hoping people would stop paying attention. Like previous raids in other cities, they made their move like cowards in the pre-dawn shadows at 5AM this morning. The city used bulldozers to destroy what had been home to hundreds. At least 45 peaceful protesters were arrested while linking arms to nonviolently protect their homes and their right to free speech. When one female police officer began to cry, her male superiors yelled and berated her.

Adding to suspicions that the Boston police and city officials sought to hide their actions from the public, police reportedly enforced a media blackout. Many officers were seen covering their badge numbers. According to Occupy Boston, “Credentialed press, citizen journalists, academic researchers, and Occupy Boston media members were repeatedly corralled and moved to surrounding areas 50 feet away or more, prohibiting many from thoroughly covering the raid.” Livestreamers, medics, and legal observers were also among those targeted and arrested.

Boston, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York, and many other cities have now experienced nearly identical raids. Almost always, city officials claim to act in the public interest, citing “health and safety” or “sanitation” as their reason to suppress Occupy. But we know this is a lie. Occupy Boston alone distributed many thousands of meals, lent books, provided shelter for those who had nowhere else to go, and delivered services that the government has refused to provide because they are too busy providing tax breaks to the rich and bailouts to the banks and corporations.

An Occupation is not a hazard; it is a haven. If city governments cared about sanitation, they would not spend thousands of dollars to evict homeless Occupiers. Instead, they could use that money to open more shelters for the homeless, many of whom must live in squalor every day. If the politicians and police are so concerned about health, instead of prioritizing the arrest of peaceful protesters who have harmed no one, why don’t they make providing real universal health care their priority?

We know what this is. It is a crackdown; a coordinated attack on the 99% movement for social and economic equality. And we will not back down. As Occupy Boston and many others have said:

You cannot evict an idea whose time has come. Boston’s Occupiers will persist in rejecting a world created by and for the 1%. We might have been evicted, but we shall not be moved. We remain invested in the future of our movement. […] We are the 99%, and we are no longer silent.

Occupy Movement in Boston

Two weeks ago, a federal judge blocked a settlement between the Securities and Exchange Commission and Citigroup, saying that he could not be sure that it was “fair, adequate, or in the public interest.” Last week, on the same day that Occupy Boston appeared in court, the District Attorney announced she was suing the banks for fraudulent foreclosure practices. Commentators across the political spectrum are thinking anew about unemployment and pensions. A blocked settlement, a lawsuit, a renewed conversation – these are not our goals, but it is not too much to call them symptoms of our success, surface indications of a fundamental change we are building. We are not surprised. We have learned over the past ten weeks just how powerful the people can be. We have come together across vast differences of experience, brought face to face by the belief that our collective capacity is greater than has been shown, that democracy is not exhausted by stale puppetry sponsored by finance, and that we can do better. And now, last night only most recently, we are united by the concrete knowledge that not only can we do better, we are. We are winning.


Freedom to Speak, Respectfully.

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