The Corner

Children of the Revolution

Yesterday Patrick shared this about the OWS protesters:

‘I’ve been here for 12 days, and I’ve put on 5 pounds,’ he said, sitting on the ground in front of a handmade sign that said ‘Class War Ahead.’ ‘I’m eating better than I do at home.’

All he had to do was amble toward a ramshackle cluster of tables and boxes in the middle of the park and, without paying a cent, grab a slice of pizza or a warm slab of homemade vegan casserole. Last Thursday he had encountered ‘a bunch of Katz’s Deli sandwiches,’ he said. ‘That was good.’

[. . .]

Tom Hintze, 24, was volunteering in Zuccotti Park last week. ‘Just now there was a big UPS delivery,’ he said. ‘We don’t know where it comes from. It just appears, and we eat it.’

We don’t know where it comes from. It just appears, and we eat it. What a perfect synecdoche for a worldview. It puts me in mind of writing a pamphlet entitled “I, Vegan Casserole,” but truth be told, I don’t want to know where those things come from.

Now, this morning the news that the eviction of the occupiers at (privately owned) Zuccotti Park — that their filth might be pressure-washed away — has been temporarily postponed, in part because of a frantic, last minute cleanup effort launched by the OWSers themselves:

Around 5 a.m., a collection of mops and brooms had stood in a plastic bin on Liberty Street. Nearby were 27 buckets of soapy water. A woman handed out white rubber gloves to more than a dozen people. They walked to the west end of the park, at Trinity Place, and announced they were going to begin a sweep, picking up and discarding objects that did not belong to anyone.

[. . .]

Overflowing garbage cans attracted rodents, he wrote, gas-fired generators posed a fire hazard, bad smells abounded, the lack of toilets made things worse and complaints were mounting from disgruntled people who live and work nearby.

“In light of this and the ongoing trespassing of the protesters,” Mr. Clark wrote, “we are again requesting the assistance of the New York City Police Department to help clear the park.”

The protesters feared that Mr. Bloomberg’s announcement that the park would be cleaned was a prelude to their being banned permanently. An appeal quickly went out on Facebook and other sites calling for brooms, mops and various cleaning supplies as well as volunteers willing to donate elbow grease. After cleaning the place themselves, the protesters planned to form a human chain around the park to try to keep police officers from entering. Supporters had been urged to go to the park at 6 a.m. Friday “to defend the occupation from eviction.”

They don’t pay for their meals and they don’t know where they come from. They don’t own Zuccotti park, don’t pay rent there, and act as if the request — from the the people that do own the park — that they clean up their mess is a totalitarian imposition. Finally, the bare minimum (a measly dozen, according to the story, among the scores) rouse themselves at the last possible minute to a half-assed cleanup job. 

This all reminds me of nothing so much as myself, age 12, “occupying” my bedroom, which was and is privately owned by one Mrs. Foster.


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