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Page 2bostonoccupier.com | Te Boston Occupier - Free PressDec. 5th, 2011
Occupy WorcesterStays Mobile
By Mason Weiser
Since its humble beginnings on Wall Street, occu-pations have sprung up in cities and towns all overthe country, and Worcester, MA is no exception. Worcester saw its rst GA on October 9th, and inthe nearly two months o occupation they have hadmore than their air share o trouble.In its short history, Occupy Worcester has dealt with meddling bureaucrats, snowstorms, two evic-tions, and more than twenty arrests. Te move-ment’s harried lie has orced occupiers to ocuson ensuring that it has a uture, instead o actively advancing their political goals “I have noticed thatsome people eel the group is on the deensive,” saidoccupier Jon Noble o the mood in camp ollowingthe several evictions Occupy Worcester has aced.Occupy Worcester began with a GA on theCommon right across rom City Hall, and there itmade its rst encampment. Te police ousted theoccupiers several days later, on the grounds thatpublic parks in Worcester close at 10 PM. Tey then moved to Quinsigamond Lake Park, wherethey weathered the October snowstorm. However,since the new camp was on private land whoseowners were increasingly uninterested in having anoccupation in their park, they were orced to seek another place to stay.Many voices in the camp wanted to move back to the Common where the movement began. OnNovember 7th they held a GA on the Commonthat attracted over a hundred people, including Worcester Mayor Joe O’Brien. According to a pressrelease rom the movement’s website,O’Brien expressed his support orthe movement, but warned that it was the intention o the police toarrest anyone who stayed in the park ater 10PM.In true Occupy ashion, the GA decided to take the park anyway.Tey began arriving the nextevening: crowds o dozens swelledto hundreds over the coming hours,the media converged, and tents werepitched. Te police arrived shortly ater 10 PM and blockaded thesurrounding area. According to thesame press release, 17 occupiers whoreused to leave were arrested, as wellas three others who had not beenoccupying the park. With the campaign to take back theCommon lost, Occupy Worcesterdecided to take Lincoln Square, which sits at the intersection o o Route 9, Route 70, and several othermajor roads through Worcester.Tough the square could not accom-modate tents, it served as a visiblebase o operations or the movement.But even though there were occu-piers pacing the sidewalk with signsat all hours o the day, LincolnSquare was not a home or the movement until theowners o the nearby abandoned Vocational HighSchool agreed to allow the movement to use theirparking lot.During GA on November 29th, the news camethat the board o directors that oversaw the highschool would be accepting tenants into the buildingsoon, and so the occupiers would have to leave.Tey have yet to decide where to go next.Some members o Occupy Worcester believethat because o the requent evictions taking up agreat deal o the camps energy, ocus has movedmore towards the continued existence o the campthan the purposes or which it was ounded. “Ipersonally hope that there are more proposals ordirect actions soon,” said Noble, who was broughtinto the movement ater joining one o its marches.“I think one o the big concerns right now isnumbers, there have been more o us in the past.”
Sink Conscated By Police,Puzzling Occupiers
By Aliza Howitt and D.J. Buschini
Te Boston Police Department conscateda kitchen sink rom the Occupy Boston campat Dewey Square this past Tursday night,prompting a clash between police and protesters.Te move came as a shock to many occupiers, who had already gained approval rom the BostonDepartment o Health or the portable device which, they explained, would have been used toimprove overall sanitation. When police ocers arrived at Dewey Squareto seize the sink, occupiers surrounded theirvehicles. An activist used a call-and-response ormo communication called the ‘human mic’ toproclaim, “Tis ocer has told us he needs to takethe sink out o here. I’ve asked him what law he isenorcing. He has not said what law. He has only said we need to take it out o here.” Another voice asserted that the Occupy movement peaceully “stands[s] up or inalienablehuman rights,” and urged listeners to act in thatspirit even i met with police orce.Dozens o police deployed to Dewey Sq. helpedto remove the sink. Several ocers proceeded tocarry and load it rom the encampment’s ood tentinto a police van, but an estimated 75 occupierslinked arms around the vehicle and resisted ortwenty minues beore nally surrendering the sink to authorities.In addition to the sink, three human beings werealso taken into custody. wo were charged withdisorderly conduct and the third or assaultinga police ocer. Tere were also several claimso police violence towards various occupiersincluding Suzi Pietroluongo, who was punchedand stepped on. Pietroluongo holds, however, thatthe incident may have been accidental.Occupiers were granted a victory at a courthearing earlier that day, when Suolk SuperiorCourt Judge Frances McIntyre chose to extendthe temporary restraining order against the City o Boston. Her nal decision will be made by December 15th. Until then, the Boston PoliceDepartment is orbidden rom evicting theDewey Square encampment; a premature raid would risk contempt o court. A press release romOccupy Boston claims that the conscation o property also conficts with the ruling: “Te orderalso prevents ocials rom removing tents andpersonal property.”However, the Boston Police Department main-tains that “building materials” are not allowed inthe camp. When questioned about the term, oneocer said this included “anything you buy atHome Depot.”One o Occupy Boston’s main concerns at thehearing Tursday was that police had prevented –and, at times, sabotaged – attempts at improvingsaety and living conditions within the camp. Witness Kristopher Eric Martin testied that thepolice had repeatedly conscated winterizationand saety equipment like tents, insulating mate-rials, and blankets. Earlier in the week, BostonPolice chose to conscate a wooden pallet that was brought to Dewey Square, citing saety issues.Te Occupation utilizes wooden pallets in orderto orm its major walkways between tents, and thepallet being brought in was intended to replace abroken one.News o both Wednesday’s pallet incidentand Tursday’s sink arce spread rapidly on theinternet, where a number o witter users werequick to mock what they viewed as a patently absurd aair. A photo o Police Lieutenant JohnPike––now inamous or his actions againstprotesters at Occupy UC Davis––has emerged in which the ocer pepper-sprays a sink.Police did not say whether or not bail would begranted so that the object in custody could returnto its rightul owners.
University Reuses Dialogue withOccupy Harvard
By Aliza Howitt
Members o Occupy Harvard may haveavoided the kind o police violence thatcrushed the encampment at UC Berkeley onNovember 9, but Harvard’s student occupiersnonetheless have had to cope with subtlerorms o attack rom their administration.Te night that tents sprung up in Harvard Yard,Harvard literally locked its gates to the public.“Tere was a 5 to 10 minute period where we werepushing on the gate, and they just closed it onus,” said Will Whitham, a Harvard sophomore.“It was a charged moment, symbolic becauseit was Harvard shutting out all these people.”Many who wanted to participate in the Occupy Harvard community were prevented rom joiningthat night’s encampment, including studentsrom other schools, alumni, employees, andunaliated residents o Cambridge and Boston.Tat night Dean o Students Suzy Nelson cameout to speak with the General Assembly. “Tedean wanted us to move to a place that was ‘lessdisruptive,’” said Whitham o Nelson’s commentsto the GA.But the students voted to remain in the Yard, where their tents would remain in the public eye.Nelson agreed to attend the next day’s meeting,saying she would bring reshmen to voice theiropinion on where the encampment should be. Buton November 10, Nelson was a no-show.wo weeks later, PhD student Jennier Sheehy Skengton took part in a Dudley Housediscussion orum about Occupy Harvard, whichEvelynn Hammonds, the Dean o HarvardCollege, had committed to attending. However,Skengton said, the dean “pulled out the day o,not citing any reasons.” Members o the panel were told that “she’d been asked to pull out by theadministration,” Skengton continued, “so [theMaster o Dudley House] let an empty chair atthe panel discussion to symbolize the administra-tion’s ailure to turn up.”Te same day, Harvard President Drew Faustsent an email to the Harvard community, urtherexplaining her decision to close the gates, claimingthat she was primarily concerned with campussaety. Skengton questioned Faust’s explanationsince the lock-out had not “prevented the physicaland verbal abuse that we’ve been receiving romcertain drunk students every night. No security guard has ever done anything about that.”Harassing behaviors included swinging branches,throwing eggs, and trying to uproot the tents.Faust also used the email to express her supporto ree speech and cited her own eorts to engagein discussion with the movement. Skengton,however, paints a dierent picture, in which theonly interaction with the administration was aten-minute interval in the President’s oce hours, which any student can claim. “Te act that she was gloating about this, as i it was her eorts toreach out, was quite comical,” Skengton said.Despite a steady stream o petty harassmentrom a portion o the student body, there has beena signicant show o support or Harvard’s occu-piers. Te Undergraduate Student Council votedunanimously on a resolution to support “the righto students to peaceully protest without violentresponse,” and almost 1000 members o theHarvard community signed a petition in supporto Occupy Harvard, including, as o November20, 178 Harvard proessors.Occupy Harvard has attracted the nationalnotice and the attention o some prominent gures.For instance, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalistChris Hedges, a longtime oreign correspondentor Te New York imes and weekly columnistor ruthdig, counts himsel a supporter. Havingbeen ormally invited to give a lecture at Harvard,Hedges opted to spend the night o November 28in protesters’ tents instead o the room bookedor him at the swanky Harvard Faculty Club. Another ally o Occupy Harvard has been NobelPeace prize nominee Ahmed Maher, an Egyptianrevolutionary and the co-ounder o the April 6 Youth Movement. Unlike Hedges, Maher wasnever even allowed in the Yard. Denied entry, hechose to present his lecture to an audience splitin hal by the gates, a situation rie with symbolicsignicance.Maher’s short lecture drew on his experience asa youth leader. He emphasized the importance o unity among young people or the achievemento real democracy and social justice. Hedges, inhis talk, spoke on economic issues and pointedly criticized Harvard’s role in the economic collapse.“Harvard exists essentially to eed the plutocracy,”he said, standing just outside the locked gates. “Itharbors within its walls some o the most capri-cious and corrupt gures: Laurence Summers,Robert Rubin, and others, who are responsiblenot only or the meltdown o wealth within theUnited States – $17 trillion virtually evaporating,$40 trillion in worldwide wealth … [but] whilethey were at it, they trashed one third o theHarvard endowment.”o air these and other concerns, Skengton joined in publishing an open letter to the Harvardpresident via the Harvard Crimson, the student-run newspaper. Te letter also aimed to stimulatediscussion among the student body on such issuesas the lack o transparency in Harvard’s $32 billionendowment and the absence o clear ethical stan-dards or its investment policies. Since then, theauthors o the letter have been contacted by theHarvard administration with requests to schedulea meeting. Members o the Occupy Harvardmovement hope that ace-to-ace dialogue willsoon lead to a re-opening o the gates and a new commitment to transparency and economic justice at Harvard.
Occupy Worcester protesters march on October 15th, 2011, as a part o a global day o action that drew millionsinto the streets. (Photo: Mike Benedetti)Bill Lewis helps out at Occupy Boston’s dishwashing , station. (Photo: ess Schean/Activestills.org)