Occup Baltimore: Days 27 – 28

Many commenters on Facebook complained about the quality of
the above video; personally, I couldn’t tell the difference between that and
their usual GA feed video. The part I disliked was that they essentially spent
23 minutes proving everything the right wing says about them.

The supposed issue at hand, or at least one of them, is
whether Security has the power to remove troublesome individuals from the
“Occupied” area. When can a matter be handled “internally” (and by whom) and
when do they bring the evil protest-hating cops?

But first, you have to establish what “trouble” is and how
does one recognize when someone is starting it. Stealing is bad, sexual assault
is bad, and yelling about “jobless commies who don’t belong here” is apparently
also bad. Sadly, these rather obvious observations raise more questions than
answers.

No-one advocates rape of any sort, but how do you “steal”
from someone who doesn’t believe in “personal property?” Why would get up in
the middle of a discussion about theft in the encampment to criticize the
finance committee for storing the group’s money off site? More importantly, why
does a group of people currently “Occupying” a public site without a permit in
order to protect free speech trying to remove someone who dares not only to
disagree with their politics but remind them that the city has declared their
Occupation “illegal?”

The local Fox station did a story tonight about drug
use and reported sexual assault
over the weekend which was not reported to
police until today – presumably after pressure from Security to keep quiet. Said
reporter was shoved, and had her camera blocked by security members shouting
“NO CAMERAS!” The media team has a similar policy of attacking anyone who
disagrees with them in print\blogs by not only posting hateful comments on the
bottom of said story, but also posting their picture and all available contact
information onto their Facebook site with calls for supporters to “send them a
message.”

This report caught the attention of Mayor who sent out a
press release criticizing the alleged cover-up, and sending someone over to
document conditions in the encampment.

The movement says that these issues of drug use, theft and
other homelessness are simply part of urban life. They existed long before the
Occupation, and thus there is “nothing the group can do” to protect against
such crimes though they will do “everything they can to help police” (whom they
don’t trust) in their investigation.

However, some members have said that since the security team
“cannot guarantee the safety” of overnight campers than maybe the group should
either disband or radically shift how it deals with itself internally.

The next day the discussion continued to be about either
disbandment or options for reform (like limiting protests to daytime hours).
Unfortunately, the video feed was cut off at that point (“dead battery”) so I’m
not sure what other options were offered other than better tents and fairer
shifts.

Person had to be ejected from camp for disrupting the GA. It
is not clear from the 0video what he was doing wrong, but you could clearly see
a man walking off camera and hear a pop tab open with several members turning
around to stare at him before banding together and telling him to leave a few
minutes later. Naturally, the video feed is once again cut off at this point.

The video returns briefly for the group discussion of who is
“allowed” to be part of the group and that Occupiers need to start telling
people who not contribute regularly enough to “get the fuck out.”

This sort of petty (and sadly pervasive) “I
contribute more than you do
” or “only people who stay overnight can call
themselves Occupiers
” attitudes just piss me the fuck off.  Get off your high horse and find some other
group more worthy of your scorn, true democracy – which is what this movement
supposedly about – is about giving voice to ALL people not just those who have
nothing better to do than spend it sleeping in a public park like the homeless
people they’re trying to keep out.

The disenfranchised are just as much a part of the 99% as
the seemingly “normal” people from TU, Fell’s Point or Charles Village.

In fact, as a gay adult with Autism* I know what
it’s like to be an “undesirable” and to have people either yell and curse just
because they can (see here, here and here)
or simply dismiss me out of hand (like Cullen saying I wasn’t worth talking to
because I was just “a freelancer”).

In fact, the reason – the ONLY reason – I started
Park\Mosher Media in the first place was because employers weren’t comfortable
hiring “people like (me).” I can interpret that statement many ways, but I’m
going to defer to what my marketing professor, Ian Scharf said:

“If your company practices sexual harassment, racial
discrimination or condones illegal activity,
than you really don’t want to work for them in the first place.”

I still support many of the demands of OWS, but seeing local
members bullying\slandering reporters and watching GA meetings with people
talking about excluding members for not meeting arbitrary quotas and whether
Security over (or under) stepped their boundaries in dealing with this weekend’s
events makes me happy that I never actually “joined” their movement.

It’s okay, they’d have probably rejected my application anyway.

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Categories: Baltimore, editorials, news, protests | Leave a comment

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