Occupy Baltimore seems to be on a bit of a reflexive kick lately with not one but two events celebrating Sunday’s two month anniversary at McKeldin Square. Why not? A lot can happen in two months – heck, I was fired from Mickey-D’s after only one – but their list of achievements consists almost entirely of “not being evicted yet.”
This isn’t to diminish the marches, rallies and art shows they have held (mostly off-site and organized through Big Labor, kind of ironic since OB is protesting high unemployment rates). It is important to have some concrete events for people to meet up with like-minded individuals and express their dissatisfaction with a system so obviously stacked against them. It’s also a LOT easier to get people to commit to one afternoon rally than for an “indefinite protest” (especially since most people don’t have “indefinite” free time to give to your cause).
In fact, the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Brew and even Kalle Lazne, publisher of Adbusters magazine and the chief instigator of Occupy Wall Street, have called for a “change in tactics” for the young people in the square – even OB supporters like Prof. Lester Spence of JHU, have stated that the movement has gotten “stale.” No-one is saying that OWS (or even OB) should disband – however, Lazn does suggest:
“We declare ‘victory’ and throw a Party… perhaps the 3 month anniversary of OWS on December 17th…and invite the world to join us.
“Then we clean up, scale back and most of us go indoors while the die-hards hold the camps. We use the winter to brainstorm, network, build momentum so that we may emerge rejuvenated with fresh tactics, philosophies, and a myriad projects ready to rumble next Spring.”
As Spence said in the above link, the Occupy movement isn’t about any one particular space – that’s why we have satellite movements in DC, Baltimore, Philadelphia and other cities around the world – but rather it is an idea. You can break up an encampment, but you cannot break an idea and the more you try to do so the more momentum it acquires.
As the Brew pointed out in their piece, the momentum behind this idea can be used for a variety of social causes such as: fixing schools, monitoring city hall, or continuing their fight against the Baltimore Development Corporation. These are all worthy suggestions, and I hope OB uses their winter downtime to pursue them… at least, until their next “project” is ready to rumble.
In the meantime, there is nothing else going on in the Inner Harbor on the 17th, but if the local Occupiers go through with Lasn’s suggestion, it’ll be one hell of a party – especially since they’ve already got music.