3:28pm Edit: Hey everyone. Several people have emailed (and a few commented below) that I went too far by questioning Pike’s motives for the City issuing the eviction notice today. You make a good point, it was too far and I apologize, both to Dan Pike and to his supporters. I thought the timing was clever, to avoid backlash, but that is conjecture. Thank you for the feedback, everyone.
As of 9AM tomorrow, the Occupy Bellingham camp is getting evicted. Here is their press release about it and here is their website. They are organizing some non-violent protest to their eviction tomorrow and I hope, for both sides, that it stays non-violent and is defused in a positive manner. Two things jump out at me right away.
First of all, that Dan Pike decided to wait till after the election before evicting them was a clever choice for his career. When he was touting himself as the progressive candidate, it wouldn’t have looked good to be throwing out the Occupy Movement. So savvy political choice there to dodge both the election and the Christmas holiday. Now the Parks Director James King (who was put in place after the previous Parks Director was fired over the on-going employee Moonlighting issue), cited “a number of complaints from the public” as the main reason for evicting the encampment, but again, I question the timing. Wouldn’t all those complaints have been in much earlier when the downtown was awash with Christmas shoppers? Why now, when less people are in town and fewer are paying attention are they trying to evict the occupiers? See above
The other issue I have is why are the occupiers still there? Yes, yes to draw attention to economic injustice. But wouldn’t it make sense to Occupy a financial institution? Or something directly related to your cause rather than camping out in a public park. A public park, meaning it is owned by the 99%. Look, as I stated earlier, I sympathize with your motives but I question your tactics. The original Occupy movement was fantastic, remember their techniques? First, the initial Occupy Wall Street; take the people who have been damaged by the economic crash (i.e. the 99%) and occupy the space surrounding the 1% to draw attention to their destructive practices. Straight forward, easily digestible by the not-protest-prone citizens of our fine republic. Next was the “Move your money” day where you urged everyone to move their accounts from corporate banks to credit unions. Again a direct action, easily connected to your message and offering a positive solution. Now, I feel the message has gotten lost. I feel it is time to declare victory (you have everyone talking about your issues, success!) and move on to the next tactic. By dragging this out, you run the risk of alienating your allies and losing focus, and there is nothing the 1%-ers would like better than to dismiss you. Don’t let it happen.
So my plea is that this gets resolved peacefully. The Occupiers pick up camp, do a thorough clean and figure out what’s next to put pressure on the 1%. I know that this moment was not your choice, it was Dan Pike’s, but it is time to make the most of it.