If you were worried that government has become so gridlocked and moribund that it is no longer capable of acting swiftly, look no further than the response to the Occupy movement and restore your faith. Witness the lightening speed with which one community after another has passed ordinances to crack down on what must surely be the most perilous looming threat to our economic and national security: urban camping.
Occupy Boulder is the latest encampment to receive such thoughtful civic oversight. Starting on January 3, a new rule proposed by City Manager Jane Brautigan would close all public spaces between 11pm and 5am, but only for people who aren’t in motion. You can run through the park, you just can’t stop apparently. Brautigan claims this has nothing to do with the occupy encampment. No doubt it is borne of the same sudden concern for “safety and sanitation” that is currently gripping the nation.
Occupy Boulder is encamped at its third location, the lawn of the municipal building at 1777 Broadway. It has become home to many who left Occupy Denver after its numerous police raids. They’ve collected nearly 1000 signatures of support and reached out to people across the political spectrum (including local tea party members) for help in opposing the plan, which just coincidentally shuts them down.
There will be a town hall meeting to discuss the city’s proposal this Wednesday, December 28, from 5pm to 9pm. We’ll be sending out an email to readers in the area asking them to attend, and if you live near Boulder, please consider showing up to support them.
Occupy Boulder is the last encampment we know of in Colorado, and in places where
Homeland Security local officials have managed to shut down all of the occupations, it has been a devastating blow to the entire community. The loss of that constant visual reminder, and the vigil taking place there, demoralizes everyone. Donations drop off to almost nothing, and despite what people tell themselves they never seem to be able to “do more” in terms of activism once they don’t have to maintain an encampment. They wind up with shifting GA locations, people drift away, and it becomes very difficult to overcome inertia and motivate people to action. In short, shutting down the occupations does everything Homeland Security wants it to do, which is why no expense has been spared to militarize local police forces.
It is extremely critical that people turn out in their communities when these kinds of threats manifest, when it’s still possible to turn things around. Even a handful of committed people at a town can have a big impact.
The occupiers are out there freezing for all of us, giving hope to people in their communities and inspiring us to believe that real change is possible. If you’re in the Boulder area, please try to attend the Wednesday town hall meeting and show your support. The encampments are the lone bright spot in an otherwise bleak political and economic landscape, and if we sit back and allow them to be extinguished, I do not know that we will get another chance. We are remarkably lucky that the dissent which inevitably appears at times of economic hardship has taken such a constructive and positive form. The next time around we might not be so fortunate.
Town Hall meeting organized by members of Occupy Boulder on the city proposal to close parks and open space after 11 pm, this Wednesday at the Nomad Theater, 1410 Quince Ave, from 5pm-11pm.