The list of Occupy encampments across the country drops to 62 this week, down from 66 on December 28. Surprisingly few have been lost to cold weather — far more are the victims of quick & dirty legislation passed by local city councils that have ignored homeless issues for decades, but are suddenly consumed with an overwhelming concern for “public safety.”
I’m actually surprised at the resilience of many of the occupations as cold weather arrives. Places like Occupy Buffalo and Occupy Rochester that have been among the hardest hit by cold weather seem to be thriving. This is our first report of the new year:
- City council members want Occupy Des Moines to leave by January 31. The occupiers voted on Friday night to stay. The OccupyDSMers are made of tough stuff and we’re looking forward to helping them out.
- Occupy Providence is disbanding their 24 hour encampment after the city agreed to open a homeless shelter for the winter, but they will keep a booth in the park during the daytime. They move to the “Occupations with Daytime Tents or Booths” list. As one of the occupiers wrote me, “I’ve been out of work for over 18 months & now that the temperatures are dropping, I find I don’t have the necessary gear.” It’s a shame that occupiers who would otherwise stick it out are having to leave for lack of cold weather supplies. Occupy Supply is ramping up its distribution of arctic-grade cold weather gear, but if you’ve got an occupation nearby, please consider stopping by and asking if you can help. Their constant presence galvanizes everyone in the community around issues like foreclosure, poverty and eroding first amendment rights, and when they fall it’s a blow to everyone.
- Despite the Christmas raid, Occupy Scranton is still maintaining a 24 hour tent in courthouse square while the ACLU negotiates on their behalf with the city. The city would still like to see them go, so they move on to the “threatened with eviction ” list.
- Occupy Everett folds up its tents but will maintain a covered meeting area at the courthouse plaza.
- Occupy Chattanooga is opposing the unanimous vote by the county commission to prohibit tents, chairs, tables and other structures erected for overnight sleeping from county property. The city says they will enforce the rules, but protesters say the new rules violate the state’s Open Meetings Act, since they were not on the commission agenda nor considered at the meeting that set the agenda. Says OC’s attorney David Veazey, “Part of what I think the Occupy people are protesting is the good ol’ boy network in this county where they can just do whatever they want.”
- Occupy Missoula is likewise facing eviction based on shifty, hastily-passed legislation by Missoula County. Who says government can’t move quickly any more?
- Occupy Freedom Plaza is moving indoors to two houses they will organize as collectives. They move on to the “indoors” list. Likewise Occupy Tulsa.
- Occupy Boulder shut down courtesy of one of those hastily decreed new rules by the city manager.
- Occupy Portland ME cleaning up and re-occupying Lincoln Park after being on the receiving end of one of those “for the good of public health” quickie camping bans.
- Occupy Louisville’s permit ran out, and the city says they will issue a new one that prohibits tents. Protesters are challenging the decision in court, claiming their free speech is being abridged. The case moves to federal court.
- Swooning media love doll and walking late-night TV joke Chris Christie moves quickly to adopt a new rule that would shut down Occupy Trenton. (Can I make a special request that in all these court battles, attorneys ask for any documents from any agency of the federal government offering advice on how to evict the occupiers? Having witnessed the mass freak-out on the part of the Justice Department when lawyers in the Dan Choi trial did that, I highly recommend it.)
- Occupy Winston-Salem, come on down! You’re the latest lucky duck to inspire a quick-and-dirty ordinance that just coincidentally results in your eviction, courtesy of the banal and patronizing city councilman Dan Besse! Could you please ask Mr. Besse if he’d like to comply with a subpoena to turn over any documents, notes, transcripts, phone records or other communications he or any member of the city council has received from the federal government, any of its agencies, employees or assigns regarding the drafting of this new law? Thanks, you’re dolls. Let us know how we can help.
- Occupy Birmingham members move onto the lawn of Steven and Maurita Ward’s house to protest their impending foreclosure.
- Occupy Lancaster PA moves to new digs. Every one of them. Yeah team.
- Occupy Las Cruces and Occupy El Paso protest the 18th anniversary of NAFTA at the Santa Fe bridge. Love the sign: “NAFTA: the giant sucking sound of jobs.” Thanks for remembering. If anyone is in touch with either occupation, we’d love to be in contact with them. Terrific action.
- Occupy Newfoundland is not going anywhere. Can we have a moratorium on the “no more occupations in Canada” stories?
- Occupy Orlando launches a campaign to amend Florida’s constitution to end corporate personhood.
- Occupy Bloomington evicted on Saturday. From their statement: “[The] cowardly move [of sheriff Mark Kruzan] to “evict” Occupiers highlights what side “progressive Democratic” administrations are on in the struggle against the 1%. That struggle will continue, and, indeed, will intensify.” As #OS liaison John Sherman wrote, Mitch Daniels wanted them out of the way and on the sidelines as he wages his battle to turn Indiana into a right-to-work state. Hello building trades unions, little help?
- Occupy Monterey’s permit gets extended to January 20.
- Occupy Murfreesboro takes down their tents this week, but it hopes to put up an information booth in the near future.
- Occupy Chapel Hill calls it a day.
- Occupy Honolulu evicted.
- Occupy Fredericton evicted.
- Charlotte city council moves to shut down Occupy Charlotte so they won’t offend the delicate eyeballs of Democratic Convention attendees. “If approved, the ordinances would essentially end the Occupy Charlotte movement at old City Hall, where left-wing protesters have camped for several months” says the Charlotte Observer.
- Occupy Colorado Springs regroups and pitches tents on the lawn of Bob Crouse, a homeowner who is facing eviction. The action is part of Occupy Our Homes.
- Good news for Occupy Asheville: the city council committee rejects a proposed camping ban. The entire council will vote on Tuesday.
- Occupy Orange County says they will end their encampment at the Irvine Civic Center on January 11, and move to another location. If anyone knows folks there, please tell them to get in touch with us, we don’t have anyone there and we’d love to help them out.
- Occupy Eugene wins the week’s irony award in a slam dunk: In the midst of the austerity era, the city of Eugene can still afford to erect a permanent wrought iron fence around the home of a distraught city council member who cast a vote to forbid fires at the Occupy Eugene encampment, which was raided and shut down before Christmas. “George Poling says his family is unnerved and some neighbors appalled, such as a family with two small children out looking at Christmas lights who saw five masked women demonstrating topless in front of his house.” Poling equated the topless protesters with the 1994 drive-by shooting at a Eugene synagogue by white supremacists, and demanded the city pop for redecorating his home. Occupy Eugene asked for a shelter for the homeless.
- Occupy Salt Lake City is one of the occupations that has successfully regrouped and come back strong after being evicted. The photo above was taken by Occupy Supply liaison Gary M. when he delivered the latest shipment of Occupy Supply goods. Seth Neely of OSL was interviewed by the Desert News this week: “He says he dropped out of college so he could sleep out in the cold, quote Thomas Paine, resemble a John Steinbeck character, and spread this word.” I love those guys. A shipment of -10 degree sleeping bags is on its way.
If you would like to update us with information about your occupation, or have a 24 hour encampment that needs supplies, let us know at members AT firedoglake DOT com.
Occupy Supply is getting barraged with requests for cold weather gear from occupations across the country as cold weather hits this week. Please consider donating to Occupy Supply. 100% of all donations go to purchasing and distributing supplies to occupations.