28 Oct A Place To Call Home – Occupy Chicago
The city of Chicago announced no deals with the protesters of Occupy Chicago. No deals for them to find a permanent home, no deals in regards to dropping the charges against the 300 plus arrestees, no deals at all. Increasing pressure from the police has been applied to the groups semi-permanent residency at Jackson and LaSalle, forcing them to keep everything moving at all times, less the be charged with either breaking a city ordinance against sleeping on sidewalks or blocking public access to them. The wide city sidewalks of the financial district would have been big enough for the carts and bodies of the protesters, until the Fed decided that they own six feet of sidewalk and set up barricades. Oh, and then there was Grant Park.
So why is there so much fuss coming from the protesters? The city gives them a place to be heard, letting them walk around in their little circles, chanting their little chants, generally being the unwashed hippies that they are, while making sure to bring the law hammer down on them when they get out of hand. And they get out of hand a lot. At the Thomson center, the city and state had to deploy fifty city and state police officers, equipped with zip-ties, gas masks, and dogs, all because those hippies threatened the safety of the city with their candle light vigil for a veteran who was put into the hospital by Oakland’s police reaction to their occupy movement. Not to mention when those filthy, handout-wanting good for nothings try to sleep in a park. That is just an egregious affront to the city’s municipal codes, which are the basis of a free and moral society.
It seems that Rahm Emanuel has the idea that he can snuff out the occupation. Not by forcing them to leave, denying them their rights to assemble, or arresting them out of existence. No, he’s had those opportunities, but knew the PR nightmare that would accompany those options. Instead, he is working at destroying the protesters will to fight. Without something stable, something to base their community in, they will lose their spirit. With less room on sidewalks, with being forced to walk non-stop, with nowhere to sleep, he hopes that they will give up and head home. But it seems that the mayor has forgotten a few things.
First, anyone who has strolled down Michigan Ave. has noticed the strike in front of the Congress Hotel. That strike has been going on for 8 years, abiding by the no stopping rules. Second, these aren’t your momma’s protesters. This new generation is one that has nothing to lose. Their future has been ripped from under them, being forced into debt in order to find a job through sky rocketing amounts of student loans, then graduating into a dismal job market that offers little in the way of helping pay off that debt. What choice do they have but to demand that the government address these issues? In the current political climate, the only way to be heard is to make a lot of noise, to gather in the streets and demand change to happen. They were told “yes we can!” and so now they are living it.
The occupy movement isn’t going to go away simply because they aren’t given a permanent residence. If they decide to try and “take the horse” again on Saturday or not, they will find a way to make their voices heard. As the chant goes: they are the people, they are united, this occupation is not leaving.