Second act for Occupy Wall Street: Is it time to come in from the cold?
Moving indoors may be a logical step for Occupy Wall Street protesters as winter looms, but some say it’s the best next tactic for the evolving movement, cold temperatures or not.
Police sweeps of Occupy Wall Street urban encampments have sent protesters across the country looking for new digs. In a growing number of cities, including New York, Detroit, Oakland, and Los Angeles, that means packing up the sleeping bags and moving indoors to set up ad hoc organizing spaces in places like school auditoriums, unused government buildings, churches, and foreclosed properties.Skip to next paragraph
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While the move indoors may be a logical step as winter looms, political scientists, historians, and media strategists alike – including Adbusters, the media foundation whose anti-capitalist tract launched the Occupy movement this summer – say it’s the best next tactic for the evolving movement, cold temperatures or not.
“It makes sense for many reasons,” says James Lafferty, executive director of the National Lawyers Guild of Los Angeles, noting that the original Occupy Wall Street group has already begun to hold meetings in buildings away from Zuccotti Park. “It certainly makes it easier to organize information such as [press] releases, but perhaps more important it provides a way for people who support the movement, but who cannot camp out, to stay involved and connected.”
Mr. Lafferty, who has helped Occupy Los Angeles protesters look for indoor space, is now aiding the group to form a nonprofit foundation because, as Lafferty points out, “the city has arrangements with other nonprofits to lease space for as little as a dollar a year.”
While some activists are holding firm to the importance of the open-air style of protests, Occupy groups in other cities have already moved ahead with plans to move from the streets to the indoors. Detroit protesters told the Detroit Free Press this week that they have secured a building in southwest Detroit and have plans to decamp there to organize for the winter, “and come back stronger in the spring.”