Posted 5 years ago on Dec. 14, 2011, 4:53 p.m. EST by dwdanby
This content is user submitted and not an official statement
I see the Occupy movement as being distracted from its primary purpose by certain specific problems. One is the homeless - not all of them - the ones who are abusing drugs and alcohol, and those with untreated mental illness. Another is the constant clashes with police over overnight camping, and the accompanying legal battles. A third is the problem of food supply, garbage, and where to go to the bathroom at night.
I have a solution. Eliminate the overnight presence! There is, I know, a symbolic importance to being there all the time, to truly "occupying" the space, but after a while the point begins to be lost amid the clamor. You are there to protest corporate greed etc., not to fight endlessly over tents. And the media always latch onto the most dramatic and negative aspects of things, which means your message is not getting reported on, the arrests over tents and the garbage and violence are. This way, all the homeless who are only there for the food and a place to sleep are not going to be there. I know it's important as part of the ethos of Occupy to care for the homeless, but it needs to be done with training and resources - I've done it - and Occupy doesn't have that. And most of the homeless who come to Occupy are the ones who can't get food and shelter through the regular resources because they've been kicked out for their abusive behavior. This puts the protesters at risk and also drowns the message.
Furthermore, don't serve food. This eliminates attracting non-protesters, most of the garbage, and the legal hassles over sanitation. And finally, if you're not there at night, then public restrooms are much more available during the day.
I've been discussing it here at Occupy Seattle and it seems like a good idea, so I wanted to put it out for all to see and consider. Thanks for reading!