Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The end of Occupy in Dewey Square as a jumping off point

For 81 days, beginning on September 30 of this year, hundreds of people camped and thousands of people gathered in protest at Boston's Dewey Square, a rectangular grassy haven amidst financial powerhouses and other businesses involved in activities of consumption.

The people of Boston, a city with a comparatively deep history of supporting social justice, freedom of speech, and education, sparred back and forth during these past few months on the issue of the Occupy Boston movement; just as in other cities, people debated the effectiveness of the protests due to the lack of tangible, action-focused "asks," the character of the protesters (i.e. "Are the protesters simply people who are upset about actually having to work hard to make a decent living?") and other questions.


The protesters were kicked out of Dewey Square by the city government last week, and I must admit, that despite understanding the health risks and financial costs of the encampment, I was still a bit stung by the decision to kick the people out. Though I had not directly acknowledged it previously, I think I held the proud attitude that, regardless of its wealth and cool demeanor, Boston would be a beacon for all sectors of society, and that it would permit the protesters to stay for the "sake of freedom." I thought we'd be different than cities like New York that have forced protesters to abandon their camps.

I hope that the Occupy camp in Boston was just a warm-up for what might come in the future. I would like it to be bigger, to include more people, and to open up a wider, and more productive, discussion about where we all want this country to go in the near future: What are the values we wish to uphold? What do we believe about how we should treat the other members of society, no matter how wealthy or how financially-strapped they might be? I know that not everyone would bring the same ideas to the table. It would be wonderful, however, to come together in greater numbers to more clearly understand ourselves, the people who make up this patchwork nation.

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