The first phase of the Occupy movement ended in squalor and violence, as the cops finally got around to cleaning up the Occupy D.C. camp in McPherson Square on Saturday. The Washington Post reports on the police action… which, to quote the phrase that has rapidly become an Orwellian joke about the increasingly ugly Occupiers, was “mostly peaceful,” if you ignore the bricks thrown at police officers:
There were tense moments. Late in the afternoon, a police officer was struck in the face by a thrown brick. A man was taken into custody in connection with the incident.
Of course, the brick-thrower will be dismissed as one of the “rogue elements” or “infiltrators” that the Occupy movement is somehow swarming with. There were also seven other arrests for refusing to vacate the area and crossing police lines.
Protesters and police at first interacted in good humor Saturday as they negotiated taking down the big, blue “Tent of Dreams,” which protesters had unfurled over a Civil War statue Monday. But relations grew tense as the day wore on and police began clearing the park of several truckloads of bedding and trash. At one point, dozens of officers pushed back the crowd with riot shields so they could erect more barricades.
“We’re being evicted without tear gas,” said Melissa Byrne, a protester from the District.
Schlosser said that police had moved in to do temporary “nuisance abatement” and that cleaning crews had found health hazards that included filthy bedding, bottles full of urine and several dead rats.
It’s all fun and games until somebody busts out the bottles of urine, dead rats, and thrown bricks.
It should be noted that the Occupiers haven’t really been “evicted.” The authorities were merely enforcing ordinances against overnight camping, which have been in place all along, but were simply waived to accommodate this Democrat-approved, Obama-embraced anarchist movement. The anarchists can stay, as long as they don’t fall asleep. That should lead to some interesting moments of low comedy, although it probably won’t make McPherson Square, or the similarly cleansed Freedom Plaza, any more appealing to other citizens who would like to use them.
David Freddoso of the Washington Examiner has some before-and-after photos of the makeover Occupy DC inflicted upon the once-lovely McPherson Square, which now looks as if it had been “occupied” by Saruman’s orcs. Taste the sweet Obamanomics irony:
With the partial eviction of Occupiers over the weekend, McPherson Square is no longer full to the point that the local community cannot enjoy it. Instead, it is a mud-bowl that no one can really enjoy. Occupiers managed to undo most of a $400,000 park renovation that was completed last year with stimulus funding.
Some tents still stand on the site, but far fewer than before. The large wooden painted signs remain, and a few cardboard ones have been erected as well. One gentleman was sleeping on a wooden pallet at the park’s north end this morning, as Occupiers and police officers milled about. On the south end of the park, trucks had arrived to gather up the metal police barriers that remained from the weekend’s activity.
(Emphasis mine.) If you think the destruction of a stimulus-remodeled park by Obama’s pet protestors is a disaster, you clearly haven’t embraced the wisdom of Obamanomics yet. It’s really a wonderful opportunity to remodel the park again, with even more “stimulus” money!
What you’re seeing today, in both Washington and the recently cleared Mellon Green park in Pittsburgh, is the messy end of the Occupy movement’s Phase One. It ran longer than the Democrats wanted it to, because they really wanted to use the Occupiers as “their” Tea Party, and that’s basically impossible now. That’s why early winter saw a wave of editorials from liberal columnists carefully advising their unstable Occupy chums that it would have been a good time to pack up the tents, save face by declaring the oncoming winter made continued Occupation too difficult, and plan new activities for the spring.
That didn’t happen, and at this point anyone who tries comparing Occupy to the Tea Party is going to get laughed out of the room. How often did the Tea Party turn public parks into toxic-waste dumps, shut down cities like Oakland, California, fire shots at the White House, or throw bricks at cops?
But Occupy isn’t gone, and its usefulness to the Left has not been exhausted. Phase One was all about building up mailing lists and hoisting a flag for the new anarchists to march under. Their limited utility as poster children won’t stop them from serving a valuable function as shock troops. There’s already word that they’re planning to attack the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington this week, with help from union bosses.
The relationship between Big Labor, the Democrat Party, and the Occupy movement is the latest iteration of a very old alliance between the Left and anarchists. The Left finds concentrated bursts of anarchy very useful, because it creates an atmosphere of chaos and despair… which, in turn, invites the expansion of State power. The State can step into the maelstrom and make promises of rescue and reform, which no private organization or individual citizen can match.
Whatever else you can say about the Occupy movement’s incoherent mixture of complaints and demands, they certainly aren’t calling for smaller government and increased economic liberty. They’re fixated on the enduring, and absurd, romantic fantasy of Big Government as the antidote to Big Business. “Everything stinks” is music to the ears of statists, especially when they think they have a shot at persuading the public to forget about their role in creating the situation everyone is complaining about. The Obama re-election campaign is expressly based on that proposition.
You’ll see the Occupiers in force again this November, and you might not have to travel far from your local polling place to find them. It remains to be seen if the American Left of 2012 makes the same mistake as so many of their predecessors, and overestimates their ability to control and direct the new generation of anarchists.