Well just about

Over at Booman Tribune, Geov Parrish sez:

Sure enough, since the weekend there have been a string of such evictions – not just the highest-profile encampments in New York and Oakland, but also Detroit, Portland OR, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, and several other major US cities.

The circumstances of those cities vary wildly. In some, the encampments were on public property; in others (like Zuccotti), they weren’t. In some (like Portland OR), damage to park soil, grass, and plants was an issue; in some, the campers set up on pavement. Same for sanitation and for the relationship of campers (sometimes good, sometimes not) to the politically well-connected businesses often adjoining the encampments’ central locations. In some encampments, factions of black bloc anarchists or other itchy youth have led to property destruction or tense confrontations with law enforcement. In some places, that simply hasn’t been an issue.

The reason Quan’s mention of a conference call involving 18 cities – most of whom have apparently followed up with coordinated eviction places – is significant is that it suggests the public rationales for eviction given by political and law enforcement leaders in each city are bullshit. Sure, a lot of these encampments pose problems for their host cities, from sanitation to depressed business to the costs of police overtime. The “same situation” these 18 cities (and many more) have in common isn’t any one of these problems – it’s the deep desire of civic leaders not to have dirty fucking hippies parked in a visible place they don’t “belong,” and, beyond that, having them question the legitimacy of the very processes that provide local politicians their power.

I pretty much agree with this and the gist of his post. Another way to look at it, though, is an instance of misaligned, or unaligned would be more accurate I s’pose, incentives. People running cities, no matter their political leanings and sympathies, have to run those cities. The occupy people, with whom I obviously agree, are getting in the way of running those cities, albeit on a small and maybe insignificant level. So, Parrish is right, but doesn’t note that situational constrictions basically prohibit politicians from tolerating these extended protests, even if they’re philosophically sympathetic. Where you stand depends on where you sit and all that jazz.


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