November 24, 2011

Occupy: Weathering the Early Phase

Following the expulsion of OWS from Liberty Park and also the pepper spray incident at UC Davis, the 29th of October suddenly seems a long time ago. On Thanksgiving, with the chance to reflect, these photos — shot that day by Julie Turkewitz —  represent more innocent times.

After this first and early snow, conventional wisdom held that the movement’s largest obstacle would be the weather. As such, it was important to demonstrate that the occupation, especially the gonzo-side of its personality, would not be dampened or dinged by the elements.

The adversity, in fact, offered the opportunity to demonstrate more mettle two weeks after Occupy forced the city to back down from sweeping the park. What first went through my mind when I saw this was the credo of the postal carrier.

Most telling in the crouch here is not the challenge of the elements so much as the reality of the tents in the first place.

Twelve days before, they started sprouting throughout the park after city officials were rebuffed from taking down a tent for medical services.  Today, the scene of tents filling city parks in the name of economic justice, and the encampment as a model for a movement, is becoming the stuff of reminiscence. Given its fortitude and creativity, I’m pretty sure Occupy will survive this first chapter. And despite the bitterness of the past few weeks, I believe the gonzo will remain intact also.

PHOTOGRAPHS by Julie Turkewitz.

Full Bag Occupy Wall Street coverage here.

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