On the one-month anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, I went to Zuccotti Park to see what was going on.
The half-acre public space has been transformed into Liberty Square, a self-contained encampment of unemployed 20-somethings, homeless, progressives, anarchists and aging hippies “veteran leftist activists.” There is also a garden variety of nuts and thieves.
Don’t even think about trampling the flowers:
Keep it clean. This plaza and these flowers are important to the community. Our ability to uphold the beauty of this park well represents our commitment to a better world.
There’s a kitchen that serves healthy and free food.
They were serving breakfast so I helped myself to scrambled eggs, hash browns and a bagel.
The Occupiers have everything one would need in an encampment that never sleeps, including a cellphone and laptop charging area, generator, Health Care and Comfort stations, and Sanitation Department.
They even have some kitchen sinks.
The encampment is surrounded by the NYPD. If Mayor Michael Bloomberg gave the order, the police could clear out the tent city in, well, a New York minute.
Right now, OWS is the place to see and be seen. It’s the latest tourist attraction in Lower Manhattan. A Quinnipiac University poll found overwhelming support among New York City voters.
Maurice Carroll, director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, said in a statement:
It’s a free country. Let them keep on protesting as long as they obey the law, New Yorkers say overwhelmingly. Critics complain that no one can figure out what the protesters are protesting. But seven out of 10 New Yorkers say they understand and most agree with the anti-Wall Street views of the protesters
Meanwhile, a Gallup poll found most Americans have no opinion of the Occupiers:
Given Americans’ apparent lack of knowledge about the Occupy Wall Street movement, it is not surprising to find a minority of Americans describing themselves as supporters (26%) or opponents (19%) of the movement. A majority, 52%, say they are neither supporters nor opponents, with another 4% not having an opinion.
Until the Occupiers figure out what their goals are, it is an open question whether it’s a moment or a movement.
As Occupy Wall Street celebrates its one-month anniversary, it remains a collection of grievances. If and when the General Assembly adopts goals, there is no plan to achieve them.
As the unwashed body count rises, the temperature drops and media coverage fades away, the General Assembly will be asked: Why are you still here?