Occupy DC is set to be evicted, including its “Tent of Dreams.” Occupy Oakland proved it still knew how to riot on Saturday, but its foothold in front of City Hall has been lost since October. And Occupy Wall Street on Tuesday dropped its lawsuit challenging the rules that say protesters cannot camp overnight in the movement’s old spiritual home, Zuccotti Park.
Is the Occupation over?
Occupy protesters say no. While many of the camps have been evicted, they point out that day-time “flash occupations,” rallies and conflicts with police still take place. While some acknowledge that momentum has been lost, they argue that winter is being used as a time to regroup, to intellectualize and strategize, and to come back stronger in the spring.
And not all Occupy camps are down for the count. Occupy DC had a minor victory Tuesday, when National Park Service Police agreed to notify the camp before any eviction. Other camps around the world are still being lived in. The Guardian has a crowdsourced map that shows where the camp sites still exist:
Harry Newman, an Occupy protester and playwright in New York who made the march from Zuccotti Park to McPherson Square in D.C. in November, said “There have been big upsets, and it's become more diffuse without encampments. . .but it’s become a time of retrenchment.”
Newman acknowledges, however, that the loss of occupations has been a major blow.
“There is a lot of value to having a physical place, in that people constantly have to see it. Without them you can’t galvanize as many people,” he says.
The signs still carried at Occupy protests maintain an air of defiance toward the police that have evicted them.
“You can crush the flowers but you can't stop the spring,” a sign read, at the most recent one-day flash occupation in New York’s Washington Square. It was a reference to the Egyptian uprising, a major influence on Occupy and a protest that ended — at least initially — the way demonstrators had hoped.
And large-scale days of action are still being planned, including an occupation of Chicago planned for May, to occur during the G-8 and NATO summits.
The Chicago occupation is planned by Adbusters, the Canadian activist magazine which led the initial call to Occupy Wall Street, and the call went out to an international readership.
Sebastian, a spokesman for Occupy Wall Street who did not give his surname, told the Guardian he believed the Adbusters call to occupy Chicago could be the spark that reignites the movement in the Spring.
“It could be a pretty contentious few weeks in May,” says Newman. “I’d be deeply surprised if it was over.”