Members of the Occupy Wall Street movement said today on a conference call that the police action to evict protesters from Zuccotti Park will only amplify future efforts, starting on Thursday with a planned day of action that will occur at sites across the country.
“We’re going to get in the streets by the tens of thousands on Thursday,” said a member of the Occupy Wall Street movement, who requested that names not be used. “The energy that has erupted is just being amplified right now … Thursday will be even more militant and defiant than it was planned to be.”
The eviction last night came just a couple days before a planned series of actions on November 17, conceived in conjunction with progressive groups like the American Dream Movement and organized labor (which is calling their contribution to the day of action We Are One). There are over 300 events scheduled across the country for November 17, the two-month anniversary of the occupation at Zuccotti Park. Many actions will use bridges as a backdrop to show the lack of attention being paid to America’s crumbling infastructure, which could be a key source of jobs. The Brooklyn Bridge in New York, the Key Bridge in Washington and the 4th Street Bridge in Los Angeles are example backdrops.
One member of Occupy Wall Street theorized that the police action, coming just a couple days before the November 17 protests, was not a coincidence. “They probably had been planning this for some time,” the protester said. “The last time they tried to evict came a few days before the last big day of action… I’m really just guessing, but it’s happened twice at this point, and we’ve seen this happen in other Occupy sites as well.”
Before last night’s eviction, the plan in New York was to engage in some kind of civil disobedience action as “an attempt to disrupt the business as usual on Wall Street” in the morning, with later events including assemblies and speakouts in all five boroughs, an “Occupy the subways” component, a demonstration at Foley Square at 5:00 and a march onto the Brooklyn Bridge. But because of the events of last night, the actual sequence of protests, and their content, could change, as Occupy protesters try to respond to police tactics. “We’re creating a coordinated response to what’s been going on,” said one protester.
Whatever the case, the protesters agreed on one thing: the eviction will only grow their movement, starting with the Thursday actions. “Mayor Bloomberg may have done us a great favor,” one protester said. “We will perhaps triple the numbers that we expected. The tenor will perhaps change. A lot more people are going to be here.”
In other words, if the purpose of the eviction was to stamp out the Occupy movement, it will backfire completely. “Sometimes the police, their decisions baffle me,” said one protester. “I think they want to get rid of it, but I just think they’re inept.”
A second Occupy Wall Streeter said that last night’s actions show that direct confrontation in the streets is the only way to fight back. Then the protester apologized. “I’m a little out of it, I just got out of jail a little while ago.”
James Downie of the Washington Post is the first media member to criticize Bloomberg for his “disgraceful” eviction of protesters last night. But it appears that the protesters themselves aren’t mourning, but organizing.