October 21, 2011

How Long Do They Get To Stay?

Patrick Laverty

How long do the Occupy Providence protesters get to stay in the park with tents up, food kitchens cooking, medical tents operating? How long until the city tells them that it's time to go, they had their time for protesting and now they're done? Of course, whenever that comes, they'll all claim that their constitutional right to assembly has been violated. Was this what the writers of the US Constitution had in mind when they put that into the First Amendment?

At least the city and state has some precedent. Remember Camp Runamuck*? The tent city group who pitched their tents under the I-195 overpass as a way of protesting the homelessness problem in Providence? After a few months, the state told them it was time to go and the city promptly erected fences in the area to keep people out.

I don't think there'll be any fences put up around Burnside Park any time soon, but the Occupiers made their statement, they got their press and now what? When does it just become another tent city? If the protesters want to keep protesting, then why not have a daily or weekly march? They don't all have to live in tents to do that. Simply set a specific time each day or week and then hold the protests.

The protesters in other cities have been going at it for longer than Providence, however that shouldn't keep the authorities here from taking a stand, thanking the protesters for keeping it civil but tell them they're welcomed back any time to protest but now it's time to go.

*link is to a newspaper in New Orleans as many links to old projo.com stories no longer return any content.

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Patrick Laverty, thanks for expressing your opinion. Now stop writing about it and go to another topic. We have heard you. If you'd like to continue, please print and distribute pamplets, but please don't clutter up this blog with this subject. You are, of course, free to express any opinion at any time, but just not here.

Posted by: OldTimeLefty at October 21, 2011 10:20 AM

After reading the first sentence, I too recalled Runamuck.

Runamuck was party homeless folks, and partly the same activists that are now in Occupy Providence.

I would guess that as long as the group stays respectful, they'll be allowed to stay indefinitely. I'd honestly prefer it that way too, I don't want OWS folks saying that their rights were trampled, and it's worth it to need new sod in the spring.

I imagine that without Doherty and Esserman in charge, this will be allowed to continue. I also imagine that the encampment will slowly disband as the cold sets in. The only way I see this ending on any 'executive order' would be if violence or medical problems start to crop-up; I can see Pare ending this after dragging a few folks to the hospital for hypothermia.

Posted by: mangeek at October 21, 2011 10:23 AM

Patrick -- Following OTL's careful lead, I'll also thank you for your opinion.

Then I'll point out that your seeming distaste with the right to protest (*under a permit*) for as long as they want is protected under the constitution.

"Congress shall make no law respecting [...] or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

How else can that be interpreted (especially since countless SCOTUS'es have upheld the right to peaceful protest)?

Listen, here's a secret. They will leave as soon as the first night frost comes. Has that happened yet? Maybe a handful will stay, but there were only maybe 20 of them left in Denver when I showed up -- ZERO in Cheyenne right now as I type.

For the most part, these are not the kinds of people with the training, skill, or fortitude to handle a New England winter outside. So stop worrying.

Finally I'll point out that you're *REALLY* worked up over these folks, and I find that almost more funny than their pathetic attempts at protest themselves.

Posted by: jparis at October 21, 2011 11:03 AM

Leave? Why would you ever want them to leave? I want them to stay in their tent city for as long as possible as a living museum of what your life becomes when you major in Russian music at Brown or quit your job to become RI's 50,000th freelance graphic designer. If progressives want to be associated with vacuous anticapitalist slogans, hippie drum circles, broken socialist planning committees, and living in squalor on public property, I think that is phenomenal. At least they aren't masquerading as policy experts. Actually, I'm thinking of sending some blankets to prolong their stay.

Posted by: Dan at October 21, 2011 11:28 AM

If THEY don't need a permit,then who in theeir right mind need ever apply for one again?
Commissioner Pare has an interesting history on this subject.
He was very circumspect regarding illegal aliens and this group.
When he was RISP Superintendent,he was ordered to shut down the Narrangansett Tribe smoke shop in one of Gov.Carcieri's worst hours in office(and I LIKE Carcieri in general-no one is 100%)and he ordered troopers into a situation which thankfully resulted in no severe injuries or loss of life over UNTAXED CIGARETTES!!He could have handled it a lot better.
The tribe was on their own land and I think they had the right to do what they were doing,but whatever,there was no need to order his officers in like it was a heroin milling operation.
I participated in executing somewhat over 800 drug warrants,including a few dozen with RISP during my career and in those cases,the hardline approach is appropriate.
NOT for a cigarette tax issue.
I have to wonder what Commissioner Pare is worried about.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 21, 2011 12:23 PM

OTL-FWIW I am sure you can address this site as an Engaged Citizen with your real name.
Only guessing since I am just a frequent commenter.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 21, 2011 12:27 PM

To my mind, the whole matter is a big "Ho Hum". So long as there is no violence, I don't care how long they stay. What I certainly don't want to see is anything that resembles the disbandment of the Bonus Army. For those that are interested in that one, you can still see the bullet marks in the Anacostia bridge.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at October 21, 2011 1:06 PM

Weren't they suppose to stay as long as it takes for change? They should have asked some progressives how long that might be. I'm sure as soon as they get tired of playing Robin Hood's band of merry men, armed with Iphones not arrows, they'll move on but it must be tough camping out in the elements. I mean, how do they ever keep all those phones charged up?

Posted by: Max D at October 21, 2011 3:02 PM

Yes, change is needed because the corporations are all evil. All they care about is money and that's wrong, we can't support it any longer. What about Apple? No, Apple's a cool company, can't live without my iPhone. Was Steve Jobs evil? No, I liked Steve. Do you have the Google App? Yeah. And Facebook? Of course. Is that Starbucks you're drinking? Spice latte, you should try it. Whole Foods and Trader Joe's? Love them - they have fresh produce really cheap. Where did you buy your tent? Walmart, it was on sale. And the signs? Staples. How'd you get here? Zipcar. Cooking food are you? Yeah, bought a hotplate from Target. How are you keeping warm in this weather? Land's End - good quality. Uh-huh.

Posted by: Dan at October 21, 2011 3:34 PM

To get really basic,what are they wiping their butts with?Fallen leaves?
I'd guess toilet paper-made by those evil anti-environmental paper companies.
Karen Crow says use only four squares.
There's a joke I recall from the service about only using one square,but I'll leave it be.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 21, 2011 4:30 PM

@WF: I seriously always wondered why the Anacostia was so "pockmarked". Not quite the same thing, but similar idea with that one corridor in the Capitol they don't show on the tours anymore tmk.

Yeah Dan, I'm down with that hypocrisy as well -- bothersome. If you are gonna hate on capitalism, be like me and sincerely dream of a time where I could live in a *true* Democratic Socialist Republic.

That said, the "Occupy" folks consider me extreme. If you are gonna say corporations are "evil", you need to look that CEO's kids in the face and tell them Daddy doesn't deserve that money, and you're taking it.

If you're willing to do that? Join my team. Otherwise, I say go back to playing on your iPhones and complaining about how you (meaning Occupiers) read somewhere that ConAgra is a bad thing, and spout something about corporations being people.

I invoke nonviolvent movements of the past and present -- they say "nay, our ideas won't be co-opted by 'corporate america'". Good for them. As recently referred to on RIF in a similar thread, co-option by the mainstream has traditionally been a *good* thing for outsider political movements.

They pick and choose based upon arbitrary and often falsely reported criteria, although just between us bloggers, I'll bet you they didn't get their tents at Walmart. Remember, somehow, Target is the "good" one.

Posted by: jparis at October 21, 2011 4:45 PM


I did not know that. I expect that you do know that Douglas MacArthur led the federal troops against the WW1 veterans. Dwight Eisenhower was his second in command but wisely stayed away.

Posted by: Phil at October 21, 2011 6:26 PM

You do not have to label big business as "evil" to expect some balance in laws that protect consumers and workers. Concentration of wealth in the hands of a few is not "evil", but I don't think it is not healthy for most of us. It's interesting that charges of class warfare gets tossed around when people question an economic system that seems to favor those at the very top and many here resort to that very tactic ( class distinction) when describing those who have chosen to demonstrate that inequality by occupying a public park.

Posted by: Phil at October 21, 2011 6:44 PM

posted by Phil
"I expect that you do know that Douglas MacArthur led the federal troops against the WW1 veterans." Unconfirmed reports are that, in his calvary charge against the veterans, George Patton rode down, and injured, the man who had pulled him out of "no man's land" in WW1. Supposedly, Patton supported him for the rest of his life. (Patton was the wealthiest General in the Army.)

Posted by joe bernstein
"There's a joke I recall from the service about only using one square,but I'll leave it be."

Joe, that was a joke? And, I spent all that time trying to figure what to do with the little squares I tore out of the middle of the single squares. Arabs use gravel, uhh.

posted by JParis
"I seriously always wondered why the Anacostia was so "pockmarked"."

When my daughter and I took the tour of Washington, I was careful to point out the Anacostia Bridge. I also pointed out where the Puerto Ricans had shot up the House of Representatives in 1954, although those bullet holes have been filled. If you want to search for them, stand in the "ladies gallery" and look to your lower right. My daughter was mostly raised in Cambridge, I thought she needed to know these things.

Posted by: Warrington Faust at October 21, 2011 7:54 PM

There are many problems with the legal corporate structure and tax code in the United States, none of which, of course, have anything to do with capitalism or free market economics. Most of the problems stem from lack of private ownership/limited liability, the legal fiction of corporate personhood, a corrupted regulatory process, and favorable corporate tax mechanisms.

I try to tell progressives how corporations hijack the regulatory scheme to stifle smaller competitors, but progressives would rather call me names than acknowledge the problem. The totally broken intellectual property system in this country, patent hoarding by the biggest firms specifically, has also become a huge anti-competitive problem that progressives would rather ignore, preferring to see government as their savior instead of a central part of the problem. Anyone who thinks antitrust law is anything more than theater in this country is totally ignorant of the reality - the case law is inconsistent at best and there has been essentially no economic evidence of real monopolistic behavior over the past hundred years. People who call Walmart and the like monopolies have it completely backwards in economics terms - Walmart is one of the most competition-driven companies in the world today. They run their company like they could be driven out of business by competitors at any moment and that is why they are so successful. Market share is very different from market power, if market power can even exist at all in a real modern economy, which is very debatable.

Drum circles and living in tents will not solve any of these legitimate issues. It would be a good start if 5% of the people in this movement could intelligibly identify half of the problems instead of blaming what they don't understand.

Posted by: Dan at October 21, 2011 8:24 PM

Warrington-that piece was to clean your fingernail,pal.

Posted by: joe bernstein at October 21, 2011 9:41 PM

Anarchy can be defined as the arbitrary enforcement of laws.

When enforcement is arbitrary there is no law,hence,anarchy.

Hey,let's all go down,declare ourselves Occupiers,since they don't have any leaders to collect contributions LOL! and say we occupy the space,set up our kitchen,have our own laws,take donations,have our own speakers,etc. Wouldn't that be something?

After all,we have as much right as they do.

Don't we?


Posted by: helen at October 26, 2011 2:54 AM

You really need to look up the definitions of the words "Anarchy" and "Laws" Helen.

Your argument is also a logical fallacy.

(A) may be defined as (X).
When (X) occurs, (X*0) occurs.
Therefore (A) may be defined as (X*0).

Here's your problem. In no world, yours or mine, does X = X*0.

Arbitrary law enforcement is not the same thing as no law at all, any more than arbitrary paintings are the same thing as no paintings at all.

My god, I mean, I'm sorry, I rarely even jump on Tommy Cranston this bad... but are you highschool educated?

BTW -- I love the "us" and "them" stuff, like we aren't all Americans trying to make our country better in the best way we know how.

Double BTW -- They actually do have leaders of sorts. I've met them. I'm not highly impressed with some of them, but they have existed in the following cities I have visited:

Salt Lake City
Salem, OR
Portland, OR

So yeah.......

Posted by: jparis at October 27, 2011 3:46 AM
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