Has Occupy Chicago waned?

Has Occupy Chicago waned?

After walking along Wall Street in Chicago this week, I couldn’t help but notice that the Occupying crowd has waned. Could it be the weather or that the traction here is just not as loud and attention grabbing as it is in other cities?

I recalle a few months back, when the movement initially started that there were 60 plus individuals picketing on the otherwise empty corners of LaSalle & Jackson.  It was active. They were engaged and the corner was populated with protestors. As of my most recent shortcut through the area during a weekday afternoon, I only noticed 10 people, a clear reduction in numbers from a few months ago.

I wondered if it was the fact that Occupiers in Chicago never had an opportunity to set up camp, thus circumventing the issues that Boston, Philly a few colleges campuses & NYC have had regarding overnight protestors with the ability to actually occupy a public space for 24 hours? I’m not sure of a permit (the doc now required to even own a dog in this City) will be approved at some point, but I’m sure it would help considering the imminent winter freeze.

Or maybe it was our mayor’s plan to provide as little attention as possible to the protesters by never wavering with regards to their needs? If they never have anything or any rights, outside of a corner that they are required to continually move on, they really have no ability to remind Chicagoan's that they are still involved and a part of the national movement. A physical presence is really key in this city and I'm sure in other cities.

Regardless of what will happen with the occupiers, (I recently read in the NYT, that the Boston protest may move toward occupying foreclosed homes), I hope that Occupy Chicago continues on. We are a first class city, or second to none...

http://www.chicagonow.com/second-to-none/2011/10/why-i-wont-occupy-chicago/

Although I am not fully in support of the movement, I would hate for the Chicago location to be the student in the back row! This is Chicago.  Surely we can do a little better than that.

 

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    It's the weather. Our enthusiasm has not waned, and we continue to hold regular assemblies, actions, rallies and teach-ins. We are focusing on moving out into the wider city and helping the 99%.

    We will soon be choosing an indoor space to rent as our winter headquarters, where many more of us will congregate in warmth
    .
    We are also planning a huge rally for April 7th, to celebrate the end of winter and announce our revitalized outdoor presence.

    The occupation is not leaving, the occupation is just freezing.

  • In reply to Samwise:

    THanks for your reply, but do you think a tent city would help with regards to protestor visibility?

    One significant theme for OWS across the country, has been the ability to occupy a public space, in large numbers. It provides a reminder to onlookers (like myself) that the protest continues, locally. I hear about other locations all the time in national news and even international news and it is in part tied to the large crowd and their ability to actually physically occupy a large area, regardless of the weather. Protestors are there and in large numbers. I think that it is significant and interesting that in Chicago, the numbers aren't there at least for the general public and I'm sure it is tied to the weather and lack of a tent city, but I'm curious and wonder if that hampers the movement locally?

    I was in STL a few weeks ago and they even had a tent city set up in a public area downtown near the Arch. i was surprised, but also impressed by their efforts.

    The weather will always be a factor, especially in Chicago. The hot weather at some point too, but I think that an actual presence is key, especially when considering Chicago and the political machine that exists here.

  • And, a question:
    Have you attended any of the GAs, or any of the many teach-ins, or City Hall engagements, or committee meetings, etc.?

    As an Occupy sympathizer, I have a few comments:

    1) Maybe it's just me, but if all Occupy Chicago was doing was trying to hold a picket line on the corner, I would find that very depressing. I'm willing to bet good money there's all sorts of stuff going on all over the city. I mean, even a pass of occupychi.org will confirm that. I don't know what's up with these people that walk through the picket at Jackson and Lassalle and report back as if there's no movement going on there. IT COLD!!! People who can be are indoors. I think it would be stupid for the Occupy Movement to focus all of their energy on the 1%. They get plenty of attention on their own.

    2) Rahm is avoiding Occupy Chicago because they don't go along with his anointed position as Democratic Power Broker, or his pretty empty declarations of transparent government for the people of Chicago. As a non partisan, working class group, they aren't going to endorse him, or let him off the hook for anything. That's what "public service" is like. If you're an "elected official" you should have your feet held to the fire. We're in real trouble Boss Man. The people of Chicago know he's rich.

  • In reply to Design Riposte:

    I've read about a few events in Chicago, but I also wonder if the ability to not physically occupy an area overnight, hampers the efforts for Occupy Chicago to increase in physical numbers along Wall STreet? One way for the general public to know that the efforts continue to exist is the physical presence through protests, marches, etc in the City.

    I agree that it would be stupid for the movement to focus all of their energy in one area, by physically occupying a location. However, there is significance in large numbers and for Chicagoans, it is the one thing that we're able to SEE as a continued presence along Wall Street Chicago. It is one of our sole reminders that the movement still exists locally, even if it needs to be tweaked or adjusted due to the bitterly cold weather.

  • It has totally died off. I work in the CBOT building and they are hardly ever there anymore. Maybe a few in the middle of the day but that's pretty much it. They're too wimpy too brave a cold night like occuppiers in other cold cities have. For fun, peruse their website: occupychi.org. They all hate each other. No one trusts anyone. They have no place to go. They can't agree on anything. Donations are stolen. They commit violent acts towards one another. They fight over where their indoor winter space should be. Etc., etc., etc.

    To truly occupy, you pick a place and you do just that. To say you are spreading yourselves around the city just diminishes your presence.

    I don't think occupy chicago ever really got off the ground like it did in other cities. And in mid-November is started to implode. Sorry but come April 7th, Chicagoans will have other stuff on their minds. Don't see them embracing a cause where the stakeholders determined their message wasn't important enough to withstand a Chicago winter.

  • In reply to Mickey:

    I have to agree with you Mickey. A clear presence is important for a movement primarily focused on consistently occupying a physical space.

    I am concerned because I automatically assume that we (Chicagoan's) are tougher. Some paltry winter weather would hardly diminish any efforts or interest in protesting and spreading the word that the movement matters. We have had a very mild November and December. I figured the crowd would still be there on Wall Street. If it has already died off, then you're right, an April 7th - we're back from the cold won't be a significant date for any observer like myself.

    The thorn in the back of so many mayors and universities has been the large numbers and the consistent stance to occupy a location. Well, everywhere but in Chicago.

    I'm not bashing the movement here. I'm just wondering when it will actually start.

  • In reply to J. Kay:

    During the 60's the demonstrations were the catalysts. It was what went on in conjunction with the demonstrations that made the difference. Occupy is about change. The various groups share a very common purpose and that is to create social justice starting with reclaiming the rights of citizens, not corporations, to elect our representatives.

    No amount of sitting in or occupying a certain spot will brinig about the needed changes. I applaud the direction Occupy is taking. People are teaching, organizing and finding ways to help members of the 99% to survive. Sitting on ones bottom be it warm or frozen will not make a difference. The fact that the people at the board of trade don't see the movement doesn't surprise anyone. They don't give a darn in the first place but beware, the 99 are still there and coming.

  • In reply to Mickey:

    I’ll play along with the Monday morning quarterbacks on this one, sure:

    I think your observations and questions are valid. My question for Occupy has been a different one—almost the reverse. Here's the way I see it: The public encampments are a successful strategy for being accessible to everyone and, since it's directly on the edge of what the authorities are tolerant of, it makes for good drama and hella media therefore. But, with the confrontation and the media come challenges. All of a sudden those opposed could start ringing the “public safety” bell, which is always a nice second base slide into "public menace"—thus justifying a harsher retaliation from the authorities when they decide to do so. So, we all had to listen to the various media sources repeating this crap about “movements aren’t good at self-policing,” during the early two-week fishing season where oponents and the media played pin the tail on the donkey. When they finally chose a sensation to settle on, Public Safety was the fish.

    The reality is that providing a space for anyone who comes out in need is a liability because it gives those looking an easy way to discredit whatever happens. The people I have met on my trips through the area have a strong desire to help each other, along with those that are homeless or in need. Unfortunately, the responsibility for that kind of humanity is not a priority in our society, and the occupy movement obviously has to struggle with that.

  • Well if you are interested in seeing their winter digs, you can find pics on their public website. It's off of Cermak, so not exactly a central location. To keep warm and toasty, the so called occupiers will enjoy soaring ceilings in a completely renovated huge building. The bathroom with jacuzzi tub and kitchen with granite and brand new 42" cabinets are gorgeous. This is what your donations went for folks! They should be ashamed. I'm sending the link to newstations so the public can see what how hypocritical our occupyers are. Stay tuned.

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