Sunday, October 30, 2011

"Seattle Central, Occupied!"

Dominic Holden (SLOG):
About 40 tents are set up right now and a trickle of new campers are arriving on the south lawn of Seattle Central Community College in Capitol Hill, where Occupy Seattle is staking its new base tonight. Here's an absolutely terrible photo of the scene:
There are easily 150 people—but it's dark, so it's hard to count them or take a clear photo—and they've built a pretty groovy little village. Some people are ladling out hot soup and one guy is making tea, while others are drumming and shaking maracas, and other folks are smoking cigarettes in the "designated smoking area." I made the mistake of setting up my tent in the designated smoking area and failing to set up my tent in the designated "do slugs of whiskey from a flask" area, because there is no such area, unfortunately. Drinking isn't allowed. In other news you probably won't find surprising, I'm not very skilled at setting up a tent.
They've scattered lots of straw about so it's sort of like being on the set of a play that takes place in a medieval barn, only the cast is wearing Gortex and tight denim.
The sentiment I've heard from campers is that, while a community college isn't what they're protesting (it's an icon of what many of them support), this a good place to send down roots. From here, they can focus on protesting banks, exposing runaway corporate control, and focusing on what matters—instead of expending energy on a squabble with cops down in Westlake Park. As for how they settled here, college president Paul Killpatrick has given his tepid welcome to the Occupiers, and today the American Federation of Teachers-Seattle, Local 1789 (AFL-CIO)—the local teachers' union—declared its support. Protesters give the teachers a lot of credit for cranking cogs behind the scenes to neutralize opposition. I saw a couple cops earlier, but they seem to be on low alert.
Howie P.S.: Some of the comments on this post criticize the decision to give up the high-profile location of Westlake during the evening hours and see the move as a retreat. My understanding is that occupiers will return to Westlake during the daylight hours when that location is alive with people.

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