I'm still trying to get clear on what the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy's position was about the expansion site for #OccupyBoston. Once I have an affirmation of that, I'll let you all know.
Meanwhile, I woke up today wondering why they don't choose to become the darling of the Occupy Movement. And, perhaps, a model for other public spaces being occupied. I have an idea.....
We seemed to have worked out an arrangement with the Greenway Conservancy for the Dewey Square space. Our impression is that they don't really mind the movement or the concept of the protest, but they are worried about the maintenance of the space. One of the key factors in them agreeing to let us stay was that we decided at a General Assembly to be responsible for reseeding the lawn in the Spring.
Before I go on, I'd like to put forth my view on this concept that we have to get their permission at all; that the public can somehow trespass on public space. I want you to know this because when I write this idea of mine down, I do so thinking from their point of view, not mine.
One of the keys to ensuring that no one or no group gains an inordinate amount of power over society is the right to free assembly. Our Constitution doesn't say, "as long as it's in small groups" or "only when the powers that be say you can." It's an unequivocal right. The entire purpose of granting that right is so that the masses can amass when they are disgruntled with the powers that be. Those very powers don't have the right to tell us we can't assemble. Therefore, I am of the opinion that any laws restricting the right to assemble are unconstitutional, regardless of what any SCOTUS has said. SCOTUS is not an infallible or incorruptible body. The people know when they've made bad rulings, such as Citizens United. We know that the right to assemble is not a restricted right.
Next, the Rose Kennedy Greenway is a public space. Ceding stewardship of it to a private trust, doesn't make it a private space, giving that trust the right to restrict the public's use of the public space. We the people get to say what we the people want to do with the land that we the people own.
So, I am of the belief that we have the right assemble any time we want and on any public land that we want. I, therefore, am willing to break what I believe are unjust and unconstitutional laws. I hope to see these laws change. Until then, as an autonomous person, I do not cede my rights to these laws. I challenge them.
The class war which has been waged against us for decades isn't just about jobs, wages and benefits, healthcare and the like. It's about the whittling away of our civil rights. From FISA to the Patriot Act to "Free Speech Zones" and so many other little laws, like restricting free assembly to small groups, the system is being manicured to make it look pretty to a certain class of people while it's toxic to the rest of us. That's what the Occupy movement is about. We've had enough and we need some fundamental change. We're only going to get it by standing up for it and pushing back against the very system which has been designed to keep us sitting down.
Okay, got that out of the way. Now, if I were on the board of the Rose Kennedy Greenway Conservancy and what I was concerned about was simply the maintenance of the park, here's what I would do:
I'd set up an Greenway for OccupyBoston fund. Then I'd have a PR campaign wherein we proclaim our solidarity the Occupy movement and ask the world to help us support that by donating to the fund which would be used to restore (or redesign if enough money is raised) the park once the occupation is over.
They would instantaneously become the darlings of the Occupy Movement. They'd likely raise far more money than they would ever need. (The occupation is actually very sensitive about damaging the landscape.) They could be our heroes an we could be the inspiration for them to raise plenty of money to care for the parks. It's a win-win. They could relax.
Then, the police wouldn't have the excuse of protecting the landscape from us. The Greenway Conservancy would be clear about their support. When the police behave badly, there would be no suspicion of their complicity in that.
So, why not do that and tell the police that the occupiers can stay? Why play it down the middle, possibly gaining bad PR for being the landlord who asked the cops to arrest peaceful protesters. (I don't know that that they did this, but that's the point. Without a clear declaration of support and a public message to the police that they do not support police action against us, it will look to the public like they not only supported it, but may have instigated it.)
Of course, if they have other reasons for not supporting the Occupy Movement, well then they can use this landscape "concern" as an excuse.
They could, in fact, inspire other park stewards to do the same. Wouldn't it be awesome if all over the United States - I hear there are over 1,000 sites now! - park stewards were announcing their support for the Occupation movement and putting donation buttons on their web site to raise funds for restoring the park once the occupation is over?
A girl can dream.....