A few months ago, I posted about camping and control (“A Free Private Campground“). It so happens that current events have come around to make the issue of camping and public/private space sort of important now, so here are some items of interest about OWS and space.
#OWS and Public Space
“If we do decide that public space can’t be monopolized by groups, there comes the question of how we prevent that from happening. Camping out at a park, or on a campus, strikes me as a crime slightly worse than jaywalking and decidedly below speeding in a car, which I do all the time.”
After Zuccotti Park, It’s Decision Time for Occupy Wall Street Organizers
“What exactly Occupy Wall Street is, in that regard, hinges on the question of space. While the protesters still have access to Zuccotti Park, they can longer set up tables or tents there… If the movement organizers can’t find more space to meet and plan, they may simply stop getting together.”
And a quote from David Farber’s Chicago ’68 on how Mayor Daley saw (or didn’t see) camping out in Chicago’s parks:
The Mayor knew full well that some Chicagoans did sleep in the parks on hot summer nights… The poor Chicagoans who slept along the lakefront were not permitted to do so; they asked no one for permission and they had none. They acted sub rosa; their presence in the park was not “real” because they had not been, up until the convention, in a space where they could be noticed. Public laws had not been invoked. The Mayor believed in privacy, even on public land, just so long as it stayed private. For the act to remain private, however, the actors must remember to stay out of the public notice and to avoid turning an immediate response to concrete conditions (the weather) into an abstract statement about power relations (the parks belong to the people). As long as people respected the public laws when the public authorities needed to invoke them, then people had not broken city ordinances and thus had not formally, declaratively slept in the city parks after curfew.