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#OccupyLA And The Mayor’s Deal

November 22, 2011

The mayor of LA has offered #OccupyLA protesters office space for $1 a year and farmland if they pack up their tents around city hall.

The deal marks an new development in  the occupy movement, and represents the potential for protesters to shift their strategy.

On the plus-side, office space and farmland would more easily allow the movement to continue into the future, especially if cities like New York, Philadelphia, Boston, and Chicago, whose protesters are facing the threat of extreme cold in  the coming months, adopt this model. Additionally, the shift indoors could signal a move to pursue as yet unexplored methods of activism–namely, non-profit status and the potential for what pragmatists may label “practical” steps forward.

On the other side, the identity of the movement has centered around actively avoiding any of the established means of effecting change in this country. Unlike the tea party, whose activists have sought change through lobbying, voting, and the current legislative process, #OWS has maintained a decidedly “outsider” stance with civil disobedience, marches, and sit-ins. The very definition of #OWS seems to reside in the resistance of any methods involving a system that the protesters see as broken.

Would moving indoors and pursuing other means of activism further the #OWS cause, or would  such a move run counter to the work that  has been done up until this point? The proposed deal offers a peaceful way for the protesters to continue into the future, a much more productive solution than the police raids in Zuccotti park and elsewhere. Still, that #OWS can survive police raids is an established fact. Whether or not it can survive office space remains to be seen.

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