Occupy San Francisco: eyewitness account

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115 Responses to “Occupy San Francisco: eyewitness account”

  1. Joe F says:

    I really don’t see the police doing anything wrong. Tent city is a fire hazard. If 1 fire broke out and burned the entire thing down and people were killed these same people would be asking why there wasn’t a faster responce by the police and firefighters to help save them. If it is anything like Saint Louis the people here were given the ok to march and protest as long as they applied for a permit and followed the hours listed on such a permit. Seems like a pretty reasonable and safe way to get your message across.

    • joeposts says:

      So they tore down their shelters in the middle of the night – the most dangerous time to do it – because it was in imminent danger of burning down and killing everyone.

      Are tent cities even known for going up in flames? I’ve camped a lot and never had a problem, even on crowded sites with lots of casual drug use going on. There’s been some illegal camps that people have died at due to fires but they’re usually in an isolated area on the outskirts of town, far from phones and EMS. Not in the middle of the city.

      Unless you were planning to torch the place, I don’t see how your argument isn’t wrong.

    • Daniel says:

      I’d love to see some evidence that tent cities are fire hazards.  I’m unaware of any major fires that were caused by hippies hanging out in tents, and it seems rather implausible that anyone would be killed in such a situation.  It seems to me that a tent city would be less dangerous than, say, a normal city building which would have a limited number of fire exits and other dangerous bottlenecks like stair cases with a whole lot of people trying to use them at once.  If there was a fire in a tent city, just stand up and walk in any direction and you’ll be fine.

      Not only that, but a bunch of tents in the middle of a park is probably one of the easiest situations in which to fight a fire — what’s it going to spread to?  Just turn the park into mud with a couple fire hoses, problem solved.  I’m pretty sure you’re just making shit up to hate on the OWS folks.

      • jimh says:

        The fire hazard is a weak argument. Tents and scattered belongings are not very efficient fuel. As you point out, buildings are far greater fire risks and offer less chance of escape.

  2. joeposts says:

    “When I asked him why it had taken them two days to address this public
    safety issue, and why they’d taken it up at 10pm at night, he referred
    my further questions to SFPD’s media relations.”

    It’s what you do when you can’t quite force a piece of bullshit that large out of your mouth. PR people have the biggest mouths.

  3. Cocomaan says:

    Big ups to the SF people. Resist tyranny, and give the Federal Reserve’s private army, errrr, police force, a run for their money!

    • TheManagement says:

      Tyranny? Really??

      • Abe Lincoln says:

        Yes really.  Naivete’ doesn’t negate it’s existence.  

      • Cocomaan says:

        You’d have to be completely clueless to not recognize the tyranny in this country. A few examples for you, in case your head has been in the sand:

        –Over one percent of the population is in jail. Over 3 million people, buddy. Think about that for a second.
        –We use those prisoners to build missiles so we can fight meaningless wars.
        –It’s now against USDA regs, and thus illegal, to have a bake sale at your school.
        –A banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve is devaluing the currency in order to… do something for the economy, I guess. That’s what they say, anyway.
        –Tens of millions of Americans get assistance from the government in order to eat food.
        –You can now be put into prison for not paying debts.
        –And Obama just assassinated a US citizen. No trial, no evidence, just a killing with no oversight.

        Yeah, I smell tyranny. Our federal government, in collusion with the biggest corporations in the world, is completely out of control. It is murdering its own citizens while simultaneously throwing them into increasing poverty. We’ve already had our lost decade. The next one will be worse.

        • TheManagement says:

          “Tens of millions of Americans get assistance from the government in order to eat food.” ?????????????  How does this fit in?

          • Cocomaan says:

            Have you ever seen what you can get with SNAP? That’s tyranny in itself, unless you really think the Farmers Market provision did something useful. If so, I have some food stamps to sell you.

          • TheManagement says:

            You’re right, the US is “tyrannical” . Let go to city centers and hold up innocuous signs and make nonsensical demands. That’ll show em!!!!

          • Harley says:

            ummm you can get almost anything with snap, wtf r u talking about?

        • Aloisius says:

          –A banking cartel known as the Federal Reserve is devaluing the currency in order to… do something for the economy, I guess. That’s what they say, anyway.

          Managing your monetary policy is tyranny? Wow.

        • marilove says:

          http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-20117058-281/homeland-security-moves-forward-with-pre-crime-detection/

          Homeland Security moves forward with pre-crime-detection

          Tyranny, indeed.

        • Kevin P. Sullivan says:

          It is unfortunate that so many people mis-understand what the Federal Reserve does and what its goals are.  It is also frustrating that many candidates for U.S. President also fall into this category. 

          The Federal Reserve has many goals, but chief among them are the prevention of bank panic.  I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that is a goal that most can get behind. 

          Another goal is to manage monetary policy or the amount of money in the economy.  It does this to prevent massive inflation or deflation, either of which would have catastrophic effects on everyone.  Please wiki inflation and/or deflation for the consequences of either running amok.  This is a goal most folks should be able to support, as well. To that second goal, it sometimes has to execute inflationary or deflationary policies to offset opposite pressures in the economy.  It does not take these actions lightly or without much forethought.  Does it make mistakes? Yes it does, but all organizations do. 

        • Cowicide says:

          Ugh… facts…  hurts brains… goes against preconceived notions… can’t… be.. true…

  4. Teirhan says:

    I’m actually pleasantly surprised by the police response.

    Incompetent, maybe, malicious, maybe, but reasonable compared to the behavior of other police departments. 

  5. Hyperbole…engage!  Why not use the time to look for a job instead of stand around with a sign and do a non-protest protest.

    • Hosidax says:

      Sorry Steven, I know you just returned from an extended trip to Mars, but things have gotten kind of complicated here on Planet Earth since your last visit…

      edit: OK now that I re-read what you wrote, I realize you were joking. In that case, please consider my snide comment in the same spirit. :)

    • Diana Howe says:

      ohhh…i heard McDonald’s is hiring…not… no jobs that will feed a family… Steve… create some jobs, then i might respect your…lousy hippies, get a job attitude, though i heard call centers for Bell Canada in the Philippians are hiring…let me get a flight… sarcastically yours, Diana Howe

    • Shawn says:

      Haven’t people like you been saying that Obama has taken all our jobs? Now you’re saying that these people need to go out and get jobs? What jobs?! 

    • Rah El says:

      I don’t know the numbers for the US, but here in Germany the “Arbeitsagentur” keeps track of unemployed and open jobs. Currently they list ~865.000 job ads and ~3.119.000 profiles of people looking for jobs.
      Now do the math, then tell me again people should just “use the time to look for a job”.

    • Brother Phil says:

      Indeed! Why challenge injustice when you can make more money for those perpetrating it?

  6. Hosidax says:

    I’m relieved to see that both sides seemed to work very hard to exercise restraint.  The cops (and the protesters) probably understand the truth the they are also part of the 99…

     We’ll see how long it lasts.   It only takes one hot-headed jerk (on either side) in a situation like this, and things could spin out of control very quickly. 

  7. Brainspore says:

    “They can stay here all night long, all year long…”

    I hope he means that. Time will tell.

  8. kattw says:

    Yeah, this honestly isn’t bad at all.  It’s a good thing, if anything, for the most part.  The police enforced an active law, one found in MANY locations across the country.  I can recall an officer enforcing the same law when I was at college, waiting to get into a building.  He just asked us to make room for people who wanted to use the sidewalk to, ya know, walk.

    It seems like he gave them a pretty substantial amount of time.  Why was it done right then?  Who knows?  Does it really matter?  Would the story have changed if they were given the same amount of time the next day?  Why was the man told to talk to PR?  Because that’s SOP, most likely.  Police are notorious for not wanting to discuss the wheres and whys while actually busy enforcing.

    It really seems like the worst part of all this was the protestors, and how they acted when police moved in.  Usually you get a matter of minutes to comply with this sort of order, they were given hours.  And, they COULD have picked up their tents and walked it all away, had they wanted to.

    In any case, this just doesn’t strike me as a police-out-of-control sort of affair.  Well known, common law, reasonable amount of time to respond, etc.  Hardly the cops fault if they couldn’t get vehicles in over the course of a few hours.

    • Daniel says:

      In any case, this just doesn’t strike me as a police-out-of-control sort of affair.  Well known, common law, reasonable amount of time to respond, etc.  Hardly the cops fault if they couldn’t get vehicles in over the course of a few hours.

      I agree that the police were clearly not out-of-control, but I don’t think this was a reasonable amount of time.  Have you ever been camping?  Getting camping equipment for 5 people packed up can take something like 3 hours or more depending on conditions, and late-night conditions with a lot of time pressure are the worst conditions.  This (about an hour apparently?) was not a reasonable amount of time to give people to clean up a tent city.

      I’m not sure SFPD really deserves the benefit of the doubt here.  Given the insufficient period of time given to the protesters to clean up, the SFPD knew they’d be cordoning off a bunch of people’s stuff and throwing it in trucks.  That really stresses people out — given some of the law enforcement stories you hear in this country, it makes people worried that they will never get their stuff back.  It seems to me like the SFPD were trying to push the protesters into some sort of confrontation.  I’m very glad to learn the confrontation was not particularly violent.

  9. UncaScrooge says:

    Let me preface this by stating that I have participated in marches down Market Street:  Every five minutes in America, a protest march heads down Market Street in San Francisco.  I expect the SFPD will work out the kinks in this process any day now.

  10. Art says:

    Police violence?  That’s a real stretch.

    • Quinn Norton says:

      Hitting, screaming, pushing, etc is violent. Whether it’s justified on the part of police or protestors is your judgement, I’m not making that call. Whether it’s violence is definitional. 

  11. BrianOman says:

    Personally, I can’t imagine the argument for forcibly removing people from public property. Doesn’t matter if there are laws in place, civil disobedience is practiced because laws are often skewed towards a particular power. Therefor, if people are occupying public space, removing them forcibly is an abuse of power.
    Sure the police acted mostly civilly in this situation, as did most of the protesters. But once the police actually made the move and forced people out, especially without giving a reasonable response for why, when and how, they were abusing their power. Rather than protecting the people, they were tyrannizing the people. Yes, that is the proper use of tyranny. Or rather, the improper use of power, which is tyranny.

    • Brainspore says:

      Personally, I can’t imagine the argument for forcibly removing people from public property.

      Technically dismantling the tent city isn’t forcibly removing people from public property, it’s forcibly ending residence on public property. If the police are telling the truth then the people can hang out as long as they want so long as they don’t live there. (Again, time will tell if that’s the case.)

      Of course you could argue that it shouldn’t be illegal to set up residence on a public sidewalk or that an exception should be made in this particular case but it’s not like this is a new, unusual, or unpopular law. Most people are okey-dokey with this sort of ordinance if it means getting rid of the homeless guy who built a lean-to on the sidewalk in front of their home.

      • BrianOman says:

        “Of course you could argue that it shouldn’t be illegal to set
        up residence on a public sidewalk or that an exception should be made in
        this particular case but it’s not like this is a new, unusual, or
        unpopular law. Most people are okey-dokey with this sort of ordinance if
        it means getting rid of the homeless guy who built a lean-to on the
        sidewalk in front of their home.”

        You’re perfectly correct. Here in Whitehorse they removed an entire squatter village by the river just 5 or so years ago. Public talks about the land use policy were in place when suddenly one night, bam, they destroyed the entire village. Did people care? Not really. Now they’re putting up a touristy disneyland version of all the cabins. It’s really too much.

    • ChicagoD says:

      This makes me angry. Civil disobedience is all about getting forcibly removed and arrested. It is the whole point. You make society witness the effects of laws and decide whether that is what society wants. Is there not one lesson of the civil rights struggle that penetrated forward in time? It wasn’t a Letter from a Birmingham Retail Outlet, it was from a jail. THAT is why it was powerful.

  12. ChicagoD says:

    Well, the police probably would have been better served just arresting everyone who obstructed the street. They would have gotten citations for disorderly conduct and been released by morning. No big deal for either side, but the screaming, vulgarities, and mutual frustration would have been avoided. Honestly, pitching this as rampaging police is kind of absurd.

  13. CSBD says:

    The protests are well intentioned but are basically meaningless until they get numbers like in the middle east or until they get some sort of force behind them.
     
    The protests are still in their infancy.  It is not likely that US police are going to murder a bunch of protesters on behalf of  financial interests or republican politicians, so I don’t see there being a huge upswelling of support.
     
    Things in the USA are also not so bad that everyone (or a large percentage of the population) has nothing left to loose by going out to protest (and possibly go to jail or worse), so thats not going to fuel protests either… now if unemployment were to hit 25% across the board, that would change the situation a bit.
     
    Most people on the sidelines believe that its a “group of unemployed hippies” so they really dont care to pay attention to the protests.  Without interest or support the protests will remain small.  Without rage due to excesses/violence by the state security aparatus, there will not be a huge upswelling of numbers.
     
    Though I suppose if someone were able to get video of the Koch brothers detailing their plan to fuck over america, that might get a few dozen more people out on the march.

  14. Finnagain says:

    Don’t tyrannize me bro!

  15. Tim in SF says:

    I have zero problem with police enforcing any ordinance keeping hobos, hipsters, protesters, tents, trash or anything else from blocking pedestrian use of sidewalks. Zero. 

    *You* try spending ten years walking a gauntlet of “got-a-quarter-man?” losers to get to work or to the grocery store a block away, and see how you like it. 

    • jimh says:

      Keep winning, Tim.

      • Tim in SF says:

        Oh, I forgot – picking up the trash and hosing the human poop off my front porch or the sidewalk in front of my house. Yeah, that’s gotta be one of my favorite hobbies since moving to the city. 

        Winning!

        • Daniel says:

          You should advocate to fund the mental health programs that were defunded in the 80′s and 90′s, turning out thousands of folks with mental health issues into situations they were incapable of dealing with.  That’s probably the most important factor in homelessness in the U.S.A. today.  The guy pooping on your porch doesn’t know WTF he is doing and he needs help.  Throwing him in jail doesn’t help anyone.

          • Tim in SF says:

            Yeah, I feel for them. I really do. It’s a tragedy what Reagan did to the mental health services in California when he was governor. 

            But that doesn’t account for the kids on the hobo circuit spending their two weeks in the Haight on their way to Eugene or Seattle. I think if you lived where I live, and spent the last decade dealing with hobos making even mundane tasks like walking to the grocery store an exercise of frustration, perhaps you might experience some of the compassion fatigue I have. And that my neighbors have. You have a lot of empathy for the people who ruin my neighborhood, but you don’t seem to have a lot of empathy for the people like me who have to scrub hobo shit off their welcome mat.  

          • Daniel says:

            Right, because if you look at the situation objectively, sleeping on the street and having to dig your food out of dumpsters for years of your life is a lot worse than hosing some poop off your porch before going back inside to browse Boing Boing on your MacBook.

            I typically feel badly for people who have it worse than I do and don’t feel so badly for people who are living as good as or better than I do.  I’m weird that way.

          • Tim in SF says:

            I have little doubt that you would be singing a different tune after a decade of living in the Haight. 

          • Daniel says:

            I don’t think your experience is nearly so unique or singular or unpleasant as you seem to imagine it is.

          • Tim in SF says:

            Your reply is nonsensical. 

            I never said my experience is unique. If anything, it is the opposite of unique. It is exactly the same as everyone else around here. 

            Talk to any ten residents of my neighborhood. Pick them at random. See if their opinion is substantially different from mine. 

            I’ve actually had this opportunity. I can assure you – Compassion Fatigue is nearly universal around here. 

          • Daniel says:

            Homeless people inconvenience you in some ways.  You’ve complained at great length about it.  They inconvenience me too since I live and work in a metropolitan downtown area.  I could complain about it just like you do, but instead I think about how much more it would suck to be in their position than it does to be in mine.  My life is pretty sweet.  So I don’t get too worried about the minor inconveniences posed by people who have it much worse than I do.

            I don’t think there’s anything the least bit nonsensical about that.

          • Brainspore says:

            If you moved into the Haight ten years ago then you arrived a good three decades after the Summer of Love brought in the influx of homeless and hipsters that remain there to this day. If that’s what “ruined” your neighborhood then maybe you should have chosen another place to live.

          • Tim in SF says:

            I disagree on both points. 

            The hippies who were here in the sixties haven’t been here since the seventies.

            I never said “homeless” – you did. I said “hobo”. “Homeless” are different – more than three quarters of homeless in San Francisco are women with their children. But they aren’t the ones camping in my doorway. That’s the hobos.

            Last year, a hobo built a fire on my porch next to the wall to cook food. There’s still soot on my wall. The fucker could have burned my house down.

            The kids on the hobo circuit from Phoenix up through Seattle (you do know about that circuit, right?) were not so bad when I moved here ten years ago. It’s gotten steadily worse. And really, I don’t care if they are in the neighborhood or asking for change or anything else. That’s perfectly legal.

            But they don’t have the right to block the sidewalk with their tents or trash. It’s illegal.

          • Brainspore says:

            I understand that the things you are talking about can be frustrating. But if you were able to afford a home in the Haight at the height of the housing boom in a hip neighborhood in one of the most expensive cities in America then it’s just a little difficult for me to muster an overwhelming amount of sympathy for you, especially since the homeless and hipsters were a fixture of the neighborhood long before you got there.

            And don’t think for a moment that any reasonable person in your situation would necessarily see things the same way as you do. I also live in San Francisco. And believe it or not, my real name is Tim.

          • Tim in SF says:

            I said I live in the Haight. I never said I bought my house. Re-work your reply. 

            “And don’t think for a moment that any reasonable person in your situation would see things the same way as you do.”

            I know my neighborhood. I’ve talked to many of my neighbors at functions over the years. I’ve met them at the stores around my house, at the Belvedere Halloween party, at the Fire Department Earthquake Preparedness meeting, at the Hamilton United Methodist Church neighborhood meetings on various issues. I know most the people on my block by name (can you say that about your neighborhood?).  I’ve met hundreds over the years. We all talk about the hobos. All the time. It’s really the only thing we have in common to complain about. 

            Attempting to invalidate my experience, calling me unreasonable and singular in my opinion is a pretty sucky thing to do. Also it happens to be wrong. 

          • Brainspore says:

            I didn’t call you unreasonable for getting annoyed by hobos, I said that reasonable people in your situation could disagree with you. The only time I described you as unreasonable was when you strongly implied that it wouldn’t bother you a bit if police started “cracking heads” of certain non-violent protesters.

            Reasonable people can certainly get annoyed by hobos and hipsters. But if you find them especially annoying then moving into a neighborhood that’s been filled with them since the sixties (same ones continuously or otherwise) just seems like a poor decision.

          • Tim in SF says:

            Ah, I see. I misunderstood. 

            I do get *annoyed* by hobos and hipsters, but it’s not something I can’t deal with. They were present in my neighborhood when I moved here. I even lived over Hobson’s Choice for a year – that place is hipster central. 

            What I find *especially* annoying is the blocking of the sidewalk by anybody for any reason (short of an emergency). I can deal with people asking me for change. What I cannot deal with is someone getting up and then standing in front of me, hindering my progress down the sidewalk, until I give them change (or a smoke or my restaurant leftovers or whatever). That *has* happened a few times. 

            I abhor police violence. But I also don’t like shit on the sidewalk in my path. Sorry, it’s just my thing. 

          • Aloisius says:

            You should advocate to fund the mental health programs that were defunded in the 80′s and 90′s, turning out thousands of folks with mental health issues into situations they were incapable of dealing with.

            This is San Francisco specifically we’re talking about. We have a comprehensive set of programs. There are a number of taxpayer funded mental and physical health programs in this city for the homeless along with drug treatment programs and housing programs.

            However, we can’t *force* people to go to them.

          • Daniel says:

            Well, fair enough…though as Brainspore pointed out, if you have a big problem with homeless folks and broke hipsters then SF was probably not a good choice of city.

          • Aloisius says:

            Well, fair enough…though as Brainspore pointed out, if you have a big problem with homeless folks and broke hipsters then SF was probably not a good choice of city.

            Are you seriously suggesting in the comments of a story about protesting to change the system that I shouldn’t try to fight to solve the problem and instead should either ignore it or move?

            Really?

          • Daniel says:

            No, that is not what I’m suggesting.  Feel free to have a chat with Tim in SF about reading comprehension and how much it sucks to live near homeless people.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Are you seriously suggesting in the comments of a story about protesting to change the system that I shouldn’t try to fight to solve the problem and instead should either ignore it or move?

            There’s a difference between working to improve the place where you live and snotting about it.  I doubt that you believe that the Giulianification of SF would be a positive thing.

            And, please, compose yourselves.

          • IRMO says:

            “However, we can’t *force* people to go to them.”

            That’s the problem in a nutshell. If you can’t get legal authority and the budget to take the schizophrenic off the streets in straitjackets, then no voluntary program is going to work.

    • Daniel says:

      Haha, that’s hilarious.  “Why should people be allowed to say stuff to me when I’m walking around in public?  There ought to be a law!”

  16. caruso81 says:

    LOAD. OF. CRAP.

    1. The “occupy-ers” have no idea what they are protesting. (nor does anyone else, for that matter)
    2. Those crying governmental tyranny will nonetheless turn around and vote for the same candidates next year, as long as they are Democrats, of course.
    3. Wall Street may have screwed up in ’08, but it’s almost ’12 now, and the problem works (or doesn’t work) in the White House.

    You know why you’re pissed? Because you elected “the Dream” and forgot to ask whether he was capable of running a government.

    • ChicagoD says:

      Wall Street didn’t screw up in 2008, that’s when the screw-ups came home to roost. The problem is they didn’t roost on Wall Street. They roosted on Main Street. Since it took over a decade across several administrations to build up that level of error, I assume it will take more than three years to overcome it, regardless of who is in the White House.

    • Brainspore says:

      You know why you’re pissed? Because you elected “the Dream” and forgot to ask whether he was capable of running a government.

      Hmm, let me reflect on that.

      Nope, I’m pretty sure that’s not why I’m pissed off.

    • Daniel says:

      1. Maybe they’re not “protesting” in any traditional sense.  Why should their actions have to conform to your expectations of what they’s supposed to be doing?  Wouldn’t that defeat the point?
      2. A lot of people who vote Democrat only do so because the Republican options are so frickin’ insane and authoritarian that they feel constrained by their consciences to hold their nose and vote Democrat.  A lot of folks participating in these protests probably don’t even vote because they don’t think the political system represents their viewpoint at all.  You must realize that the D vs. R dichotomy is pretty much a bunch of bullshit, right?
      3. You think the major investment banks stopped doing creepy shit after they got away with their last scam with record profits?  Dream on.  The white house is one problem, but it’s not the only one.

      Maybe if you didn’t want Obama elected you should have found us a better candidate.  I didn’t hear any suggestions at the time.  (No, McCain was not a better candidate.  He is, if anything, an even bigger pandering fraud than Obama.)

    • John Delaney says:

      I don’t think its a LOAD. OF. CRAP. at all.  I think that these protests aren’t about a set list of concerns.  The germ of the protest seems to have a lot to do with lack of Wall Street accountability, but I think that people are just angry in general.  People have been angry for a long time, about a laundry list of concerns, and now, both sides of the fence, Occupiers and Tea Partiers are lashing out (not that I want to group the two together, but…).  US citizens don’t have very many outlets for their anger.  I think the act of protesting, something, anything is enough right now.

  17. mbo says:

    I went to the SF march, just to see for myself . Did the same with the Tea Party rallies. The similarities were very evident.

    Sadly ,no one, not one person, could give me a constant answer as to what this “movement” hoped to engage, except to express an overall “discontentment”. It irritated me the same way AdBusters irritates me. It smacks of revolution fashion.

    But fair enough. I’m unhappy too. Lots to be angry about. The Fed. War on Drugs, Illegal wars, bloated inefficiency in a crony Capitalist system..And I met lots of nice people. Disagreed with many, agreed with some, had a fairly nice time.

    But if I compared this gathering to the anti war marches that I took place in some years back, well this was just an unfocused mess of platitudes and Progressive agendas without the over arching banner of a meaningful goal.

    Kinda depressing actually. I won’t be going back. I wish them all good luck in whatever it is they hope to do. And maybe I need to recalibrate what a “protest” is in 2011. I’m willing to concede that.

    But I’m guessing that this revolution won’t be televised for one reason, a reason far less sinister than many of the writers of this blog would have us believe:

    It just wont get ratings?

    • BrianOman says:

      I’ve been probably overly upset at some of your comments in the past.
      So here, I would like to give you a virtual high five.
      People have asked me why the protests aren’t getting mainstream media coverage. Who wants to watch a football match where everyone is dressed in their own idea of the ideal team uniform and plays by their own ideal rules? Not that there is anything wrong with it. It just doesn’t fit the news hour format. Maybe 60 minutes could create a worthy piece of media, but CNN and Fox certainly could not.

    • Tim in SF says:

      That’s not unusual, though. At any given march, even a unified one, if you talk to ten different people you’re gonna get ten different answers for why they are there. It’s the nature of crowds like these. 

      From what I understand, the Occupy Wall Street in NY is starting to coalesce around a single message regarding getting money out of politics (probably the only thing the left and the right can agree on). 

      I’m glad the media is finally covering it. They usually go out of their way to ignore civil demonstrations on any issue left of center. The opposite is true of right-wing protests. I still can’t get over how much the media were fluffing the Teabaggers. 

      • UncaScrooge says:

        Hi Tim,  sorry if this double-posts.  I sympathize with your plight deeply.  I scraped by in the Haight for 15 years.  However, in my experience, my “working” “neighbors” were 10 times more obnoxious than the guy on the corner who asked me for spare change year after year.

        I moved out of there years ago and I’m still recovering.  For an exercise, I recommend that you head out to the sea and then walk (on foot!) all the way back home.  Watch the neighborhoods change.  Observe the conditions as you go:  The sidewalks, the houses and the people.  You are living in a toxic little microclime.  Good luck.

        • Tim in SF says:

          Oh my god! That sounds awful! Toxic? What’s toxic? 

          I like my neighborhood! I live and work here. 99% of the time it’s awesome. It has it’s downsides, but what neighborhood doesn’t? 

          Wow, I’m totally interested in your story, UncaScrooge. What happened to you?  

          • UncaScrooge says:

            Long story short:  I lived near Haight and Fillmore in a crowded little apartment.  None of my neighbors appeared to need to work or sleep in order to survive.  I soon realized that I was the unreasonable person in the equation and tried to move out.  Then, the dot-bomb hit and all the city rents spiked.  I was trapped for another few years.  All politics are local:  When someone says that sleep deprivation isn’t torture, I become irrational.

            After I moved to another couple of neighborhoods, I realized that San Francisco was just as great as everyone keeps saying it is.  Particularly if you like food and parks.

          • Tim in SF says:

            Oh, shit dude. I know that intersection. It’s not Haight and Fillmore, it’s Fillmore and Haight. As in, “Feel More Hate.”  My friend Ashley Ryan lived in a flat there for a few years, across from the Walgreens. He hated it, too. 

            I live at Haight and Belvedere. It’s one mile and one world away from Lower Haight. 

          • UncaScrooge says:

            I am relieved to hear you’re not in the Lower Haight.  Your mileage may vary, as they say.  Just don’t get too cranky living where you’re living.  It’s not a pretty trait when you get older.

      • mbo says:

        “At any given march, even a unified one, if you talk to ten different people you’re gonna get ten different answers for why they are there. ”

        Sorry. That’s not my experience. The anti-war protests of the Bush years were pretty unified. Sure, tangential politics emerge but we had one goal and that context was very understood. It unified.

        “They usually go out of their way to ignore civil demonstrations on any issue left of center.”

        Dislike the Tea Baggers politics as much as you’d like, their political influence was certainly meaningful in certain parts of the country. Rand Paul is a good example of an elected official who alined with the movement and achieved success. I think the media saw enough of their viewers were interested. Intrest equals ad revenue yes?

        The media oft ignore left of center protests because they can’t really make a buck off them now can they?

        To be fair, it may be to early to determine just what the OWS “movement” will turn into, and if it can influence votes and aggregate political power. I’m guessing it wont add up to much, for the reasons I posted previously.

        And I saw absolutely NO sign of people aligning under a “get money out of politics” banner at the SF march. Sure it’s a unscientific conclusion, but even Campaign reform, a topic that’s clearly an issue, was never even mentioned by the loads of people that I was talking with.

        • Tim in SF says:

          “At any given march, even a unified one, if you talk to ten different people you’re gonna get ten different answers for why they are there. “Sorry. That’s not my experience. The anti-war protests of the Bush years were pretty unified. Sure, tangential politics emerge but we had one goal and that context was very understood. It unified.

          I don’t think we disagree, actually. 

          The emerging tangential politics in the Bush anti-war protests are exactly what I was talking about. You could get answers falling in the category of anti-bush, anti-this-war, anti-all-wars, anti-military-industrial-complex, anti-violence, pro-anarchy. And then numerous hangers-on talking about free-mumia, pro-palistine, free-Hat, etc. It was certainly *more* unified (a whole lot more, and a whole lot bigger) than OWS, as well as more unified than your standard get-your-government-hands-off-my-medicare Teabagger rally. IMHO. 

          If your bar for organization is the unified message (such that it was) in the Iraq War protests, then I don’t think OSW meets it. Not yet, anyways. They’ll get there, hopefully soon.

          • mbo says:

            No, OWS does not meet it. I like to march for something a little more concrete.

            And while I think it’s silly hyperbolae to call this thing a “revolution” (with a “manifesto” that ranks high in comedic worth) I will say that all political discourse is valuable, yes?

            But, sadly, this video does echo what I encountered which was primarily political/intellectual laziness accented by hubris and just plain weirdness (which was pretty fun, admittedly):

            http://reason.com/blog/2011/10/07/what-we-saw-at-the-occupy-wall

        • Tim in SF says:

           And I saw absolutely NO sign of people aligning under a “get money out of politics” banner at the SF march. Sure it’s a unscientific conclusion, but even Campaign reform, a topic that’s clearly an issue, was never even mentioned by the loads of people that I was talking with.

          I’ll take your eyewitness account as truth over what I’ve gleaned from the media coverage. 

          I’m saddened though. I think getting money out of politics would fix just about every problem we have with our government. I’d love to see a movement around this.

  18. Teller says:

    The SF Chronicle, which invariably supports the right protests, even to publishing march maps and meeting times, didn’t beef about the police actions. Said there was enough warning blah blah. As far as the fire hazard, etc for disallowing the tent city – Chron said the SFPD had various city ordinances, though notably absent was the recent sit/lie law, which doesn’t seem to be helping Tim in the Haight too much. Funny they did anything about protesters in a town where you can walk around naked without so much as a wtf.

  19. aj says:

    What a bunch of wasted effort. 
     
    Guys: NOBODY CARES if the cops clear out your tent city.  They just don’t.  So why bother with this?  It’s not as if you’re homeless – you have places to go.  Why not simply come back for another march the next day, well dressed and showered, and maybe with a clear set of demands and some well printed signs?
     
    Remember the civil rights marchers?  Often they marched in SUITS.   They didn’t waste their time putting up tent cities just so they could have a reason to get arrested.

  20. Guest says:

    How about these odds for you: somewhere between 16 against 1 and 20 against 1, given 800-1000 people and 50 cops. 

    That’s what the police face in mob situations, and they know better than anyone if one person starts something, mob mentality rules.

    So much to flag as inappropriate (as in irrelevant to this discussion), so little time…

    • Daniel says:

      That’s better odds than Spanish conquistadors had against the Inca.  Who won that one again?

      • ChicagoD says:

        Sure, Inca v. Conquistadors (Aztecs, not Incas?) is one example. However, most of the time 20:1 is either a surrender or a slaughter that doesn’t make the history books.

        • Daniel says:

          I could have used the Aztecs, I picked the Incas because I knew that was about 300 conquistadors versus several hundred thousand Incas and I didn’t know the numbers for Spanish vs. Aztecs. 

          And yes, such odds are often one-sided, but the police would seem to have the same advantages as the Spanish.

          • ChicagoD says:

            Yeah. Just saying. You couldn’t pay me enough to be a cop in a potential riot situation.

          • Daniel says:

            Yeah, there’s actually a good clip of some Lenny Bruce on youtube where he challenges the counter-culture notion that police are fascists.  He says something like, “There’s ten thousand people down in Harlem with sticks and rocks and one guy in a tee shirt on the beat.  The guy’s basically a mailman.”  So yeah, I’m with you, cops have a tough job too. 

            But then again, I think it’s a little fishy that people had only had three hours at night to clean up a tent city.  That’s not really realistic — if someone had some engagement that kept them until midnight they would have had 20 minutes before the cops started throwing their stuff into trucks.  So I’m not so sure it was the hippies who were making the situation dangerous for the cops.  Sounds to me like it was the cops’ bosses putting the cops in a situation where they couldn’t help making people anxious and/or angry.

      • Guest says:

        That’s better odds than Spanish conquistadors had against the Inca.  Who won that one again?

        smallpox.

    • Brother Phil says:

      And yet so many of them _are_ happy to “start something”.

  21. ekai says:

    I witnessed this as well and Quinn’s account is spot on, though there were definitely 5 DPW trucks that I counted waiting on Main Street with the cops before midnight. I shot this video that night which captures the consensus process a bit and what happened soon after. 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MrI-BX9jEGU

  22. bcsizemo says:

    I’ve been reading through all these comments and I’m with mbo, what are their goals?

    I didn’t say demands.  That makes them sounds like criminals that want a specific thing to satisfy them.  I want a million dollars, but it just isn’t going to magically happen.  I want to have a million dollars by getting a good job and saving my ass off…see now my demand has become a goal via a way of making it happen.  Simply protesting, yelling at the police, and being all angry isn’t going to get you a goal.  I have no issue with people protesting, but all this I’ve been seeing is doing nothing for your “cause”.

    And don’t ask me for answers.  I believe the government screwed up in places, and I believe the banks are a fault for some things, but I also believe that ignorant people over extending themselves is a third problem here as well.  My belief: everyone should work via the idea money in > money out.  Be it individuals, families, small business, multinationals, or the government.

  23. origilla says:

    TL:DR Police told protestors to move their shit, protestors took too long, police moved their shit, protestors kept on protesting.

  24. awhellno says:

    This whole “Occupy xxx” is a giant, miserable failure. What do any protesters have to show for this? It’s business as usual. The SWAT teams get called in to disperse protesters in the name of safety, and the protesters with their cognitive dissonance fall for it. The reality is that America does not believe in free speech at all, as these protests show.

  25. Mattachine says:

    The Mayor of Seattle has made sure that for the next two weeks, OccupySeattle has a permit.

    The Mayor of S.F. now has to show the same kind of courage and resourcefulness.

  26. Cowicide says:

    I thought this was a thread about eyewitness accounts of Occupy San Francisco.  Silly me, it seems more about trolling and derailment.

    Meanwhile, despite you trolls…  despite you naysayers from the very beginning who still show your faces around here.

    It’s growing.

    ^_^

    Keep it up, trolls.  Keep it up, naysayers. Whatever you’re doing is ineffective, thank God.

    The revolution is growing.

  27. hankchapot says:

    Why aren’t the DPW employees refusing? During tree-sits at UC Berkeley they tried to make the gardeners collect the tree-sit camp possessions. Some refused and we got a decision that we could refuse on safety grounds. I  am a  gardener at UC Berkeley and I will not put myself between the cops and the protesters. (Though I certainly supported the tree-sit)

  28. happyez says:

     I’m unaware of any major fires that were caused by hippies hanging out in tents, and it seems rather implausible that anyone would be killed in such a situation.

    Candles. At many hippies festivals. Regular thing. Especially while having sex late at night with well, people.

    • travtastic says:

      True, but the cardboard boxes their food comes in are a better fuel for a fire than a bunch of spaced-apart one pound tents.

  29. Bob says:

    Here are a few possible demands I found browsing thru the OWS web site. They are not ‘Official’ but are indicative of some of the participant’s thinking: 

    Congress pass HR 1489. This reinstates many provisions of the Glass-Steagall Act

    Use Congressional authority and oversight to ensure appropriate federal agencies fully investigate and prosecute the Wall Street criminals

    Congress enact legislation to protect our democracy by reversing the effects of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision

    Re-establish the public airwaves in the U.S. so that political candidates are given equal time for free at reasonable intervals in daily programming during campaign season

    Congress pass the Buffett rule on fair taxation so the rich and corporations pay their fair share & close corporate tax loop holes and enact a prohibition on hiding funds off shore

    Congress completely revamp the Securities and Exchange Commission

    Congress pass specific and effective laws limiting the influence of lobbyists and eliminating the practice of lobbyists writing legislation that ends up on the floor of Congress

    Congress passing “Revolving Door Legislation” legislation eliminating the ability of former government regulators going to work for corporations that they once regulated.

    Eliminate “Personhood” legal status for corporations

  30. Hey Tim in SF, I lived in the Haight-Ashbury for many years and now live in SOMA.  Did you have to use the rest room in an emergency and try to find one?  There are virtually no free rest rooms to use, especially in the Haight.  (I can only think of McDonald’s or the filthy ones in the Panhandle.)  The same goes for the rest of the City.  Try getting a drink of water or find a place to sit down.  It’s no wonder the sidewalks are blocked.  In its unrelenting battle against the homeless, SF has became a city with little regard for the physical needs of its citizens and visitors.

    • Tim in SF says:

        There are virtually no free rest rooms to use, especially in the Haight.  (I can only think of McDonald’s or the filthy ones in the Panhandle.)

      I just left my computer to go buy a latte. On the way back, I walked around my neighborhood a bit. Here are ten restrooms within a hundred feet of my front door:
      Hamilton Church
      Red Vic Hotel
      Tikka Masala
      Aub Zam Zam
      Coco Luxe
      Alembic
      Kan Zaman
      Zona Rosa
      Happy Donuts
      Citrus Club
      Ploy II
      El Balazo
      Bia’s 
      Hobson’s Choice
      Askew Grill
      That’s fifteen JUST between Clayton and Cole, all within a one or two minute walk from my front door. There are more going in either direction, but I think I’ve made my point.  

      What was your point, exactly? 

      • Antinous / Moderator says:

        What a remarkable reply.  Someone complained about a lack of free rest rooms and you provided a list of rest rooms in private businesses.  Perhaps you should include your own home on the list.  The next time I’m prairie-dogging, I’ll ring your doorbell and pretend that I came over for a visit so that I can use your bathroom.

        • Tim in SF says:

          Well, I may have misunderstood what he meant by “free”. I thought that meant you can use it without paying.  If you really have to go, you can walk into any of these places, make a beeline for the bathroom, use it, and leave. It’s not like an employee is going to throw themselves between you and the restroom door. 

          If you mean “free” as in “free from any possible guilt as well as not paying anything” then there’s the restrooms down in the park, about 5 blocks away. They aren’t pretty, though. 

          If you have some change, the pay toilet is 4 blocks away on Stanyon and Haight. I think they keep that thing pretty clean, but it’s not free. 

          It would be nice if there were more of those pay-toilets in the neighborhood, but every time they pick a spot for one, everyone around it throws a nimby hissy fit. I wouldn’t mind seeing one across the street from my house, next to the ATMs by Villain’s Vault. There’s a big spot of pavement there just perfect for one. The neighborhood clearly needs it for people who need a restroom when the businesses are not open. 

  31. Brainspore says:

    if police start cracking hippie heads over blocking the sidewalks with tents, I will shed no tear.

    You’re not helping your case as a reasonable person by advocating a violent response to non-violent protesters, even if some of them happen to be in violation of civil ordinances.

  32. Daniel says:

    No,  no reading comprehension problems.  People are allowed to stand or sit on the sidewalk and ask each other for change.  It isn’t some special program to irritate or inconvenience you, it happens to everyone everywhere.  What’s funny is that you seem to think you’re super special and deserve immunity from the same bullshit everyone deals with every day.

  33. jimh says:

    Given these comments, I’m starting to wonder if the poop on his front porch is random or not.

  34. Tim in SF says:

    Really?  That’s advocating violence? I think advocating sounds like “I think the police should crack hippie skulls”.  I didn’t say that. I said, “I wouldn’t shed any tear.”

  35. Brainspore says:

    I think advocating sounds like “I think the police should crack hippie skulls”.  I didn’t say that. I said, “I wouldn’t shed any tear.”

    That’s not splitting hairs, it’s splitting microfilaments.

  36. Cowicide says:

    Given these comments, I’m starting to wonder if the poop on his front porch is random or not.

    [cow looks suspicious and slinks out back door]

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