As Occupy Peters Out: How ‘Bout a Farm?
Recently, the Occupy movement has been given extensive news coverage. More and more activists seem to be coming out of the woodwork these days, in the strangest places. Recently, they got their hands on a farm. And just like every other piece of property they’ve commandeered, it’s been repossessed by the authorities. This latest event, “Occupy the Farm,” consisted of a group of people taking over Gill Tract, a lot belonging to the University of California, Berkeley. Before they could really gain any traction, however, the police moved in and forced them to vacate. Unlike their more high–profile efforts, it has not been met was an overflow of publicity.
The intrepid and elderly people who colonized the vacant lot and began to garden allegedly possess a purpose, but, surprisingly, it has nothing to do with banks or financial malpractice. They want to feed the hungry, but who knows what became of that. I have a sneaking suspicion that these gardeners constitute a large portion of the local hungry.
Where are all these people coming from? Are they the scum of the earth? Ask yourself these questions, then think about the Occupy movement. If what appears in your mind is a giant, flashing, neon “yes,” then you might be a part of the backlash. And who could blame you? These guys will go to any lengths to occupy something. Parks, courtyards, farms, it makes no difference. But UC Berkeley has been on something of an authoritarian roll lately, as exemplified by police spraying kneeling protesters with pepper spray on the UC Berkeley campus.
Perhaps it would be polite for them to acknowledge the points being made, even if they can’t condone the tactics used. Apparently the vacant land that was taken over was originally going to be used to create new ways to put corn into everything. UC Berkeley had planned to use the area for food experiments, but the tract is the only piece of class–one agricultural land in the Bay Area. The occupiers had hoped to see the land be used for urban farming, but it looks like the area is set to be bulldozed, and the original plans will go forward.
There is historical precedent to these squabbles. In the ‘60s, when the Berkeley Free Speech Movement was in full swing, it was focused on the UC Berkeley campus. The UC Berkeley authorities cracked down hard on the protests, but were eventually forced to relent by public pressure. Apparently, it isn’t hard to put UC Berkeley in a difficult position, as much of the same tactics used then are being used now. Fourteen of the protesters are being charged with various offenses.
Sure, UC Berkeley might get bad press for the eviction, but what could it have done? What the occupiers did is put the university on the spot. And whatever your motives, that’s just rude.