Occupy Miami Gets No Respect

The Occupy Miami camp was soggy and bedraggled after a night of several inches of rain and 30 mph winds.
The Occupy Miami camp was soggy and bedraggled after a night of several inches of rain and 30 mph winds.

It’s the Rodney Dangerfield of the Occupy Wall Street protests — Occupy Miami, which has been on site at city hall for more than a month now, can’t get no respect.

Last week when Zuccotti Park was forcefully emptied and New York’s OWS protesters streamed across the Brooklyn Bridge, a series of messages was projected on the side of the Verizon Building. Among those messages was a list of Occupy sites — New York, Oakland, Portland. But no Miami. The list included “Florida” instead, no Miami.

Besides a few demonstrations in Sarasota, Daytona and several other Florida cities, no place except Miami has maintained a sustained and violence-free effort. They have negotiated with the city for permits to stay on the property, they police themselves pretty well (one heroin overdose and a runaway 11-year-old notwithstanding), and they hold almost daily demonstrations as well as workshops, discussions and a nightly movie projected on the side of the city hall building.

This is as near a manifesto as you'll get from the occupiers.
This is as near a manifesto as you'll get from the occupiers.

They even have incorporated (ironically for an anti-corporation movement), but they did it to be able to handle donations — to do business.

It hasn’t been easy. There have been challenges from one of the wettest falls Miami has had in years, homeless people horning in on the movement for free meals and to steal stuff and a few altercations. But from the start the Miamians have worked with police to maintain order, obey the rules and generally conduct themselves as people who just want to change the way the world works.

There was a great story in the Miami Herald yesterday by the paper’s very conservative media critic, Glenn Garvin. And he seemed to be impressed by what he saw — at least his article was more balanced than I expected it to be.

I hope Occupy Miami can keep it together and stay focused on its rather amorphous message and avoid the violence that has marred other protests. Nonviolence might not make for great PR, but it certainly bolsters the message.


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  • November 22, 2011 - 12:38 pm | Permalink

    Clearly at 1:59 Miami is flashed on the side of the building, after Cleveland and Hawaii.

    Miami is doing well considering a historical lack of social movements. There have of course been some but very infrequent compared to say, Boston or New York where community organizing /building is well established.

    We, in OccupyMIA, are developing strategies and praxis in organizing from the very tip of the roots of our community. We are also working with several community organizations such as Seed 305 and unions like the SEIU to maintain and build the momentum and awareness of this local social phenomenon.

    We’re out there working diligently and figuring out best practices, and we’re still in our infancy. Many great things to come as we learn how to come together better.

    Many may not be camping but as Nov 17’s demonstration of over 2,000 people who blocked off US1 and shut down several banks for over an hour showed that people do support us.

    There’s a lot of work going on in the shadows.

    We are not merely “demanding” change, we’re creating it. Join us.

  • November 22, 2011 - 12:38 pm | Permalink
  • Francesca Violichj
    November 24, 2011 - 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Actually Miami was included in the Verizon projection, it came about 4 after Florida.

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