Pressure building to clear the protesters out

It’s time to clear out Zuccotti Park, says today’s New York Post. But of course it was time to clear it out six weeks ago (or at the latest three weeks ago, when a clean-up was scheduled but the owner, Brookfield Properties, chickened out at the last minute because of pressure from city politicians, as discussed by me here, here, here, here, and here). This is what life is like under liberalism. An action against intolerable social disorder that ought to be taken on Day One, or at the latest Day Ten, is not taken until Day 50, because liberalism requires that everyone show himself to have his heart in the right place, liberally speaking. Only when a situation has become unbearable is action taken, because only when the situation is unbearable is it ok for a liberal to act in a non-liberal fashion to end it. (See The Unprincipled Exception.)

But we’re not quite there yet. Brookfield is still afraid to ask Mayor Michael R. Bloombrain to act, because it doesn’t want to be blamed, and Bloombrain doesn’t want to act, until Brookfield asks him. In reality, as I’ve said before, this public burden should not be placed on a private company. The property is private, but the agreement between Brookfield and the city that governs the use of the park is public, and the problem is public. The city should act, as eventually it will, but, as I’ve said, it will act only after it has shown itself to be properly liberal and allowed and caused no end of nuisance to local residents and harm to local businesses that should never have been allowed in the first place.

- end of initial entry -

Ken Hechtman writes:

I wouldn’t worry about it. A couple of things are going to happen fairly soon.

1. The overnight temperature will drop below freezing and most of the people with heated homes to sleep in will go there.

2. The press will get bored and move on to something else. When the cops finally do arrest the last twenty-odd die-hards, it’ll get two or three inches on page 40.

Jim C. writes:

This is easy. If I were mayor I’d direct the police to inform the squatters that they are trespassing on private land and as a consequence will be evicted at a date and time certain. Next I’d make sure the National Guard and police were ready to arrest anyone who ignored the order. In other words, take out the trash.

LA replies:

First, they are not technically trespassing. As I discussed in detail last month, Brookfield Properties has an obligation to keep the park open to the public 24/7. However, Brookfield has the responsibility and right to keep the area in proper order and cleanliness, and the permanent encampment is obviously in violation of that. So Brookfield has the right to remove the encampment—the beds, tents, furniture, cooking gear, etc. But after doing that they would still have to let the protesters back. But the protesters could only hang out there, not live in a camp. This was what was planned three weeks ago.

Second, you’re missing the point of why it’s not easy. Three weeks ago the police at the behest of the owner were going to clear out the protesters temporarily in order to remove their gear, and the protesters, knowing that this would be in effect the end of the occupation, said they would resist any effort to have them leave the park, even temporarily. The fear of a violent confrontation propelled local politicians to put pressure on Brookfield Properties to call off the cleanup. Now I think the protesters should have been removed, but I wouldn’t call that easy.

At the same time, as the city’s left-liberal tolerance for this radical leftist mess keeps dropping, the political costs of moving the protesters out by force will also keep dropping.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 03, 2011 08:15 AM | Send

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