After a series of votes, Occupy Seattle's general assembly of about 200 people does not want to go to City Hall and has instead decided to stay at Westlake Park indefinitely, Dominic Holden just called to report.
But over the course of their votes and conversation in the last hour—this process-driven stuff takes a long time—the crowd has lost about 40 percent of its numbers, which raises the obvious question: How many of these people voting now are actually going to be here at 10:00 pm when police make arrests and how many of them are going to actually stay inside the park? Protesters said they believe that those of them who go to the awning under Nordstrom or simply stand on the sidewalk near Westlake Park won't be arrested. Which indicates that few of them are actually willing to get arrested, but everyone who doesn't get arrested will have nowhere to go, as they have just indicated they're not going to City Hall. One speaker used the analogy of the 700 arrests on the Brooklyn Bridge as an example of what "made the shit blow up" in New York. The lone voice of reason in the course of the talks was a middle-aged man who pleaded with the group to reconsider their commitment to Westlake because he was exhausted and they needed to be a sustainable movement, i.e., to be getting sleep, and spending nights at City Hall and days at Westlake Park would allow them a regular sleep schedule. Nobody cared what this guy thought.
Most of all, more than anything, it appears a frenzied, righteous, anti-authoritarian element of the group is successfully persuading everyone else simply to not agree with anything the mayor offers them—their primary goal is to not be told what to do. This sort of thinking could steer the whole movement into a ditch and just proves how stupid the fetish for consensus is. Some members of the crowd are clearly exhausted and sleep deprived after days down at Westlake Park, and it's hard to see how this cycle of sleeping on the sidewalk and/or staying up all night is sustainable. The people who want to "make shit blow up" aren't the kind of people who like to solve problems.