I still don't understand why this is in Westlake. This protest should be taking place right next to bellvue square, in Goddard Park. All the protesters should ride metro there, and use the mall for bathroom breaks. That kills a lot of birds with just one stone.
Hear, hear!
@1 but wouldn't that be #OccupyBellevue instead?
None of what you describe sounds like civil disobedience or protest.
So, go make it happen. You've got lots of ideas and all I've seen is a bunch of whining come out of you.
Paul is absolutely correct, but unfortunately the people on the ground are too caught up in the minutiae of the moment to see the bigger picture. This is also why you'll get a bunch of people waving signs for all their personal pet causes like "Save the Seals!" and "Free James Brown" diluting the message and giving Fux News an excuse to dismiss the whole movement as an incoherent rabble of hippies.
I like Westlake. It is one of the few parks in Seattle that has a good flow of people and where lots of different kinds of people can be found. You got everything from street kids to rich tourists and there is almost always something going on or some busker playing.

The rest I agree with.

Watching the Live Stream feed (at the points when the camera wasn't moving to fast and pixelating the image), I felt that if someone hadn't told me this was a protest movement, I would have assumed that this was what a downtown "shopping district" would look like in vibrant city at 10 at night.

I wondered...why wasn't Old Navy open selling these people scarves.

@4 for the Insightful Post of the Day
I agree wholeheartedly with Paul's description of Westlake Park, but it's not clear to me what you're gaining at City Hall either. Rock show? What's a rock show got to do with anything? I thought you guys were protesting Wall Street? But you can't be roused to go after the big banks that are just a couple of blocks away?

What all the protesters seem to be missing, the anarchists and the pragmatists alike, is that it's not about you. You have subsumed yourself into a mob, and it is the mob that is communicating with the outside world. What your mob is now communicating is "wet, confused, same old laundry list of random grievances we've seen a thousand times before". People seeing this on the news are going to either laugh or change the channel. This isn't "change"; it's more of the same. And every second it goes on it just shows how more powerful your opponents are.
I told you so. This couldn't be more predictable if it was a script. The passive-aggressive-over-consensus culture of this town leads the left to be held hostage by deluded inert dipshits like these self described Anarchists.
@3 cmon, bellevue is a little bitch of a town where all the wannabe seattlites go to live cause they are afriad of hippies and dark skinned people. Those are the type of people you want to piss off with a protest. Doing this in Kemper's back yard would get attention, more so than in Seattle.

One day the shithurriccane is going to raise a shitwave that will wash all these shitheels away, Randy.
I don't like Westlake Park either but there really aren't that many alternatives in downtown Seattle. Name a better park to occupy. Personally, I think they might do well to sleep in shifts at City Hall so that 1/3 of the campers are there, awake, at any time, and the other 2/3 are sleeping. With 8 hour shifts you could have an early group that moves to City Hall and sleeps from 8-4, a middle group from 12-8, and a late group from 4-noon. That leaves the afternoon and evening for the big numbers, when visibility is most important. But it's essential to the underlying organizing principle of the movement to hold a central, visible, 24/7 space for a permanent protest that can spawn satellite protests and marches. If they yield the space entirely even if just for the night then the police will just move in and prevent their return, and then it's all over.

The only possible alternative that might work is Seattle Center. But it's not centrally located, it's not visible, and it's a lot farther from the overnight space at City Hall. It's a better space, though, and could potentially hold a lot more people. It's also the only place in the city other than Westlake that has a tradition of being a focus of protest.
no one took over paul. you're a moron. if you did a little research you'd see that the impetus to stay at westlake is coming from the people who want to stay at westlake, ie, the kids, dumbass, not the anarchists. are you sucking the mayors pee-pee as well? cause no one wants to go there and there have been ten million meetings where that was decided again and again. way to go again. genius award coming your way. who the hell are you talking to down there anyway?
Oh, and get all the pointless agitators and shit-stirrers in the sleeping late group. That means all of the needless confrontations will happen from midnight to four, they'll be picked off one-by-one so they become less dominant over time, they'll be sleeping when the morning commuters come in, and they'll be outnumbered during the rest of the time.
The thing is, I don't think this needs to be an either/or situation. Folks who want to stay at Westlake should do so, understanding that other folks don't share their commitment to holding that space. And folks who want to set up shop at City Hall should do so, potentially doing some of the things Paul is suggesting, and be clear that their intention -- which will be judged by some as collaborationist, etc. -- is to create a sustainable, but still vocal presence. There should be communication/suppport going back and forth -- particularly support in cases of Westlake arrests. Different folks within the OWS movement and larger sympathetic community have different views and different personal situations (particularly around how being arrested might affect their life situation, etc.), and so there should be space for doing different things. There could either be a set of common principles adopted between the sites, a basic statement of solidarity failing that, or just communication and support as individuals choose to between sites.

Radical folks (particularly anti-authoritarian & anarchist folks) frequently talk about respect for diversity of tactics as crucial to struggle. This is a chance to actually live that out, and for folks to get past automatically rejecting folks who want to do things slightly -- or even significantly -- different than what you define as THE important thing. I think widening the possibilities of what folks can do may be less likely to divide things than being dogmatic about staying at Westlake being what defines a "true" Occupy Seattle protestor. Doing so raises questions of who is trying to "own" this protest through such definition, which is part of the problem we have in this town sometimes around certain issues, that certain organizations try to "own" the issue and define who is truly down with the issue based on whether they accept a particular analysis around it, as opposed to being a facilitator (that might work with other folks to facilitate an event or campaign) that respects diversity of tactics.
@12, you nailed it. Westlake may feel like "what in the fuck happened to our trailer park?" But moving to City Hall would be like having the Temporary Relief Assistant Trailer Park Supervisor in charge. Maybe we should ask Conky what the next move is here.
I feel weird about calling the Occupation of Wall Street a "movement" since it really isn't about marching in a direction towards a stated set of goals. The brilliance of the idea, and the reason it captures so many people's imagination, is that the occupants are claiming space within the symbol of our current financial and economic system (all that which we call "Wall Street") and modeling a system of how things should or could be within geographic proximity of the street name that represents how bad things actually are. It is an art installation... an abstraction occupying an abstraction.

There is nothing symbolically, metaphorically, or actually useful to be gained by occupying Westlake. It is a void. It is the place where people always go to protest whatever random shit they are protesting, so taking it over means absolutely nothing new. No paradigms are shifted. it is just the same old people yelling the same old things in the place they always yell them. (City Hall is also not useful... nothing symbolically meaningful to occupy there either.)

If you want Seattle's equivalent of metaphorical Wall Street, you must look elsewhere for space to occupy. (And maybe it isn't even an outdoor space... any banks or foreclosed office buildings you wanna take over?) And the occupants need to pull it together and become a more idealized model of how things should-be/could-be because all the location-based dogmatism, sleep deprivation, and process fetishization is not anyone's model of a better society.

@17 this is HOURS of workplace entertainment.…
Does anyone realize that nobody walks through Westlake Park at night besides the homeless and drunk people? Who the hell are you proving a point to at 2 o' clock in the morning, wet and miserable as you are?

This isn't a petition to leave Westlake Park entirely. This is a petition to just leave at night, when no one is really watching anyways, so people can stay healthy and get a decent fucking sleep (Which, by the way, is hugely important if you want working class people to join the movement, because, you know, unlike some people, they have jobs).

Please, please, please, for the sake of the movement and the sake of all of us, make the smart decision.
Great post Paul. The reality is, the protest has become about protest, and maybe tents. The movement is imploding because of lack of leadership by sensible people, and the loud squeaky voices of whackjobs who want to fight the cops over tents at a shit park. It's sad to see. I hope the movement can be saved, but it's looking dim unless it's refocused quickly.
You have to love and respect the vanguard, but to paraphrase St. Saul: Actions that drag on become drags.

Making a camp out at Westlake the symbolic sine quo non of radical organizing in Seattle is a sign of hardening of the arteries.

I thought one of the benefits of all this twitter, text, and fb organizing was to help provide flexibility through rapid communications.

And now, to paraphrase Uncle Ho: One, two, three, many occupations!
this is such a dipshit post. grow up for fakes sake!
If the point of the occupation is the be visible, I can't imagine how a move to City Hall helps. Aside from being out of the way, it also removes the main reason that the media have been dropping by every day and night.

It isn't as if Zuccotti Park is some sort of gem either.
Let's hope the 'anarchists' are only temporarily in control.

Those bandanna-faced idiots ruin every action at which they turn up.
I think the second chin on that fat chick on the Livestream is camping illegally on her third chin. Can't they find an attractive woman?
Last words on the subject: Unless you can maintain a presence at Westlake that is bigger than any jail can handle, the powers that be will handle this well, and then, bye-bye.

City Hall is a place to sleep. Mayor McGinn is not going to creep in and strangle anyone in their sleeping bag. Get some dry rest, wake up, organize, march, organize some more. If City Hall doesn't work out, find something new.

Marrying your hopes and aspirations to Westlake Park will avail you confrontation and deflation.
Anarchist are the main reason why I dont go anywhere Westlake Park. They hi-jacked the John T Williams protest, what should have been a speech about the death of a citizen, turned into a call for a civl war or revolution, oh and please vote for my friend for president. Now they've hi-jacked this protest, what should be about tax inequality, is now about taking and holding the park. Its as if they saw "The Park is Mine" (Tommy Lee Jones) one too many times.
If the uprising would've uprose years and years ago, maybe we'd have a real public square downtown instead of the Westlake Wedgie.

That said, there are a number of places where temporary mass visibilities would do some good, and so would the marches to and the treks back, in terms of exposing the movement to new/broader audiences.

Cascade playfield for instance, in the thick of the tension zone between downscale and upscale residents and commuters. Volunteer Park. Pioneer Square. Queen Anne parks. Lather, rinse, repeat.
all the cops drove the westlake kids out. sigh...
How about actually occupying Wall street.
You're kidding, @31, right? Nobody would ever allow that to happen.
Why not? After 2AM, Belltown is already being occupied by zombie crackheads. Worst case scenario, it will make the late night numbers look twice the size. Give them some cardboard and a sharpie and many will probably even join the cause. Plus, people probably could care less if tents were put up.
Yes to this.
modern revolution=spoiled kids
You are so totally right in this article....
Paul, I hate doing this comments but please read this:

Sleeping part time and walking back and fourth in accordance with the Mayor's limitations IS NOT AN OCCUPATION!! You say that this fight over space "flies in the face of what Occupy wall street protesters have created." Occupy wall St. is illegally occupying space (officially illegal once the private company that owns the land declares them trespassers, which they're afraid to do), they have been for about a month. What makes this movement powerful is that it is not just a series of marches and protests it is an occupation, a sit in. Which is illegal, which means people have to get arrested. Historically, the sit-in has been extremely effective in creating change. Even if we went to City Hall we would have to Occupy, continuously, break the law, and get arrested. What would we accomplish by doing that? Westlake, ugly yes, but also historically a place of gathering and protest in Seattle, because its visible, right in the middle of the city. This has become the place of Occupation, we have to hold on to it and be willing to get arrested like the 141 in Boston, and the 700+ in NY. Those actions of mass arrest mobilize people and strengthen the movement. What your suggesting is not effective civil disobedience and would in fact fly in the face of what Occupy Wall St. has created.

Privately Owned Public Open Spaces: These are privately owned spaces that are required to be open to the public, because the owner of the space got special allowances from the city to make their building larger. These are NOT city parks, so the camping and 10pm closer rules shouldn't apply.

6th and Union (3 blocks from Westlake) has a very large POPOS area.
I'm getting kind of tired of reading smug self righteous bullshit from the stranger. Really. I seriously doubt the author of this piece has even been a part of the movement. We are not occupying Westlake because it is pretty, or nice. We are occupying it because it is visible. We are occupying it because it is in the center of the city. If we holed ourselves up away from the public, away in an enclosed place in City Hall, it would defeat the whole fucking purpose of this movement. I don't think most protesters are trying to start fights with the cops, or the mayor, but what we are doing is civil disobedience. Turning it into an indoor movie night of warmth and the feel good fuzzies is moronic. Seriously stranger, STFU. And no, fyi, I'm not an anarchist either.
When you look out from Westlake, you see a major shopping hub. You see the kind of place that draws everyone--tourists, teenagers, yuppies, homeless people, office workers, service workers, business executives.

When you look out from City Hall you see a giant hole in the ground.

You've been following Occupy Seattle since its inception. It's okay if you don't give a damn. It's the folks who don't know what we're doing who justify our presence in Westlake. They're not going to give a damn at City Hall, because they just. won't. know.
@timthesocialist - Really? How many people do you think you reach between the hours of 10pm and 7am? You are not loosing anything by spending the night at City Hall and returning to Westlake bright and early the next morning (with a full nights sleep by the way).
Remember folks it's #occupyseattle -- not #occupywestlakepark. This is Seattle's "autonomous zone". Nothing says it has to be fixed in one spot -- or that it should solely be the playground of marginal adolescents [of all ages] seeking a venue to act out their oppositional defiance disorder.

I am struck by how disconnected and low-tech this event is -- in Seattle of all places. Much of what I see is slogans scrawled on discarded cardboard. Where are the indy media types, low-power FM geeks? Yeah there is but it lags behind ongoing developments. When I want to know what's going down there I fall back on the Stranger's blog.

We have had the student walk-outs, when do the teach-ins start?
Westlake is visible. City Hall is not.

The irony I'm seeing here is that new policy takes its cues from commercial interests (above the will of the people) to put protesters into a place that puts the burden on the taxpayers without compromising the commerce that brings profit to the 1%.
@14: I'm pretty sure I talked to you, and I'm pretty sure you're part of the problem. If you think I'm on the mayor's side, you're definitely not paying attention.

@43 and others who complain about City Hall's lack of visibility: Nothing is visible downtown between ten at night and seven in the morning. Downtown Seattle is basically a ghost town at night.

The benefit of a two-pronged protest with a home base and a protest zone is that protesters can keep the park during the day, when people are around, and then when conservatives complain about how they don't do anything but whine, protesters can point to the camp at city hall and say they're doing something constructive there (feeding the homeless, educating folks, taking care of each other).

@31-32-33: 5280: seattle's actual wall st. is a little bit away, and in belltown. you may not know about belltown as you are not from here, but there is a post today about belltown as well.
It must be nice to have a media outlet for your personal rants.
Op-Ed: Why We Should Still Support Occupy Seattle
By Everett Rummage in News on October 13, 2011 2:00 PM…

"To all you liberals who have a nuanced, well-reasoned objection to some element the Occupations, the question looms: what's your plan? Yell at the TV while you watch Rachel Maddow? Make dinner party conversation about how much you hate John Boehner? More bumper-stickers? Pray that Obama is visited by the ghost of FDR in a dream, then replaces Geithner with Paul Krugman in the morning?"

"No political cause in history has ever been immaculate. From the American Revolution to Civil Rights, every mass citizen's movement is born unfocused and chaotic, attracts unproductive eccentrics, and even makes mistakes along the way. Occupy Seattle is sometimes wrong, or even silly, but judge them on the big picture: their broad platform, and their ability to do good. I'll be at Westlake tonight, and anyone who'd rather be side-by-side with weirdos or hooligans (and an overwhelming majority of average people) than Rand-reading bankers, loony Tea Partiers, or crooked lobbyists, is welcome to join me."
City Hall faces the former BOA tower and current BOA location. And it has bathrooms. And very little section 8 housing surrounding it (some, but not a ton) compared to Westlake which does have residential apartments nearby housing working people who need to sleep.
Occupy Fremont has been so successful that The Man had to turn off electricity to the entire neighborhood today.

But we get our Power from the People!

99 Percent ftw!
Oh, that is not me btw, in case there was any confusion.

I found that guy's tweets last night and then this piece today.

Like someone else said, he seems pretty sharp. Perhaps a counter to SLOG coverage.
@49: Power outage in Wallingford also.
@44 Maybe I'm paranoid, but leaving the park and coming back seems rife with potential problems, and presents plenty of opportunity for things like this ( One of the only clear goals of the "Occupy" message is to actually physically occupy visible space. Giving the police and property owners a daily (er, "nightly") opportunity to come up with ways to keep you from returning seems like a good way to get shut back out. Though I DO like the idea of having so many protesters that we end up filling BOTH spaces.
btw i know for a fact that anarchists are not interested in occupy seattle!! check out for the reasons. the seattle A team does not endorse drum circles or cop loving liberal computer programmers'. we are all moving to greece where people riot!
@52 Stuckie makes a great point.

@53 witness1969 makes a great point.
Paul has a good point. So do Richard Wells and Stuckie. Take the opportunities you have obtained, and use them to create more demonstrative and creative actions! ..we are the many...
@54 Promises promises. Dont forget your passport.
I say this as someone who has spent a lot of time down there over the last week: I hate Westlake Park. It's ugly as sin, it's a soulless valley in the middle of some of the lamest buildings in Seattle,...

I don't dislike it that much but it's certainly not a great public space. I'm not sure it ever would have been great, but it would have been a lot better if that hideous Westlake Center building had never been excreted on the site. But this is Seattle, so not surprising. Seattle is world-class when it comes to creating unappealing or mediocre public spaces.
I will follow the money, and I will stand there alone if need be.

Please wait...

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