SIX WEEKS LATER: The Truth About What Occupy Wall Street Has Become

Occupy Wall Street

Photo: Robert Johnson

It has been about 6 weeks since protesters made camp in Lower Manhattan’s Zuccotti Park. What was once a small band of young people has turned into a world wide demonstration — that is obvious.But what is less clear is that the character of the movement has changed as well. That is what we realised when we spent some quality time at the camp this week to check in and see how things have progressed.

Some of the changes we observed are for the better. The protesters clearly have gained a solid understanding of how to interact with the police, especially during an arrest. It looks like their necessities (like laundry and garbage collection) are more organised as well, which is good because there are more people camping out down there.

It is those people who are making the real change at Zuccotti Park. It is, after all, an occupation and these are the occupiers. Now, instead of just being a fully dedicated band of activists, the residents of Zuccotti Park also include young runaways, convicts, and homeless people of all ages.

It isn’t that the park is completely unfriendly, it’s just that there is an edge to it now. Things can happen to you there at night. Not everyone is there for the cause. And it’s as if Zuccotti has lost its innocence.

All of that is because the protesters can’t control who comes to live in their community, and the police refuse to intervene. Last Tuesday night, there was an emergency General Assembly meeting in the park to address the dangers within. A security team has assembled, and they’ve resorted to shaming trouble-makers into leaving camp.

We at Business Insider have one recommendation for you, Occupy Wall Street. Leave the park for the winter and go indoors where you can control who joins you. If not, you’ll expend too much energy trying to keep people safe. You can maintain a presence in Zuccotti, but choosing to live in the park on principle takes time away from the movement.

We thought your mission was to police all of Wall Street, not just one tiny park on it.

Here's what Zuccotti looks like from afar. Tents everywhere.

Some things haven't changed, people are still friendly.

But they're savvier about who they're talking to, and how they talk to them.

The daily schedule is still there, but there are way more activities than before.

And there are more rules.

The protesters have spent 6 weeks with an arts and crafts table, so there's art everywhere. We think this is Fabrice Tourre.

The food table is now covered to protect it from the elements. It's also bigger.

Halloween candy, not weird for the protesters. They tend to get into the spirit of things.

...as you can see from this picture.

Here's a great costume- KRUGMAN, the super hero version of liberal economist Paul Krugman.

Protesters have set up tables to voice their own specific grievances.

And what's also new, are all these signs about how to engage with cops.

They are suspicious of them.

And they know that when they get arrested, police don't always provide them with paperwork.

And they don't want any information to get into the wrong hands.

This is new: a man was selling pet food in the park.

And there was a tent full of winter clothes for cold nights.

The cigarette station is still fully operational, but in a new location.

The old cigarette station has this sign in front of it, and is almost blocked by tents.

Not a very friendly sign.

And these aren't friendly looking tents either.

Not like this 1% tent.

When we were down there, people were talking about trying to kick out a guy suspected of sexually assaulting someone else in Zuccotti. These people were trying to find him.

While we were watching them, we snapped a picture of this girl. She wanted a dollar for it.

On a lighter note, the protesters have constructed a rain water treatment system.

And here's their recycling centre.

This is the laundry station. They have a truck that picks it up so that protesters can go to a laundromat.

On the other side of the park, on the wall, the protesters put up pictures of people they believe are responsible for the economic downturn. David Lereah, for example, was a big housing market cheerleader.

All of this provides a spectacle for the tourists who come by.

They can buy Zuccotti Park t-shirts and the like to remember their visit. Capitalism at its best.

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