Sunday, December 18, 2011

From Here On Out: Where Occupy Tampa Has Been, and Where It Can Go Next

Yesterday, Tampa Food Not Bombs and Occupy Tampa jointly held a luncheon at Voice of Freedom Park near central Tampa, Florida.  Voice of Freedom (VoF) is a park privately owned by Joe Redner, a Tampa entrepreneur and frequently outspoken public figure.  The event included not just some great food from FNB, but several great activities for local kids and training for Occupy participants.  There was some press coverage,  a good number of visitors both from out of town and from the local community.

Though it was by design small and casual, yesterday’s event represents an important evolution of Occupy Tampa specifically, and may offer some useful points of reflection for other Occupy groups. 

Monday, December 5, 2011

Ritual Unrest - On the Symbolism of Occupation

On the evening of Thursday, December 1st, at about 8pm, a group of about 150 people operating as Occupy Tampa conducted a march from Curtis Hixon Park in Downtown Tampa to Julian Lane Riverfront Park.  After arriving at Julian Lane, members of the group held a meeting at the park’s ampitheatre and collectively agreed to establish an encampment there.  The group then moved to a small hill, where they pitched a handful of tents.  At 10:56 pm, 13 unmarked Tampa Police Department squad cars pulled into the parking lot of Julian Lane Park, and around 30 police officers moved into the park.  They issued a warning to the group of campers that they were trespassing in the now-closed park.  After allowing several members of the group to exit willingly, the police surrounded those who refused to leave.  Two hours later, 29 people had been arrested for trespassing and, in many cases, resisting arrest.

These facts, like most, do not speak for themselves.