For the last few weeks Points has maintained a judicious silence about the populist protest movement(s) clustered under the name of “Occupy Wall Street.” Though we certainly don’t shy away from politics here, we do try to stay at least nominally on topic. While OWS’s capacious platform, not to mention its street theater aesthetic, suggests that participants may have definite ideas about drug policy, the issue has not come to the fore in either mainstream media or progressive coverage of the movement.
At least it hadn’t until last Thursday, when an otherwise bland LA Times piece (the movement is growing and facing logistical hurdles; celebrities are visiting and they are rich– what does it all mean??) included, as a colorful background detail, the quotation that appears in this post’s title. The author contextualized the quote by noting that OWS “bans drugs and booze from [Zuccotti] park, restrictions that are difficult to enforce as the crowd grows,” and then immediately moved on to the pressing question of what OWS’s signature color should be (hey, it’s the LA Times— style really matters out there!).
A ban on alcohol and drugs in the occupied areas makes strategic sense–sort of. No sense giving the cops something actionable to work with, and there are substantive benefits (reduced violence, fewer medical issues, easier crowd control) as well as PR value in keeping the space chemical free. At the same time, though, why bother?