On Friday the 13th, an unlucky day by superstition, the last remnants of Occupy Binghamton were ejected from the Binghamton City park at the corner of State and Chenango Street. The dispersal of the few last protestors garnered relatively little media attention, and left several questions.
According to some news media, the action by the City was based on concerns for the safety of the protestors as winter finally strikes the Southern Tier. Other media noted, barely, the fact that the expasion of Occupy Binghamton to Kennedy Park 2 weeks ago was detered, which may have caused the City to finally act on the legal violations of Occupy Binghamton.
With the forced departure, there came many excuses. There was the thought that this was a winter “break” for Occupy Binghamton. That the action was based on concern for safety. That the original organizers of Occupy Binghamton had long ago abandoned the park and disavowed those that were left. And of course there was the promise of other action and a return in the Spring.
But what has Occupy Binghamton acheived? For all the intial coverage and promises to stay, endure, and continuously promote their message(s), what has been the result?
There was the cost to the City of Binghamton. While a previous request to the Office of the Mayor received a response of no cost, the fact that police were routinely scheduled to watch over the protest, crews were required to clean up the park, damage to the grounds must be repaired, indicate that while perhaps minimal there was indeed a cost that directly came from Occupy Binghamton. Luckily, since there was no insurance, no one was hurt and the City was not sued – as any Court action would have likely cost the City of Binghamton tens of thousands of dollars if not more.
The messages of Occupy Binghamton were stated and forgotten. Honestly, what was their reason to convene and break the law (the protest was illegal – though later sanctioned by Mayor Matt Ryan – which in itself was beyond his jurisdiction). There was support of PETA. There was the anti-Fracking. There was a dislike of corporations (even those that provide the ever fewer jobs in the area). There was the thought that the Government had failed the public (which would have to include the Mayor’s Office and the Obama Adminstration). Most of all there was the thought that the economy sucks. Underneath all that, that it was the fault of Republicans – mostly former President Bush – an undying mantra of the ultra liberal left.
Every one of the issues still exist. Every one of the underlying motivations is still rampant among Liberals. Jobs have not noticibly improved, nor has Government become any better. In fact, other than the initial splash of media coverage, the overwhelming majority of Southern Tier residents neither cared or noticed the entire “movement”. Even now, if you ask a random NY resident what was the purpose or achievement of any Occupy movement in the State, you would get a vague stare as a response.
Occupy Binghamton seems to have died because of the biggest factor involved, a lack of purpose. The people without jobs either got jobs and moved on with their lives or got public assistance. Those with the income to allow sustained action, moved on to other liesure activities. Students at Binghamton University that had time off from classes, started the next semester and focused on their actual purpose in Binghamton – graduation with a degree so they can move on with their lives.
Since Occupy Binghamton had no end in sight, the only motivation was general anger at current conditions – which everyone in America has to some degree. But anger is not an emotion that sustains long-term actions. Anger is not a cause in itself. It does not bode well to reason or conclusions with beneficial results. Occupy Binghamton succumbed to the inevitable on Friday the 13th, long after anyone still cared.
Yes there are still some die-hards that continue to try to keep alive the anger that envisioned a Liberal counterpart to the Tea Party. Yes there are a few, and dimnishing, cities that continue to maintain an Occupy presence. But like in Binghamton, the novelty has ended. Without purpose, the majority of people moved on to things that have more substantial impact on their lives, like if the NY Giants will make it into the Super Bowl.
That leaves the question of what will happen in the Spring. Will Occupy Binghamton re-emerge with warm weather, and the convinence of an end of college exams? Will protestors once again forcibly take over public spaces, violating laws and causing additional costs to a City that already has more problems and revenue issues than it wants? Will anyone care?
Given the popularity of Facebook, the underlying dislike of Republicans and Conservatives, the omnipresent fact that the odds of President Obama getting re-elected are slim to none, and the availability of Binghamton University students inbetween and after exams – there is a good chance of seeing some type of return of Occupy Binghamton. But they have spent their intrigue. Without the rampant and numerous arrests that have occured in multiple cities, there is just nothing worth revisiting with Occupy Binghamton.
Friday 13, 2012 was not the end of Occupy Binghamton. That happened long-ago. But it will linger, like the bad aftertaste of a diet soda. Yet like all actions without purpose, the majority of the public will ignore it and deal with the needs of reality and daily life. The net result – an increase, even if minimal, to City of Binghamton taxpayers.
A whimpering end indeed.