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Occupy Wall Street's 'Empire Strikes Back' Moment

Whither Occupy Wall Street? That’s the question that’s been on the forefront of the young movement’s agenda since police forced participants out of New York City’s Zuccotti Park last month. As The Nation’s J.A. Myerson put it in his OWS update, differences among members’ priorities and approaches are causing friction, but the breakup of their Liberty Square encampment signifies a strategic shift, not the end of the line. –KA

J.A. Myerson in The Nation:

The activist core of the occupation—the people who met over the summer in Tompkins Square Park, who set up and continue to participate in working groups and who spend their days in meetings—sees this as an Empire Strikes Back moment, taking the opportunity to plan actions and events for the winter. In the atrium at 60 Wall Street and in the Occupied Office at 50 Broadway, they are planning important things, chiefly the continuation of the Occupy Our Homes foreclosure resistance project that kicked off last week. They have their eye on the Jedi’s return.

There is nobility in responding to ones own homelessness by working hard that everyone else might have a home. But elsewhere the current lack of clarity—about what to do right now—is causing tensions to bubble over. Absent a park to keep clean, for instance, what is the function of the Sanitation Working Group? Or Medical or Comfort, for that matter? The fracturing of Occupy Wall Street from its camp has created two distinct populations: the activists—planning for the future—and the occupiers—confronting the current reality.

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