With winter looming, public opinion souring, and some in the national movement calling for a folding of tents, New Haven’s occupiers on the Green—infused with new inspiration from their trip to New York—said they’re not going anywhere.
In the two months since it began in New York, the Occupy Wall Street movement has shifted national—even international—discussion toward consideration of income inequality and corporate greed. It has spawned tent communities of protesters camping out in public squares across the country, including New Haven.
In New Haven, the call to move on has proved about as popular as the latest Wall Street CEO bonuses.
The occupation’s work is not done, said Occupy New Haven’s Tommy Doomsday. New Haven’s protesters are holding strong with some 60 tents up and occupied.
“I’m not sure they get it yet,” said Doomsday. The occupation must continue, in order to “keep a big flag in the middle of the public eye,” he said.
Another protestor (pictured), who asked to remain anonymous, agreed that the work is not over. “If we were to declare victory, by what standard does Adbusters think we’re rating success?”
Adbusters put victory-declaration forward as one of two possible strategies going forward. The other is to “grit our teeth” and tough out the winter to “impress the world with our determination and guts.”
New Haven’s occupation is embracing the latter option.
“We have to make it through the winter,” said Occupy New Haven’s Ray Neal, while marching from Zuccotti Park to Union Square in Manhattan last week. He was one of 30 New Haven occupiers who journeyed to New York to participate in a “Day of Action.”
Occupiers need to show that they’re not just camping for fun, he said. When people see the occupiers shiver through the winter without surrendering ground, the public will realize the movement is serious, Neal said. Occupier Drew Peccerillo expressed similar sentiments on the bus ride down to New York from New Haven Thursday.
Cold weather isn’t the only obstacle the occupation faces. Recent polling has shown that public opinion is turning against the occupation protests.
Back on the Green on Monday evening, Sanders said he was inspired by his time in the New York City jail. He said he spent hours with his fellow arrested protestors, trading notes, “mic checking,” singing songs, and applauding each new arrival. He said he also learned a lot from talking with guys in jail who weren’t part of the movement, and were curious to know what all the radicals were doing in lock-up.
“I’d go back to jail if I had to,” Sanders said. While the process is designed to humiliate and intimidate, he said it had the opposite effect on him. “Going to jail empowered us.”
Sanders said he’s due back in New York on January to answer to charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest.
Sanders, a philosophy student at Southern Connecticut State University, said he’s still committed to staying on the Green, but he acknowledged that the movement needs to start thinking about what “Phase Two” is going to look like. If occupiers leave public spaces, it’ll be easier for people to ignore the movement, Sanders said.
The occupation is not simply a protest, it’s a way to “start modeling the society we want to see,” Sanders said.
On the Green, that society consists of some 60 tents, punctuated by piles of leaves raked by occupiers, plus large pavilions stocked with food, blankets, and warm clothes. At this point, the movement is fueled largely by day-old sandwich wraps from Blue State Coffee.
On Monday, L.A. blogger Joe Peterson (at right in photo), in town for Thanksgiving, brought by some blankets and a box of toiletries, pasta, and Mountain Dew.
Elsewhere, two newcomers set up next to a large farewell note from an occupier who went by the name Somalia. David Vinelli said he lost his Wallingford apartment recently. He couldn’t afford it anymore on the meager wage from his telecommunications installation job, said the 40-year-old.
Jeffrey Culp, 41, said he’s gainfully employed as an arborist. He had been renting a room in New Haven until recently, he said. With a new tent from Walmart, the pair said they’re prepared to spend the winter on the Green. But Culp said he has little hope the occupation will change the world.
“I believe this is pretty much futile, I really do,” Culp said. “I think the corporations are going to win out.” But you can’t stand by and do nothing, he added.
At the other end of the occupation, Michael Barton-Sweeney was putting the finishing touches on his teepee. “Maybe if this works out, I’ll bring some wigwams over,” he said.
Barton-Sweeney said he’s not sure if he’ll be staying in the teepee, which may not be the most winter-ready dwelling at the occupation. That honor might belong to the “United Tents of Super Amurrica,” a collection of five tents joined together under a patchwork of tarps and centered on pallets and camp chairs.
Amurrica’s border, like that of other tents on the Green, is marked by a new sign indicating that a warrant is required to enter, featuring New Haven attorney Irving Pinsky’s name.
“Rome wasn’t built in a day,” Doomsday told Erard, when asked the inevitable “What do you want?” question. “There is so much wrong with this country and this world,” it’s going to take more than a couple of months to figure out what the answer is, Doomsday said.
Previous coverage of Occupy New Haven and Occupy Wall Street:
Not so sure about the claim that a warrant is required to enter a tent on public land.
posted by: Bill on November 23, 2011 2:50pm
It’s nice to see them helping keep Chinese workers gainfully employed making tents.
posted by: TaxPayer on November 23, 2011 3:33pm
Now Looking Like Fools, Not a Good Look with the Christmas Tree and Small Children .Time To Go.
posted by: cba on November 23, 2011 4:04pm
The amount of press being devoted to this collection of oddballs on the Green is appalling. If this “paper” was fair, it would report on the daily activities of the remaining ninety-nine percent who actually do the work,pay the bills and raise families and not just accept someone who without basis in fact proclaims that he speaks for the ninety-nine percent. As an aside the bumper sticker was nice advertisement for this lawyer,but has anyone checked his credentials in the field of criminal and constitutional law
posted by: Curious on November 23, 2011 4:18pm
Hey Occupiers, what happens when the first snows come? You do realize what happens to a tarp on poles when it gets about two or three inches of snow on it, don’t you? That is going to rip, or come crashing down.
Please go home before more tax dollars have to be wasted on keeping you safe.
Oh, and try not shopping at Walmart. The hypocrisy and/or ignorance on display is astonishing….
posted by: Laughing Stock on November 23, 2011 5:09pm
What in the world would they declare victory for? They haven’t accomplished anything because they don’t know what they want nor how to get it!
posted by: Bill Saunders on November 23, 2011 5:19pm
If anyone can find the ‘original’ Occupy Wall Street Ad that circulated at the end of the summer, the ‘action’ was advertised as time specific, running from September 21st to December 21st.
posted by: eson on November 23, 2011 6:03pm
Good job iam glad to see that the movement is growing.
posted by: Proud New Havener on November 23, 2011 6:42pm
In response to Taxpayer and other Opponents of Occupy New Haven:
The New Haven Green is private property. It is not owned by the city of New Haven. The Occupy New Haven movement stays at the pleasure of the proprietors. You may dislike the movement for some reason, but you do not have the right as a taxpayer to insist that it go. That would be socialism.
posted by: Stephen Harris on November 23, 2011 8:22pm
I don’t understand why people have been so negative, unless you all live on St. Ronan Street or drive a Bentley.
This country has deep structural problems that need to be fixed.
* Wall Street, big money and K Street have captured Washington. * The average citizen has been shut out of any meaningful debate. * The tax code favors wealthy people and corporations. * The banks and investment houses get bailed out dollar for dollar with no strings attached, but Main Street gets ignored. * There has been no meaningful reform of the financial system. Casino-like gambling is just as bad as before. * Congressmen are allowed to engage in insider trading. * The Justice Dept. has not investigated and prosecuted any of the financial crimes. * The Senate filibuster rule, whether procedural or actual, is undemocratic and unconstitutional (super majorities are only required for specific things, not just anything).
The middle class is disappearing and the country is sliding towards a plutocracy.
I applaud the Occupy movement. I have marched in New York and New Haven and have given them material and moral support.
Whether New Haven occupiers make it through Winter or not isn’t the point. Occupy is national and it will only gain strength as we head into the election year.
posted by: Fairhaven Dave on November 23, 2011 11:16pm
OWS New Haven:
Winter camping is exhausting and will effect your ability to rest and thus you risk blurring your judgement. If you are going to ‘stay the course’ with your village please consider the following.
You need a donor to track you down some US Army surplus canvas wall tents. The type with a chimney and a coal burning stove. (Please get your coal from the US.) Write whatever you want on the side. But your current rig is going to be miserable. Remember this suggestion each time you wipe the ice in the interior that collects from the moisture of exhaling. Snow falls quickly and heavily here. The winds are strong. You will need a warm dry place.
Remember, when you are cold it effects your judgement. You WILL be cold. You are acting as spokespersons for a movement. It might be best to ‘bunker down’ for winter or get the proper gear from donors.
My2c. Take it or leave it.
posted by: the1king on November 24, 2011 7:50am
Phase 2 is this when they start to get disruptive. I am just waiting for the city to wake up and kick you guys out. Still new haven independent has answered the question of how much they are causing the tax payers of new haven. I see you guys are saying that the green is private not public. But the city still takes care of it which cost the tax payers money. I here the occupiers are going to disrupt black Friday. Funny first in the article you bought a tent from Wal Mart. Shouldn’t you buy it from a mom and pap store and not the big bad corporation. Is it just when it is convenient for you. Disrupting Black Friday who is it going to hurt. The cashiers, the stock persons, and other people working in the stores. The people going to shop or are they making millions. .... New Haven independent do your job and get the facts How Much Money IS This Costing The City Daily. This money might have been able to open up the Q house to help the community. One more thing all these people on the green like the man who lost his apartment in Wallingford, since he is now a New Haven Resident is he paying New Haven city tax are all these other people who came from outside and set up their tents do they pay New Haven tax. I don’t think so. I am Though. If you really want to make a difference run for office instead yelling and throwing batteries at those 1% police officers driving those Bentley police cars. ...
posted by: robn on November 24, 2011 10:44am
The New Haven Green is a public commons managed by The Committee of the Proprietors of Common and Undivided Lands at New Haven.
posted by: Proud New Havener on November 24, 2011 12:39pm
It may be used as a public commons but it is still private land, not owned by the city, state or federal government.
posted by: the1king on November 24, 2011 7:16pm
I don’t give a ... if it is common or public land at this point. The fact of the matter is the city is paying for their security (new haven police) the toilets, and the extra cleanup and cleaning up after they leave. When is anybody going to address this. The cost of the city money that could be spent for something useful. public or private land is not the point.
posted by: roger huzendubel on November 25, 2011 10:06am
the “anonymous” person above is very obviously Ben Aubin. The Occupy New Haven crowd are not protesters as the zuccotti park are. The Occupy New Haven crowd is nothing more than people camping on the green.
posted by: robn on November 25, 2011 10:49am
Maybe the perception of waste of taxpayers dollars you get from the occupiers is really just a metaphor for the billions of dollars of taxpayer bailouts provided to investment banks via AIG bailout and Fannie Mae’s absorption of crappy loan tranches.
posted by: the1king on November 25, 2011 5:10pm
two wrongs don’t make a right. the squatters are wasting tax payer money. bailouts for banks have nothing to do with new haven tax payers having to pay for them. Unless the proprietors want to pay for the waste caused by the squatters. Causing problems for the police who are just doing their jobs in other cities that shows what type of people you are. you don’t represent the 99%. Again [...] find out how much this is costing the city. Money how much money is this costing does anybody do the news or is this one sided. New Haven independent you are showing yourselves as a bias newspaper spreading a one sided agenda for the squatters.
posted by: Bill Saunders on November 25, 2011 5:24pm
I second the nomination. Ben Aubin is who I thought it was, too. Afterall, it wouldn’t be an Occupy New Haven story without him.
Fear not, he will not respond to our assertions. The one time I talked to him, he indicated that it is his policy to ‘not’ post to articles in which he appears. ...
posted by: brain_stringcheese on November 25, 2011 7:59pm
if you wanna be taken seriously try not calling yourself “doomsday” #occupyhottopic
posted by: robn on November 25, 2011 10:36pm
So let me get this straight…you’re saying that theres no difference between a multi-billion dollar bailout of misbehaving financial companies and the public subsidies of 4 or five porta potties on the New haven Green? Please enlighten us.
PS, The views and opinions expressed in this comment are mine and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the New Haven Independent…a media organization which I neither own nor work for.
posted by: the1king on November 26, 2011 11:26am
Not just 4 or 5 to toliets. The extra trash pick up the extra police and the fixing of the green after they leave. For a city that needs police to focus on other more important things this is an issue. For people that are just camping out doing nothing that is the issue. The city does not have the funds to support this [...] movement. The city can be spending money on helping the kids instead of helping these squatters. This so called movement of the 99% doesn’t represent the 99% of the country. Fighting police in other cities is not right. They are just doing there job. Destorying property is not right. Tell me how that is right. Who has to pay for it. The cops you are fighting are they the 1%. [...] Do your job New Haven Independent show what this cost the city.
posted by: Pkust on November 26, 2011 12:40pm
To Proud New Havener: If the Green is “private property” (and it is not - it is held in trust for public use), then why is the city and its taxpayers paying for: 1) security; 2) port-a-potties; 3) clean-up and trash; 4) lawn cutting and grounds maintenance (through the city’s parks department); 5) the cost of installing and maintaining the fountain and plumbing, etc.??? Also, if it’s “private private”, then who is paying the property taxes on the land, who is paying for liability insurance, in case someone who falls down or gets hurt on the Green sues? Right now it seems the occupiers are costing city taxpayers plenty and that doesn’t sound like “private property” to me. Anybody got any answers?
posted by: Nrobins27 on November 26, 2011 1:42pm
All of this talk of “wasting taxpayer money” is total codswallop. A dumpster and a couple of porta-potties (which ought to be there anyway) are a negligible expense. (The increased security claim is ludicrous, as the police presence has been nonexistent, and the Occupiers have been left to defend their encampment alone.)
The occupation is costing hardly anything. The people who live there consume far fewer public resources than the rest of us. They are among the least wasteful people in the city, living on the bare materials needed to subsist. To call them “wasteful” saps the word completely of meaning.
In exchange for the minuscule-to-nonexistent expense, we get a noble and inspiring movement, which aims to give power back to the powerless. When 400 people control more wealth than the bottom 50% of the country, I’m glad somebody is on the front lines trying to change things. Those Occupiers are freezing their bottoms off so that the rest of us might someday have decent work and a fair share of the pie, and I think they ought to be saluted. Even if you disagree with their tactics, they’re very brave to make the kind of sacrifice they’re making for a just cause. I wish all you negative commenters would spend half as much time attacking corruption and inequality as you do bashing those that are trying to do something about them.
Please note: I am NOT an Occupier, just an ordinary New Haven citizen.
posted by: Josh Smith on November 26, 2011 4:49pm
Wow, Steve Harris, you hit the nail right on the head with that post. Come on, people, stop voting against your own self-interests and fight against these crimes committed by the 1% and their puppets in Congress. The Megacorporations own all of you, because they own the legislators of the United States via campaign donations. Until we call for the separation of cash and state, we the people do not get to make the rules around here. Let’s change that. Or at least make enough noise so that it becomes impossible for the people who hold the power around here not to change it.
posted by: Elm City Resident on November 26, 2011 4:52pm
Blue State supplying the occupiers with food? What a joke!
Blue State is owned by the 1%! Rich, anti-union Yalie [...] who use “progressivism” as a marketing tool.
If you want to see just how “progressive” Blue State is, just as one of their employees about their $8.50 an hour wage.
posted by: Josh Smith on November 26, 2011 4:59pm
Also… where were all you Negative Neds and Nancies when the Arts and Ideas Festival came to town? Where were you when all the concerts were played on the Green? That sort of thing costs orders-of-magnitude more money than six porta-potties and a dumpster! I didn’t see any grumbling and shaking of fists back then about that tax money being spent, but now that it’s a protest, all the ...s are coming out of the woodworks and jumping on the Negative Ned bandwagon.
All this hemming and hawing, when they should be cheering, honking, and saluting these brave people for doing the only thing you can still do as an American when things get screwed up in this country. But if they keep moaning and groaning, sooner or later we won’t even be allowed to peacefully assemble and protest anymore! Be careful what you wish for… you keep fighting against the Occupy movement, and then the next time you’re ready to protest, you just might find that you aren’t able to.
posted by: Allan Brison on November 26, 2011 10:33pm
Josh Smith and Steve Harris:
As I have said in a post to a previous story, the Occupy movement has ALREADY had tangible results. For the first time in my memory, mainstream folks are actually talking about corporate greed; and the political system, where lobbyists and money controll virtually all of our legislators.
In addition, money is being transferred out of the “too big to fail” banks; and the decision on the XL pipeline, the most dangerously destructive project to the environment, has been delayed for a year, quite possibly the deathknell to the project.
These are remarkable achievements when compared to similar social movements in this country. It took years of protesting for mostly southern black students to end Jim Crow; years to obtain the right to vote for women; years to end the VietNam war.
Don’t pay attention to what the mainstream media like Fox News is saying. Of course they hate what is going on.
posted by: the1king on November 27, 2011 10:57am
Finally somebody who has some brains. All these people saying how great these squatters are and how much they are doing for the country. They are doing nothing. If they are so concerned and want to do something then camp out in Beverly Hills. Fighting cops who are the real brave people is cowardly. When they have to arrest you ... then you cry about your civil rights. Boo hoo they pepper sprayed us. But you disobeyed their orders. Stop costing tax payer money. Again Thomas who wrote the article find out how much it is costing the city. The private owners are not paying for them Tax payers are. We should charge each of these squatters property tax.
posted by: Proud New Havener on November 27, 2011 12:35pm
Hi PKust, the New Haven green might be kept for public use, but the title is held by the proprietors and not the city. The proprietors have ultimate say in how the green will be used, and the city and its taxpayers do not. That may be an historical accident, but it is the state of affairs as far as I know them.
As to why the city and its taxpayers are paying for the maintenance of the green, it should be fairly obvious—even though it is privately held, it provides enormous benefit to the city and always has. I do not know the specific costs for the regular maintenance of the green, but that is not relevant to the Occupy movement, and neither are the fountain, taxes and insurance. On a side-note, I would mention that the city only paid half the cost of the fountain installation and that the other half was paid by the Water Authority (who advocated the idea) and the proprietors, with some contribution by Yale. Additionally, the proprietors have an endowment fund, so it is entirely possible (and I would think quite probable) that they cover the costs of insurance and taxes (if any).
If you want a definitive answer to your questions, I suggest you contact the proprietors, speak with someone at city hall, or go to the New Haven Museum.
As to the Occupy movement, there are legitimate issues to be discussed, but griping about the cost of a few port-a-potties and a dumpster is a petty one.
posted by: Bill Saunders on November 27, 2011 7:23pm
Elm City Resident,
‘Blue State’ is even more progressive than that!!
After an employee posted some ‘negative comments’ on Facebood, regarding the “Anti-Occupy Movement” organized by Yale Students on the opening day, Blue State initiated a new policy whereby all employees MUST be their FRIEND on Facebook, so they can MONITOR any potential negative comments directed at YALE.
posted by: Curious on November 29, 2011 12:20pm
You like using language to make the amount spent on the Occupy the Green movement seem small. Do you have any actual numbers, or are you just blowing smoke?
@ Allan Brison,
Occupy isn’t what is prompting these changes, they have been in the works for a long time - correlation does not imply causation. Also, if you think Occupy is more successful and powerful than the Vietnam protests, you’re off your rocker.
posted by: the1king on November 29, 2011 1:59pm
I was driving by that tent city as I do everyday. I noticed how dirty and slummy it looked. Also I say the upside down American Flag. This really pissed me off. Have some respect for our great country. People have died for that flag. You can protest although the way the squatters are I don’t agree with but don’t disrespect the flag. I also saw the Canadian flag, funny that one wasn’t upside down. I have an idea Go to Canada if you hate America so much. Get out of this great country. Get out of New Haven
posted by: Curious on November 29, 2011 4:27pm
Are they flying the flag upside-down on purpose, or do they just have no idea how to hang it?
posted by: robn on November 29, 2011 4:34pm
Flying a flag upside down is a recognized signal of distress.