(This post was written on the night of October 29th. As of November 1st, I still don’t have cable, but my power and internet has been restored. I know other people without internet, and several still entirely without power. Power outages seem to be somewhat random—the block behind me, for instance, has no power, while all blocks around it do.)
Anyone who lives in the northeast knows about the freak snow storm that ripped through the region Saturday. Downed trees led to downed power lines and statewide power outages. At the moment, I’m typing this post on my iPod Touch in my very dark–and very cold– house. This is the first significant October snowfall since 1952, when according to national weather records, New York City last got snow, the snowfall total was .3 inches for the entire month. The snow of October 29, 2011 has shocked everyone with significant snowfall for (a total of 19 inches in some areas of New Jersey) for hours. The heavy snow, which fell on trees that still had leaves on their branches equaled a lot of fallen branches and uprooted trees, making it nearly impossible to drive.
My lack of internet access and my freezing house coupled with the lack of entertainment and the sheer annoyance of fumbling through the darkness has definitely made for an unpleasant experience. This, however, is nothing compared to what the Occupy Wall Street protestors are going through tonight. A day after police and municipal authorities removed the few generators and propane tanks the protestors were using in Zuccotti Park, the record snowfall hit Manhattan. NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg claimed the generators and tanks posed a fire hazard and became an issue of safety.
I ask, what about the safety of the protestors? Amidst crackdowns on protestors from Oakland to Atlanta, it seems that the novelty of the Occupy movement has worn off with local authorities. The protestors in New York face temperatures below 30 degrees, inches of snow, ice, and blistering winds whipping their tents at over 20 miles per hour.
Say what you want about the Occupiers not having a unified message. Denigrate them by stereotyping the people there. But don’t give them the ultimatum to risk hypothermia or leave because they pose an inconvenience . And don’t dare say these people aren’t patriots. The fact that they are willing to stay and protest in spite of all that is stacked against them–and now, in the middle of a storm, with no heat, virtually no internet access, and no help–is incredibly admirable. It is a true testament to their support for this cause, and there is nothing superficial about it. The protestors have shown they’re in this thing for the long haul with or without government support.
I’m uncomfortable with no heat for several hours. I can’t even imagine willingly staying outside in a snow filled park now for an indefinite period of time, rallying against a well established system that doesn’t seem like it will cede any ground any time soon.
I think recent events will only strengthen the solidarity of the movement and increase the public support it receives. Vive le resistance!