I've spent a few nights and parts of days at Zuccotti Park and a large number of the broad range of people there have stepped up to clean the place constantly. The ground is swept and washed, all trash is picked up, old cardboard is moved out, you name it, there's a committee or an individual taking responsibility for it.
The official right-wing echo chamber line (going by the presumption that repetition by Tea Party organizations and Republican politicians means it was handed down from Karl Rove) is that the occupiers are litterers. This is simply a lie, a believable lie for people who have not been there. This seemingly not-very-important lie is being used at this time as a lever to end this mass movement for justice where it started.
Here is a message sent to me by a person coordinating the comfort station (ponchos and clothes and towels and laundry service and much more) at Liberty Square.
Dear Media and Community Members-
This communication is from the Comfort Community in Occupy New York. Our job is to provide community service within Liberty Square
Tommorrow, October 14, 2011, the NYPD is planning to storm Liberty Square under the pretense of cleaning the park. Due to the previous responses we have had from the city and its officials, we do not believe our chances for fairness are very high. As of right now, the park has been fenced in by police barricades, and the people have blocked an attempted police raid. We are calling on the media, as guardians of free speech, to help protect ours. We are also calling on members of the community to stand in solidarity with us. Community support is vital for our continued success.
Despite our best efforts to negotiate with Mayor Bloomberg, about the necesity of humane living standards. The powers that be have imposed a ban on tents, tarps, and sleeping bags. They have failed to produce any legal codes, or precedents for these rules. These rules are enforced by intimidation and incarceration. Currently, the residents of the park are forced to sleep on yoga mats, with ponchos, to protect themselves from the rain and arrest.
The NYPD, and the Department of Sanitation, have decided to powerwash Liberty Square in increments. They have also decided to seize items deemed contraband. We do not feel that sleeping bags, and tarps are contraband. Housing is a human right, and since we are forcibly being denied the right to have tents, this is our only option. We have agreed to allow the removal of any excess tarps that are present. We have also agreed that our sanitation committee will work with the city officials during their process. Your presence as mediators, will insure that both parties follow the negotiated guidlines
Comfort does not typically involve itself in matters that concern media, but this is a matter that can be detrimental to the people we serve. Please support us tommorrow and help us build a better tommorrow.