Recent events have left the local Occupy movement sporting a black eye, prompting rumors and mounting evidence that the Cleveland protest movement is dying a quiet death some eight months after its launch in conjunction with Occupy Wall Street.
Earlier this month, the city pulled up stakes on the group’s Public Square tent, which had been an ever-present if unsightly reminder of Occupy’s mission: to instigate backlash against America’s wealthy institutions, primarily through daring displays of facial hair.
Two days earlier, news broke that five morons caught trying to blow up a Route 82 bridge were members of Occupy Cleveland.
These days, the group’s website, for months updated regularly with Occupy news, is now overrun by spam advertising Prada and Chanel knockoffs, which, incidentally, don’t look half bad onscreen. No actual news has been posted since May 5, and calls and e-mails to once-responsive media contacts have gone unanswered.
The only signs of activity are a few tweets from a BreaKBeatJunkee and a JuiceBoxJuss saying the group is holed up at the Walton Avenue Warehouse, where it rents space.
This is a far cry from a few months ago, when Occupy announced plans to turn its single tent on Public Square into an entire tent city for the summer.
Nonetheless, somebody named Jonnie answered the phone formerly associated with the tent this week. He insists those plans are still under way.
“We aren’t going anywhere soon,” he says somewhat cryptically, adding that the group is still holding assemblies every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 6 p.m. where the tent used to be. And within a couple weeks, Occupy members will decide on a plan of action so that they can, y’know, occupy something again.
“It might be a battle with the city to establish a permanent place [on Public Square] for us to be,” says Jonnie. “Frank Jackson’s already shown his disdain for the movement.”
The city says it didn’t renew Occupy’s tent permit because the tent “will hinder the increased use of Public Square by the public in the spring and summer,” according to a letter it sent to the group. That sounds more like a casino issue than a disdain issue.
For now, Jonnie’s answer is, “a permit’s not really a necessary thing.” The city might possibly see otherwise.