Early yesterday morning, Baltimore police in riot gear evicted Occupy Baltimore protesters who had been camping out at McKeldin Square for the last ten weeks.
Protester Mike Gibb said that with the eviction the movement enters into “Phase Two,” in which demonstrators begin squatting in empty buildings. It is not clear whether Gibb speaks for the larger Occupy Baltimore community.
Certainly Occupy’s tent cities and general assemblies are interesting (even inspiring), as are the issues it’s raised about the right of citizens to peaceably assemble in public spaces and on college campuses, but it wasn’t conceived as a movement about squatters’ rights or as a prototype for an alternative society, and I for one think it would be unfortunate if that’s what it becomes.
Over the past few months Occupy Wall Street has gained the support of many and caught the attention of almost everybody. Ending Wall Street’s inordinate influence on politics is becoming a goal with mainstream appeal. Let’s not be so fascinated with the trappings of agitation; let’s stay on message.
Whatever the movement decides to do from here, they’ve wasted no time regrouping. Last night’s general assembly was simply moved to War Memorial Plaza.