Cops poured into Zuccotti Park to forcibly remove the original Occupy Wall Street encampment. Naturally, people aren’t happy. But realistically I think this was the best possible endgame for the group. After all, there are only a few possible ways for a protest to end. One is something like this — the cops come in and get rid of people. A second is something like the Powers That Be sit down to negotiate an end to the standoff in a way that involves giving in to some or all of the protestors demands. The third is for the protests to simply fizzle out as people lose interest. One of the distinctive things about Occupy Wall Street was that it organized itself in such a way as to make option two impossible.
So OWS was either going to end with the cops clearing the park, or else it was going to end with the protestors losing interest. It would be totally human and understandable for the protestors to end up fading away as the weather gets colder, but that would be demoralizing to everyone who’s come to look at the various Occupations as a key signal of popular discontent with rampant inequality. Instead, by ordering the protestors to be removed the Bloomberg administration has ensured continued relevance for the issue. All over the internet today all eyes are on New York and on Occupy Wall Street. Temporary injunctions have already been issued and there are sure to be more lawsuits. The worst possible outcome is for the movement to just kind of fade away, and by trying to forcibly clear the park with the NYPD, Bloomberg has guaranteed that won’t happen.