The constant stress and tension of living under the Legislature’s gun at Occupy Nashville took it’s toll at yesterday’s GA. Unfortunately, ON hasn’t been able to arrive at a consensus about what to do after eviction. This week saw movement on that front as the Legislature approved SB2508, with a caveat of a “severability clause” saying that if any part of the law were found to be unenforceable, the rest would remain in effect.” This will send the bill back to the House, but that’s a small matter, as they will most likely pass it.
ON has responded by organizing a legal defense fund and asking for donations. They also continue to plan on meeting with state representatives, and negotiating with the city of Nashville (the Plaza is State property) for a new site. Unfortunately, the city is watching to see what the state does before it commits.
Eviction may move to the Department of General Services, and become a rules issue. A hearing is scheduled for 16 April at 1pm in Room 30. Gov. Haslam has preferred to deal with Occupy through the rule making process, and may defer the rule of law to the rule of regulations, as much as the GOP hates regulation.
Among the changes are the following concerning camping:
(m) Camping or sleeping overnight on the Plaza or Courtyard is not permitted.
1. Camping is defined as the use of the Plaza or Coutyard for living accommodation activities such as:
(i) Sleeping or making preparations to sleep (including the laying down of bedding for the purpose of sleeping);
(ii) Storing belongings for future use (e.g. food for consumption in the future);
(iii) Making any fire;
(iv) Using any tent or shelter or other structure or vehicle for living accommodation activities such as sleeping; or
(v) Carrying on cooking activities.
2. These activities constitute camping when it reasonably appears in light of all of the circumstances that the participants, in conducting these activities, are in fact using the area as a living accommodation, regardless of the intent of the participants or the nature of any other activities in which they may also be engaging.
(n) In order to maintain the security, safety and aesthetic appearance of the Plaza and Courtyard and to provide for regular maintenance, no improvements or alterations, such as stages and reviewing stands may be erected, unless prior approval has been granted in writing by the Capitol Facility Administrator prior to the erection of any structures.
The entire document is available here; click Rules and Regulations, then Rulemaking Hearings. The ACLU had previously filed a lawsuit against the current rules, if I understand the situation correctly, so this could be applied to the newly proposed rules.
Sad news was reported that Charlie Potter, ON friend and fellow occupier, was killed on Thursday when he was hit by 2 cars off Shelby near the interstate. ON will be in touch when we hear about plans for his memorial and/or funeral.
ON will also stand in solidarity with the Occupy the Midwest Conference 15-18 March.
Unfortunately, I’d be less than honest if I didn’t report that while this positive work was going on, the GA unraveled. Two longtime Occupiers, and good people, got into a nasty shouting match that almost resulted in a fist fight. While State Troopers responded to the noise, they acceded to let ON handle the dispute, which they did, but it then escalated again. GA is held on the front steps of Legislative Plaza, across from the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, and unfortunately, theater goers witnessed a bit of drama no one wanted to see. The long, drawn out eviction process has been eating away at ON, and there was real damage done. Living your life in public has consequences, and while today (26 Feb.) was #143, they are facing the Winter of Their Discontent, truly times that try their souls.
I have faith, and I have faith in the people of ON. As someone who has lived in the shadow of perpetual maybe before, I know how it gnaws at you. My experiences are aren’t relevant to theirs; some Occupiers are willingly facing heavy duty jail time and hefty fines, some are quite literally living Kris Kristofferson’s lyrics.
Freedom’s just another word for nothing’ left to lose:
Nothin’ ain’t worth nothin’ but it’s free.
And Kris had nothing on Lenny:
If you can take the hot lead enema, then you can cast the first stone.
Song is Johnny Paycheck’s “11 Months and 29 Days”