I had to be up early this morning to appear on Fox & Friends. I was finished by 6:30, so I decided to stop by the Occupy DC encampment at McPherson Square in downtown Washington. Conditions were miserable; 40 degrees, dark, windy, muddy, steady rain. The weather, predicted to deteriorate even more later, was enough to test the resolve of the most dedicated anti-capitalist.I'm very familiar with McPherson Square. In 2005 my family stayed at a hotel just a couple blocks north of there and we'd walk down to the square each day to get on the Metro, or continue past the square to the White House. It was a nice little park but did have what appeared to be a homeless contingent hanging out there.
The small park is filled with tents. At times there have seemed more tents than protesters, and indeed, a friend who has kept a close eye on Occupy DC suggested to me that many of the tents — which convey the impression of a substantial, permanent protest — are actually unoccupied. That’s hard to prove, short of barging into randomly-selected tents. But even among the tents that are in use — and I saw a total of four early-risers in the park Saturday morning — there is the question of how many Occupy DC protesters are actually homeless people who have come to McPherson Square for shelter, a hot meal, and companionship. . . . On Saturday morning, I met a man who said he was an artist and told me that “the world’s f—ed up” in large part because “Bush took all the money and gave it to the Chinese to pay for the war.” After a while, he told me that he normally lived at a couple of “squats” in other parts of town but that he had met some people from Code Pink who told him they had a tent in McPherson Square. So he came to the park. He’s certainly not alone — there are plenty of other homeless there, he told me — but it’s hard to say how many homeless are part of the permanent Occupy DC contingent.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
It's getting cold in many parts of the Northeast where the #Occupy movement has been the strongest, and as Byron York attests it may be that the homeless are replacing the starry-eyed youth who originally made up the movement: