Question Time: How Important is the Occupation Camp?

In our “Question Time” series, we ask “persons on the street” questions to various people at the Portland Occupation. As always, feel free to chime in the comments and add your own voice to the dialogue.

Is the camp important to the occupation? Why or why not?

The camp is not necessarily important, but we are representing the homeless. The camp is a representation of the issues, but the movement does stand on its own.

– Mark

I don’t know. This is my first visit to the camp, and I’m still trying to figure it out.

– Liz

Photo by Paul Cone

I’m also still trying to figure it out. I’m behind the movement, but I’m trying to figure out how the camp translates into action.

– Rhonda

The camp is important because people feel like they belong here, and they do. Everyone has needs. Here people get involved in helping those needs be fulfilled.

– Katie

The camp shows unity. It provides an in-person gathering place, where people can come together and form ideas.

– Dominick

The camp is important. It provides a public meeting space. You can’t have an occupation without a camp.

– Juliette

Photo by Paul Cone

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  4 comments for “Question Time: How Important is the Occupation Camp?

  1. November 9, 2011 at 7:23 PM

    While the movement is bigger than the Occupation camp, the camp iconically represents the movement to the public and functions as a centralized point of convergence and contact. We need to have a centralized location where conversations, organizing, education and actions are happening around-the-clock. The Occupation makes it easier for anyone to voice their thoughts and organize. Where else can you call an impromptu meeting by mic-checking and five minutes later you are having a meeting with lots of well-engaged people?

  2. rain
    November 9, 2011 at 9:18 PM

    I think that the encampment is important as a public display of the work of the 99% and a fueling station of support and encouragement. A staging ground, an educational space, a place to converse. I think it is important to ‘occupy’ the current location, yet not so sure continued existence in its first phase form is the way to best occupy now.

  3. Pam
    November 9, 2011 at 9:58 PM

    I love the camp. I am inspired by so many people working together on such a noble cause. I am inspired by the love and understanding shown to those who have been hurt the most. I am uplifted whenever I come down to make my drop offs and see how folks are holding up. However, I feel it has become apparent that the camp can be about changing the system OR it can be about becoming the system and addressing the needs of those the system has failed. It cannot do both well. The system has dumped many mentally ill on the streets after a false promise to support them after they left institutions decades ago. Many have no means to get the psychotropic drugs they need. AODA facilities and Clean Sober living spaces are difficult to get into and do not allow people to stay long enough to do much good. Children are not protected adequately from abuse and neglect and are turned out to the streets by their parents at too early an age, inadequately prepared to be good citizens. I wish we could run a revolution and properly integrate these deserving people at the same time. At the numbers in the camp now, it appears impossible and I vote for prioritizing the revolution in hopes the system can be changed to address their needs. Perhaps a selected few who make a true effort to contribute, live peacefully and within the rules, could win a spot in a new indoor facility. To stay outdoors, it seems you will need a way for people to earn a spot in the camp and be quickly turned out if a rule is broken.

  4. rob
    November 10, 2011 at 12:53 PM

    The occupy camp is a joke. It is the first thing people talk about when they talk about the Occupy movement as a whole. The message is being overshadowed by the messenger…in this case the camp as a whole. Taking over a park enjoyed by all members of the public, and trashing it, is just not something I want to be a part of. To truly affect change, it has to come from within. Infiltration…not occupation. Or, rather than protesting the problem, and only protesting the problem…organize and protest the problem while offering a viable solution. Beating on drums, holding signs, and sitting there accomplishes absolutely nothing.

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