Friday, October 14, 2011

Elected Officials FTW

The proposed "eviction" of Occupy Wall Street from Zuccotti Park (which -- and I didn't know this -- is apparently privately owned by a company called Brookfield Office Properties) is off after a change of heart from the company. And what caused this change of heart? Pressure from elected officials:
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said earlier Friday morning that Brookfield Office Properties -- the real-estate firm that owns Zuccotti Park, considered a home-base for protesters -- made the decision not to clear them out after the company was "inundated" with threatening calls from elected city officials.

The mayor said during his weekly commentary on New York's WOR Radio that he didn't know which officials allegedly made the threats, but that the company decided to work out some form of a negotiated settlement with protesters in the coming days.

Bloomberg added that while he lacked first-hand knowledge of the conversations, he was told the officials generally threatened to "make life more difficult" for the real-estate company.

"Threatening" seems a bit hyperbolic -- when I think "threatening phone calls", I think bomb threats -- but the point is that elected officials stepped up to exercise leverage over a corporate actor on behalf of OWS. Which is a signal that OWS is recognized as an at least potentially powerful voting bloc, of the sort elected officials have to pay attention to. And thus OWS gets a victory.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is how the game is played. It's Stokely Carmichael and Charles Hamilton's basic story about how to move from the margins to the mainstream of political society. Show you've got some muscle behind you, and the politicos will listen. OWS is starting to show that and, lo and behold, folks are listening.

No comments: