For all their plotting, though, occupiers had no clue what was in store. Shortly after 1 am on Tuesday morning, hundreds of New York City law enforcement officers surrounded the park's perimeter, blocked (and in some cases even arrested) credentialed and alternative media, and cuffed about 200 protesters — 142 inside the park, and the rest while they were fleeing through surrounding streets.
The effects were as expected — in less than 24 hours, tens if not hundreds of thousands of occupiers worldwide were marching in solidarity with their Zuccotti brothers and sisters. In Boston, more than 300 chanted through the streets: "NEW YORK IS BOSTON — AND BOSTON IS NEW YORK."
MIC CHECK Hip-hop mogul — and progressive activist — Russell Simmons dropped in to Dewey Square Tuesday afternoon to encourage Occupy Boston protesters.
Occupy Boston was quiet in the wake of the Zuccotti raid — many occupiers had stayed up past 4 am watching the live stream from New York, and were sleeping in when local media swarmed Dewey for reactions during rush hour. But everyone was up by 11 am, with a small group of occupiers off to lobby at the State House, some giving TV interviews, and most waiting on legendary hip-hop mogul and progressive activist Russell Simmons. Word on Twitter was that Simmons planned to deliver a major announcement, and perhaps even some hope after the bulldozing that transpired in Zuccotti.
Sure enough, Simmons arrived at Dewey just after noon, brandishing a single piece of paper. "This is a proposed constitutional amendment drafted by one of the most senior members of the United States Senate," said Simmons. He went on to read the anonymously scribed measure, which would make all presidential and congressional campaigns publicly financed, and prohibit federal candidates from accepting outside contributions. "This simple constitutional amendment makes all the difference in the world," said Simmons, who added that the amending process will commence as soon as the Democratic senator who drafted the proposal finds a Republican co-sponsor.
Even as Simmons was addressing Dewey, legal advocates for Occupy Boston were handling a more imminent concern, filing a lawsuit in Suffolk Superior Court to prevent their own eviction. They'd been considering such legal maneuvers for days, but were finally spurred into action by the OWS pillage. There would not be a decision until later in the week — a hearing was scheduled for Wednesday morning — but until then, activists found some assurance in news from New York, where a judge ruled that protesters could remain in Zuccotti (though without tents).
"It was horrifying to see what happened on Wall Street last night," said Ford, the camp librarian. "I'll tell you one thing, though — if they're going to lie in the road and get in the way of our peaceful progress, then we're ready for whatever they've got."
Follow Chris Faraone on Twitter @fara1. His book on Occupy, 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, drops in February.