Even with the open road ahead, Occupiers won't leave Dewey behind altogether. Many ex-campers marched from there to City Hall on Monday to protest their eviction, and are attempting to immortalize the space by bronzing the Gandhi statue that once watched over their encampment, leaving him permanently perched in the square as a memorial. Then there are the legal leftovers. Accused con man Paul "Fetch" Carnes is suing nearly a dozen Occupiers. Diehard protester Gary Williams faces criminal charges stemming from the now-infamous December 1 sink incident (a/k/a Sinkgate), when he allegedly assaulted a police officer by clinging to a steel tub that cops wouldn't allow in. There's also tension since Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley charged multiple men — who were arrested during last weekend's raid — with resisting arrest.
But it's not all heavy baggage. Jay Kelly, keeper of the Occupy Boston sign tent, has safely stowed flags and placards from their first days at camp, with hopes to show them in a gallery soon. Should Occupiers ever set up another camp, and for any outdoor actions in the future, the logistics team has an apartment packed with everything from warm blankets to bins filled with tampons. The medic squad also has its own stash of supplies, while the food operation continues to collect donations and feed evening assemblies.
"Right now, our goal is to take the graciously donated goods and figure out how to get them to the people they were intended for," says logistics hand Jennie Seidewand. "And then we need to figure out how to continue supporting and providing for not just our movement, but our communities, too."
They also have some money left. The Occupy Boston General Fund has more than $55,000, with another $10,000 coming that was raised for legal defense. Then there's roughly $4000 in a Greenway Fund — originally earmarked for repairs to Dewey Square, it's now in limbo — plus more than $2000 in cash boxes.
There's still a lot up in the air. Until Occupiers find a permanent indoor spot, they have accepted an invitation to have assemblies at the Cathedral Church of St. Paul on Tremont Street three times a week. In considering meeting and storage places, big questions include whether such facilities should have kitchen utilities and sleeping quarters. Right now, some Occupiers, having lost the only home they had at Dewey Square, are living with friends from camp. Others have returned to sometimes-dangerous shelters, leaving some working groups scrambling to find them safer spaces. It's a logistical nightmare to secure warm beds for one and all. But after everything they've been through, Occupiers finally seem ready to tackle such tasks without losing focus on the larger fight against economic injustice.
"There are people in the movement who are chronically homeless, and I don't have an answer for that," says Gunner Scott, a backbone of the media working group and de facto Occupy Boston chief since the beginning. Scott says that it's important for the movement to secure a physical home base, where everyone from folks without computers to working stiffs with full-time jobs can rally.
Adds Brandon, another one-name Occupier and Food Not Bombs operative: "Even though we lost our physical space, the services that we provide have survived. Despite not having a space to organize out of, we're already focused on more things than before because we're not distracted by so many inner dramas. Not to downplay those dramas — especially considering what happened with the eviction — but there's a process here, and now it's a lot easier to follow." ^
Chris Faraone can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.Follow him on Twitter @fara1. His book on Occupy, 99 Nights with the 99 Percent, drops in February.