Now that Occupy Austin has been forcibly removed from City Hall from 10 pm to 6 am, some in the mainstream media see the local occupy group as a movement with an identity crisis. The local ABC affiliate said as much as it showed film of two individuals at City Hall in the middle of the day, when most occupiers are at work. Yes, contrary to what some individuals think, most of the people who participate in OA do have jobs. So while the 24/7 presence has been removed, Occupy Austin continues and there really is no identity crisis. The night after the eviction more than 100 people were at City Hall holding a General Assembly where outrage at the city’s actions were equaled by discussion of future action. GAs have been held on a regular basis, almost nightly, but if there are no arrests, the mainstream media are not interested – they only seem interested when people are being dragged off to jail or when there’s nobody around.
Even as City Hall was occupied, others worked behind the scenes in committees dealing with such issues of importance to the 99 percent as
- helping homeowners stay in their homes, urging people to move their money out of the megabanks, an effort that has resulted in more than 1.5 million dollars moved to local community banks and credit unions in the Austin area, and urging the City of Austin to move its money out of Bank of America
- Helping East Austin residents have a say in the planned transformation of two East Austin public school campuses into charter schools
- Marching in solidarity with victims of official brutality in Austin, around the country and the world
- Helping to plant 600 trees to re-forest parkland near Barton Creek
- promoting an end to corporate personhood
- working to end homelessness
While the mainstream media may see an identity crisis in the fact that two people were at City Hall in the middle of the afternoon, Occupy Austin was winning an award for outstanding community activism, and will receive a new media laptop, a sorely needed item now since Occupy Austin’s laptop was destroyed in the police raid last week. As part of the award, Lt. Dan Choi, whose activism and repeated arrests in front of the White House was instrumental in the repeal of the despicable Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, will visit OA in May.
This is definitely not the portrait of ”protesters now struggling to find their identity.” It is, however, the picture of a mainstream media steeped in a predictable paradigm – preferring to highlight the sensational while ignoring substance.