Broward News

Kicked Out but Still Kicking: Five Ways to Keep the Occupy Fort Lauderdale Movement Alive

Today, about a third of all American adults will go shopping. Many of them lined up in the early-morning hours, breathlessly filling daily-newspaper pages with pictures of their unchecked wanting, pushing and shoving to get their piece of an engineered discount, forking over cash for shit they don't need.

And, last we heard, a scrappy assemblage of Occupy Fort Lauderdale protesters does just about the opposite, camping out in front of City Hall after a last-minute injunction saved them from extraction on Thanksgiving Eve.

Where will they go next? Have they exhausted every last bit of available space? Should Occupy still try to occupy?

A few days ago, the group was operating with a bare minimum of constituents. At this point, after being kicked out of two parks and a government building, the sustained presence of the group threatens to foster a debate about property law and sovereignty that overshadows any debate about how bankers have screwed us.

So perhaps it's time for a refresh. Here are some ways the movement could go. Or not.

5. Become "Occupy Broward."
Between the bored young suburban activists scattered across lands like Weston and Coral Springs, the massive sprawl of unsustainable development perpetrated in the past few decades, and the slew of corrupt governments that constitute our fair county, Fort Lauderdale is only the most urban of our municipalities. Perhaps it's time to open the tent to the rest of the county, hold traveling protests, rove among city commission meetings. Occupy Palm Beach certainly isn't just about the tony island, and Occupy Broward wouldn't have to be just about the Venice of America. Which reminds us...

4. Find a more hospitable city.
Sorry, folks, but West Palm Beach has Fort Lauderdale licked when it comes to tolerating a bunch of folks sleeping out in public. Their protesters signed an agreement and got a key to the bathroom. We won't hold our breath for Fort Lauderdale Mayor Jack Seiler to follow suit, so perhaps "Occupy Broward" should start taking proposals for a new home. We hear there's an open plot of land in Southwest Ranches.

3. Take to the water.
Yeah, last time we suggested it, a few occupiers didn't see the humor and got all mad at us. But we were basically serious. Flotillas are awesome. They're intrusive and noticeable, yet they don't damage private property and are hard to control but easy to move. Plus, pliable waterways are the one untapped infrastructure gold mine in Lauderdale. Waterworld references aside... you guys get the floats, we'll be there with the camera.

2. Merge with Occupy Miami.
To date, the Miami movement has emerged as more robust, mature, and active than the one in Fort Lauderdale. Part of this is because Miami is a bigger city, with a greater concentration of both banking wealth and agitating denizens. But a few local activists on our radar have already packed up and moved down to join the protest by Government Center. Maybe this is the best way to build a robust, entrenched presence in South Florida. Then again, we'd lose you to the Miami New Times, and they're a little kooky down there.

1. Surprise us.
It's not news if it's not new, and in the past few months, groups across the nation have surprised with ingenuity, resistance, stupidity, or a mixture of all those. From a local-news perspective, the worst thing that could happen is for everyone to go back to their daily routines, consistently ignoring everything. Do something crazy. Fight back. Make us care.

Stefan Kamph is a New Times staff writer.
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Stefan Kamph
Contact: Stefan Kamph