Well, this is not good news.
If Facebook posts are to be believed, per the above, the legal team that asserts the “right to be homeless” has turned to decidedly extra-legal means to support the next steps of their strategy. They are calling in ‘muscle’: under the auspices of Occupy Oakland, they met on Friday, September 20th, to plan next steps, and on Saturday, September 28th, the militant anarchist faction of Occupy will be arriving at the Bulb.
Militant anarchists tend to have little or no respect for democracy, civil discourse, or the rule of law. They are rarely exponents of nonviolent civil disobedience. So we can only hope that the Albany Police Department can exercise its skills to avoid a dangerous situation from developing in the Albany Waterfront Park.
As for the lawyers: one wonders how this supports their cause. These are the same advocates who have been exhorting the campers to believe “there is still hope,” thereby discouraging them from taking advantage of the help to find housing that has been on offer to them over the summer. The same people who cynically attack the work of the Berkeley Food & Housing Project because “only one person has been housed.” They show no interest in getting help for low-functioning people who have gravitated to Bulb, with its isolation, lack of sanitation or services, and apparently easy access to illegal drugs. Perhaps their agenda is to advance anarchy in the name of anti-capitalism? Do they even care if some vulnerable campers get caught up in chaos? With ‘friends’ like these advocates, the campers sure don’t need enemies.
But how does anarchy on the Bulb support the advocates’ legal strategy? Perhaps they recognize their legal case is
weak, and they are trying to substitute force for legal argument (there
is certainly a long history of such behavior on both the far Left and the far
Right in the European countries where anarchism played a role in destroying the
rule of law between the world wars - with appalling results).
Or perhaps they plan to go forward with legal action, and they hope that the explosive mixture of anarchists, police, and campers suffering from addiction or untreated mental illness will help them persuade a court to block the enforcement of the anti-camping ordinance ?Let us hope that the rule of law is still strong enough to prevail. Albany is a community full of thinking people who are inclined to ‘question authority’. But there is also a time to come together as a society - to both protect the vulnerable and to assert the right of the public to democratically develop and enforce laws for the benefit of all. And that time is now.