When OWS Protesters Become Trespassers

Is fighting economic injustice such a righteous pursuit that it entitles Occupy Wall Street (OWS) protesters and their disciples to indefinitely control whatever space they invade? Even though the whole movement is centered around the word "occupy," deciding which property to take over, or how long to monopolize it, doesn't seem to be based on any guiding principle. Occupiers need to clarify what, in their eyes, makes terrain seizable.

The owners of Zuccotti Park in New York are apparently authorized to prohibit camping and similar activities, and yesterday they gave entrenched demonstrators a day's notice to vacate the park long enough for workers to clean and inspect it. Thereafter, they warned, only those who obey park rules will be allowed to use the premises.

The decision announced early this morning to postpone the scheduled cleaning, made no mention of those rules.

The protesters say the City of New York should neither enforce the rules nor "evict" occupiers from the park. But what they haven't explained is how the police could legally or morally justify ignoring a property owner's trespass complaint.

Although occupiers pride themselves on adhering to a strict and democratic decision-making method, it's not clear how -- or if -- that procedure honors the wishes of park owners, besieged neighbors and various non-OWS users of the park.

The movement's overall mission has great legitimacy, but its land grabbing policy requires some elucidation.

This article was also published by U.S. Tour of Duty and