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Occupy Boston - Tent City 2011 - A Perspective

Posted: December 11, 2011     Larry Fabian

Dorchester-Roxbury participation was evident throughout the two months of encampment across from the Federal Reserve Bank in Boston’s Financial District. 

Known as Occupy Boston, it was reminiscent of a movement in which Mel King took part - a very effective, long-impacting protest in the South End in the 1970s.  That became known as Tent City. 

Occupy Boston was the seed of a second Tent City, this time at Dewey Square with comparable aims:

Correcting a greed-driven economy and society.

The first “Tent City” protest near Copley Square became concretized and memorialized into apartments for low-income folks in what was a litter-strewn lot at Dartmouth Street and Columbus Ave. 

What will Tent City #2 at Dewey Square do for us months and years from now especially in the wake of its dissolution?

Occupy Boston - Tent City 2011 Occupy Boston - Tent City 2011
In early October, transitions were giving meaning and history to the group’s efforts.  Roxbury handyman James Woods was there on an early October Tuesday morning, smiling but worried.  The shock was just wearing off from the recent brutal police action while clearing the next block of the Greenway.

More activists wanted to join their new-found comrades in the blocks of City real estate for which permission to camp out had been obtained.  But so many people came there were spillovers into the next block of the Greenway.  Who welcomed them?  Who welcomed them with smiles and who with batons?

Tent City #2, the Tent City of 2011, was full of vibrant life, spontaneously blossoming from the people whose lives had been nourished by heightened meaning and hope and the proximity of protesters with common cause.  40-50 tents created housing and function:  group kitchen, info desk, media desk, sacred space and scores of signs. Reporters relished the chaos and photographers captured expectations of what was to come.
Occupy Boston - Tent City 2011 Occupy Boston - Tent City 2011

A wide range of people served as the beating heart of the movement – New Hampshire students, older vets and many with the spark of the ‘60s in their souls. The mood was calm and hopeful that the unfolding Occupy Movement - now spread in cities across the US and spouting in many countries throughout the world - might carry the peoples of all nations forward into the spiritual, social and political transformations foretold for the year 2012.

Paul of Savin Hill was there and Mark from Newton and Shantae from Roxbury and hundreds of others. 

What about you? Were you there?

No Tent City is left to call "home", no neighbors or comrades are close by to share the day and no people’s mic is spontaneously uprising to engage us in unison voice.  What remain are shadows and memories, yet a strong sense that the Occupy Movement is still alive. 

Visit Occupy Boston on the Web.  http://www.occupyboston.org

Occupy Boston - Tent City 2011
Occupy Boston - Tent City 2011 Occupy Boston - Tent City 2011

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