By second hand accounts, it was a fairly exciting evening in and around Harvard Yard. I first suspected something was up when a second guard was assigned to Lamont Library on my shift at about 6PM. Students started mentioning to me that there were a lot of police in the yard. Then the word – lockdown. No one without a Harvard ID was allowed in the Yard. Occupy Harvard had planned to rendezvous at the John Harvard statue. Occupy Cambridge rallied in front of the Holyoke Center outside the Yard. In order to have a General Assembly all could attend they moved to the Law School. There was the now standard Occupy Consensus Process based largely on anarchist tradition1.
Democracy is messy. – Donald Rumsfeld trying to justify the looting and pillage after the “allies” occupied Baghdad.
Consensus is messier. Rightly so. It is much closer to true direct democracy. – the guy by the door
Occupy Cambridge wanted to Occupy the Common, but Occupy Harvard had their hearts set on the Yard. This won out. With the Harvard Police still controlling access to the Yard. Occupy Harvard proceeded into the Yard, while Occupy Cambridge marched around just outside the wall. There was an attempt from OC to push into the Yard to join OH. A young woman, got her leg caught in a gate as the Harvard University Police tried to close it. The crowd moved in and pushed back on the police hard enough to free her. One member of Occupy Boston vaulted over the gate, was immediately detained, but then released. Dean of Student Life Suzy Nelson appeared and spoke with about 100 students. She expressed support for them, but asked them to occupy somewhere else. The occupiers started putting up tents. Divinty students created a ring of protection around them. The police chief paced about. There were no arrests. By the time I arrived on the scene more than 20 tents were erected, the police had retreated to the gates, and all seemed quiet.
1My new friend Will showed my a pamphlet that I believe was from the Wobblies. I can’t find it right now. I will have a great deal more to say about it. The central point is quite simple. Consensus seeks to arrive at a decision that everyone owns. It seeks to avoid having to force anyone “go along”.