'It's All Political': Eviction and Arrests of Global Revolution Livestreamers Part of Pattern of Crackdowns on Alternative Living
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At the very least, spreading the merits of anarcho-community threatens the egos and self-worth of those in power. The media‘s role in this process of presenting new possibilities is crucial, and the 13 Thames crew understood that, becoming media makers themselves.
Nigel Parry, an independent media pioneer and Global Revolution affiliate, said he is not one to believe that the NYPD is always out to shut down media, but added “They definitely targeted the media in Zuccotti Park. That's why they do this code violation bullshit. It seems completely unrelated and reasonable -- they're worried about health and safety.” Both inhabitants of 13 Thames and Liberty Square, as well as occupations around the country, were forced out of their spaces under the official, bogus pretext of health concerns (Look at Occupy Oakland -- are tear gas, flash bang grenades, and rubber bullets not more physically damaging than mass cohabitation?).
"There is a concerted effort to deprive people of the Occupy movement, and those in their media team, of their First Amendment rights," said attorney Stecklow. On November 17th, at least seven members of the Occupy media team were arrested while streaming, and Teichberg considers the police force an attempt to stop independent media. In the weeks leading up to the raid, most of the Global Revolution equipment was in the unit next door, 15 Thames, where "People were coming in from all the country, and all over the world, to spend a few days with us working and learning how to edit the channel. The space is shut down, but people are streaming all over the world," Teichberg said.
"Just like we saw in Russia, like we saw in these Arab countries, we're seeing it here in New York," said Stecklow, who noted that because Global Revolution connects the Occupy movement worldwide, "it is clearly the media team behind the Occupy movement."
Teichberg agreed. "Independent media is under attack worldwide - in Syria, Egypt, and now in the USA. People on our media team have been arrested five times,” he said, "It's an attempt at censorship."
Breaking Up Radical Spaces
But Liberty Square and 13 Thames are not the only communal spaces the Bloomberg administration has targeted. While maintaining a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) space has always been turbulent, breaking them up has become increasingly common. As the Village Voice recently reported, new rules enforced by new task forces have become somewhat of a tool “to force out New York's bohemian culture in hopes of creating a future perfect Gotham.” The Voice explains:
Not long after the new Quality of Life Task Force began to crack down on long-unenforced cabaret laws during the Giuliani administration, the Social Club Task Force—established after the 1990 Happy Land fire—evolved into the Multi-Agency Response to Community Hotspots (MARCH), overseen by the New York Police Department. "Unauthorized dancing" was now only one of many potential infractions.
According to the Voice, when Bloomberg took office in 2002, “MARCH activities rose immediately by 35 percent and kept growing.” The Voice continues:
"If you listen to stories about what led to this homicide or what led to this assault, you would be surprised how many stem from nightclubs," Robert F. Messner, a police commissioner who oversaw club shutdowns, told the Times. "We don't want those places in New York. We make it very clear." In 2003, the smoking ban went into effect, outlawing one of the city's longest-running cultural institutions: the smoky jazz club. Regulations have kept creeping into other bastions of the old, free New York. The Algonquin Hotel has had to confine its lobby cat to a space behind the check-in counter, and don't even think about trying to have a bar dog.
This is all despite the fact that DIY spaces have been a staple of New York’s creativity since the art scene flourished in the 1960s. As the Voice explained,