Wired’s Occupy Wall Street correspondent reflects on her year of covering the movement:
“Standing next to an older officer after one eviction, telling him what I’d seen and listening to him worry about how he was going to send his kids to college, I overheard the police talk to each other. Of the protestors they kept saying the same thing, the same three words to each other and walked away: ‘They’ll be back.’ Some said it with scorn, lips curled. Some said it with fear, some excited for the action. Some said it with the watery voices of drowning hope: ‘They’ll be back.’
“Please, let something matter again, let something change.
“The policing of protest in America makes it clear that protest has become mere ritual, a farce, and that, by definition, it becomes illegal if it threatens to change anything or inconvenience anyone. In time, all the police announcements came to say the same thing to me. ‘You may go through your constitutional ritual,’ they intoned, ‘but it must stop before anything of consequence happens.’ We must, above all, preserve everything as it is.”