8 Reasons Why The Occupy Movement is Just an Excuse to Squat4
By Dan Billings
Benjamin Franklin once said, “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Whether the guests are friends staying on the sofa, or political protestors taking over the city streets, there is a always a time to move on. That said, it is often great fun to go, and in the end, it is also fun to stay.
Currently, the international Occupy movement includes over 2,600 communities across the globe. According to their MeetUp page, these communities are meant to signal solidarity with Occupy Wall Street. However, opponents have begun to refer to them derogatorily as squatters. Squatting has been a tradition in political protests, and more importantly, has become an adventurous way for travelers to see the world as couch surfers when they are trying save a dime. To put things into perspective, in KoldCast TV’s off-the-wall-hilarious comedy, Squatters, friends Hank and Alex compete to see who can last the longest without an apartment by squatting from place to place after being evicted from their residence. Although the Occupiers may have more respectable aspirations fueling their occupation, in the end, there are many reasons why they may just want a place to crash for a while. Below, we consider the reality of some of these underlying motivations.
Squatters – It Starts With A Bet
1. Meet Interesting People
The Occupy movement is working on strengthening the 99%. The individuals tent-camping at parks, standing in front of government buildings, and creating puppetry, are not the majority of that 99%. The majority is made up of focused individuals who don’t have full-time jobs and strongly believe in their cause. These individuals are motivated by strong opinions – rational or irrational. It can be quite thrilling to debate issues with like-minded individuals about income inequality and the wide array of frustrations that plague the 99-percenters. Enter the marketplace of ideas in whatever park you can.
2. Meet That Special Someone
Hundreds of motivated young people may provide a perfect environment to find that common ground that is often so hard to find as a means to spark the beginning of a relationship. For those looking for a good ‘ol “How I Met Your Mother” story to captivate their friends, this has real potential. In many cities, young people complain about the single life and end up looking online for that perfect match. If you’re young, idealistic, and politically-driven, this could be your perfect night club.
3. Build Inner Strength
No one said that standing up for your political beliefs would be easy. Sleeping in a public park surrounded by hundreds of other people in tents in the winter can be incredibly difficult, but if you can achieve your goals, it will all be worth it. Squatters have to learn to accept their trespasser status and stay on high-alert to not be evicted from their location. In either case, plan on being judged by others and growing thicker skin. This environment can teach an individual a lot about themselves and prepare them for greater adversity later in life.
4. Fight “The Man”
In November of last year, hundreds of NYPD’s finest evicted protestors from Zuccotti Park after they spent over two months there. As a young ideologue, there comes a time and place to act and rebel against the powers that be. Like the protests of prior generations, the Occupy movement is bringing the primary arguments to the places that they believe are hurting their ideals. They march to the likes of Wall Street and the White House to prove a point; they can fight The Man just by squatting.
5. Continue The College Lifestyle
College can be the best part and/or the worst part of one’s life; Parties, people, fun, regret, doubts, worry, and lessons learned. There are people to meet and hang out with all over the place; some of them polar opposites and others eerily similar. Nonetheless, the diversity is thrilling. Fellow protesters share that same spirit and existence, only this time it will be outdoors. It’s not too different from the less enjoyable part of college where money is tight and it’s not uncommon to scrounge for food. That’s the life of the squatter. So, combining the two aspects can continue the life that the protestor loves.
6. Get Wi-Fi
The internet has become a staple in everday life. To spread the Occupy message, individuals within the movement are trying to set up satellite Wi-Fi stations at many Occupy protest sites to discuss their issues through social media avenues, such as Twitter and Facebook. To withhold money from cable or telephone companies in a move of solidarity against the 1%, protestors have another reason to stay in the encampments.
7. A Good Excuse To See The City
They say that cities come to life at night. Imagine staying overnight for several weeks in some of the greatest cities in the world with hundreds of other young politically motivated people. What’s not to like? The bright lights of Wall Street appear in movies…Now, a protestor can fall asleep under those lights. All of the beautiful national monuments in Washington DC shine brighter at night as well. The vibe can be great motivation for an Occupier who wants some further inspiration to continue the fight. These are once-in-a-lifetime opportunities that can be difficult to leave.
8. Better Than Home
When your mom is spending all of her free time watching Golden Girls reruns and your dad is asking for your help to clean the basement drains, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Grab the tent in your parents’ basement and head to your local Occupy movement. Maybe your parents will welcome you back eventually.
Squatters – Take Me Home Tonight
Squatters – In Search of A Douche
Dan Billings lives in Mt. Prospect, Illinois. When he’s not running and listening to BBC podcasts, he’s reading comic books. He likes to consider himself a successful funny man, but that may only be true compared to the other legal writers that he spends his days with. On occasion, he writes on his own personal blog at rockthewesternworld.com.