Opinion Brief

Will a freezing winter kill Occupy Wall Street?

New York could get snow this weekend, and it's unclear how protesters will weather the storm — or the long, cold season ahead

The first big storm of the season is set to hit New York City on Saturday, bringing as much as three inches of rain and snow. Until now, the Occupy Wall Street protesters have benefited from unusually warm fall weather, but winter is clearly on the way. Will the booming movement at Zucotti Park soon be reduced to a "a small group of shivering, hardcore occupiers"?

No. Occupy Wall Street will tough it out: "This movement is like a palm tree rooted in the ground in a storm," Raphael Rosario, a computer technician who's been demonstrating for three weeks and is distributing clothes and supplies to help protesters weather the elements, tells The Huffington Post. A lot of people, myself included, believe passionately in this movement and we'll find a way to endure. "It doesn't matter how much the world shakes us — the cops all around us, the rain, the coming winter — we're here."
"Rain on occupy Wall Street foreshadows coming winter challenges"

The movement may shrink — but we'll be stronger: "The quantity of [occupiers] will go down, but the quality will go up," Lauren Digion, a leader of the movement's sanitation team, tells New York. The snow will clear out the riffraff and those who aren't really dedicated to the cause. Yes! says Daniel Zetah, a lead organizer quoted in the same article. "Bring on the snow" — "the real revolutionaries will stay in minus-50 degrees."
"Winterizing Wall Street: Hypothermia and the 99 Percent"

Actually, it will be smaller and weaker: "People can't stay here indefinitely. It will fizzle out," Scott Simpson, an outreach coordinator who admits he's unlikely to stay when temperatures drop, tells New York. Protesters have tried to prepare for the weather, but tarps, sleeping bags, and warm hats are hard to come by, and theft has been a problem. There's a lot of talk, but "no actual plan," says Seth Harper, an 18-year-old occupier who also says he'll leave if it gets too cold.
"Winterizing Wall Street: Hypothermia and the 99 Percent"

And it's high time time OWS came in from the cold: It shouldn't go on like this, says Doug Mataconis at Outside The Beltway. With temperatures dropping, "it would be irresponsible of the city to allow an encampment like this to continue under conditions where disease can spread easily." Meanwhile, "the odd social order that has existed [at Zucotti Park] appears to be breaking down," with homeless people and criminals taking food meant for earnest occupiers. It's time for the movement to quit camping out under the stars and define its complaints and how it proposes to fix things. "If 'Occupy' continues to eschew traditional politics in favor of this neo-bohemian love fest, I suspect it's going to become very boring very quickly."
"Occupy Wall Street on the verge of fizzling out?"

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