The PJ Tatler

Potemkupy

In my recent report about Occupy Berkeley I published this photo of the Occupiers occupying Sproul Plaza:

Impressive, no? Similar photos showing a huge crowd of protesters “taking over” the U.C. campus were snapped by various media outlets and were seen by news consumers around the world.

But then I went back two days later and stood in the same spot and took this photo, revealing something that the public isn’t supposed to see:

This wouldn’t be so comical if the Berkeley protesters hadn’t spent the entire day of the protest declaring that they were “occupying” Sproul Plaza “permanently” or until their demands for free tuition were met.

So, just in case it isn’t completely clear to these people: Hanging around congratulating yourselves for a few hours and then going home to your dorm rooms does not count as “occupying” anything.

And don’t whine to me that the cops later came and removed the ten (count them! Ten!) tents that a few folks had set up in the plaza. Those tents could have held at most 20 people, so that 99% of you would have been hypocrites and gone home anyway, regardless of what the police had done. Yes, you are the 99%, but not in the way you might have imagined.

Besides which — who needs tents? As the administration pointed out, the only rule is against camping on the plaza; there are no rules against hanging around, even at night. So if you really were dedicated to your cause, then you would have stayed anyway.

But no; it was all just an act for the publicity, and when the cameras are turned off, everyone is safe to return to the comforts of your coddled lives.

This reminds me ever-so-strongly of Ezra Levant’s recent trip to Occupy Toronto, where he discovered that the whole thing is a hoax, a Potemkin Village of empty tents patrolled by a handful of anarchist Palace Guards whose only job at the camp was to ensure that the media didn’t discover that it was vacant.

My growing suspicion is that the majority of “occupations” around the country are just like this: full of protesters during the afternoons or when the media is around, but mostly empty at night when the going gets tough and there is no public relations payoff for roughing it. Only a small number of the occupations in major cities like LA and SF or in liberal enclaves where the municipal government enables them are permanent round-the-clock “occupations” (of a neglected patch of dirt, but that’s another story).

Youngsters these days now seem to think that merely mouthing the word “occupy” somehow grants magical numen to their transitory antics.