Monday, March 12, 2012

Smashing win for Occupy Cincinnati!

Occupy Cincinnati has just scored a stunning legal victory over the Evil Empire, and all you can see is a cloud of sawdust where our foes have been standing.

As a result of a lawsuit and settlement with the city, charges against Occupiers are now being thrown out, and the city has been forced to set aside a small portion of Piatt Park as a 24/7 venue for free assembly. The agreement doesn't allow actual camping (ooh, an Allowed Cloud!), but general uses of this space will be permitted. And the city has agreed to set up a public liaison at the park board.

At first, this victory seemed frustratingly minuscule. Why should the city limit round-the-clock assembly to just part of one park? After all, isn't the right to assemble constitutionally protected? But the implications are colossal. Our win shows how weak the authorities' case was. We forced them to explain themselves, and they lost. In fact, the only time the Far Right ever wins is when nobody makes them explain themselves. When people muster the valor to call them out, good prevails - without fail.

We didn't just defeat City Hall. We humiliated it!

The city will decide whether to renew its more permissive park policy a year from now. If it doesn't renew it, the city will be subject to being sued - and humiliated - again.

This case also - along with a recent Des Moines case - establishes an ironclad legal precedent that tips the scales of justice in favor of free speech and assembly.

We're not done yet. The door is now wide open for victories that go far beyond a small city park. Not only has our use of the park already been effective at promoting our goals, but we've now exposed gaping weaknesses in the efforts to shut us down.

And shutting us down surely continues to loom large in our detractors' minds. They'll resort to new tactics. And we will fight back - and win again. I'm experienced enough to know when I'm winning, and I don't bluff.

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