The big eviction may not have happened yet, but it's coming.
And the occupiers, as in “Occupy LA,” are ready to go home.
Some are already there. More than a few tents are empty at night.
I suspect the politically active and the union organizers figured out long ago that the nylon shell was enough of a statement itself and that actually sleeping in it was superfluous.
They may have grown weary of the food as well (although I noticed one of the leaders having dinner at Pitfire Pizza on 2nd Street with some fellow occupiers the other night… generals always dine better than the enlisted ranks).
In addition, a few might actually be having qualms about squatting on the one piece of what was once green space in downtown L.A.
“The people” haven’t taken over City Hall Park… rather “some people” have.
The encampment has done exactly what the no-camping ordinance for city parks and beaches were designed to prevent: It has privatized a public space.
These are now residences surrounding the seat of city government. Even LAPD officers consider the tents private domiciles and would need a warrant to enter one without permission.
In fact everybody was pretty done with it weeks ago. Walk through the encampment as often as I have and you can understand the protest fatigue.
For one thing the camp is now dominated by homeless people and more than a few who suffer from mental illness.
Many others are getting on each other’s nerves. There is a lot of down time between protest marches to the banks on Bunker Hill and some are tired of the impromptu football games in the plaza, the pot smoke, the ever-present flutist and that guy who uses a palm frond to sweep the walkways at all hours of the day.
But while they are secretly happy to move on, it will not be without a grand finale. Every movement needs a crescendo-- one final statement to punctuate the message. There will be lots of noise, indignation and plenty of arrests. If we are lucky.
Could this all end non-violently? Sure.
But there will be more than a few who will want to get a few licks in before it’s all over.
The earnest protesters who want to change Wall Street will be the ones in front facing the LAPD.
They may insist on being arrested (as a few already have, in the early morning darkness on Monday) but that won’t be the problem.
The question is who will be in the rear of the crowd, where the guys in the bandanas hang out.
More than once have I seen a projectile sail over the heads of the earnest into the crowd of the helmeted. If a cop gets hit all bets are off.
The fact is there hasn’t been nearly as much unity at “Occupy LA” as has been portrayed in the news coverage.
Here’s hoping that doesn’t become abundantly clear when the eviction actually goes into effect.