One of the most interesting aspects of Occupy Wall Street (#ows) is the work it is doing to set up permanent occupations in EVERY city (over 1,000 locations globally, and growing) of note.
Here’s a quick overview:
Navigation of the complex legalities of sleeping/living in an urban, public space (park, square). Every major city has a thicket of regulations in place to prevent people from congregating, let alone sleep overnight.
Defusing provocations from police to prevent more aggressive action. The police made a couple of attempts at provocations already (lots of pepper spray, lots of beatings with batons, and lots of arrests) in NYC. So far, the protesters just took it and didn’t fight back.
Acquiring provisions. On-line support has helped the protest acquire many of the food, water, and other items it needs (although its unclear how many locations get anything approaching the level of support seen in NYC).
Food preparation. By keeping the permanent group small, the need for food/food prep stays manageable.
Shelter. Most locations selected prohibit tents. Lots of variants (cardboard, tarps, etc.) have emerged. This is going to be tougher in winter in the northern climes, but not undoable with small numbers of overnight residents.
Defense. Currently, the occupy movement is strictly adhering to the regulations and non-violence to avoid being ejected from their locations. The best medium term defense is a flashmob.
Local Governance. Open source. Consensus needed. Leaderless (pitch in if something needs doing, but don’t assume you are running the show).
A permanent camp in each location means that there is a gathering point for HUGE protests in the future (quick response to shocks/events/etc.). Also, protests that span hundreds or thousands of cities simultaneously.
Pretty cool dynamic developing: a protest Horde?