In response to NYCHA chief John Rhea’s statement that the city’s repayment of rent to public housing residents who’ve been without utilities the past few weeks is akin to “a nice little Christmas present,” and to Occupy Sandy’s ongoing hurricane relief efforts in the Rockaways and elsewhere, performance art pranksters the Yes Men have written a celebration of the Occupy movement that doubles as a scathing indictment of the city government and its policies. The whole thing is required reading (it’s short, I promise), but this paragraph in particular is a barnburner.
If a city’s administration launches a coordinated attack on your movement, and then you come back to help save that city’s ass when its underfunded agencies find themselves helpless in the face of disaster — that’s a gift. If a city’s police force pepper-spray you, hit you with batons, and arrest you en masse for protesting Wall Street, and then, while that city (physically) bails out Wall Street, you pass out blankets to folks with no heat, develop a network of emergency shelters, and carry water up sixteen flights of stairs to public housing residents — that’s a gift. If a city violently evicts you from a park at which you provide free housing and medical care, and then you help provide it all over again when a storm renders thousands of new folks homeless — that’s a gift. A really, really nice one.
Damn. Your move, NYC.
(Photo: Bonnie Natko/Flickr)