The Cost of the Occupy Movement

There has been a black bloc presence at almost every occupy camp eviction and march in the country. Wearing all black with their faces covered, avoiding accountability through anonymity, armed and armoured, they’re ready to beat people and destroy property. And they’re getting paid overtime to do it.

Since Occupy Oakland tried to take over and run an abandoned community center on January 28th, resulting in 400 arrests, I’ve been hearing and reading once again about how much the Occupy movement has cost cities. The AP reported last week that “Occupy Oakland has cost the city $5 million since the first protest tent popped up outside City Hall in October.” Back in November the headline was Occupy protests cost U.S. cities at least $13M.

The subject in the sentence “Occupy protests cost” is misleading. It is not as if the protesters are requesting a militarized police presence at their peaceful events or for sanitation workers to work overtime in order to throw away their tents and belongings.

Jaime Yassin has a good short entry over at Hyphenated-Republic titled Blame Bankrupting Overtime Costs on the City and OPD, not Protesters:

When we move our admittedly institutional frame to ask questions about costs to city taxpayers from police actions, lets talk about where the majority of that money went first: lawsuits generated by violence and ignorance of the law; and extortionary overtime procedures which have only recently seen any kind of attempt at control from the city. Then we can move on to extra three million spent to prevent the exercise of freedom of speech.