Life In The Tents At Occupy Boston

By Adam Reilly

Oct. 14, 2011

Watch the segment that aired on Oct. 13 on WGBH's Greater Boston.

BOSTON — As Occupy Providence starts its own park protest this weekend, the activists of Occupy Boston learn what it takes to live in their city-within-a-city — come rain or shine.

Despite days of rainy weather this week, the protesters are hunkered down on the Greenway with their tents, their tarps and their critiques of the way modern America works.

“A lot of people woke up covered in rain, water this morning,” David Irish of Norfolk, Va. said yesterday as he and three other protesters drove a tarpaulin-bearing stake into the ground. “So we’re just expanding our love to everybody else this way," he said, pointing toward South Station, “and that way, if need be.”

With construction like this, and with a new newspaper in the works, titled the Occupy Boston Globe, naturally, the protesters are basically trying to create a city within a city. Their money is coming from online fundraising sites like We Pay and Kickstarter.

Eventually, Occupy Boston spokesman Daniel Schneider says, the group plans to detail all its receipts and expenditures online. For now, any protester who wants to follow the money simply has to ask. “The accountants who volunteer their time to do this for us, and the people who moderate We Pay, will show people where we’ve spent the money, cent by cent,” Schneider said.

Critics have dismissed the protesters as spoiled trust-fund babies. But based on some of the hardscrabble characters WGBH saw at the protest site yesterday, including Schneider himself,  that’s not correct.

“I don’t have a trust fund,” said Schneider, who moved from Milwaukee to Boston to attend Emerson College. “And I haven’t dropped out of school.”

The criticism that Occupy Boston’s goals are a bit nebulous may be more accurate.

“As much as we want to change the world and things like that,” said Eric Schow of Mansfield, “it’s also, like, inside. Like, we all have anger and hatred and happiness and we all have to deal with that in different ways."

Participants insist that vagueness isn’t a problem.

“The country right now is on the wrong path and we want to bring it together,” said Bob Funk of Roslindale, who is also a member of the group Veterans for Peace. “Eventually, like almost every other deal like this, the message will clarify.”

Based on Occupy Boston’s staying power to date, he may have a point.

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