I have an important update about the status of “Occupy Harvard” — intelligence received from one of the commentators on my blog, “Not Spam,” who first commented here.  “Not Spam” (who I’ll abbreviate to “NS”) posted with the comment a valid Harvard undergrad e-mail address (viewable only by me, as the webmaster). Now that I’ve both e-mailed and spoken with NS, I consider NS a highly reliable source.

NS has a  prior connection with “Occupy Harvard” and is best described as a disillusioned, reluctant dissident.  NS offered to help me cover developments in the movement, if necessary by attending meetings and taking notes.  Yesterday either NS or someone NS spoke with (I’m not going to say which, in an effort to protect my source(s)) attended a high-level planning meeting held at the camp at 2 p.m., at which over a dozen people were present, which lasted for over an hour, in which the future of the camp was debated in detail.  Here are the highlights, as best I could gather them from my source, who did not take any contemporaneous notes:

1.  Harvard’s space occupants are deeply rattled by the so-called “stalkers” who are coming by the camp, apparently on a regular basis, to take photos of the camp being left empty. Imagine that!  (Funny, I thought “stalkers” are those who “stalk” actual people, not inanimate objects like tents and discarded plastic and other garbage).  The space occupants know they’re the subject of intense ridicule both at Harvard and on the internet (e.g., the comments on my YouTube video, here), and they’re looking to exit this miserable situation as soon as possible.

2.  Indeed, one person at the meeting (apparently the French woman who was very active at the November 18 “General Assembly” meeting, see Paragraph 55, here), made a motion which was seriously debated that the group should immediately take down most of the tents, that afternoon, without even raising the matter with the “General Assembly.” Apparently in part because the next regularly scheduled “General Assembly” meeting would be held the next evening (tonight), that motion was rejected.  But there apparently was a strong consensus that in the near future all or nearly all of the tents should be taken down; all that remains to be decided are the details.

3. According to my source, one proposal that apparently will be made tonight, favored by a very old member of the movement who attended the meeting (quite possibly the fellow I call “SDS Dinosaur,” see Paragraph 25, here), is that immediately after the “General Assembly” meeting tonight all the tents should be taken down, leaving only the newly erected geodesic dome, with no effort to explain why this is being done (which seems in synch with an earlier comment by SDS Dinosaur that sometimes people can agree to take a particular action even if they can’t agree on why).  Others apparently plan to propose that the members of the movement try to wait another week or so, until all the undergraduate students are gone after finals are completed, before the tents are taken down, which would also allow time to work on “messaging.”

4.  Of course, the message here is already obvious.  “Occupy Harvard” has fizzled out in failure.  After an initial burst of energy and excitement during the first few days after the movement started on November 9, the “encampment” has been left vacant on many occasions, as has been obvious to passersby, some who have taken photos of the vacancy, photos which when publicized created an “Emperor Has No Clothes” situation. Discussion at the meeting yesterday apparently centered on the group’s inability to schedule at least one person to be present at the camp at all times — it can’t even find enough people willing to spend an hour or two a day at the info desk to keep it staffed throughout the day, much less people willing to actually sleep at the camp during the winter.  Reportedly, the movement has pariah status among the undergraduates, who from the beginning have regarded it as “SLAM with tents” (with good reason — the Big-Labor-affiliated “Student Labor Action Movement” bought many of the tents with money donated by the SEIU, according to this Harvard Crimson story, and SLAM members dominated the pivotal “General Assembly” meetings held on November 14 and 18, see here and here), making it unlikely that the movement’s strength can build.

5.  On the bright side, and as a constructive point, this development confirms the wisdom of majority rule.  As I summarized here, at the pivotal November 18 “General Assembly” meeting, following up on exhaustive planning in a pre-meeting meeting, because it was obvious the “encampment” had to end before late December, majorities twice voted to:  (1) set a date certain for decamping; and (2) plan and publicize positive, upbeat events to coincide with decampment.  The strongly motivated majority persuasively argued that this course was necessary so that the occupation would end on its own terms rather than simply fizzle out and be widely regarded as having ended in failure.  Twice equally determined, though basically clueless, minorities thwarted that effort, taking advantage of the consensus governance rules requiring a super-majority vote of 75% for approval of any proposal.  Now the majority’s fears, and entirely accurate predictions, have come to pass.  “Occupy Harvard” has fizzled out in failure, as predicted.  Unlike occupiers in New York, Los Angeles, downtown Boston, and elsewhere, these movement members don’t even enjoy the dignity of standing their ground until being forced out by authorities.  The Harvard space occupants are simply giving up — even though the Harvard administration has made clear they’re free to camp in their tents as long as they like!

6.  Oh, I almost forgot.  There”s a super-secret secret that nobody outside yesterday afternoon’s meeting is supposed to talk about.  One reason there’s such a strong consensus in favor of taking down the tents, and leaving just the dome, is that from the very start, in the first meeting held between the Harvard administration and members of the occupation (apparently in the last week or two), the administration made clear that if the tents were removed and no one was sleeping at the site, it would be fine for the dome to remain, the gates would be opened up even with the dome there, and members of the “Occupy Harvard” movement could use the dome as their headquarters for various free speech activities related to the movement — so that “Occupy Harvard” could continue in name, though not in fact.

So what’s happening here is that the space occupants are accepting the exit strategy outlined by the Harvard administrators.  Apparently the key planners at yesterday’s meeting want this to be kept super-secret because they hope to obscure the fact that, in taking down all the tents and leaving just the dome, they’re completely capitulating to the Harvard administrators.  (Note to space occupant planners:  in the future, if you want to keep one of many details discussed in a meeting secret from those to whom details might be leaked, it might be best not to focus on that detail as being super-secret; my source only thought to mention this to me because there was so much focus on it being kept secret!)

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7 Responses to “#OccupyFail — Update: “Occupy Harvard” Has Fizzled Out in Failure, as Predicted”

  1. Judy in Denver says:

    This isn’t an “emperor has no clothes” situation. The clothes are there but there’s no emperor. It’s sort of like Obama’s empty suit.

  2. annecink says:

    “JUSTICE FOR JANITORS”! Now there is a cause we can all rally around! NOT!
    Must have been a janitor “occupying” that tent!

  3. Aleric says:

    These are the future managers and CEOs of corporations who will spend the rest of their lives in meetings talking about nothing and accomplishing even less. The same people who when the share holders money is missing will claim they simply dont know where it went to.

  4. Ken says:

    As a sometime participant in Occupy Harvard who learned of this blog shortly after its launch and subscribed to its RSS feed, here are two potentially informative comments:

    1. The blog is wildly inaccurate in the dates it claims items were posted. According to the RSS feed, most of the content supposedly posted between November 15 and December 8 was actually posted on December 9 — including, in particular the lengthy notes from the November 18 meeting. It looks to me that after shooting the “gotcha” video on December 7 of the camp briefly left unattended while hundreds were at the teach in, the blogger wrote up and backdated a bunch of posts to create a narrative about how obvious it was on November 18 that a vacancy would occur, and about how the consensus process blocked the obvious solution to this supposed inevitability. All I know is that the image portrayed on the blog, of a blogger diligently and neutrally keeping tabs on developments, is a fiction.

    2. Evidently the blogger, “Major Tom,” is a current Harvard student or employee. I didn’t find that name in the Harvard directory, so he might be having some identity issues. Indeed, given his penchant for creating fictional narratives through creative backdating of blog posts, not to mention his obsessive focus on a movement that’s imposing no significant burden on him or others who don’t agree with it, he might have a lot of issues to work through. I suggest he check out the information on the Harvard University Mental Health Services, here:

  5. occupy harvard supporter says:

    We love you Major Tom! Thanks for your continuous support and tireless dedication to our cause. Must be all those protein pills you’re taking. Stay indoors!

  6. Dick Tracy says:

    Using his underground connections, Major Tom Gumshoe makes his way into yet another public assembly of the Occupy Harvard ‘cell’, infiltrating -undercover- deep into the transparent, public, and doorless geodesic dome in the middle of historic Harvard Yard.

    pity it wasn’t raining, for atmosphere’s sake, you know?


    ground control to..

  7. David B. says:

    The suggestion that Major Tom get some help is well taken. Specifically, he needs to be checked out for substance abuse, to see if he’s relapsed; I don’t know how else to account for some of what’s on this blog.

    Awhile back I wrote a song about his drug problem, called “Ashes to Ashes.” To be blunt, he’s a junkie, so we best not mess with him (so let’s all ignore him and his blog):

    Ashes to ashes, funk to funky
    We know Major Tom’s a junkie
    Strung out in heaven’s high
    Hitting an all-time low

    My mother said to get things done
    You’d better not mess with Major Tom
    My mother said to get things done
    You’d better not mess with Major Tom
    My mother said to get things done
    You’d better not mess with Major Tom
    My mother said to get things done
    You’d better not mess with Major Tom

    YouTube here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DLBlFq4oE2I

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