As I reported in a post early Monday afternoon (here), on Sunday afternoon key members of the “Occupy Harvard” movement held a brainstorming session about how they might extricate themselves from their current miserable predicament:  so few of their members are actually willing to sleep at the site, or even staff the info desk for an hour or two a day, that the site is left vacant for increasingly lengthy periods of time, leading to intense ridicule — not just at Harvard, but globally via the internet (e.g., Breitbart.TV  and this post on the highly influential Instapundit blog).

As I noted in my blog post, there was general consensus that a proposal should be made at the Monday evening meeting of the “General Assembly” that all the tents are to be taken down and removed from the site, leaving only the newly erected geodesic dome — either immediately or, perhaps, within a week or so (e.g., once the undergraduate students are gone after finals are completed), to allow time to work on “messaging.”

Although I do not have first-hand knowledge of what happened at Monday evening’s meeting, my source “NS,” who I consider reliable (for the reasons mentioned in my Monday post), reports that this is exactly what happened at the “General Assembly.”  It was a very short meeting, especially compared to the marathon meetings I endured on November 14 and November 18, and my source reports that only two matters of importance were raised at the meeting (beyond updates from various groups and individuals on various matters, and various individual comments).

First, a woman labor activist (perhaps affiliated with the SEIU, though I couldn’t confirm this) gave notice that at the next “General Assembly” on Thursday night she (or someone affiliated with her; it’s not clear) plans to ask for a further resolution from “Occupy Harvard” opposing Harvard’s investment in HEI Hotels & Resorts.  Apparently she received only a lukewarm response:  someone pointed out that there have been several resolutions on this topic, and there was some concern expressed about “Occupy Harvard” placing too much emphasis on this Harvard-specific point, and being too closely allied with a Big Labor agenda generally.

Second, after a relatively moderate amount of debate and discussion, the “General Assembly” passed, with an overwhelming consensus, the following resolution to remove the tents by December 20, and explaining the rationale for that action:

“Occupy Harvard 2.0”

Our first month is over, and in the last 30 days we have greatly affected the discourse amongst students, faculty and staff alike, not to mention hundreds of outside followers.  This would not have been possible without our physical manifestation, and its visceral disruption of the status-quo confronting — inelectably — the local population.

In growing into our second month, to engage the risen discourse, we propose a modification of our physical presence:  a consolidation only in footprint, to an interactive community space built within the context of the dome and that can exist within open gates.

The immediate proposal entails two changes:

1.  That all other structure but for a supply tent is taken down in transforming the dome to a hub of activity, to host events small and large, from student unconferences to performances.   [My source tells me that by voice vote the reference to a supply tent was struck; every single tent will be removed by December 20.]  Timeframe:  December 16th-20th.

2. That the information space is reimagined out of its current iteration as a static space to be occupied at all hours, perhaps moving to address the public outside of the yard and including an engaging information board auxiliary to the dome.
Timeframe:  starting after the consolidation

To frame imminent points of information, clarifying questions, and amendments, this proposal is not to encompass the details, physical or otherwise, in the employment of the new space.  It is rather a request of confidence in taking the initiative in creating a convivial forum that enables great participation, the exact use and shape of the forum to be readdressed in the spring.

The key to understanding the effect of this proposal lies the references to the geodesic dome.

The first is the reference to a dome “that can exist within open gates.”  As I reported in my Monday post, what’s happening here is that “Occupy Harvard” is capitulating to the Harvard administration, which laid out a clear exit path:  stop sleeping at the site, and remove all the tents, and we’ll open the gates, and you can keep the dome and use it as a headquarters — keeping “Occupy Harvard” alive in name (allowing you to save face), though not in fact.

But the capitulation is not necessarily complete, it seems.  The resolution also references “transforming the dome to a hub of activity . . . .”  My source says that this is code for the reference made by people at the “General Assembly” meeting to making the dome the new headquarters for all “Occupy” activity in the area — once the gates are open, it can house “Occupy Cambridge,” “Occupy Boston,” and perhaps other elements of the “Occupy” movements. (Indeed, “Occupy Boston” expressed an interest in occupying Harvard as far back as October 23 as evidenced by this video.)  So it seems that those behind the dismantling of the tents may be pursuing what might aptly be called a “Trojan Dome” Tactic of removing the tents in order to lull the Harvard administration into opening the gates, after which non-Harvard elements of the “Occupy” movement will then be able to enter the Yard and adopt the dome as their new headquarters.

An aside, somewhat humorous, but also a bit troubling in terms of the lack of transparency in the movement:  At the end of the meeting, people involved with “messaging” the decamping requested that no one circulate the resolution, to prevent premature publicity about the forthcoming action. So naturally I thought it was important to put the resolution on this blog (my source was able to obtain a copy from someone on the Logistics Working Group which drafted the resolution). Note to “Occupy Harvard” planners:  when something happens at a “General Assembly” meeting that you don’t want leaked to outsiders, it might be best not to flag it as a super-secret secret that shouldn’t be leaked to outsiders, especially when you’re well aware that one or more members of your movement are leaking to outsiders.


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3 Responses to ““Occupy Harvard” Pursuing “Trojan Dome” Tactic?”

  1. A fellow Harvard Student says:

    Ha! Ha! What puerile skulduggery! I wonder at the amount of negative energy you put into all this – – so much bile, so much hate, so much vindictiveness inside you…have you wondered?

    We are fellow students…we have certain thoughts….maybe you do not agree…well, stop by and let us engage in a conversation…

    What is the aim of all this, hiding behind an alias (shows how open you are)…but using the law school domain name nevertheless…participating in such an unethical and unprincipled activity…to what end?

    Yes, OH has been vacant at times — so what? It does not negate all the other times when people are there, when there is action, when random people drop by to thank us and support us…

    Any group will have those who are unhappy and disgruntled…but using “moles” and information that is not supposed to be shared is truly reprehensible…we welcome dissent and difference…you too should come and talk to us openly…instead of filming an empty dome…I mean, is that really a mature thing to do?

    I am really pained to see your effort…I expected better from someone at Harvard Law (which I assume you are because you have access to their blog space). I, and am sure many occupiers, would simply appreciate if you come talk to us face-to-face and tell us of your views – – and why you think we may be misguided in our efforts. But, this, what you are doing, is truly a cheap shot, my friend…this is below the belt…

  2. Occupier says:

    Some good points, but “Major Tom” doesn’t seem to be trying very hard to hide. The Berkman Center website says anyone with a e-mail address can blog there, but it’s clear the Center’s free to publicly display that e-mail address. Even if it’s not publicly displayed (I didn’t see it on the blog, but maybe it’s there somewhere), the Harvard administration has the right to see it.

    If he wanted to hide he’d have blogged on blogger or wordpress using a fake email address, so presumably he won’t mind if people go though proper channels to find out who he is. If there’s anything wrong with what’s on the blog, we should just ask the Center, or someone in the Harvard administration, for the info, and ask to have the blogger brought up on disciplinary charges, have the blog deleted, or whatever’s appropriate. Presumably the Harvard administration would cooperate, if there’s a problem here, to show it’s being fair to Occupy. But if the blog’s just irritating (photos of tents, comments about what happened in meetings everyone was invited to, criticisms of the decisinomaking process), it might be best to just ignore it and not draw more attention to it. If we’re for free speech maybe that means we have to tolerate speech critrical of us. There’s already nastier comments on our own website, which probably gets a lot more hits than this blog (which only a few blogs have mentioned). Personally I’d rather be proactive about getting Occupy past the tent stage than worry about what an overly detail oritented blogger is doing.

  3. Aryt Alasti says:

    There has been much more happening in connection with Occupy Harvard since Day 1 than what you see at the tents or might experience during a General Assembly meeting, as evidenced for example by the recent teach-in. The recent op-ed in The Crimson was written by someone who, like yourself, has not bothered to look into the specifics of the issues around which Occupy Harvard was organized by (as you yourself described participants) principled, thoughtful persons with certainly a sufficient degree of cognitive ability to be able to make determinations as to whether such a sacrifice of time, comfort and focus on other things in life was worth it to begin with and continues to be sufficiently productive to be worthwhile.

    What you fail to understand when you refer to some of the students as “Big Labor” representatives is that these are selfless persons with character of the highest caliber, some of whom of their own initiative have been working for years – as their predecessors did from long before there was union representation here for the custodians or security guards – to better the lives of Harvard’s workers. You have no idea what it’s like to devote a substantial portion of your adult existence to doing menial work for trifling pay and with costly, poor-quality health insurance coverage as the only associated benefit and no prospect of improved circumstances; to have this be the case at an institution with Harvard’s wealth, as was the case up until the Living Wage campaign ten years ago, is all the more deplorable. Of course student activists collaborate with the unions which represent Harvard staffers, but in no way are they controlled or directed by those organizations or anyone else. Other collaborations with a variety of groups and persons are taking place.

    As we make the transition into “phase two” of the “Occupation,” there’s no question that what was done thus far (and the way it was done) has initiated processes of change which would not have occurred otherwise. It has revealed to the Harvard community as only an effort such as this could have done just what a large amount of support as well as antipathy exists with regard to some issues which affect Harvard directly, but which Occupiers are determined to demonstrate are also reflective of dire problems affecting our country and the world. Our society is at a loss to adequately address the most urgent social, environmental and governance challenges of our time, and we are dedicating ourselves to raising consciousness about the extent to which this is the case, and to finding solutions. Perhaps you could consider spending some of the tremendous amount of time that you’re devoting to harping and sniping (along with your likewise non-contributory General Assembly “secret agent”) to doing the same.

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