Occupy and Saving of the Public Place in First Amendment


One of the things I most exciting about the Occupy Movement is their emphasis on using Public Spaces for organizing, meetings, and demostrations. Too often public spaces are neglected as gathering spaces, relegated to spaces of the unthinking passerbys.

While one can legitimately object to a single group claiming “ownership” or “occupation” of a certain place of public lands for a long period of time, one can not object to people using public spaces, in a temporary fashion to organize, meet, and protest.

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Climbing the Trail at Bash Bish on January 16, 2010

Locally the Occupy Albany Movement has met in …

  • Governor’s Chambers on the 2nd Floor of the Capitol
  • The North Concourse of the Empire State Plaza
  • City Hall Chambers
  • Academy Park
  • Townsend Park

Most of those places have people that walk through there, but much more rare is spontaneous meetings or group discussions of issues of the day. The reality is most of these places would be dead, if not for Occupy Albany going there, having their meetings, demostrating, and making it clear to the public, that public places belong to the public — and anybody can go there, spontaneously get together, discuss politics and demostrate.

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Wolf at Robert Moses State Park (Massena) on August 19, 2009

Public spaces belong the public. We, the public, should be celebrating it, and using our public spaces. While we must not let any one permentantly dominate a space, sometimes obnoxious protests and meetings are essential in upholding the notion of the public space.

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