Memoir of a War Resister—A Novel of the 1960s

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Zuccotti Park, New York City

“We’ve been ordered to evacuate,” Matt said to his friends. They sat drinking warm tea and eating oatmeal raisin cookies donated by a local restaurant. He preferred the chocolate chip. Reminded him of home. “The mayor says it’s a health issue and ordered us and, I quote, ‘to temporarily evacuate the park.’ They’re saying they have to clean the park and then we can return. Sounds like BS to me. I doubt they will let us back.”

Matt stretched and stood up. “We’ll see.” he took one more cookie. “But for now, I’m beat. Catch you later.”

Matt went into his tent, slipped into his sleeping bag, zipped it up around him and was instantly asleep. He woke up to the sound of hundreds of police officers converging on the park, ordering occupiers to leave. “What time is it?” Matt looked at his phone. One o’clock in the morning. “What the hell.” He climbed out of his tent.

The officers descended on the park pushing people who got in their way. As the police came closer to the center of the park, Matt heard occupiers yelling at the cops. “Shame on you. Shame on you.”

A police officer said through a megaphone, “If you do not leave now you will be subject to arrest.”

Matt heard the crack of a nightstick against bone. “That’s a woman. Shame on you,” someone yelled. Matt pushed his way through the crowd as the cops continued their onslaught, hands on nightsticks.

The police slashed tents, violently ripped them apart, destroyed everything they saw. They filled dumpsters with sleeping bags, mats, tents, clothes, shoes. Matt yelled at the police. “Those are our homes.” It didn’t help. Then the cops destroyed the people’s library. Five thousand books donated, read, thrown in the dumpster.

“Fuck you,” Matt yelled. He looked around for his friends. He saw a group gathering at the kitchen area near the center of the encampment. They chained themselves together. Matt had to get there. He pushed his way through.

Matt heard a police officer say, “You’re blocking pedestrian passage.”

“We are the pedestrians. We’re not blocking anyone.” Matt kept moving.

Where was the press? Barricaded two blocks away and not allowed to record the destruction. Cell phones did. The whole world would see and the whole world was watching.

Police dragged people out of the park as Matt continued to push his way through the crowd. “This is our home,” Matt yelled to the police.

Matt finally made it to the kitchen area. He chained himself to his friends and they sat, arms linked. “This is our home,” Matt said again to the cops who brought in bolt cutters to get the chains off the occupiers.

The cops cuffed Matt with zipties, too tight, and dragged him across the park to the waiting paddy wagon. “That was our home,” he thought.

Arrests: 192

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