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adamxadash • 9 years ago

In reflecting on the concept of "free speech", it occurs to me that the efforts of Occupy Eugene to monopolize (and "despoil"?) the Wayne Morse Terrace (or any other area designated for open expression, for that matter) could themselves be ruled illegal since they deprive other interests the right to use those same spaces to "speak out" on other topics. There is also the question of whether occupation (i.e., as in a "place in which to reside") qualifies as "speech" or "peaceable assembly" as intended by the First Amendment. Of course, such legalistic inquiry ignores the broader issue of how to deal with the horrors of homelessness in a fair, compassionate, and practical manner. My point is that this whole matter needs to be examined more dispassionately in a different, constructive forum where people come together as solution seekers, not preachers.

Alley Valkyrie • 9 years ago

First off, it wasn't Occupy Eugene. SLEEPS is a different organization. Yes, there are people in SLEEPS who were involved with Occupy, but activist circles are small in this town. Second, they neither monopolized nor despoiled the free speech plaza. They moved for anyone wanting to use it, as was shown on Saturdays when they moved for the vendors and drummers. And they left it cleaner than they found it. And their actions have been ruled as "speech" many times. They set up there in the first place after a local judge's decision that their protest was indeed speech.

And yes, you're right in that all the nitpicking over the protest itself is a great way to distract from the real issue - the fact that there are thousands of people living in our community that have no safe or legal place to sleep.

adamhaxash • 9 years ago

Thanks for the clarification, Alley. I am an ex-Eugenian who now lives near Boulder, Colorado - and have seen none of this first hand - only through the eyes of the Register Guard which, as we all know, has its blind spots, and the Eugene Weekly. In any case, "truth" (as with in Syria today) probably has as many facets as there are observers to report it.

Which takes us back to that bottom line of finding solutions to real problems that cause real suffering. Do you think that the essential SLEEPS agenda has a significant chance of stimulating progressive problem solving? If you are involved in such an endeavor, I wish you the very best.