Thank you, Mayor Bloomberg. You may have given the Occupy Wall Street movement - which you disdain, dismiss but have largely suffered - a boost of energy that time, weather and attrition had severely threatened.
Just hours after Adbusters had warned of how a prolonged occupation could exhaust the movement, the Mayor woke it up again.
First of all, the cowardly act of clearing the park in the middle of night, under the cover of dark and with no warning has made him a perfect villain. In contrast to his last effort to break up the Occupation, which brought 5,000 New Yorkers at dawn to stand in defense, this time the Mayor didn't give New Yorkers a chance to voice their opposition before sending in the NYPD with overwhelming force.
It's a reminder that as opposed to other politicians who simply defend the 1%, this politician IS the 1%.
Movements need villains and the Mayor just added himself to the likes of bank CEOs, fund-managing billionaires and Rupert Murdoch.
If the Mayor had just let time pass, OWS would have inherently changed, and the presence in the park would have diminished. Already, the preponderance of tents has made it less inviting to visiting supporters. The cold weather would mean a smaller, more intense and likely more radical crew would have remained - increasingly sick, sore and strained -- which would have caused tensions within the movement. With the first big snowfall, occupiers would have found themselves seeking a graceful evolution / exit strategy.
Instead, the Mayor has thrown fuel on the fire. Waking up to a rash of email action alerts, agitated tweets and passionate texts this morning showed me the movement is more energized. The protesters are likely to retake Zuccotti, or to start other camps. The Mayor could have kept it contained; now, he's opened a Pandora's Box that could send actions and confrontations a thousand directions.
Of course, this all presents a challenge for the movement itself. While the encampment at Zuccotti has been an inspirational symbol, the big debate isn't really about the park itself. It's about an economy that works for all, the hazards of wealth disparity, the crimes committed by Wall Street - all of which the Occupy Everywhere energy has propelled into the spotlight.
Since the start, it has been understood that the movement needs to find footing beyond Lower Manhattan - in legislation and ballot boxes, shareholder meetings and direct actions, media campaigns and everyday conversations.
In Zuccotti itself, the General Assembly spends more time on the difficult challenge of running a communal living environment than on political demands and actions. They need allies and the public at large to carry the message into action in a thousand directions.
Today, those allies and the public will be consumed with the debate about free speech and the right to assembly --important issues, to be sure, but only part of the overall vision of a fair and just society.
The challenge for the occupiers evicted in the night is to reclaim their space and their rights - and to continue this extraordinary experiment they've undertaken for two weeks. The challenge to all of us who sympathize with them and find inspiration in their actions is to make sure we -- the 99 percent - make our voices heard on every street, not just Wall Street, and in all halls, not just one park.
The challenge for Mayor Bloomberg and the 1% is the hardest of all: How to close Pandora's Box.
Justin Krebs is a political organizer and writer based in New York City. He is the founder of Living Liberally, a nationwide network of 250 local clubs that create social events around progressive politics, and author of "538 Ways to Live, Work and Play Like a Liberal."