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News Is the Notion of Public Space a Myth?

  1. Nov 13, 2011 #1
    As I see more and more Occupy Protests getting evicted, I wonder if there is no such thing as public space. There is government space, their is private space but their is nothing that is truly public space. If a permit is required for people to use a piece of space then it isn't public space it is either government space or private space.

    If their is no public space, where can people peacefully assemble and protest. Is the right to protest only a right as long as the people who own the space allow you to use the space to protest?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2011
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 13, 2011 #2

    Evo

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    There is public space, but to make it fair to all, any large gatherings usually need a permit. This makes sure that your group does not block access to other people that wish to enjoy the public place, that sanitation, crowd control, cleanup, etc... are taken into account.
     
  4. Nov 13, 2011 #3

    russ_watters

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    In other words, if you allow the protesters to stay as long as they want, you've turned public space into the protester's private space.
     
  5. Nov 13, 2011 #4
    If a select group over-indulges on their rights - they take away from (or restrict) everyone else's rights.:wink:
     
  6. Nov 13, 2011 #5
    I don't know what it is like elsewhere. Here in Calgary I haven't really noticed the protesters but they are small scale here. Of course If I had an event planed for the park I might find it an inconvenience. However, if people need to plan events why can't they use private space? The occupy protests are peaceful so anyone can use the space. The fact that in some areas people find them an inconvenience means that a lot of people attend so a lot of people think the cause is important.

    I suppose though there is only so much space for tents so we can debate as to whether tents are a reasonable use of public space. For homeless people however they have no private space so why should they be restricted from public space.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 13, 2011
  7. Nov 13, 2011 #6
    If the founders of the U.S. had been nice obedient types who applied to King George for a permit, we'd still be servants of the crown.

    If the black students in Greensboro in 1960 had obeyed the law and got up when asked to leave a whites-only Woolworth's lunch counter, blacks would still be sitting in the back of the bus today.

    Civil disobedience and disobeying the law are necessary in order to create social change. If you apply for a permit and your application is turned down, do you just go home and say, "Oh well I guess the status quo is ok after all?" Or do you non-violently disobey the law?

    Study some history and learn how change happens.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  8. Nov 13, 2011 #7

    Evo

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    Study the law. Illegal demonstrations will just get you arrested. I can't believe that you're attempting to compare human rights to a social media gathering that doesn't even have an agenda.

    http://www.aclu-wa.org/news/street-speech-your-rights-washington-parade-picket-and-leaflet

    This addresses laws in Washington state, you need to check the specific state and local laws for each location.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  9. Nov 13, 2011 #8
    Can you address my specific examples?

    * The American revolution violated British law. Should the colonists have tamely submitted to the rule of King George, and remained British subjects to this day?

    * Blacks were not allowed to sit at lunch counters or sit in the front of the bus if a white person wanted the seat. That was the law. Should American blacks in the 60's have submitted to the rule of law, and remained sitting in the back of the bus and using blacks-only restrooms, water fountains, and other public accommodations, to this day?

    Do you acknowledge the moral correctness of violating the law under any circumstances at all?
     
  10. Nov 13, 2011 #9

    DaveC426913

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    :desperately scrambles around for Flex's ejection seat:
     
  11. Nov 13, 2011 #10

    Evo

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    Post something on topic first. BTW, posting off topic is against the rules, don't do it again.
     
  12. Nov 13, 2011 #11

    DaveC426913

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    In case you think Evo is wrong, look up straw man fallacy. Your examples are straw men - attempts to divert the case at-hand to a more defensible case or at least a more loaded one such as patriotism or racism.
     
  13. Nov 13, 2011 #12
    Evo says protesters need a permit. I say they don't; and I use the longstanding American tradition of civil disobedience to illustrate the point.

    This is not the first time Evo has used her administrative powers to squelch legitimate points with which she disagrees. It's her standard operating procedure.

    To repeat my original point: Evo's claim was that protesters need permits. I say they don't. I did not use a straw man argument. I presented true examples of historical situations in which social and political change could only come about by defying the law.
     
  14. Nov 13, 2011 #13

    D H

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    While you are entitled to your own opinions, you are not entitled to your own facts. People who participated in civil disobedience, if at all honest with themselves, prepared themselves for the consequences of their acts. Those consequences often included getting arrested. Getting arrested was in fact one of the goals of their disobedience. The arrests oftentimes garnered attention and support for their cause.
     
  15. Nov 13, 2011 #14
    I think the "time" element must be considered. The Occupiers are using public property for private uses - lodging for instance. Hotels are subject to health inspection and permits to operate - whether anyone stays there or not.


    A quick find on topic - not NY.
    http://www.cityofmontrose.org/DocumentView.aspx?DID=80
    "PRIVATE USE OF PUBLIC PROPERTY
    Sections:
    9-8-1 USE OF PUBLIC PROPERTY FOR PRIVATE PURPOSES
    9-8-2 OBSTRUCTION OF RIGHTS OF WAY
    9-8-3 PERMITS
    9-8-4 STREET EVENTS "
     
  16. Nov 13, 2011 #15

    DaveC426913

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    Your stance seems to contradict itself.

    If, according to you, protesters don't need permits, then they are not breaking the law. So all your examples involving defiance of the law are irrelevant.



    I would point out that protesting is one thing, occupation is another. Whether or not they can protest without a permit, that does not mean they entitled to loiter or squat (i.e. sleep overnight, cook, go to the toilet). These things violate the rights and safety of anyone else who wishes to use that public space. The occupiers are being given a lot of leeway to remain there lay out sleeping bags, barbeques, set up tents, cook and whiz, despite myriad bylaws forbidding these things. All the city has to do is not be so accommodating.

    i.e. no one is saying they can't protest, they are simply saying they can't violate existing safety and health regulations.
     
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2011
  17. Nov 13, 2011 #16

    Evo

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    I never said anything specific about who needed what. I posted facts. I don't make things up.

    Post a link showing that what I posted is wrong and stop posting misinformation. And stop the off topic posting.
     
  18. Nov 13, 2011 #17
    This might be helpful - NY has rules about camping on public lands.
    http://www.dec.ny.gov/63.html

    "Permits and Licenses
    Licenses


    Have you ever wondered why you need a license to do some of your favorite outdoor activities? Fishing and hunting, as well as other outdoor sports and recreation, require careful management to strike a balance between supply and demand. History proves that the uncontrolled taking of fish and animals can cause the demise of a species. Wildlife biologists, armed with statistical data and habitat studies, can advise the public on the best practice to carry out these activities. Licensing is an effective way of exerting studied control on these activities and, at the same time, helps fund continued data collecting and research efforts.

    In New York State, the licensing responsibility is part of the Department of Environmental Conservation's function. A variety of licenses are issued by the Division of Fish, Wildlife and Marine Resources and the Division of Forest Protection."


    To extrapolate to a city scene - sidewalk resources are finite, as are police and rescue personnel - unless an extra and unnecessary cost is incurred. The roadways are designed to facilitate transportation - not (nearly) continuous protests. The city sewer system is not designed to accommodate camping.
     
  19. Nov 13, 2011 #18

    Evo

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    This is for NYC.

    http://www.nyclu.org/publications/palm-card-know-your-rights-demonstrating-new-york-city-2011
     
  20. Nov 13, 2011 #19
  21. Nov 13, 2011 #20

    Evo

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    lol!
     
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