We reported last week on the entrance of some Occupy-esque folks on the land formerly known as Hayes Valley Farm, which is set to become a residential development. Many of you had opinions on this new occupation, dubbed Gezi Gardens, in solidarity with the turmoil going on in Istanbul. Well, the City has now issued an official eviction notice, and the stalwart group now prepares for an inevitable police raid.
It appears that Build Inc., one of the co-developers of the property, may be preparing for a June 17 groundbreaking, as Hayeswire reports, so the raid could happen any day now. The Gezi Gardens group announced this morning that in the event of such a raid, there will be a "reconvergence" on Patricia's Green, a block downhill at Octavia and Fell. It's unclear how long the group plans to stay there.
While we support the idea of preserving green space, we noted earlier that this current effort feels misguided, just given the nature of the former urban farm, which accepted its own temporary lease on the land and gladly moved on when the lease was up. And while we understand that there was some invoking of the "Occupy" ethos when the Turkish protests erupted in Taksim Square, the connections are pretty thin here. The Turkish protest has everything to do with freedom of speech, the right to protest, the religious conservativatism of their current government, and even the right to drink in a fairly sectarian society. Occupy, we thought, had its roots in economic inequalities and American corporate greed, and the original protests in Manhattan's Zuccotti Park were not about preserving green space, just the use of public space to have an extended protest. So thus we're a little confused. Now every protest where people camp out can be called "occupy" we suppose, but the mixing of all these messages remains a fundamental problem for these protesters and we suspect that the invoking of Gezi Park was just an easy means of lending gravitas and borrowed meaning to the campout they wanted to do here.
And how is a be-in like this supposed to drum up public support when there was no real public outcry for preserving what everyone understood was a temporary farm, on private land? Anyway, soon they'll be closer to Biergarten, and in a public park, showing their continued solidarity with the Turks.