Author Archives: John Paul Lanier

Camp Coyote: Where to Now?

(un)Occupy Albuquerque’s Camp Coyote, aka UNM Yale Park, will have to find a new home base. Tuesday night’s arrests drove the local Occupy Wall Street movement from its peaceful occupation of the park.

The group did not go quietly. Chants of “We are the 99%” filled Scholes Hall Tuesday as two movement representatives met with UNM President Schmidly for a half hour without success. Renewal permit denied. Riot police cleared Camp Coyote at night, arresting dozens of nonviolent resisters. During Wednesday’s General Assembly – the group’s consensus process – UNM announced persons associated with (un)Occupy Albuquerque would be barred from Yale Park. On Thursday the park was closed to everyone. So where will the local Occupy movement hold General Assemblies and daytime gatherings? Can (un)Occupy Albuquerque locate a private or public property from which to establish a continuous presence?

Camp Coyote included protest banners, an information kiosk and a kitchen for feeding the homeless. Will the new site be able to include these?

And where will the dozen or so homeless persons who slept at Camp Coyote go? Local overnight shelters are filled to capacity. The City’s emergency overnight shelter, which has space for homeless persons who can pass an alcohol breathalizer test, opens in November. But where will intoxicated homeless persons sleep? Should they be abandoned because they do something the rest of us can do if we wish – drink at home? This is a question which may elicit surprise from many, yet it is a question which will be asked by those concerned with winter deaths of homeless persons sleeping outside.

Finally, will (un)Occupy Albuquerque continue its protests without a home base? Can the movement continue to grow protest events through Facebook and Twitter announcements alone? These questions and others will be decided in future General Assemblies, at a location yet to be decided.

Will Camp Coyote survive? If so, how and where?


ugh! personal transformation!

Blending personal and social transformation gives me the creeps.

I’d rather not admit my privilege – the social advantage granted to those born into the dominant white male  class – does not offer me one-upmanship in Occupy (insert city here) General Assemblies.  I prefer to believe my ideas and arguments are best, especially when clearly they are not.

Activists of color have pointedly observed my frequent agreement with other activists who also share white male privilege. I really don’t like this, but afterwards I often agree. Sorta. Mostly. Okay, as best I can, entirely.

Bit by bit I come to understand that social transformation first requires personal transformation. No more blind adherence to white male modes of thinking and social interaction! As my favorite graffito says: To fix the world, fix yourself.

And personal transformation can begin with confession. Ugh!