Occupy Columbus: Angry, And Now Marginalized
Occupy Columbus may have soon run its course, after struggling for months to “occupy” the tent in front of the Ohio Statehouse despite a mild winter. However, Occupy Columbus is also a radical group marginalized by the alleged Occupy Cleveland bomb plot and powerful leftist group ProgressOhio’s disavowal of the Occupy movement. Whether Occupy Columbus will end peacefully is yet to be seen.
Since its inception, Occupy Columbus has attracted “revolutionaries” who seek to overthrow capitalism – as did Occupy Cleveland prior to the April 31, 2012 FBI bust. A story for the leftist Free Press in October of 2011 highlighted the work of retired lawyer Robert Hart (no relation to the author) to steer Occupy Columbus away from violence, but it also included a photo of protester Christopher Costen:
On Flickr, Mr. Costen goes by the username “Christopher NietzscheGuevara” and lists his current location as “Columbus, Ohio, The Imperial Empire of the United States.” His uploads include a photo of a protest sign outside the Ohio Statehouse captioned “Kill The Rich!” Another photo featuring an Occupy protester in a Guy Fawkes mask and the kafiya scarf favored by Palestinian terrorists bears the title “Expect Us!”
A Columbus Dispatch story published after the initial Occupy Columbus protest includes a video that sheds light on the protesters’ angry demands, which became less tangible after union front We Are Ohio finished leveraging Occupy Columbus for the 2011 Issue 2 campaign.
As part of a separate union push for more government spending, Occupy Columbus participated in a November 2011 “Get on the bridge” event organized by ProgressOhio. Like other events coordinated with Occupy Columbus by ProgressOhio employee Sam Briggs before Briggs left ProgressOhio in March of 2012, the bridge protest yielded photos useful to ProgressOhio but did not produce the results Occupy was agitating for.
Occupy Columbus member “WilliamWilliams,” whose avatar on the Occupy Columbus website is a Fawkes mask above crossed swords, posted to the group’s forum in February, “Is like to point out thY most of you do not spend time in the tent. For me its home that is free not a wooden cage the system tell me I have to have.”
Although city officials and Columbus Police have often found the Occupy Columbus site vacant, group leaders brag about the lengthy “occupation” on Facebook, while a counter on the Occupy Columbus website claims to reflect how long “Columbus has been occupied.”
Poor turnout at the Occupy Columbus tent, no sign of impending revolution, and rejection from other left-wing groups after the Occupy Cleveland bust could prove a dangerous combination. According to the FBI, the Occupy Cleveland members accused of attempting to bomb a bridge were sick of ineffective nonviolent protests and took what they perceived was the next logical step.
City of Columbus records show that nonviolence advocate Robert Hart managed the Occupy Columbus permit and communication with city officials from the early days of the movement until February of 2012. The extent of his current relationship with Occupy Columbus is unknown.