What are the Occupy Portland people going to do when it gets really cold? I'm worried they'll have to give up when the snows come, enabling the movement's detractors to deride the whole thing as an ephemeral hippie tantrum.—Violet
Full disclosure: Even though I'm nominally a representative of the establishment media, I'm as keen to see Lloyd Blankfein's head on a pike as the next aging hipster. Sorry, ruling class; if you wanted me to stump for you, you should've taken better care of me up till now.
Having tossed journalistic objectivity aside like a spent condom, let's get down to business. You're correct, Violet, in the presumption that Occupy Portland's plan is to stick it out until things change—all of the unscientifically selected protesters I buttonholed Sunday agreed that they were there indefinitely.
As to their winter plans, a young fellow manning the info booth (he insisted, adorably, that I not print his name) was succinct: "When it gets cold, people who can't handle the cold will leave." He noted, however, that a number of the occupiers had camping or survival training, skills they'd be passing along to their fellow travelers.
Thus, it's possible they'll survive the winter unscathed. But even if they cave, what they've already done isn't insignificant. And even full-blown revolutions always give back some of their gains, as any Tahrir Square veteran can tell you.
The point is, if the tea party could have the impact it did—despite being liberally sprinkled with weirdos ranting about Area 51 and the gold standard—I'm pretty sure the Occupy movement's image can survive a few frozen hippies throwing in the towel till spring.
Still, if you're that concerned, you can always lend a hand. They're soliciting donations of wool clothing and blankets even as we speak. More at occupyportland.org.