The protesters at the Occupy Louisville encampment overcame cold winter nights, torrential rains and a tornado, the insults of thugs, the assaults of drunks, infighting and disorganization, property theft, the fickleness of the public's attention span and, early on, sprinklers being turned on them in the middle of the night as they slept. What they could not withstand, was Louisville's annual invasion of the 1% for the Kentucky Derby.
It was no accident that the city ran out of permits, appeals, and patience just weeks before the private jets of the 1% made their annual pilgrimage to flyover country for the Kentucky Derby. Offending the tender sensibilities of the 1% with the sight of homeless people or [gasp!] the little tent city that has become a national symbol of what the 1% has left for the other 99%, was simply too much to ask.
And so, this week, Occupy Louisville's tents have been coming down. Next week, the city that seemed, for six months, to bend over backwards to work with the protestors, will quickly lay sod and plant tulips so that, by the time the 1% arrives, not a single trace of discontent will be left. Well, not at the encampment, anyway...
The plight of the 99% has not improved. The oppression of the 1% has not lifted. The powerful people who will sip thousand dollar mint juleps on Millionaire's Row in three weeks time, still exert enormously disproportionate influence on how our economy is structured and how the government makes decisions. The fix is still in.
And for that reason, and the sheer bull-headedness of the people who make up the movement, Occupy Louisville will continue on. Like occupations throughout the country, it will move inside. It will regroup. The energy it has spent on surviving the winter will be refocused squarely on fighting the fights of the 99%. And chances are, come derby day, Occupy Louisville will be seen, even if their tents are not.
Louisville.com's The Arena section features opinions from active participants in the city's politics. Their viewpoints are not those of Louisville.com (a website is an inanimate object and, as such, has no opinions).