March 4, 2017:
Warren Peace, all smiles, looking up and around the now-crowded tent. Everyone is smiling: Warren, Colleen, students whose names I haven't learned, my tall and tawny student girlfriend, lastly myself stooping under canvass tentroof, delighted at the enthusiasm, alarmed by the unsophistication.
Outside there's sing-song: "Na na naaa-na, na na naaa-na, hey hey, good-bye!" The cops are leaving — they're only campus cops but they're uniformed and that counts. The student occupiers read the situation as victory: We've sent them flying!
It's not victory. It's a shrewd and ultimately successful calculation by the administration that, left to themselves, without confrontation and without press, the students will become disenergized, the occupation will grow stale, until, demoralized and ineffective, they return one by one to class.
It plays like that. When I return in a week the campsite has shrunk by half; in two weeks, all gone.
Other campuses fare better, where the leadership is more insightful, the organization more democratic, the student body more engaged. This one is an elitist group of anti-elitists, who fail ultimately through their bookish faith in spontaneity. The masses will follow us! Except they don't, because they have no reason to.
Warren Peace smiles, red-headed Colleen smiles, my girlfriend and I smile and back out politely, back to the dorm for sex, back to my apartment for more sex, eventually to her sister's apartment for still more sex. At least there was that.