The so-called Occupy Movement eventually shifted its strategy from occupying public spaces to occupying foreclosed homes and abandoned buildings. If you listen to the voices of the Occupy Movement this shift represents a change in focus from protesting Wall Street fraud to protecting real people affected in real ways. However, one has to wonder if the true motivation has more to do with recent problems encountered when trying to occupy public spaces. It was natural to start in public spaces, given that the ownership and property rights regarding such spaces is open to debate. But eventually public officials felt they had to evict occupiers from public spaces in order to maintain its use by the non-occupying public. Likewise, there are some debatable questions pertaining to ownership and property rights during certain stages in a foreclosure, and it will be interesting to see what becomes of this new strategy.
So, what does this have to do with you and me? Well, for starters it occurs to me that every single person that has ever lived has spent at least a portion of his or her life as an occupier. Perhaps you protest, Not me! Yes you, too. As the late Christopher Hitchens pointed out in his famous 2003 Vanity Fair article, Roe v. Wade essentially deemed a woman’s uterus personal property. Even a staunch socialist, who would do away with all private property, will defend the rights of the individual woman regards to her personal property, such as her uterus. And to date, there is simply no way to make it as a human without occupying someone else’s uterus.
This has me a bit troubled. I once occupied my mother’s uterus, but never considered my squatter’s roots. Now that I have been enlightened I am having questions about the statute of limitations on my criminal behavior in 1973. Moreover, once I was evicted from my mother’s uterus I took up residence in my parent’s house for more than eighteen years (as did the great majority of former uterus occupiers). Will my shift from my mother’s personal property to my parent’s private property be treated differently if my parents decide to hold me accountable for my actions?
I have also been affected in more recent years. I currently have three occupiers in the home that my wife and I own. All three of them occupied my wife’s uterus for nearly nine months (minus a few days in one of her fallopian tubes, which could be counted as a wholly separate invasion). And, as my wife and I have recently announced, a fourth trespasser currently occupies her uterus.
All of this raises some serious questions. While I am currently willing to work with the occupiers that are disrupting my life, what will happen if I have finally had enough? Will jurisprudence side with me and protect my private property interest and rights? What about my wife and her personal property? What eviction rights will these occupiers have if I take them to court? What will be made of my own occupying history? Indeed, these are complicated times in which we live. Alas, there is at least one absolute in this foggy debate. Every person that has ever been is or has been an occupier, including you. The remaining questions are who gets the right to evict such occupiers, under what circumstances, and at what cost, if ever at all?