Even as occupy camps nationwide face increasing resistance from authorities, the one that started it all is still thriving — and Zuccotti Park protesters vow it’s only the beginning.
Indeed, the question of an end game seems not to be on the mind of campers, who see the encampment as part of a broader social movement comparable to the years-long Civil Rights campaign.
"This is just the first phase of a very long mission," said Anup Desai, a press liaison for the movement. "No one's so idealistic where we think everything will be solved in the next week or two."
"Eventually things have to change," he said. "I don't mean in the sense of an overhaul, but having the right people in government who are for the people."
Desai added: "There will most definitely be a spring offensive and resurgence. This is not going away."
Despite the crackdowns elsewhere, the movement has continued to grow, and in an opinion piece in The New York Times, Jeffrey D. Sachs called the movement "most likely the start of a new era in America."
Whether they'll be able to stay healthy for the whole winter is another issue
Sally Guttmacher, a professor of public health at NYU, told amNewYork that staying warm and cutting off illness early will be key to the protesters lasting the winter.
"Cold and flu could be huge, because you get that from person to person ... if they're in very close proximity to someone who's ill, it could spread quickly," she said.
Eugene O’Donnell, a former NYPD cop and police studies professor at John Jay College, added that the NYPD's reasonable response is part of Zuccotti's staying power, and that has been partly because of the tone set by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
"First and foremost it's a political question, not just a police question," he said, but the police "can't afford to be so hands-off that public safety is imperiled, but at the same time they really have to bend over backwards to make free speech real," he said.
However, O'Donnell added that the longer this goes on, the potential for clashes grows.
"It is pretty predictable that the longer it goes, the more likely you're gonna have bad things happen," he said.