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Posts Tagged ‘march’

Occupying Wall Street In Boone: Act 2

November 8, 2011 Leave a comment

The Facebook event says some 200 people are going to be there to Occupy Boone. I arrive and maybe 50 are there, with another 30-50 arriving by the time we actually start marching. The weather, to put it lightly, is miserable. 35 degrees, and rainy. It’s also a Friday, which means that everybody has the compelling urge to be at home, doing something indoorsy. But hey, those that are there are true believers in the cause. This isn’t a drive-by protest. No, everybody there is mad about something, and ready to make their grievances known.

As people get their signs together, and as reporters take pictures, a member of the campus police comes by to tells us not only that he supports the cause, but to call him if we run into trouble with the local police.

I'm on the left, in the very back, without a mask. I'm the one distracted by a Squirrel on my left.

Ah... But I Like Uncle Pennybags

The organizer of the event is a Veteran, female, fairly young, with a sign reading, “Now I know what I’m fighting for! Occupy!” Maybe 50% of the participants, are actual college students. Most of them seem just like members of the community, old, young, middle age. Some even bring their kids.

We then gather in a group as a few people volunteer to speak. A couple say they’ve been to the Occupy movement in DC, and were so inspired that they wanted to help with the cause here. One person gives a few guidelines of protesting so we don’t get arrested. You know, stay on the public sidewalks and stuff. Also, do only what we have¬† permit to do. That’s right, the organizers of the group got a permit just to make sure we wouldn’t be pepper sprayed. Granted, that’d make us martyrs, but it’d also be extremely unpleasant in the meantime. Also, it gives more bad press.

Then a few people get up to give purpose and a goal to a group that clearly is seen by many to have none. “Did you hear that one guy? He was a total Marxist.” a man says later to a friend about one of the speakers. In all, 3 speeches are given by people wanting to give the group a goal and purpose. It goes on for maybe 10 minutes, but it feels like 20 minutes in the freezing mountain weather. I zone out as I hold my mask on my side.

This is my Bulge.

Another reason people might not have been speaking to me was the fact that I had a plush Angry Bird under my leather jacket. I was bringing it for the party later and until then didn’t want to hold the plush bird as I held the sign, or for him to get wet. As a result, I looked kind of strange with an indeterminable bulge under my jacket that might have signaled that I was pregnant,¬† if I was in fact a woman, or if the bulge weren’t so weirdly shaped. As a result, people would try to reach their cameras up to my tall self so they could take pictures of me as high as they could. Otherwise, it just looked weird if they captured the along my torso area.

Eventually, we were ready to march. But first, we had to find a good marching saying. One person, probably the Marxist, said that we should say something that involved the word, “F**k.”

“Eh…” “No.” “How about something else.” came the rest of the group. Eventually, somebody started the basic, “We. Are. The 99%!” Good enough. It was time to march.

Spot the Bird

We march across and through the relatively empty college campus. It wasn’t empty because of the rain or cold, it was just Friday. So we took to the streets. As soon as we got near the streets, the mood immediately changed. We were marching for Democracy and our various causes. We held our signs in ways best seen by the drivers passing by.

Some drivers would honk in approval, others would stare at the crazy people walking in the cold sprinkle. The honks were most pleasing, as we took every bit of support we could get. They honked prolongly, that means they like us, WHOO! Some would yell their support as they drove by. They were busy going about their day, but they were with us, in spirit.

When we came to an intersection, we stopped for a few minutes to let people know of our grievances at the cross roads. Stopping at intersections is optimal for two reasons:

  1. Since people are stopped by red lights, they have almost no choice but to look at you.
  2. Since an intersection is basically two roads crossing, it’s like getting two for the price of one in avenues of potential people that needed to hear our good news.

Spot The Bird

We then walked to the downtown area of Boone, an especially congested part of town where you’re always sure to find some tourist gazing our our old-timey stores and restaurants. Heck, President Obama had just bought candy on the same street some 10 days beforehand. Not only were we reaching tourists and locals looking to get drunk on a dreary Friday, but we were also passing any number of small-businesses.

After walking through downtown, we came to a particularly construction-raddled intersection, which didn’t make for optimal protesting. So as we tried to dodge the construction, this gave people to think of other protest sayings. As we walked through downtown, the predominant saying was, “Show me what Democracy looks like. This is what Democracy looks like!” We tried to come up with better ones, but we had to stay simple, lest the harmony of the chants was lost as we, the crowd, forgot what the long chants were right after they were told to us.

Now’s probably a good time to talk about the extremist role in all of this. Not because were were attacked, but because it’s just a nice break in the protesting timeline. There are basically three kinds of protesters in the movement:

  1. Those that believe in the movement, but go too far. See Cornel West, probably. These are the minority.
  2. Those that don’t believe in the movement, and just use it to go too far. See Oakland. These are absolute fringe.
  3. Those that believe in the movement, and protest reasonably. These are the majority.

At one point while walking to our ultimate destination of protest, some of our people literally took to the street. Granted, it was a 4-lane street, but it’s still annoying to local drivers, giving the Occupy movement a bad image in their minds. Also, the police don’t like you walking in the street and clogging traffic. The people in the street saw themselves as doing right since they were “taking Democracy to the streets,” but the rest of us on the sidewalk knew it was a bad idea, and expressed our displeasure with “Nahs,” “Uhs,” and “Maybe We Shouldn’t Do Thats.” A minute later, everybody got back on the sidewalk.

Like the Marxist before, the rest of the group let them know of their displeasure because of the image it’d give our cause. With a movement like this, I think these voices need to be louder in chiding our fellow extremists. When we do anything for a cause, we need to approach it like a PR person. How can we portray ourselves in a positive light? How can I not give a negative image with my actions? Point is, the movement needs to do everything within the law, and chide those that do otherwise. There is a fine line you can walk, but I think it’d be better at this point, while getting everybody on your side, that the movement does condemn those who go too far, or even close to too far.

But getting back to the march. We walk down the street, yelling in approval everytime we heard a honk, to route to our ultimate destination, the local Wells Fargo bank.

Spot the Bird