By Lisa Grab
|Over 100,000 were in attendance|
As many of you know, yesterday was an important and historic day for workers and immigrants all over the world.
I went into the city to represent SDS with Jordan Fullam, Tobias Fox, Jon Husarik, and Greg. Also representing SDS in various parts of the city were Esha Kallianpur, Thea Stelzle, Bob Whitney, and Justin Wooten; and SDS allies Christian McFarland and Cabo Granato.
We began our day by attending the Free University and listing to speakers about student debt and horizontal education. From there were travelled to Bryant Park and prepared for the march to Union Square. By the time of the march, the weather cleared up. We started on the sidewalks like always, but early on we took the streets. The cops tried to stop us at first, but we kept going around us. There clearly weren’t enough of them there--many were probably trying to “control” the other actions across the city--so we won the streets and stopped traffic all the way to Union Square. As usual, SDS-ers were at the front of the march.
Jordan and I missed the Union Square demonstration and most of the march. But I was able to catch up with the front of the march to Battery Park down broadway. People on bikes and taxi’s were protesting were in front, followed by us and the rest of the march. There was tension when we reached the Wall St. intersection. One person was arrested for sitting down at the intersection. It seemed like most of the crowd was deterred from breaking through the police barrier because they had a line of horses guarding the “sacred “street.
At the end of the march, some guy from Occupy announced that there will be an unplanned march to the “People’s Assembly” at an unknown location. So of course, we followed him. About a crowd of 100 came as the first wave of people. We began the GA talking about if anyone heard news from across the world--not something I felt like doing considering how we just conquered the streets and 1000’s more were coming, ready for direct action. And of course, no one really said anything productive and used the opportunity to make their own personal announcements. After a while I left and saw that there were at least 1000 people just waiting around. Clearly someone marched them here and they didn’t know what to do now. It would have been a perfect opportunity to take Wall St. or try to reoccupy, but the GA was too focused on something other than planning direct action. And then the crowds began to fizzle and I left disappointed.
Overall the day went good. It seems like the occupiers are getting more radical with their tactics. There are more anti-police chants (ie: “NYPD, KKK - How many kids did you kill today”) and less “the police are the 99% too.” The police are not the 99%. They are Bloomburg and the 1%’s private bought off army! Also, the marches take the streets far more often then they did last fall. Action will only escalate from here.
All throughout the day, I was wishing that SDS as an organization could be more prepared for marches like this. Instead of just showing up for solidarity like we have been doing for these marches, we should show up ready to flaunt our name, network with other groups, hand out literature, start our own chants, and--most importantly--try to radicalize the action.
With just 5 people, we can encourage others to take the streets, lead our own marches or organize direct action when there is a crowd hanging around like there was last night. People are willing to do all of the above, they just need several to take initiative and lead them.
|After we conquered the streets while marching from Bryant Park to Union Square|
|"Hipster Cop" came out for the festivities.|