I took some time this afternoon to drive downtown Raleigh and see what there was to see as Raleigh was Occupied.
I have to say upfront, I never expected the same time of scene in Raleigh that I would expect to see in NYC currently. The folks in New York have been at this for nearly a month now and have a permanent camp in the park. Here in Raleigh, the scene is different. From what I understand, the organization has a permit. They have attended informal conversations with like minded lawyers who have advised them on how to interact with people and the police. They have urged their members to commit to non-violence.
This is to their credit.
As I approached the Capital I expected a kind of a festival atmosphere. I expected music, I expected long hairs, I expected young unkept kids. Further, I knew there would be older people there. People with jobs and even nice cars. In fact, I brought my 5-year old son – I knew it would be family safe; as long as he couldn’t read all the signs.
And I was right.
The feeling was festive and relaxed. No tension. No anger. No violence.
I arrived late. I had to coach my son’ YMCA soccer team, and I was there only a short time before the crowd began a march toward the other end of town. We walked down the sidewalk with the folks for some time, then, we crossed the street and walked beside them, but on the other side.
I did this only because my son didn’t like the noise, not because I felt that anything inappropriate was going on. In fact, because I took my hair down, I resembled many of the protesters and fit in nicely.
We left early, we didn’t wanna walk all the way to the other side of Raleigh, AND we had some college football to watch. We walked back to the capital and wandered some before returning home. My take was that the organization was what it said it would be. Peaceful and loosly organized.
I did, however, get the feeling that many of the folks had “been here before”. I had the distinct feeling that marching and protesting was a long ago acquired skill. They had a natural ease about them as they walked around carrying their signs and chanting their chants. I’ve been to a Tea Party and the feeling is the opposite. That those people haven’t done this before.
IN the end, the splinter groups are better organized than the main OWS crowd is. The folks in New York have tipped and have lost what it is they are doing. The folks elsewhere, they have some sense of reason and form. However, there is still a gaping question:
What the hell do you want?
Stinky long haired hippies.
If you didn’t know this was an Occupy Raleigh protest, you would think it ws a Tea Party! That is a lot of white people.
They are racist.
A man in a suit wearing an American flag. Based on me watching, I would say he was in debate with the protester. However, I saw no other counter-protest, so he is likely a member of the 99%.
A gentle soul protesting the fact that the poor and unrepresented join the military in disproportionate numbers. I don’t think she knows that those who serve do so out of a sense of honor. Further, if we take it on a pure economical stand-point, the military is a fantastic opportunity to leave poverty.
I don’t know what this means. As far as I know, the OWS movement has no claims to 9/11.
My favorite scene and the closest I came to interaction. These protesters were snapping pictures and taking video with some of the most advanced technology available to the consumer. iPhones, digital cameras and HD video recorders. They are shocked that they are the story.
I suspect that had the 1% done, or not done, anything, they would be in the same “fucked up” position they find themselves in now. Blaming other people for your condition is a very comforting position. It is, however, rarely true and never helpful.
I almost tried to tell him that had he used his one day off a week to better himself, he would have spent his time more wisely. Alas, college football….
This one sent a shiver to my soul. “Help cure the wealth virus”. These people, these ones right here in this very picture, are among the wealthiest .05% of all people ever to walk the face of the earth. They have stuff, and food, and homes and time. Time to sit in a chair they didn’t make wearing clothes they didn’t spin under a tree they don’t care for. To protest the fact that someone else did this for them.