Friday night we once again took to the streets, and once again surpassed the initial goal of the march.
150-200 people left Occupied Kiener Plaza, and marched down to the Justice Center (downtown jail). We intended to hold a noise demo in solidarity with striking prisoners in California. Banners included “SOLIDARITY WITH PELICAN BAY AND THOSE WHO REFUSE TO SUBMIT”, the local Cardinals’ logo detourned to say “CLASS WAR” and “(A) WAR ON PRISON SOCIETY (A)”. As the march approached the jail it began chanting “Our passion for freedom is stronger than their prisons!” We would have liked to stay longer and would have liked to read the strike’s demands, but concern about the police boxing us in forced the march to stay mobile.
Video from a local cabbie:
The march next went down to the stadium and happened upon a section of it that is exposed to the street. V leaflets were thrown over the fence and the banners were held up for the crowd to see. The march looped back towards the plaza and then on to Wash Ave. So far about a dozen bike cops had been trailing and flanking the march, but as we approached the populated stretch of Wash Ave a wall of red and blue lights greeted us. The march was smart enough not to clash head-on, and turned a block before hand. We considered going around the blockade, but decided to head back to the plaza – police in pursuit.
Back at the plaza things were tense. It was unsure whether or not police would use the march an excuse to raid the occupation. After a bit the police decide to leave, but not before delivering the explicit threat: “if the marches continue the occupation won’t.”
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE FRIDAYS: how strong is our collective power?
Last Friday the police were totally unprepared and couldn’t affect the march at all. This made things less tense, and the overall feel was excitement and inspiration. This week the increased police presence at times made the march itself tense as well as the overall occupation, since the march might have provoke the wraith of the police, though it also might have forced them to a place of less power.
Do our actions force the hand of the police, or do they bind them?
Initially, police came to the occupation and said it couldn’t happen 24 hours a day. But because of our refusal to back down, the SLPD has been forced to a different position of: you can stay 24 hours a day but at night stay near the edges of the plaza. Now they’re saying they won’t tolerate certain kinds of marches, but it’s forced them to accept other kinds of marches as well as the 24 hour occupation of the whole plaza. Do we call their bluff and keep marching? Do we tweek the marches? If they say we can’t march downtown, then perhaps they’ve created a whole new monster: marches that start and end in all different places around town – even more of a geographical expansion.
The response to police threats shouldn’t be internal policing (ie doing the cops job for them), but internal dialogue and creative responses (more content, not less) which for the most part has been happening.
So far the marches are some of the most popular and most engaging events of the occupation, let’s not stop them.
Photos from afternoon and evening marches.