For those of you who were wondering how our micro-scale Occupy Wall Street solidarity march went yesterday in Ypsi, it was a lot of fun. No one was pepper sprayed. No one was arrested. No trouble makers tried to infiltrate our ranks in order to discredit us. And, most importantly, the kids made it the whole 2.4 miles without demanding to be carried. So, while I don’t know if we changed anyone’s opinion on the 99% movement, I’d say it was a resounding success.
The coolest part, at least for me, was that we got to interact with a lot of great people. Not only did three unexpected people join our march (one of them was Linette, but I think that still counts), but we also got honks, waves and thumbs-ups from close to 50 people. (The girls were keeping track.) The wind was pretty terrible, and Clementine got smacked in the face with the corner of her “Fund Schools, Not Tax Breaks” sandwich board right at the beginning, when a huge gust hit us head-on, but she rebounded quickly once I mentioned that we could stop at Cafe Ollie for hot chocolate when we got to Depot Town. There was one douche bag who yelled “Go Home” out of his car window. (I guess he thought we were paid agitators, shipped in from the coast, or something.) Other than him, though, everything was extremely positive. (It would appear that very few 1%ers roll their armored caravans through Ypsilanti.) We just walked along and talked politics and community, waved our signs, and enjoyed the sunshine. I don’t know that it’s something that I’d like to do every weekend, but it made me wonder why we don’t do it more often. It felt good to be outside, talking with strangers. And, I really liked the idea that we just announced it a few hours beforehand, and didn’t try to make it into an enormous thing. We could have tried to make it a huge march, coordinating with the EMU unions, and pushing the word out through every channel possible, but I think this was better. And that was a huge revelation for me. The realization that we could do something at the last minute that was really fun and manageable was incredibly liberating… So, don’t be surprised if you see me out again sometime soon…. Here, in the meantime, is a photo of some of our smaller protesters:
[note: My sign didn't say, "Honk if you think kids revolting against corporatocracy are cute." That was one of dozens of ideas that I didn't use. I ended up going with, "End Corporate Welfare," and "Hey, Corporate America - Paying Taxes is Patriotic." I thought that maybe those messages might resonate with Tea Party folks, who make it a big point of talking about how patriotic they are, and how much they hate welfare... unless, of course, it's for someone in their family. Judging from the honks and waves, I'd say our messages worked pretty well.]