Sunday, October 16, 2011

Walking the Walk: Occupy...Brattleboro, VT?

So October 15, 2011 was the day that all those sympathetic to the Occupy Wall Street cause were called upon to show their solidarity with the movement. The big news on the #OWS web site News page says it all:

From Tahrir Square to Times Square: Protests Erupt in Over 1500 Cities Worldwide
New York, NY -- After triumphing in a standoff with the city over the continued protest of Wall Street at Liberty Square in Manhattan's financial district, the Occupy Wall Street movement has spread world wide today with demonstrations in over 1,500 cities globally and over 100 US cities from coast to coast. In New York, thousands marched in various protests by trade unions, students, environmentalists, and community groups. As occupiers flocked to Washington Square Park, two dozen participants were arrested at a nearby Citibank while attempting to withdraw their accounts from the global banking giant.

The Corner: Where people from Brattleboro and the surrounding region
gathered in solidarity with the #Occupy Wall Street movement.
Great Day for Social Action.
Among those "over 100 US cities from coast to coast" was the wee small hamlet of Brattleboro, Vermont; population: 12,000.

Brattleboro is perhaps best known as an artsy-fartsy town that allows public nudity. But what Brattleboro is known for in its little corner of New England is its engaged, socially active citizenry, and this social consciousness was in fully display on Saturday, October 15, 2011. It also caused a brief national uproar in 2008 when it passed an ordinance requiring the arrest of George Bush and Dick Cheney should they ever step foot in the town. Doesn't matter that the town has no actual legal authority to do so, but that's just Brattleboro (seriously, dudes, just try it).

Best in show: My favorite picture of the "Brattleboro Occupation."
Walking the Walk. Readers of this blog--and family and friends--know that I tend to, ah, run on and on when words are formed and escape my face (or brain) like trapped bank employees escaping a hostage situation. But I don't tend to let my personal life into this blog, because I believe in keeping my "real" life and my "fake, online, rant-life" separate. But I'm making an exception today, because while I obviously can talk to the talk, it was time to put the laptop to sleep and get out and walk to the walk.

With that in mind, yesterday I was a proud participant in Brattleboro's show of allegiance with the #OWS movement. I was even prouder to have my own daughter there with me to show her true philosophical colors for making ours a more just and equitable society. People made signs and chanted "Wall Street...Step off it...Put people over profit" and "We...Are...the 99%!" while cars drove by honking their horns in solidarity, or driving buy ignoring the crowd, or sometimes openly grimacing and shouting predictable epithets. All in all it was a very good time, and there was a palpable sense that "hey, this could be the movement--and true possibility of change--that we've all been waiting for."

Now, one could argue that the town of Brattleboro is one big protest sign, in general. The people here are very well read. They tend to be an older, more mellow group, many of whom manned the signs and confronted police barricades in the 1960s and remember the song (which should be updated, me thinks) by Country Joe and the Fish ("...And it's 1, 2, 3--what are we fightin' for? Don't ask me I don't give a damn, next stop is Af-ghanistan" -- the lyrics are actually very relevant). But I digress. I was a beautiful day to tell the man to go to hell, and I'm looking forward to many more of those.

Here are some more pics of the day:

Your humble blogging servant.

Hey, times are tough...

Most popular sign of the day.

Cute kid, but a bit of a smartass, if you ask me. No idea where she gets it...

Old glory must be really feeling her age these days.

Yep, you've parked in Brattleboro!

Standing together for justice and equality--and hugs!

Misguided: Even Ron Paul's supporters came out.
Shouldn't that sign read Ron Paul 1900?

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