I never could quite make it out before, but that reverberating roar from the crowd is the chant "Ah! Anti! Anti-Capitalista!" - but then, I still come across written lyrics from rock'n'roll songs I thought I had memorized fom the 1960's and I'll think: "OH! Is THAT what they were saying?" This U-stream from an Android phone might sieze up now and then, but it gives a gritty sense of what it's like to be in the midst of a vibrant, exhilarating , raucous protest.
Video streaming by UstreamIt made for a very strange vantage, to be lying down on concrete in the city, staring straight up at a blue sky with only the top of the Stock Exchange roofline visible above the ragged edge of my sign.
Also peculiar was to have photographers literally climbing all over us to get pictures from above...and then after they were shooed away, to be surrounded by a sea of police.
Every member of the entire force we encountered was extremely courteous, which I appreciated, but doesn't quite make up for the fact that we were detained for nothing other than peacefully exercising our Constitutional rights. Losing circulation from handcuffs became old pretty fast, and spending six hours behind bars was a bit much - although we were all together, so we made the most of it with story-telling, singing, and laughter. When we were finally released later that night, a surprisingly large loyal group of occupiers had waited all those hours outside in the cold and dark to greet each of us as we were released, with cheers, hugs, vegetarian dumplings, and whiskey if so desired. I had to skip all that to get across town and catch the last train home.
There are many other events happening around New York and the country as an exciting prelude to the May Day strike. Every single officer we spoke to asked us about it. I got the definite impression that the city and the banks are taking this very seriously and are anxious, perhaps not about anything wild happening on that exact day..but my guess is that they fear a large and enthusiastic turnout will signal that OWS is strong, thriving, and has no plans of going away until this "Capitalista" system is fundamentally altered to give equal justice to the 99%. And I wager their worst misgivings are accurate. Naturally I will be taking part in the environmental side of the activities. Following is a release for the Environmental Color Block, from the sustainability working group plans for the event. I haven't decided yet whether to wear green, for Reclaim the Earth - or the white, for Consciousness Shift. We are sorely in need of both.
Eco Block Trailer from Where are all the bees? on Vimeo.