Friday, January 22, 2010

One Big PARTEEEE at Bloomberg's

I was at a planning meeting for yesteday's rally/protest/picket at Bloomberg's abode. (He was downtown at a Jets rally so the poor guy missed all the real fun.)

We were talking about the time frame and someone said, "Two hours ought to be enough. Less if the media is gone. People start drifting when the media leaves."

"What about the catharsis," a prominent activist said. "Two hours is not enough."

I was thinking: "Two years is not enough."

Well, yesterday's rally of around 350 people was one fun and cathartic event. No one seemed to notice whether there was or wasn't media. As a matter of fact, many viewed me, with my fancy Wave press pass and my video camera with the light on top, as "the media."

One aspect that made people feel really great was that almost all the players/activists/resisters came out. It is not easy to get this crew in one place, so people who have been educating and organizing and mobilizing felt great. And there were lots of grassroots/rank and file teachers and parents from the schools. And kids too. One recently activated student activist who played a role in getting this together said, "Wow. I can't believe this." He and many of the other students may have learned one of the biggest lessons in their schooling careers.

No matter what the media coverage, it made everyone there feel great about what they are doing and will hopefully spur them to greater action.

This is only the beginning.

Oh, and the UFT/Unity/New Action slugs were nowhere to be seen.

I put up some photos people sent on the GEM blog and a comment from Angel.

Got to go now, but I am processing some of the video and will have something up by tomorrow.

Meanwhile, check out this report from Steven Thrasher at the Voice:

Here's a blog post I wrote about yesterday's protest. I shot video of the NYPD snapping away from the rooftop next to the mayor's house. Check it out and feel free to add comments, especially if you were there and want to add to the conversation:

I interviewed some of you but didn't use it here. I am working on a much longer piece about schools, so keep me informed of what you are up to. Yesterday, I just wanted to show how the NYPD was dealing with the"mayor's sidewalk."



Steven W. Thrasher
Staff Writer
The Village Voice


JW said...

God, I'm so naive. I was worried about the marshals having to give our names to the police and actually forgot to look up at the rooftop surveillance.

I must say I don't like the Village Voice calling the barricades in the staging area a "holding pen". No one was keeping us penned up, and in fact, when the cops first set up the barricades on the north, south and east sides of the area, I told the officer in charge that I don't much like the four-sided enclosure (the park's stone wall being the 4th side). After all, I said, we're not doing anything wrong. He agreed, said he knew that, then quickly and congenially had two sides taken away, leaving them in place only along the sidewalk so pedestrians could walk freely (and people wouldn't fall into traffic).

But, as I say. I'm naive: I didn't look up.

Martin H. said...

Hey, Steve,

I was there with 2 colleages from my school (John Dewey High School, Brooklyn); we got there around 4:30 and were ushered over to Central park. We marched there and chanted slogans, and were told that the police would not allow more than the 100 souls who were already in front of the Mayor's digs. But as we walked by, we saw- and heard- a significant sized crowd- who sounded strong and militant! We felt a bit ripped off having been unintentionally sidelined, but we did our best to make our own noise. the beauty of both factions was that it showed rank and file dissatisfaction with our union's leadership- they would not "step up", showing their true "colors"

Anonymous said...

What about the photographer that is snapping away at the speakers at the schools closing hearings? He took more than the usual number of photos per subject; he stood next to and fraternized with DOE staff for the event. This photographer (wearing no press tag) pointed the camera towards the crowd. Given that there is very little press coverage at these hearings, and that it is rare when the press run photographs, I am suspicious: is this someone that is working for the DOE? I saw the same individual, overzealously shooting photos of speakers and audience members last night at the Brooklyn PEP meeting. Given that the police were doing surveillance work against protesters at Bloomberg's residence, I am suspicious for added reasons that the city is building a dossier of protesters. Can we say chilling effect?

ed notes online said...

Could be Jeff NY Teacher fotog.