The Revolution Will Not Be Televised

Oct 31st, 2011 | By | Category: News
Occupy Greensboro

Occupy Greensboro

“We got sold out, they got bailed out!” exclaimed somewhere between 600 and 1000 protesters outside of Bank of America’s downtown Greensboro location on Saturday, October 15. These protesters were called to action by Occupy Greensboro, an organization set up in response and solidarity to Occupy Wall Street.

The march began shortly after 3 pm at Government Plaza, a veritable maze of concrete buildings that inhabit downtown. I managed to stumble there, still hungover and dazed from the previous night’s extra-curricular events. I wasn’t exactly sure where it was but knew I was on the right track when I started to hear thunderous drumming echoing blocks away. Wherever there is a protest you can expect with all certainity that drum-toting hippies will be in attendance.

When I finally arrived I saw a hundred or so protesters, many of them waving signs with slogans such as “Health Care Not Warfare”, “For Sale: US Congress”, and “Compassion Not Greed”. Many protesters wore a cloth band around their arm that read “We are the 99%”. There were also a few people donning the obligatory Guy Fawkes mask made popular by the outstanding comic and inferior film V for Vendetta and as well as the internet group Anonymous. The illustrious Greensboro Police Department maintained a constant vigil of the proceedings. There were also several students furiously typing away on their phones, tweeting and facebooking the march as fast as they could move their thumbs.

What struck me most was the diversity of the group. I fully expected to see mostly college-aged hipsters still trying to ween themselves off their parents credit card while pretending to care about the oppressed minorities but was instead greeted by dozens of people from every ethnicity, age, economic status, and sexual orientation. I felt a twinge of shame by writing off the march before even witnessing it.

The march began walking down Greene Street and I managed to slither my way into the front of the group. A short, stout young lady lead the group and marched backwards with drum in hand and whistle in mouth. The drummers banged in rhythm as we walked past Carolina Theater and dazed onlookers. The march made a pit stop outside the famous Woolworths memorial to pay respects to the sit-in that occurred decades ago and helped ignite the civil rights movement. Civilians armed with cameras and smart phones as well as police officers circled around the protesters during the entire march. I caught glimpses of a CSI and Police Logistics van making rounds as well.

As we approached Bank of America I turned around and saw the march snaking out at least five blocks. I honestly thought that maybe a dozen or two would show and was taken aback by the sheer numbers Occupy Greensboro was able to inspire to show up. And to think, I honestly considered missing this to nurse my hangover and play round after round of Call of Duty.

We ended up at Festival Park around 3:40. A series of speakers, including the head of the Greensboro YWCA took the stage and spoke via megaphone to the audience about topics ranging from gender and racial inequality, to Arab Spring, and economic disenfranchisement. Hundreds of people walked around the park and attended the numerous booths set up such as The People’s Library and the International Socialist Party.

After a while we broke into groups, such as Arts, Alliance Building, Media, Research Security, and First Aid in to work on different ways to make the movement sustainable, as well as to reach to as many members of the community as possible. I joined the Media group in hopes of representing the Occupy Greensboro movement to the press by interviewing my fellow protesters. Several people decided to stay and camp out in the parking lot and on the grounds. I abhor the outdoors and camping of any all varieties so I opted to walk back to my cozy apartment.

My friend Ryan and I came back to the occupation on Sunday after eating a delicious breakfast at Smith Street Diner. With our bellies full we descended upon Festival Park at 12:15 to find the occupation a shadow of it’s former self. There were at most a couple dozen people and a handful of tents. Most of the people manning the booths were obviously sleep deprived and drained. I was the only member of the Media group to actually show up and took the opportunity to interview as many people as I could. Some of the interviews were heart breaking: an elderly gentleman in a wheelchair spoke of the need for universal health care and how his fiance died needlessly from medical complications because they could not afford to go to the hospital. Another lady told a similar story about her twin who died just months ago. Unfortunately, all these interviews were lost. Someone stole the video cameras and the hours of footage I shot is now gone forever.

I returned once again to Festival Park on Monday during my lunch break and found even fewer people still there. The few remaining were exhausted from the previous two days and many were mumbling about how everything was falling apart, how they were slowly sinking into disorganization. They plan on staying in Festival Park indefinitely but, at this rate, we’ll see if they can regain the momentum they had that Saturday afternoon.

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One Comment to “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”

  1. matty sheets says:

    Although camp has disbanded for the time being, we'll still be holding General Assembly Meetings three times a week at Glenwood Coffee and Books, as well as working on viable plans and actions to help equalize our community and help those in need. Super powers will soon follow, I expect.

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