Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I Occupied the Super Bowl!

As you know, I went plumb to the Occupy the Super Bowl gathering in Indianapolis on Sunday. If you think the smashingly successful Occupy Cincinnati marches have been big, the events of the past week in Indy dwarfed even most of those great rallies, and it just goes to show that the Occupy movement is grander than ever. A presidential candidate even came to see us!

And Wall Street is running scared.

My primary reason for participating on Sunday was to protest against Indiana's unconstitutional "right-to-work" law. Union officials joined us in this endeavor.

Our coalition started the day by rallying on the sprawling lawn of the Indiana Statehouse (the state capitol building). This of course is the same location as our 2009 protest against the far-right Pathway Family Center cult. On Sunday morning, we got countless kind words from passersby and amassed several hundred participants. Occupy the Super Bowl events over the previous week had drawn thousands, but Sunday's rally was also quite an amazing sight!

The rally at the capitol featured speeches by many folks, including union leaders and Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein. Then we marched!

Our march took us near the stadium and through a crowd of thousands. Not everybody was in town to go to the Super Bowl itself, because that's a strictly high-priced affair, you see. But we were there to be seen by the 99% as well as the 1%.

While we got the usual cheers from the 99%, the 1% was less appreciative of our message against the "right-to-work" law. It boiled over when some asshole who was taunting us took a swing at my head. When he threw a punch at me, I decked him right in the jaw. Then one of his pals approached me and said, "You're surrounded."

I pulled out my cell phone to call the law, but the original assailant then tried breaking the phone. When that failed, he grabbed my phone and started walking off with it. He also utterly ruinated an anti-Mitch Daniels sign I was carrying. A staffer for the Super Bowl festivities stepped in and made him return my phone, and then he ordered the attacker to vamoose.

I'm all for nonviolence, but that does not mean allowing oneself to be punched in the face without fighting back. My definition of nonviolence is different from that of the "ignore bullies and they'll go away" crowd - which was long ago discredited. Anybody who thinks I was in the wrong needs to take a lesson from the Kenny Rogers song "Coward Of The County."

Speaking of cowards, we also saw the far-right Westboro cult from Topeka with their usual display of hatred and extremism. It seemed like they were in town to protest against us more than to protest against the Super Bowl. One of their signs featured an Occupy mask being targeted behind crosshairs.

Our march was a success, although (as is typical) it got absolutely zero media coverage.

Most of us went home after that, feeling satisfied that we accomplished what we could for the time being. But I later discovered that about 12 folks stayed behind and marched again after it got dark. This march experienced at least 2 bogus arrests, and police were caught on video brutalizing a marcher. Cops claimed at least one of the arrests was for public intoxication - but that's a lie, for I did not see any alcohol whatsoever being consumed by participants in our events. Plus, an undercover policewoman called a marcher a "whore."

The Occupy coalition will have more to come to fight "right-to-work" laws. A general strike appears imminent.

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