Occupy DC Kicks Off #99Spring with Silly March, Serious Action
On Sunday, the 1 percent took the streets of Washington, DC.
Confusing and amusing the tourists in town for the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, members of Occupy DC donned suit jackets and carried champagne glasses to pose as upper-class power brokers for an April Fool’s Day march, which also marked the six-month anniversary of the McPherson Square occupation.
About 60 protesters turned popular slogans on their heads, like: “Ho ho, hey hey, corporate greed is here to stay! One, two, three, four, we won the class war! The rich, united, will never be indicted!”
The “1 percenters,” who passed out leaflets to curious onlookers as they went, also stopped to “toast” institutions such as Wells Fargo, Brookfield Properties, and the White House, cheekily thanking each for doing its part to help the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
“I would like to thank the Chamber of Commerce for keeping organized labor down!” one occupier said, as a toast outside that building. “Without your help, workers would get the wages they earn. Thanks to your help, our pockets are padded with the sweat of the 99 percent.”
A group of “Black Bloc” anarchist protesters, dressed in black and wearing scarves, joined the rally midway through. They muddled the April Fool’s message somewhat with their very serious slogans, and a Black Bloc protester identified as James Hill was arrested for writing graffiti in sidewalk chalk on the side of a building.
Overall, the march was designed to draw people in with humor and to remind the city that Occupy DC is still here—ready for a busy spring of serious activism.
One of the most serious, and promising, results of the movement thus far has been Occupy Our Homes, which has helped stop foreclosures across the country through direct protest actions.
Butler was facing eviction from a property she had rented since 2006. She had tried to buy it, but she received no response for over a year and a judge refused to hear her case.
But on her eviction deadline day, Occupy DC protesters demonstrated for hours under a giant “Eviction-Free Zone” banner with song, dance, and chants. Activist Jeff Rae tweeted that a bank agent showed up “looking like he doesn’t want to deal with this right now.”
Not long after, the movers left and protesters celebrated the news that a judge had offered Butler a stay, pending a hearing on April 19.
Spring has sprung for Occupy, and these are likely among the first of many actions that could change minds or change outcomes as part of the movement.
Emily Crockett is a reporter with Campus Progress. Follow her on Twitter @emilycrockett.
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