Occupy Hartford: Protesting Bank of America (Part 2)
By Kerri Provost
October 15, 2011
Taken out of context, the turnout for Friday evening’s protest would have been nothing to frown at. Some rallies have as few as three activists. But there is a context, and that is the larger Occupy Wall Street movement going on right now. People who never talk about politics have these larger issues on their radar. The march that took the same route just over a week ago had several hundred activists show up.
When I asked a few of the participants on Friday why the numbers were so small, I received two different types of responses: burnout and weather.
In recent meetings, the burnout has been palpable. Several activists were quick to tear up when talking about their sacrifices at a meeting on Wednesday night. At Thursday’s meeting, it was clear that several protesters were done. A number of activists I spoke with indicated that those occupying “Turning Point Park” have gotten so caught up in the living on site aspect that other needs have been neglected. Some have compromised their wellness; according to a few marching with Occupy Hartford, aside from a big push as the kickoff march a week ago, not much had been done to promote the protest against Bank of America.
Passion, as it turns out, is not enough.
Then, there was the rain.
Barring serious concerns about one’s health, not showing up for a cause one believes in, because of the weather, is to demonstrate little understanding of visual rhetoric.
During bad weather, traffic slows way down. The captive audience one seeks is formed.
Showing up on a mild, bright day does not declare the same level of dedication as does trudging through puddles while the rain blows sideways and the wind knocks the signs from one’s hands. And that image? Photographers want that.
It shows that one is indeed serious about the cause at hand.
The absence of certain personalities from this march allowed other people to lead in what has been calling itself a leaderless movement. Instead of leaving on “activist time,” protestors began walking toward Bank of America only a few minutes after the planned start time. The group’s energy level drooped temporarily, but regained a sense of optimism when encouraged by honking horns.
Despite being treated as a mass of unemployed college students, activists with Occupy Hartford continue to include those from all age groups, levels of education and employment, and race/ethnicity. But yes, some are very green. Overheard outside of Bank of America: “I just learned about credit unions.”
A community potluck is planned for the Occupy Hartford site at 5:30pm on Sunday, October 16th. They say that nobody will be excluded for failing to bring food, but they do ask that people bring their own plates and utensils.
Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford.
To view other stories on this topic, search RealHartford at http://www.realhartford.org/.