05
Feb
17

A Revolution Without People

indy-protest

What does a revolution without people look like? That sounds almost like a Zen proverb, but this is what I witnessed Saturday in downtown Sleepytown. Two planned back to back protests were scheduled for the weekend at the state capitol grounds in Indianapolis, Indiana, so me and mi hermano decided to give it some objective coverage. It can be hard staying disconnected from the event when you attend so many of these events, . Sometimes I will be persuaded toward sympathy for ‘the cause’ (fill in the blank cause; depends on the protest) but at other times I’ll be drawn to mock the event for it’s lack of effect. It becomes more like an unfunny Monty Python sketch or something. That’s how Saturday’s protests went down.

In other parts of America, and the world, demonstrations were being held against the growing effect of President Donald Trump on everyone (and everything). Indy put out a quick call of action for a rally on Saturday to protest Trump, and to show unity in the fight against egregious things happening with the Dakota Pipeline (DAPL). I feel like it might be stirring up again, the temper of people, the ‘what-are-we-gonna-do-about-this?’ moment. I tell myself this could be different than the failed ‘Occupy’ protests I followed in Denver, Colorado starting back in 2011. Will a new breed of political zombies pop up to invade our neighborhoods, and if so, will they be effective?

The 2011 ‘Occupy’ Movement fell apart due to it’s lack of organization and focus. I will always remember the message scrawled on the sidewalk off Broadway and Colfax I saw down there during the Occupy Denver period. It read PROTEST SHIT. That, to me, defined the sheer stupidity in that crowd’s approach to a revolution. Protest shit? Really? Shit is too general a term; they needed a specific focal point everyone could get behind to push and break. Yet they could not settle on one cause. Diversity group’s of every imagined branch stood up with signs for their cause, and they were drowned out by a sea of other diverse groups…swallowed up in a stream of grievances.

The Saturday protest in Indy was scheduled for 3pm and we arrived on time with pens, scraps of paper to write on, cameras, batteries, drugs….we were ready to venture out into the February chill to observe and document this bitch. Sometimes protests take a while to build a decent crowd size, but after almost one hour I had the quick head count there at best to be 60 people. This one girl had a sign that read DON’T FEED THE BLACK SNAKE. My mind immediately went to thoughts of porno; luckily, mi hermano asked her about it to get the skinny behind who or what the Black Snake was. He’s great at approaching these people directly for information, asking all those questions you would like to ask people but usually don’t…and for those people who don’t ask questions, the Black Snake refers to the oil pipeline system running through the country. It looked like there were perhaps as many as eleven Antifa posers, kids smacked out in black attire but not associated with the real group that’s been smashing windows and wreaking havoc at other recent protests. There were people there to represent Native Americans, the Latino community, LGBT (growing to become the LGBTQIA), underprivileged of all sorts and sizes with at least one person to represent, yet it was failing. During that first long hour, they were prodding the small audience for anyone to walk up for ‘open mic’ and to come up and speak their grievance. You can imagine how quick that turned into a bitch session, therapy on the street at it’s cheapest and most unregulated. I think eventually all those points fell in on folks because they could sense the lack of real unity and charged spirits from those attending. No one felt the kineticĀ  energy you feel in a huge angry mob.

After a while I found out the first protest, the one I had thought was to protest Trump directly, was organized by the Indiana Socialist Party. It hit me; they were making it a fucking recruitment drive, not a protest against Trump. The second protest, the one headed up by the Indiana chapter of A.I.M. (American Indian Movement) drifted away after about twenty minutes of the crowd listen to a couple of speakers they could barely hear on a bullhorn. Both of Saturday’s protests could now be recorded as failures.

Well, sometimes these events give you gold, sometimes they are a washout with nothing but tiny fragments in the silt. This was the latter. We did shoot some great artistic photos and it is what it is for me; an observation of a revolt, not a participation. That’s why the Church is here, witnessing and reporting. I do believe there will be more protests in the future-in fact, a schedule is already developing for other events in the months ahead. Will those add toward a focus of stopping the Trump madness or will this new revolution fall apart from diverse interest? Will this end up like the 2011 Occupy Movement; failed, having us witness a decaying stop to the new breed of political zombies?

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