This is a disorganized photo essay with my photos and random ruminations from Occupy Congress last week.
I went into Occupy Congress wondering if the movement still has momentum. Is Occupy simply part of a short-lived newscycle? Is it in hibernation for the winter?
Walking up to the Capital, I was surprised by the small-ish size of the crowd. One police officer told a protester, “you know, the Tea Party fills this place up and then some.”
Of course, the WikiLeaks truck those at Zuccotti Park are all familiar with was parked out front.
Is the social and cultural capitol gained by the Occupy movement being put to good use?
When I arrived, the protesters were primarily facing the Capitol building. However, the focus of attention quickly became fixated on the police.
While cities across the country have used the police to clear occupation encampments, DC has been more relaxed, allowing Occupy DC to remain. Police in DC have been less violent and less likely to arrest protesters. However, this did not stop many protesters at Occupy Congress from berating police officers. The anger over police-brutality in general is still strong.
Protesters running across the police line. Arrests were made.
To be clear, many involved with Occupy Congress did not fixate on the police and kept attention on what the rally was about (issues with congress, including, but not limited to, corporate influence in Washington). However, the distraction of “us versus the police” that was evident at Occupy Congress is a microcosm of this issue for the Occupy movement on the whole; something Todd Gitlin warned against.
Should Occupy ever spend its social and cultural capitol by focusing a specific issue/demand?
Protesters rushed other congress offices. Most of these shots are at the Rayburn building.
Protesters then gathered to march through the streets.
Others were live streaming as well…
Ray Lewis, the Philladelphia police Captain who was arrested…
In the end, what I was most struck by was the size of the anarchist crowd at Occupy Congress. The major banner that was central to the street march declared “no congress” and “no state.” While there were many at Occupy Congress organizing and strategizing reform actions for the movement, the largest contingent were anarchists more concerned with eliminating ‘the system’ altogether. This split-between those who want to reform ‘the system’ versus those who want to overthrow it has been an important divide within Occupy from the outset. Last week, for the first time, I got the feeling that the power has tilted within Occupy towards the anarchist sect.