Saturday, November 5, 2011
OBham National Bank Transfer Day by Walter Simon
Tommy picked me up near my apartment and we were among the first to arrive, no one was especially early, but folks started to amass steadily and by 11 their was quite an accumulation of people. There was a full supply of protest material, signs and public messages, especially the central one, "We! Are! The ninety-nine-per-cent! Banks got Bailed Out, WE Got SOLD Out!" The crowd came to life, people were looking and listening to each other, felt the truth, and the 70 of our ranks solidified and I could see, feel and hear the wave of emotion sweeping the gathered numbers into the togetherness of solidarity as they strode out towards Wells Fargo Bank. The marchers' chants rang out together in solid rhythm and harmony, as suddenly it seemed to me the emotion, the righteous indignation, the moment, the economy, life itself, had compelled us to react to the undeniable fact that something is wrong with us, and we need to be agents of its correction, not mindless idolaters of personalized corporate corruption. The chorus reached an angry pitch when I finally set foot directly in front of the bank windows, and a loud voice rose up inside of me, and I'm certain many of my new companions would agree, a fearless call had been heard by all who stood there like Chris Nelson, brave and tall, and heroic poetry seemed, to me at least, had already been living in the air all along,
Other notable moments occurred during the (roughly25 minute?) protest in front of Wells Fargo:
* Despite having a megaphone on hand (not sure about the law here), amplification was unneeded as evidenced by several rounds of "Human microphone", where words are heard and repeated by the gathering. The mic checks expressed authentic speeches by individual members, not the words of any authority but the consensus. One particular human microphone, Allyn, included in his address to his fellow resistors the thankful appreciation and sympathetic brotherhood and common cause between the protesters and the Jefferson County/Birmingham Police department, whose pensions, healthcare, and livelihood threatened, they suffer as we are made to, and surely are feeling as we are, so too they are the 99%. Relations with Wells Fargo security and the police was quite easy-going, and I'm not sure if there were any Birmingham Police at all, come to think of it. Our organization had met with the City Attorney and everything seems to be open, accepted, and thankfully genuinely friendly, understanding and even transparent by all parties, Occupy Birmingham, the police, and the city government.
*Here is a flyer I did the art for with a list of Alternatives to the corporate banking system that let us down:
Oh yeah, and I stood there and watched someone from this group from the Libertarian Party claim to have "made" a flyer that actually I had designed with Tommy Bryant. Not sure of the meaning of the word, "made" here, but it was most likely an honest mistake, perhaps. I know what I heard, and she looked me directly in the eyes during the time she was explaining the meaning of "her" flyer. Perhaps she came up with the text material, I'm not sure where Tommy got the information, actually, so we will hopefully get more centralized and/or organized. If this sounds like petty gossip, then ignore it. I just like keeping it real, if possible, but I could be wrong about the pettiness of this. Partisan politics, if in the open, honest, transparent, and in mutual interest, can be a great benefit to us all, and we have so much in common, let us keep our eyes on the prize and enjoy the camaraderie. Peace.