With chants of “We are the 99%” and signage to that effect as well, I was a little thrown off. I thought the purpose of this march was to bring awareness to the death of a young boy. Soon after the march started confusion was all around. Which way were we marching? Who was leading the charge? After we walked a few blocks members of the Occupy section of the march started running down the street knocking down trash cans. I was told later that some attempted to knock down police barricades and police scooters used to guide the marchers. I immediately became uncomfortable because that’s not what I signed up for. I wanted to speak out against injustice—just causing general destruction wasn’t on my agenda. Soon some Occupiers started chanting “F**k the POLICE,” one young white male wearing skinny jeans and a Justin Bieber haircut started yelling “THIS IS WAR, WE WANT WAR!” To which a hoodie-clad young black adult said “Hey, uh we don’t really want war, why don’t you tone that down. I’m about to graduate college in a few months.” The white male kind of laughed and kept moving forward yelling something else.
At various points in the march, as organizers tried to make statements, they were drowned out by Occupiers chanting whatever they saw fit at the time. It didn’t matter if there was a full-on people’s mic happening, they would attempt to push things their way. I asked Daniel Maree, one of the organizers of the #millionhoodies march what he thought of the co-option by Occupy and their actions.”Honestly,” Maree replied “I feel like this is what happens when these emotions build up and they go unchecked and you know, injustice continues, you get it boiling over like this. I’m just happy nobody got hurt.” And while Occupy did help swell the ranks of marchers, I found their actions unacceptable.
Every time I attempt to have a conversation about issues within Occupy, I’m told that there are no leaders, and that some people do crazy things, but “that’s not OCCUPY.” I grow weary of actions without consequences and disrespect without anyone being held responsible. Just because a movement did some good doesn’t mean that it’s infallible. Occupy chapters have serious issues and there have been serious discussions about its relations with women and people of color. With incidents like what occurred on Wednesday, I see a clear reason why people of color don’t flock to the movement.
We don’t have enough privilege to carry us through it.”