Singing For The Dark Times

In the dark times, will we be singing?
Yes, we’ll be singing for the dark times!
Every new day’s dawn brings a song of its own,
Waiting to be sung, waiting for the sun!

I tried to explore today. I had to, for the group (trying out a new recruit with a car), for me (clearing out my head after last night), for Laura even (to keep me away from those “interminably stupid and self serving Occutards” before I’m lost altogether). It wasn’t really the best of days for it, pouring rain and barely making it to 40 degrees, but someone to go underground with, and a driver no less, there was no passing it up! The result was probably pretty obvious: I took just about the worst pictures I’ve ever shot. Not one even worth keeping. My mind was in Washington Square, no question about it. It didn’t help that I found Shane rather abrasive, he seemed to be after nothing but my information, a suspicion which was proven correct shortly after, when he shook me for every fact I knew about the drain system, and made it seem very doubtful I’d ever explore with him again. I have no qualms about saying this right out in the open: he is not a nice person, and proud of the fact. Yet I think we both understand, the facts being what they are, his power over my group as the one who can take us places, so I suspect this won’t be the last of him.

So we resume with my coverage of another night of Occupy Rochester…

It didn’t look good even on my bike ride up to the park. Police were everywhere, converging on the south wedge and U of R campus. I circled around a bit, then found the mother load, all lying in wait for what they must have hoped would be a riot.

10.06: eleven police vehicles including 2 vans and an LRAD gathered at 100 block Mt. hope. Presumably about to head up to your area.

Arriving at Occupy, the scene was much the same as last night: a crowd assembling waiting for the drama of getting kicked out, and/or the political coup of being able to stay. The optimism toward staying may have been a bit more muted though – only one or two tents were set up, and a few tarps in case it rained during the protest, probably, not for camping. Being the night before Halloween, some chose to be festive about it, showing up in 99%-themed costumes!

Our neighbors, however, were quite less tolerant of our street theater.
10:52 Geva has relayed the message that they have a conservative clientele and do not support occupiers using their facilities. We should respect them, they are a community institution and it is their private property
May it be noted that we stayed in the park, and didn’t do anything at, or to, Geva Theatre.

10.59 the news is about to start, we are getting loud and waiting for action
11:01 minute by minute, hour by hour, we are the people, we have the power. No opposition yet at the Square!

It was a waiting game once again – we knew just what the police had in store for us, but there was no sign of it. We were expecting it, the TV news was here expecting it, and all we got was more time milling around in a chilly park waiting for action.

We called a brief assembly just to confirm that no one wanted to get arrested tonight, then went back to talking and singing among ourselves. Someone started handing out little songbooks with the Internationale and “This Land Is Your Land” and some other old protest songs they threw together.

11:08 GA announced for 1pm at Washington square tomorrow . Still no sign of the expected officers.
11:10 agreement to stay and occupy until we are warned to leave, even if they do not show tonight!

The AdBusters flag, United Corporations of America

11.19 we think the cops are waiting for the news to end. On a related note, 13 is showing college football. Score/time left update for the occupiers?
11:31 channel 8/31 news truck leaves, 10 and 13 still here. Also the one officer who was here ostensibly for Geva traffic must really have been, he drove off as well
11:37 still no sign of the police. About 30 of us in the park waiting to see what happens

As 11.35 passed and midnight approached, people started to think there would be no action, despite our theory about the news, and the fact that the mob of police was only growing larger by the minute at Mt Hope.
11:45 channel 13 appears to be on live.
11:48 Krause calls us pathetic. No cops, people are leaving. COME HERE! WASHINGTON SQUARE IS OURS! channel 13 and 9 are still here. As the news ends, there may be more police action. WE NEED PEOPLE! WE MUST REMAIN!
11.57 COME TO WASHINGTON SQUARE AT 12.15 AND AWAIT THE POLICE. channel 13 will be broadcasting until 12.22 due to the football game and the RPD will likely wait until the news has concluded to take action!
12:18 12.18 20 of us left and still no cops, TV13 preparing to pack up and leave

And sure enough, we got exactly what we expected. Just as the news van left, the prisoner van took its place.
Paddy Wagon

12.19 cop with lights on at woodbury and st marys (corner of park
12.20 they are here in force, 9 back on air
12.21 force to be reckoned with, they are clearing the park and we are leaving. WSP occupied by the RPD
12.23 twelve officers lined up in Clinton ave

This looked as if it was about to be a sound defeat. With the park cleared and surrounded by officers, it was clear who was in charge, and on the side of the law no less. Then, just about the only thing that could have gone our way, did. As we sang and picketed, the police had their way with not only the park, but our belongings.

12:26 the cops took our signs and posters in a paddy wagon
12.28 signs were considered abandoned property. Even.though they were clearly ours. And we were clearly here.
12.29 cops will give the signs to Alex White once everyone leaves the premise

In full view of all of us, and the news cameras, a mob of cops took our signs and a pile of coats and stuff, and left. We all watched, bemused, as this bizarre end to the night went on the record.

Arrest count: zero people, and about 50 signs.

The fact that the police were so ready to oppress, combined with our inability to raise a riot, will probably cool Occupy off for a while… I don’t especially like the idea of taking the park anyway, I feel like it’s the action that alienates people most about our movement, that we are fighting drawn out battles to live like the homeless, on behalf of the 98% in between cardboard boxes and McMansions.

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