More Snapshots from Occupy the NH Primary
The highlight of Saturday afternoon was definitely the GLBT March from Veterans Park to Victory Park by way of the Bank of America. I counted 200 people, some chanting “1,2,3,4, Open Up Your Closet Door, 5,6,7,8, Don’t Assume Your Kids Are Straight,” while others chanted “Ru Paul Not Ron Paul,” and the ever popular “We are the 99%.” Since all the chants were going on simultaneously in a procession that stretched across a city block, it was interesting to hear an impassioned marcher at a short Victory Park assembly express how great it felt that “we’re all saying the same thing.” Despite the irony, her meaning was obvious: there was a spirit of solidarity of the Occupy movement with gays and lesbians whose lives are under attack by the Republican candidates.
I should say, the Republican candidates with one exception: Fred Karger, a longtime Republican and gay activist who’s name will be on the GOP ballot Tuesday, was part of the march. He said he has visited Occupiers in several cities during campaign visits.
The members of the Leftist Marching Band gave marchers a lift, as they always do. They also joined the Funeral Procession for the American Dream prior to last night’s debate at St. Anselm College. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to be there so you’ll have to look elsewhere for reports of a spirited demonstration that included more people than any of the candidates mustered.
Given the heavily-discussed reluctance of the Occupy movement to develop a platform, it’s worth noting that the theme of “money out of politics” is one that resonates with everyone. A graphic design created by Brett Chamberlin and Alex Freid, both of Durham, is omnipresent at Occupy the Primary, and even hung from the Kennedy Tower next to the Capitol Center for the Arts, where the weekend’s second debate was held this morning.
Occupy activists clustered on the sidewalk, just north of the theatre, next to Jon Huntsman’s contingent (Huntsman supporters included a goat. No, I don’t know its significance.). Romney and Paul supporters likewise greeted the ticketed audience that stretched out along the sidewalk in the middle of the Occupiers and campaign volunteers. There may have been a few Santorum signs, too, but I didn’t spot sign-holders from the Perry or Gingrich campaigns. A contingent of anti-Zionist rabbis, dressed in black, held the space just south of the Capitol Center entrance.
Across the street were members of the Communications Workers of America, employees of the NH Union Leader, the state’s largest newspaper and one of the debate co-sponsors. They are in the midst of an ugly contract dispute with the paper’s publisher Joe McQuaid, who has laid off workers, increased hours without a pay raise, and essentially refused to bargain. The CWA members were joined by visiting members of the United Auto Workers, who are spending a few days annoying GOP candidates and also meeting with labor and political allies.
When the debate ended, at about 10:30, most everyone but the Ron Paul and Occupy folks left. That meant it was a good time for a wedding to be held between a corporation and a person. I objected at the appropriate moment in the ceremony, and said that in New Hampshire a man can marry a woman, a man can marry a man, and a woman can marry a woman, but neither a man nor a woman can marry a corporation since, despite Mitt Romney’s claim, corporations are not people.
The Occupiers and Ron Paul groups shifted locations to the south side of the theatre, where the candidates’ vehicles were parked. There, joined by a handful of reporters and unaffiliated Primary gawkers, they waited for the candidates to emerge. As each candidate left the building and got into his car, Brett delivered a short, personalized speech for each one, with help of the people’s mic. The only exception was Rick Santorum, who was greeted by a loud, spontaneous chorus of boos from all, including the Paulists.
That seemed to be a common enough reaction to the former Senator that he cancelled his remaining New Hampshire campaign events and flew off to South Carolina, where he no doubt hopes to get a warmer reception.
Occupy the NH Primary re-convened in Veterans Park for an evening General Assembly. Topics included a debrief of the previous night’s action, a report on communications with the Manchester police, proposed actions for Monday, and ideas for other gatherings of Occupiers from northeastern states.