Monday, January 9, 2012

Occupy the NH Primary

   The past few days I have been very busy doing coverage of the "Occupy the Primary" movement in Manchester, NH and around the state. Starting Friday several occupy movements took the trek up to New Hampshire to form a temporary camp located in Veteran’s Park, right across the street from the courtyard where news organizations such as CBS have set up camp for the duration of the primary.

   Traveling into the Occupy camp for the first time since they were evicted of Victory Park, I got the impression of a stronger and more organized group of people. I was pleased to see plenty of laughing, singing and drum-playing people--even a group immersed at the art tent making signs and other unrelated paintings.

Vermin Supreme
   While I am sure most of the candidates currently in the runnings are thinking the occupy movement is the last thing they want to be around, one of the most noticeable people at the encampment that day was none other than Presidential Candidate Vermin Supreme himself. Ponies for every American, now I can get behind that.

   Meeting up with several people I knew there, I was introduced to some members of Occupy Boston and everyone talked shop over coffee at Greg's Place down the street from the park. After grabbing a little more footage from the camp I called it a night.

   The next day was even more exciting than the last. After arriving I saw what must have been at least a hundred people gathered at the entrance of the park. Soon after a march began down Elm Street with a Pride Rally taking the lead, the Leftist Marching Band playing away, banners flying left and right and people chanting "We are the 99%!" An interview with Ian Struthers of Join the Impact after the march explains:
Basically, what we're here for is to explain how the 1% has a really heavy impact on the LGBT community, and we are part of this movement and we need to have some attention focused specifically on [us] because we have been ... oppressed for so long.
The 1% is often affiliated with a lot of corporations, organizations who are mainly based with the religious right who link politics, business and policy together.
Attempting to open a portal to another dimension!
At one point the march paused in front of a Bank of America with cries of "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!" After everyone gathered in Victory Park where I met up with and  who were also covering the event. I did a few more interviews and then headed up to a local church for lunch.

   After heading back to the camp at Veteran’s Park I bumped into Captain Robert Cunha of the Manchester Police Department as he was talking to the protesters. Earlier when coordinating this event, the organizers were told that nobody could stay in the camp past curfew but apparently there was a misunderstanding about what could be left in the park overnight, so he was there to work it out. Throughout the existence of Occupy NH the relationship with the Police has always been a positive one--even with the aforementioned eviction Captain Cunha had nothing negative to say:
We've been very pleased with the relationship we've had, even during a difficult period in October when we had to clear the park for the park curfew. The folks from Occupy stood by their principals, but were peaceful. They did not resist, they were cooperative and are fighting their battle in court--They didn't take it personally against the officers.
   He went on to talk about their first time encountering Occupy NH during a benefit for Footrace for the Fallen which was to take place in the same park, the protesters elected to go to Victory Park instead and even helped set up barricades for the race and offered coffee to the officers. "That was the first gesture that gave us a very good reading on how our relationship with Occupy was going to be."

The madness that was the Free Speech Zone
   Later that evening marked the beginning of the Republican debate and so Occupy headed over to St. Anselms College with a few tricks up their sleeve. Arriving at the entrance of the school, banners of a Democrat/Republican symbol--half-donkey, half-elephant with dollar bill symbols tying them together--marked "Money out of Politics" could be seen everywhere. As the debate began a coffin arrived and so began a somber march onto the campus as they held a funeral procession for the American Dream. Nearing the designated "Free Speech Area" the procession was greeted with the yells and jeers of supporters of every other candidate out there (save Vermin Supreme who was absolutely thrilled that everyone could make it to his victory party).

   Once inside the yelling and shouting and chanting only continued until, just in the nick of time, the Leftist Marching Band arrived with fanfare and walked right up to the coffin playing a very nice jazz dirge. Four people surrounded by candles were kneeling next to the flower-covered coffin. Their hands were clasped and eyes closed as they awaited the end of the song. The eulogy began over the Peoples Mic as people stepped forward one by one to say their goodbyes.
American Dream. How I barely new ye [sic]. Your beauty was but an illusion ... I found that actually you are the opium of the greedy that have become so greedy they do not wish to just pursue their own American Dream. They wish to suck it from from everybody else. From our blood. And when I realized this I realize I can no longer support you.
New Occupy NH banner in front of their camp.
   After marching out of the college I myself took off to Portsmouth for a premiere of some films I had worked on and unfortunately after catching a cold that evening I was off to a late start and missed the Newt Gingrich hilarity and after most of the camp left to a Romney event, I hung around and got a few more interesting interviews, some footage of the drum circle and checked out the shiny new "Money Runs on Politics" sign. And gosh darn-it wouldn't you know, the cold got the better of me once again so I decided to take the day off and missed the Obama Headquarters Die-In. Well at least I have had a chance to sit down and look at all this great footage and catch up on some pending work from this weekend. Tomorrow I plan to be back in action for the last of the New Hampshire Primary and then I can get this video all done and ready! Keep an eye out for it and for more updates subscribe here and to  on Twitter!

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