DANCING TANGO TO THE MUSIC OF FREEDOM ON TIMES SQUARE WITH THE WALL STREET OCCUPIERS

George had missed the dancing on Foley Square and down Broadway on that memorable Wednesday evening, so he was raring to go to the Occupy Wall Street event at Times Square and dance some tango.

For me, it was glorious to be there with thousands of people, the crowd stretching as far as I could see on the square where I have protested before with a handful of people many times.  It was at such a protest I met Jack.

There was, as always with Occupy Wall Street, music.  George can dance tango to anything and likes live music best, so we danced to all the music they played.  As a number of people on stilts moved about among the crowd, occasional groups of people danced in lines weaving in and out, and lots of people stood about cheering on the revolution and enjoying the celebration in the place in this city famous for mass parties, we danced and danced.  People smiled at us and took photographs.  We were interviewed several times.  George told the NPR reporter that he was “dancing to the music of freedom.”  I said how thrilling it is to be there with all these people after years of participating in protests on Times Square with very small groups.

A huge cheer burst forth at the moment when the contingent which had marched all the way from Liberty Plaza in lower Manhattan arrived.  We heard the cheer but could not actually see them, nor did we know why the cheer went up for some while.  It is glorious to be participating in a movement where crowds are so large that we don’t know what is going on in other parts of it.  Strategic division of forces is one of the strengths of the Occupation.  They seldom have everyone in one place, which means that if the worst happens and all the people in one spot were to be arrested, there are others somewhere else.  There had been contingents protesting in different places all over the city, but the major cohort had gone from Liberty Plaza in the morning to Washington Square Park for a huge rally in the heart of NYU and on up 6th Avenue to arrive finally at Times Square where the party had already started.

The massive police presence would be ridiculous if it were not so malevolent.  There was not a moment of violence of any kind on the part of the protesters.  There never has been.  The only violence I have seen when I have been present with the occupation at any time is on the part of the police, who sometimes appear more and more like the keystone cops, falling all over themselves in their numbers.  If they were not so brutal, they would just be ridiculous.  Unfortunately, they can and have turned vicious.

There were arrests, the Global Revolution network thinks about 70 in all for the day, 23 in a bank downtown and the rest pedestrians during the marches.  One foot on a part of the pavement that is not “permitted” by these police can mean being clubbed and thrown to the pavement and hauled off to jail.   The bankers who are paying the police, (click here and scroll down to the entry for 1.05 pm) and who have bought most of the country’s politicians must really be scared to demand this kind of repression.

Dancing on hard pavement in high heeled tango shoes is really challenging  for a woman tango dancer’s feet and legs.

I was close to not being able to stand up any longer when we escaped just before the police closed off the barriers.

When we got home, I was able to ice my feet and apply lots of Tiger Balm, very happy to have been in the only place I wanted to be last night–dancing in celebration of the revolution.

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