Occupy Tax Dodgers, 99% Spring, or Whatever The Fuck You Want To Call It, Protesters Sure Were Wicked Pissed Today

Protests like today's march on General Electric and other ruthless tax-dodgers remind me of why money-grubbing conservatives hate community organizers so much. Because without nearly 1000 heads waving signs to inform people about the Fortune 500 behemoths that screw us, these companies would simply weave through loopholes unnoticed. In fact they mostly do anyway.

Today's mass pickets were pinned to tax day. That goes for City Life's afternoon romp at Bank of America on Federal Street, as well as for the march through downtown this evening, when MassUniting and a number of affiliated groups brought a familiar message to GE, Verizon, State Street, Fidelity, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America: Pay your fair fucking share!

But while tax evaders were the direct object of today's aggression, the real message on the block was that protest season – despite never fully ceasing through the somewhat cold months – is back in full swing. From Occupy Boston's recent Camp Charlie stand-off and current “sleepful protest” just blocks from Dewey Square, to City Life's ongoing hostility toward a range of top offenders, it's sure to be an electric Spring.

I arrived downtown at around 2pm today – just in time for City Life's afternoon march on Bank of America's central Hub lair. Occupy Boston had been booted from the sidewalk outside of a nearby B of A branch about an hour earlier, and, though there was no deliberate coordination, the 25-or-so City Life protesters picked up the rebellious momentum. Of the bunch, police and passersby were particularly shook by the sight of an older black man, laughing hysterically – one hand on a placard, the other on a headless banker in a swivel chair – and shouting “WE'RE BACK!” loud enough to echo for blocks.

Fast forward to 6pm, when more than 500 picket-happy hecklers congregated down in Dewey before marching forth. I'm sure I missed a few participants, but my attendance roll clocked in troops from the aforementioned outfits as well as: Occupy Arlington, the SEIU, Occupy Quincy, Occupy Weymouth, the Jewish Labor Committee, the T Riders Union, Right to the City, the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, and Mass Senior Action, which was rolling deep on rented golf carts in the back of the pack. In other words: it was the representative 99 percent, or something close to it.

Nationally, there's been a deafening amount of chatter about a showdown between Occupy groups and “The 99% Spring” – a markedly non-violent federation of non-profits and do-gooder orgs across the country (including the oh so controversial, which many Occupiers fear is no more than a shill for that bank-loving Obama guy). I've recently kept my two cents in escrow on that note, though I've been covering relations between organized labor, longtime activists, and Occupy Boston since day two. My prevailing thought, however, is that Boston's somewhat unique in this department; at least out in the open, these factions are grooving right along together relatively well here.

With all that said, what I realized today is that Occupiers and their likeminded org affiliates don't have to work together every time. They don't even have to gel on tactics, or pursue the same actions (though today's march and rally did draw significant Occupy forces). So long as they keep targeting the same enemies, there's a chance that someone at Bank of America – or any of the other culprit companies – might concede that people hate them for a reason. (Theoretically, the Tea Party might even get involved. But whereas they love to cry about taxes and government subsidies, in practice they hold little animosity toward big businesses that jerk the system).

Finally . . . Occupy soldiers and reps from groups like MassUniting need to share more ideas, and not just for the sake of spooning. Unions and known progressive entities have adequate funds to spark major spectacles, but they should remember how little media love their protests got before Occupy arrived. The Dewey squatters got attention through extraordinary actions – not from screaming at an empty downtown building, as protesters wound up doing today, in the most deserted corner of the city, after rush hour. At the same time, Occupiers need to cut the shit about being co-opted – especially in Boston, where they landed on Dewey within hours of MassUniting's long-planned fireworks spectacular.

As for those who are down with neither Occupy nor “99% Spring” offensives – particularly the worker fools who walked by today's show, clicked voyeuristic cell phone pics, and smirked at protesters – I can only assume they think it's fair that companies like GE and Verizon pay less taxes than they do. Either that, or they're just comfy in their bubble. I guess they have a point. Despite all the noise made tonight and in the past few months, approximately zero predatory bankers have been harmed or jailed in the making of this movement.

| More

 Friends' Activity   Popular 
All Blogs
Follow the Phoenix
  • newsletter
  • twitter
  • facebook
  • youtube
  • rss
Latest Comments
Search Blogs
Phlog Archives