Pressed for time, I’ve been thinking about the virtues of Twitter. Why not describe the Foley Square rally and Brooklyn Bridge walk as an imaginary Twitter feed (minus all the cute abbreviations)?
4:20 p.m. Arrival at Foley Square, greeted by tall banners of 1199-SEIU. Where is UAW? I don’t care, would rather wander. I see the sound stage, sign of a permitted rally….No People’s Mic Here! Hope there won’t be too many boring speeches.
4:47 p.m. Bopping to the beat of Rude Mechanical Orchestra, at last here’s someone I know, Ricky Riot–poet and musician. Love this gender-transgressive marching band, love the fact that I’ve been here half an hour in a big crowd and still haven’t found more than two or three familiar faces.
5:15 p.m. At last! I find the blue lollipop signs w/ UAW logo, tucked away on a corner at north end of square. Something is blaring from sound system but nobody’s listening and that’s fine. I chat w/ UAW comrades and hand out a few fliers for US Labor Against the War, which many have seen already.
5: 36 p.m. Scott Sommer, UAW Region 9A sub-head, is handing out little battery-operated “candles.” It’s colder. When are we going to march? The spirit in our group is ebullient and I can’t help but compare w/ memory of the tepid, staid Labor Day march way back in early September (but not on Labor Day, as NYC’s labor organizations definitely can’t compete with the West Indian Day Parade). Still no sign of any speeches that anyone feels bound to listen to–hurray!
5:55 p.m. In a mass, we move in the direction of Bklyn Bridge, at about the rate of one-half block per fifteen minutes of baby steps. (I’ve forgotten about the civil disobedience portion of this event–later I’ll find out that a few dozen folks were doing pre-arranged CD during this time.)
6:45 p.m. Finally in sight of Bklyn Bridge entrance. Crowd is densely packed, spirits high despite grumbling over our slow pace.
7:12 p.m. Oh, the joy of free movement! No cops on bridge.
7:37 p.m. Bottleneck. Cops have helpfully closed off pedestrian ramp exit from bridge, the route that leads to Tillary St., and are funneling everyone down a narrow stairway. I argue w/ Community Affairs blue-jacket who smiles and tells me “no, you can’t go down the ramp, everybody’s going to the park.” “But I don’t want to go to park, want to go to Tillary Street.” “Sorry, this is how we’re doing it.”
7:51 p.m. Finally off the bridge and down the stairway–our upbeat group, now diminished in numbers as many have done a U turn to return to Manhattan, reaches bottom of stairs to find a long row of evenly spaced cops in riot helmets, standing with legs spread, to make sure we don’t run amok in the vicinity of Cadman Plaza. “This is what a police state looks like,” I blurt ungratefully. “I’m glad you said that,” someone behind me murmurs.
Later today, in relation to yesterday’s poetry reading experience at the park, I’ll post some thoughts about Prague Springs.