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The Hint of a New World at RTS
by lil wayne Tuesday, Dec. 01, 2009 at 11:32 PM

Six people were arrested Monday night at the Reclaim The Streets event organized to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the WTO protests that rocked Seattle in 1999.

Six people were arrested Monday night at the Reclaim The Streets event organized to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the WTO protests that rocked Seattle in 1999.

The event was advertised as a way to call attention to the fact that the same police and prison system that brutalized people at the WTO is also sending New Orleans rappers to prison, and is failing to make our communities safer, while they defend with violence the policies of the WTO around the world. The event was to create a space where these failed institutions that destroy our lives are not allowed to operate. In short, to create a space of freedom and liberation.

The event kicked off when about 40 people began hanging banners, throwing confetti, and launching party streamers over light poles on Canal St., near Royal St. The banners read "Abolish Prisons" and "Free Lil Wayne! Free Lil Boosie! Free All Prisoners!" and they were strung between light poles and the palm trees that line Canal St. A sound system blasted bounce rap from a bike cart, people got in the streets, and the party started!

The few people who were outside, not watching the Saints game against the Patriots on Monday Night Football, were very supportive, and a handful even joined in the action. Flyers were distributed to people and bars along the route and thrown into the cool northeasterly winds whipping through the French Quarter. A banner on poles was hoisted into the air and carried with us, reading "No Justice, No Peace" on one side and "End Poverty! Smash Prisons! Take Back the City!" on the other side.

The atmosphere was festive and joyful, barricades were dragged into the street to block traffic, and intersections were taken and dancing began. On such a massive boulevard as Canal Street, it was difficult to hold the street for very long with 40 people, so the party made it's way up Canal, heading for Dauphine Street, turning into the narrow streets of the French Quarter.

One angry driver tried to nudge his way right through the midst of the party at an intersection, and he ran into a participant, who got knocked onto the hood of his car. The homicidal driver decided to speed up, carrying the man for some 300 yards across Canal Street before he finally stopped the car. Friends came running, yelling at the car to stop. A Sheriff came out of a store where he was doing security guard duty and pointed a gun at one of the partiers, screaming at him to get on the ground. The Sheriff eventually realized that the incident between the driver and the man on his hood was more urgent, and left to deal with it, allowing the person on the ground to get up and run back to the party. The incident resulted in a court summons for the person who was hit and carried by the car, while the man who almost killed one of our friends, was allowed to go free. How much more obvious can it get that the police are worthless at protecting people?

The party continued up Canal Street, stopping and going, pulling barricades into the street and scattering flyers in the wind when a cop ran up to the march from behind and started yelling at everyone to stop littering (!). When a participant attempted to engage the cop in conversation, the cop tried to chase down and arrest him, only he was thwarted as he tripped and face planted onto the street. The crowd cheered, but when the ogre got back up he was even angrier, and went up to the nearest person and full on punched him in the face. This cop was a foot taller than the person he punched, and the person was obviously not expecting it. The officer didn't try to arrest anyone else and the march sped up to make it to Dauphine Street and into the french quarter.

The French Quarter was deserted as everyone was inside watching the Saints game, but as bottle rockets sailed through the air and popped, a sound system blared music, and people continued dragging objects in the streets (both to create a liberated zone and protect themselves from the gun-pulling and punch-throwing cops) a sense of common purpose took hold and people felt strong, defiant, and triumphant in the streets, if only for a few brief blocks.

The party wound it's way through the French Quarter. We eventually crossed Bourbon Street, where scumbag restaurants like Tony Moran's, who don't pay their workers and steal their tips, operate with police protection while workers there get no protection from their bosses. From then on, the party had only about half the numbers it began with, and 3 overzealous cops on Bourbon decided they would sprint after the party and try to tackle people. The entire march began running through the streets, past the giant marble monolith to injustice, the Louisiana Supreme Court building, and people split down 3 different streets. The largest group ran back towards Bourbon Street on a side street, with the police in pursuit behind them. Three more officers waited like linebackers with their arms out at Bourbon Street for the sprinting crowd of rebels, and tackled a few of us by throwing people against the wall and kicking them in the face. Others managed to get away. The protest dissolved into
the chilly night, but not before reminding ourselves and those in power that we are everywhere, we are angry, and we will not settle for anything less than autonomy and freedom.

Epilogue:
That night, the cracks in the old world were emerging once again: action is possible, resistance is necessary, our lives and our world could be so different, so much better, if only business as usual could STAY disrupted. I thought of the Spanish Civil War, and at what point people decided that, yes, business as usual was no longer an option, that it must be overthrown? That every individual had to ask themselves that question, had to make that choice, of whether to go onto the streets, build the barricades, and risk the murderous police state's wrath if not enough people came out with them. This is a choice we make every day. And every day that we choose passivity, negotiation, mediation, representation, or restraint, more people die, our lives get worse, the apparratus of control becomes tighter, and we live one more day of our short lives without freedom. On this night, in these streets, people sided with the future instead of the present. They sided
with those who are in prison, who wish every day for business as usual to end. They sided with the world we want, not the one we have. They occupied space, transformed it, and attempted to seize it. A little earth in which to germinate the seeds of the new world, the seeds that can grow into plants that break up the concrete of prisons and of shopping malls and police departments, of Niketowns and Starbucks stores, that can break up the machinery of imperial wars and ecological devastation. The commune that can spread.

Occupations are just beginning here in New Orleans. The suffocating (il)logic of capitalism will be pushed out of spaces, so that we may breathe and live and share and grow. We're going to destroy this world and create another, want to join us?

Keep updated with future plans at: http://nolaRTS.wordpress.com

Organize!
Occupy!
Resist!

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