Interview with an occupier: ‘I want to fight and win’
Published Dec 21, 2011 10:50 PM
Photo: Brian Lampert
Thousands of Occupy Wall Street activists, whom the police have prevented from camping in Zuccotti Square, tried to claim new space owned by Trinity Church in downtown Manhattan on Dec. 17. Police arrested about 50 of the activists, the rest of whom then marched uptown to Times Square. Workers World’s Caleb Maupin interviewed Tim Barker, a young musician and political activist from the Midwest who has been participating with OWS since Oct. 18 and was at the Dec. 17 action.
Caleb Maupin: What happened Dec. 17?
Tim Barker: The OWS protesters tried to reclaim a new space at Duarte Square. However, cops came in and arrested 50 or more people. I went down with some people from the Stop “Stop & Frisk” protests. We got there as the protesters who hadn’t already gotten arrested decided to go to the house of one of the heads of Trinity Properties.
There were a few thousand people marching down the sidewalk at this point. When we got closer to his house, we realized that the cops had the place blocked off. So we turned a corner and took the street.
The cops had a hard time keeping up with us as we weaved throughout the streets of Manhattan, slowly working our way toward Times Square. The police got increasingly more agitated as we stayed peaceful.
We came up to one corner and a cop hit a woman with his scooter and then tried to arrest her. She was “de-arrested” by a group of protesters, two of whom were also arrested and “de-arrested” before disappearing into the crowd.
Cops tried to keep the protesters out of the streets, and protesters just walked around the cops. I love how the cops tried to set up roadblocks, and we just walked around the roadblocks into the streets. Protesters were marching around cars, getting thumbs up and high fives from the drivers, and receiving cheers from tour buses.
As the march went on, it started getting dark. In one corner one very violent cop on a scooter purposely ran into a few protesters. One of the protesters reacted, and the cop wound up off of his scooter. That person then disappeared into the crowd.
I also heard how later some banks and corporate stores got damaged.
We carried a large banner that took 20 people to carry. We passed it over the tops of cars. It received a lot of smiles from drivers.
At one point, the cops stole the banner from the protesters, while doing some very violent arrests. We were able to recapture the banner. This happened a couple of times.
At some point, we splintered into several separate marches, all taking different routes to Times Square. I heard a cop say to another cop, “We’re outnumbered.” He actually refused to deploy the nets they usually use to trap and arrest us, when they told him to.
Around 6:30 p.m., I left the march, but it was still going strong toward Times Square.
I heard that later, around 29th Street, the cops arrested a whole lot of people.
CM: Why did you want to get involved with OWS?
TB: First of all, I’ve been a revolutionary for a long time. I’ve been involved in political activism for the past several years. I grew up in a very poor, working-class family in Iowa, and I saw what capitalism does to people, first hand.
I got the opportunity to come to New York while on tour playing music. I spent a night at OWS to get a feel for what it was about. I have stayed ever since. It gives me a chance to put into practice my beliefs by fighting the oppressive corporate police state.
Some of the causes I have stood for since I’ve been here are anti-police oppression, “stop stop & frisk,” LGBTQ rights, feminism and anti-capitalism.
I’m just starting to get involved now with “Occupy 4 Jobs” because I believe people should have the right to work. I am revolutionist, and I want to fight and win, and overthrow capitalism for good.
That is why I recently decided I should join Workers World Party.
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