Sunday, 5 February 2012

#OccupyProvo Update; Half Naked Hippies Burn Provo To The Ground, Cavort In The Ashes

Yesterday morning, I was a little iffy about hauling my proverbial oats (and the proverbial oats of some guests) down I-15 to Provo to attend the anti-NDAA and anti-EEA protest there. A few people had canceled on carpooling, and the early morning was clear and bitter cold, with a sharp breeze floating through the Avenues.

I shouldn't have worried. I wound up driving Greg Lambert of Crazypoliticos, my friend Jessica Lee (Twitter feed  here  , Flickr   here  ), and Jessica's friend, a polite gentleman named Tim. The trip down to Provo went very quickly, and we parked right in front of the Provo Courthouse. The day had warmed up beautifully, and there was already a small but very high-energy crowd gathered (this crowd grew in size as the afternoon progressed).

A few quick words about the anti-NDAA/EEA protest. First off, "What," you may ask, "the hell are NDAA and/or EEA?" Glad you asked!

A decent summary of NDAA can be found right here. In brief, the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2012 (NDAA), which is usually dry military funding, contained two very frightening subsections this year.

One suubsection codifies indefinite detention for U.S. citizens suspected (not proven) of terrorism - let me repeat that, indefinite detention of U.S. citizens without trial (section 1021). The other subsection guarantees the accused a free trip to military custody (GITMO) instead of jail and/or a trial by jury (that would be section 1022).

The Enemy Expatriation Act, (EEA) is so bad it's like a piece of legislation that made it here via the Twilight Zone - here is the exact wording of EEA (or H.R. 3166, as he is known to his friends):

[This bill is] to add engaging in or supporting hostilities against the United States to the list of acts for which United States nationals would lose their nationality.
So, in other words, and in conjunction with NDAA, a political undesirable accused, and only accused, or either terrorism or "supporting hostiliites" (whatever the hell that means) can be stripped of their citizenship, and, by extension, their rights.

A follow-up question from a particularly bright or suspicious individual might be "Fair enough. But who organized this protest in Provo? Who is REALLY behind all of this #Occupy stuff?!"

George Soros.

Seriously, and personally. He's a real "hands on" guy.

In the dead of night Glenn Becks wakes himself up screaming "SOROS!!"

Soros, in fact, flew out to Utah just to f*** with conservatives here personally.

No, actually the protest / hot dog and veggie burger barbecue were a collaboration between the Revolutionary Student Union of UVU, the Salt Lake City General Membership of the Industrial Workers of the World [full disclosure: I am a member of the IWW] and Occupy Provo.

My union brothers and Fellow Workers

We had a quick pow-wow about safety, our route, chants, deciding on three: "Hey Hey Ho Ho The EEA Has Got To Go," "N-D-A-A, We Say No Way" - and, and this is fascinating, so stay with me - "N-D-A-A Obama Took Our Rights Away." More on that last in a moment.

Well, who might this sinister-looking clown be?

Guess who
Yeah, I went full Guy Fawkes for Provo. I felt like the pizzazz was much needed (I wasn't the only Guy there I might add).

The march progressed through downtown Provo right in the middle of the afternoon. Provo is a quiet city compared to Salt Lake, but horns were honking. The amazing thing about a good chant (remember the ones I listed above?) is that when you get a good, catchy chant going accompanied by rhythmic drumming and the like, it echoes quite impressively off of the facades of scenic Historic Downtown Provo.

The "Obama took our rights away" line seemed to draw a *huge* amount of attention from passers by.   Drivers slowed down and pulled over - not to throw heavy orthopedic shoes at us or hurl epithets, but to pick up literature. As far as outreach goes, the march was a huge success.

The high point of the day's events - which were blessed by beautiful, warm weather, friendly police,  and a general atmosphere of exuberance - as a speech by a member of Veterans Against the War named Nathaniel.

A word about those "friendly police" before we move on: when you meet a "friendly" police officer, it is absolutely vital that you follow the following protocols. 1.) be polite 2.) volunteer absolutely nothing to him except for your name and identification (if he asks for it), and 3.) stay on your toes - the cops are not your friends, they are tricky, and they will lie to you every chance they get (there is no legal penalty for them doing so).

We were honored to have Nathaniel present - a warning that some of his remarks are disturbing. Nathaniel has seen the inhuman conditions that "indefinite detention" lead to throughout his tour in Iraq, and has the courage to share his story with us - these are the stories that we will be whispering to each other and quietly telling our children about when and if these practices come to America (more than they already have).

Finally, we had a few encouraging words from the Revolutionary Student Union:

Two free, delicious, foot-long all beef hotdogs with fixin's later, I was a happy camper and almost ready to head home.

In the spirit of sexy mischief #OccupySLC's perennial lateral thinker and troublemaker Jesse Fruhwirth had a very bright idea indeed once the rally peaked and the temperatures in Provo were warming up a bit.

So Obama and Congress can strip us of our civil liberties - to protest, why not strip right back?

Lock up your missionaries, Jesse Fruhwirth is bringing justice to Provo
Soon, Jesse's individual act of courage and stiff-nippled resistance to February temperatures caught on like wildfire:

Much like the Salt Lake Undie Fun Run of not so long ago, the (mostly) lithe and saucy vegan lads of #Occupy attracted a great deal of attention, honking, and the occasional drive-by shout of "Right on!" or a simple wolf whistle.

This collaboration between #OccupyProvo - who just hosted a TREMENDOUSLY successful event - and other groups like the Wobs, the RSU and #OSLC, is very exciting to me. I've been participating in InterOccupy's conference calls, monitoring #Occupations nationwide, and I can see things starting to pick up steam. #OSLC has hosted guests from #OccupyOgden AND #OccupyProvo - I think it's time we returned the favor of sending ambassadors, but maybe more importantly, it could be time to start thinking about a Utah State General Assembly.

It's time we got out of our shell in #OccupySLC. You know, just a little flex of the old muscles so that the parasitic sociopaths running this rickety, half-engulfed-in-flames carnival spook show realize that you can't fool all the people all the time.

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