Tuesday, 24 July 2012

ALEC Welcoming Committee, Day One

posted 7/24/2012, by the Salt City Sinner

Happy Pioneer Day! Patriots of Utah, gather your passel of children close around the green Jell-O and give thanks for our proud antecedents, straining toward the great state of Zion with their overloaded handcarts filled with dreams.

Despite the best efforts of various cabals of thieves and jackals, those dreams still persist. One such cabal goes by the name of ALEC, or the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC's 39th annual meeting convenes in Salt Lake City this year, and #OccupySLC's ALEC Welcoming Committee is here to greet them.

Yesterday, #OccupySLC's ALECWC kicked off a week of protests, teach-ins and fun-packed events of various kinds (you can find the full schedule here ).

Last night featured a pot-luck of delightful fruits, veggies, and various vegan treats (well, mostly delightful - say what you want about the merits of an animal-free lifestyle: vegan cheese is nasty as hell, and by extension vegan pizza).

It's worth noting that ALEC's dinner last night reportedly cost $1,000 a plate. The grub at the Welcoming Committee was free to the public, if a little less fancy.

The "Parade of Empty Plates," as last night's event was called, was preceded by a short presentation by Jesse Fruhwirth about food insecurity, and the way that ALEC's "model legislation" contributes to the problem. We then marched noisily, banging spoons against plates, to the the Grand America hotel, where ALEC's annual convention was beginning to gear up.

It was loud, and delightfully disruptive.

The little gathering at the front door followed a pattern that would soon become familiar - as the Welcoming Committee crowd gathered and got noisy, portly security men in jackets (and a few in tan shirts who were openly carrying firearms) shooed us away, only to become increasingly annoyed as we circled the building and gathered at the next entrance.

Eventually, the fuzz showed up.

After attempting to detain Justin Kramer - one of the event organizers - for possession of a megaphone, they let him go. As the crowd bottlenecked on the sidewalk and grass in front of the hotel's parking garage...

...the cops tried (somewhat successfully) to disperse us. Many of the departing protesters said goodbye to the officers with a cheerful "See you tomorrow!"

After we returned to the park, #OccupySLC put on a revamp/re-performance of their street  theater presentation, "Why Isn't Anybody Helping Her?" The inimitable Deb Henry...

...and the other performers, including the lovely Jessica Lee:

As ALEC's greasy lobbyists snuggled into their beds, no doubt dreaming of ways to despoil, rape and pillage the fair commoners of Salt Lake City...

...ALECWC packed up, cleaned up, and geared up for another day.

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