Yesterday’s May Day protest in NYC might have failed to shut the system down, but it did successfully galvanize Occupy’s disparate interest groups into one powerful amalgamation, proving the movement’s lack of cohesion, more accurately its complexity, is a strength that defines it.
At around 3pm, Union Square swelled far beyond the capacity of Zuccotti Park, which made it possible for many different pockets of people to develop and do their own thing. Of course, there were drum circles, plural, and anarchist pamphleteers — common staples of Occupy Wall Street, but their presence was rivaled by a big brass band stand, the orations of a poetry assembly and the deafening silence of group meditation. And, how could I forget the Occupy Arts and Labor group, whose colorful fabric banners and hand painted posters provided a much appreciated dose of creativity, among the multitude of cardboard and marker signs.
As the various labor unions arrived to march on the street, the police barricades set up to corral the rest of the mass within the park became permeable somehow, and soon all walks of life — in the tens of thousands — occupied Broadway. No rioting was to be had, mostly peaceful strolling with sporadic bursts of chants, but the march was a resounding victory given May Day’s objective: to resurrect what began last fall. Occupy Wall Street might have seemed to be in hibernation post-Zucotti Park, but it is clear that Occupy is a different beast than what it was before, with a multifarious face that defies the diminutive recognition of bygone headlines.
Here are some images from the protests more art-related moments.
All photos by the author for Hyperallergic.