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Noise Parade Blocks Traffic in Downtown GR

June 13, 2012

Monday night, about 40 people attended a benefit concert at the DAAC for Marie Mason and Eric McDavid in recognition of June 11th, the International Day of Solidarity with political prisoners. Mason and McDavid are long term political prisoners jailed for their involvement in acts of resistance against industries that exploit the environment.

After the event, which included several local and regional poets and bands, attendees took to the streets for an impromptu “noise parade”, which traveled through downtown Grand Rapids. The group walked in the street at about 10:30pm stopping traffic, banging drums and buckets, blowing whistles and noisemakers, and waving various anarchist flags. The parade traveled north on Division Ave, where it passed the Grand Rapids Police Department and continued down Monroe Center, through the shopping district. The group grew in numbers as it moved past Van Andel Arena, up Fulton, and onto Ionia, as intrigued onlookers joined the march. The parade concluded by returning to Division Ave and the DAAC, where participants dispersed.

9 Comments leave one →
  1. June 14, 2012 12:41 pm

    What a really counter productive thing to do. This is helping political prisoners. Give me a break!

  2. stossel permalink
    June 14, 2012 8:36 pm

    Raising money for their support funds and then marching to celebrate their contributions to the struggle is real counter-productive — you are totally right!

    Next time we should probably just stay home and play video games or watch a baseball game — just as long as we forget about the warriors that the state has stolen from us.

  3. June 15, 2012 3:15 am

    I should have made myself more clear. I was referring to the noise parade. The event at the DAAC was a very positive thing. Sorry for the mistake.

  4. stossel permalink
    June 15, 2012 11:34 am

    I’m not seeing how the noise parade was counter-productive either. Please explain, I’m dying to know!

  5. June 15, 2012 12:29 pm

    I am wondering how you could think this was productive. I was not there, but I am willing to bet most people that got stopped in their cars did not understand what you were doing and were probably mad at you. This could include other people that were not in cars.The idea is to generate support in the coumunity, not turn people away from you. I will give you a recent positive example. I was in Chicago on May 19 the day before the anti-NATO protests on May 20. On Saturday, with only 24 hours notice, we build a street demonstration, around 1500 people, against recent police repression. We had no permit and took the streets and marched very fast to Daley Plaza. There a number of people that have been victims of police repression gave speechs about what had happened to them. From the beginning to the end of the march people along the way had a pretty good idea of what was going on. To me this was very productive. We let a lot of people know what it was about. From your article it appears you were just an annoying disruption in peoples lives in downtown GR. This does not send a positive message to the community at large. The idea is to promote the cause of political prisoners to the community. I am only basing my comments on what you wrote. Like I said, I was not there so I did not experiance it. Actually I would have been at the DAAC event but I was out of town helping build another event.

  6. stossel permalink
    June 15, 2012 3:46 pm

    For some reason my comment didn’t go through earlier:

    I never even said i thought it was productive, for the record. Just sayin’…

    I also happen to think that not everything has to be “productive” — to me that smacks of capitalist logic that everything has to be measured in terms of production. I know that isn’t exactly what you are saying, but if you think about it it’s true. Why do leftists love to think of things that way? Everything has to be categorized, quantified, and related to The One Big Struggle or Movement or whatever. Sometimes it’s fun just to do things and to take small steps towards building a community of resistance.

    The march was worthwhile in that it gave the participants something to participate in, beyond just attending the show. It was a fun event with no costs — no arrests, no repression, etc. It took to the streets without a permit — pretty darn rare in timid old grand rapids — and did so with no hesitation. No doubt that was more empowering for the participants than poorly attended movie nights, vigils, demonstrations in front of the federal building, etc. I don’t think anyone had goals beyond that, so I’d say it was worthwhile.

    I don’t know about Chicago, but my hunch is that ya didn’t poll people along the route, so the people in cars could have been just as confused as you claim the people here were. The article here talks about generally positive reactions from people on the street (indicated by people joining), I don’t see how that’s really any different than the impressions you have about whether or not people in Chicago “got” your march.

  7. A parader. permalink
    June 16, 2012 4:45 am

    “The idea” was to have a fun parade in the street where people who had met and socialized before now felt like they shared something together. What does ‘the community’ mean? There isn’t any functioning community in Grand Rapids as far as I know. And what kind of ‘support’ would we want to be generating? Someone sharing a page on facebook or signing a petition? Disruptions stop the flow and cycle of every day life. It might piss some people off, sure, but to be honest it pisses me off that they’re so willing to submit to the system that dominates over them (and me). Why do their feelings matter more than mine? Shit’s not going to get real if we treat ‘ordinary people’ condescendingly like they’re this precious noble group of people that we, the specialists in social change, just need to make aware of all the horrible things in the world. When we act on our own desires in opposition to how society wants us to act then that spark of disobedience spreads.

  8. June 20, 2012 3:19 am

    Wow! So your like my neighbors who set off fire works late at night. The hell with evryone else because this makes you feel good. Then I am suppose to buy into this being a spark for social change. What happened to the support for political prisoners? Like I said before “give me a break!”

  9. another parader permalink
    June 30, 2012 3:51 pm

    Awesome parade! It was excellent to be able to participate in the festivities directly, since I wasn’t one of the performers at the actual show. Also really cool that everybody was willing to make an otherwise boring Monday night downtown so fun and interesting. And a good number of people joined in along the way, so cool.

    And dale555, direct action doesn’t always have to be easy for onlookers to immediately understand. Sometimes it’s just about what it’s about and nothing more. The flyer passed around during the show said that the noise parade was to “celebrate eco-defenders” or something to that effect, and that’s what we did, joyously so. Besides, I probably talked to 20 or more people along the way who wondered what we were up to (had to yell over all the drums), all of whom were interested and several of whom joined in, and really, it was 10:30 on a Monday night, so we probably only “blocked” five or six cars for a few minutes, until they just went around.

    Maybe, dale555, in your next letter to Eric or Marie, you could mention the noise parade and ask them how they feel about it? I’ll bet my bike they’ll love hearing about what we did to celebrate them.

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