09 Dec Die in at Barclays Center #ICANTBREATHE
When I lived in New York, I documented a lot of protests. Over the past 15 years I have seen a steady increase in the militarization of the police. The current protests against the grand jury decisions not to prosecute cops for killing unarmed black men are an extension of the anger that was expressed during Occupy. Doubling down on repression isn’t going to make the problem go away. Something profound is taking place and I feel disconnected from it, but glad to see that the resistance is not fading. The protests at Barclays Center make me wish I was there. In 1999-2000 we followed a punk rock publisher as he re-published a discredited campaign bio of GW Bush. Before the 2000 conventions we saw preventive arrests and infiltration of possible protest groups. Horns and Halos – Trailer A from rumur on Vimeo.
4 years later, after 9/11, we worked on a film about the Republican National Convention. The fear had ramped up and we witnessed military style police power and mass arrests. The abuse of police power was profound, disturbing, and went largely unquestioned by mainstream media. While filming a journalist talk to a radio reporter I heard her exclaim, “What do they expect to see, Al Queda marching down Broadway?” August in the Empire State – Trailer from rumur on Vimeo.
At the same time I was documenting the ridiculous abuse of governmental power that was the Atlantic yards process. We ended up calling that film “Battle for Brooklyn”.
When Occupy happened, people began to understand that film and we understood what was going on with Occupy. I went to shoot photos the first week, and went back to answer the question “Why Are You at Occupy?” the second week. Why Are You at Occupy Wall Street from rumur on Vimeo.
Occupy lost some steam after it was brutally repressed by police around the country, but the problems that led to it still existed, and in fact grew worse. Occupy was not just about economic injustice, it was about injustice in general, and that injustice has only grown worse. The mass protests do not surprise me one bit. I am intrigued to see though that the police repression has not been even more brutal. Now that I live outside of New York, I can’t jump on my bike and head to the center of the action. I know that there are protests here in North Carolina where I live, but I have not been able to go yet. Tonight my aunt called me from Ohio to tell me that major protests are going on at Barclays Center. I’m glad they are happening, but sad that our film didn’t make enough of an impact to force the media to deal with the context that created it. In the meantime, here’s a piece from the day the arena opened. Barclays Ribbon Cutting from rumur on Vimeo.