So the weekend of protest in Boston kicked off Friday with the Take Back Boston march. Upwards of about a thousand protestors took to the streets to voice their disgust with a variety of large corporations, but Bank of America easily took center stage.
The merit of taking to the streets is certainly a noble one, but I can’t help but wonder if it was at all effective.
Reportedly, the protest ended with the arrest of 24 in acts of civil disobedience, but I only witnessed six of those arrests, which took place in front of Bank of America’s Boston headquarters at 100 Federal St.
I would estimate that the march attracted close to 1,000 participants, but it’s always hard to tell. Naturally organizers inflated that number to about 3,000. I haven’t seen what the Boston Police estimates are, but judging on law enforcement’s tendency to under reporter protest numbers I expect them to report about 57 protesters.
The march’s many targets are scummy corporate beasts, but I can’t help but wonder how much the march’s efforts are hurt by a lack of focus. It’s easy enough to get a crowd to march through downtown, especially with the cooperation of the police, but no matter how noisy the crowd got, they were a little too cooperative. Sure there were arrests, but the ones I saw were the result of protesters peacefully blocking the entrance to Bank of America until the Boston Police Department got the OK to arrest them. At that point, the protesters cooperatively stood up with their hands behind their backs ready to collect their badges of courage in the form of white zip-tie “handcuffs.” You know, the kinds often used for riot control and that have been shown to potentially cause nerve damage in the wrists.
Following those six arrests, the crowd shifted to the rear of Bank of America, where they blocked another entrance, placing various signs with anti-bank slogans against the windows for the annoyed employees to look at from inside.
I think my favorite aspect of the tactic of blocking corporate building entrances is the inevitable corporate employee coming back from lunch with a disgusted look on their faces when they learn they have to walk to the side of the building to get in. I mean. The looks on their impatient faces is priceless.
I was disappointed at the amount of cooperation between protesters and police. It’s never that effective when police commission Ed Davis shows up with a smile on his face and sticks around just long enough to get briefed by Superintendant Evans, a scrawny, angry man with a look that’s most fitting of a pig who never got over his high school girlfriend being stolen by a black man.
It’s easy to dismiss protests such as this one, and most in media do so while missing the point. Everyone of Take Back Boston’s targets are corporations run by pieces of shit that deserve way worse than the biggest slap on the wrist the SEC or FTC might ever even consider administering. Despite my lack of faith in the effectiveness, I have to hand it the organizers for putting something together that drew as many people as it did.
My primary concern with the whole action was the lack of a cohesive message. That and the civil disobediences were useless actions. Sure, it probably feels good for the activists who get to add another arrest notch into their belt, but it’s not like they did anything to hinder the police state or destructive banking industry. Hell, I wouldn’t have been surprised if a Bank of America employee had gotten them to move by simply asking if they minded getting up so they could return to work after a coffee run.