We Once had a Dream Called Occupy Wall Street. 04/02/13

We once had a dream called Occupy Wall Street. I don’t know if it was a dream, but it had the qualities. You know, that New York feel of importance as the sun broke over the buildings and spread it’s warmth across a small concrete park.This blog will be about this event, as it happened to me, as I experienced it. It’s going to be quick and dirty, a lightening recollection timed to the beat of meeting minutes which I attended. It’s going to be critical. I want to critique it, because it wasn’t what I wanted, or expected, but in the end many of the problems came from just that. Everyone wanted something, something built in their own vision, but our visions are just scattered fragments laced with our societies garage. Our perceptions of the poor, of money, of relationships.Love and battle. When the hundreds of people gathered there on the first day, and when that number climbed to the thousands we each brought our own stories, and we each brought our own garbage.

Occupy Wall Street wasn’t the Utopian dream that I hear many refer to it as…maybe to some it awoke that thread, that thread that the world we come from can be better, that somehow we can overcome the sickness, the death and starvation, the many many forms of suffering and oppression that surrounded us. The built-in controls in our everyday life. The points of power colluding to shift reality.

I believed in Occupy Wall Street, because I was there. I’ve told this story countless times now, and I figured it’s time I write it down.

July 19th, 2011 my plane landed at Laguardia Airport. I’d just left Grand Forks, North Dakota. I told myself for good, and as the plane decended I saw the Statue of Liberty flash by, I thought that my new life would be good. When I disembarked I waited for my luggage to spin out and this man walked up to me, he was jerk on the plane, he stopped next to me and said, “You know what I mean, I can see it in you. We got to stick together.” I grunted, out of fear or confusion, i can’t remember, and grabbed my bag and walked out to try to figure out how to get to Harlem to meet a friend.

I was wearing my favorite pearl button shirt and a skateboarding backpack I bought for traveling when I was eighteen years old. I was now 30. Attached to that backpack by carabiner was a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles suitcase. It was filled with books. Books on organizing, books of poetry, and my favorite novels. I’d come to New York to be a spoken word poet. I figured a city this big had to have a community to support me doing what I wanted. I guess I still had that forever dream of sharing my views through poetry to an audience who was there to hear it. Back home I’d done spoken word at open mics where crowds of drunks proceeded to drink. Maybe here there was a place that people went to hear poets. That was my goal. I never achieved it.

I bought a metro pass at the airport and jumped on a bus to Harlem. My friend was waiting on the corner for me. We hugged and he said, “Hey, there’s this meeting tonight with some folks i’ve been organizing with, want to come.” I said “Yes.”

 

Audio recording: https://soundcloud.com/uneditedcamera-1/we-once-had-a-dream-called

(This blog will be updated weekly as a sort of serial novella. It also have an audio recording link to each addition. If you enjoy what you’re hearing please, support my media collective work at bit.ly/uneditedmedia)

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Then I was in Texas at the Tar Sands Blockade

 

Then I was in Texas at the Tar Sands Blockade.

 

 

 

I arrived in East Texas September 29th, 2012. Drove into a small Eastern Texas Town, where the houses pushed back from the yards sprinkled with drought dried grass. I came to cover a story about some folks who built a wall against the KXL pipeline.(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keystone_Pipeline) A pipeline cutting a swath across the belly of the United States like some deep burnt scar. It’s tube to be filled with Tar Sands Bitumen( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oil_sands ).

 

I learned about the Alberta Tar Sand where the bitumen was being shipped from years ago at a workshop at an enviromental conference called Powershift. Indigenous folks told stories of machines that dug up around their communities pressing the sand into some sort of high pressure goop that’s pushed through the pipes like a super heated laser. Turning the top soil into a dead scar.

 

A place of burnt Earth refereed to by some as Mordor (http://clairefwrites.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/396859_308910712489236_204528066260835_849519_534297420_n.jpg ), the death ground in the Tolkien Lord of the Rings trilogy. The home of the … well, I guess it looks like the images of that dark land when you read those novels, but the truth is that the Tar Sands are located in the midst of peoples homes. It’s a devastated piece of Earth the size of New York State, in the middle of Alberta, Canada. Homes and communities of people such as: Mikisew Cree First Nation,

 

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, Fort McMurray First Nation, Fort McKay Cree Nation, Beaver Lake Cree First Nation, Chipewyan Prairie First Nation, and local Metis peoples. (http://www.ienearth.org/docs/IENFactsheet_2.pdf ) These indigenous folks sacrificed in the name of so called progress, an old tale whose truth bruised reality. I learned all this in a presentation by the Indigenous Environmental Network at Powershift. The stories they told waned in accuracy in each of my retellings as time passed by, but the reality of the situation? Strange cancers seeping their way into indigenous communities . Chemical ponds wafted their fumes into the air. Progress. Colonialism continues to play its racist hand. Human lives sacrificed in the name of profit.
Some risk calculator probably counts the sums numbered off in some sort of heartless tongue. Death/Profit ratio. Lawsuit loss/Profit Gain. The black line pushed up as that red line burns bright as blood into the lives that are left behind. It often weighs in my heart and mind. And I mention that place, the sad tale breaching my lips. I tell it to anyone who’ll listen. The Tar Sands, what I know of them, a disgusting stain on this Earth, a disgusting stain on the idea of a just and humane society. They’re real. In all that people can create and invent on this Earth, the paintings, and architecture, the smooth line of poetry playing that small bone in your ear into a chilling hum, in all this, a manufactured dead land exists.

 

I knew all this when I read the call of the Tar Sands Blockade.(https://earthfirstnews.wordpress.com/2012/09/24/get-your-ass-out-to-texas-and-fight-the-tar-sands-pipeline/) saw the call for media assistance, and livestreaming and felt the urge to go. From what I read there was a literal tree village and wall (http://www.flickr.com/photos/tarsandsblockade/8074381163/in/photostream) erected in the pipelines path, and they needed folks to help cover it with cameras as the construction edged its way towards the blockade. I saw one video link (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Eo-2-VmSp8&feature=youtu.be) and realized that I could help. I could be holding that camera, or stream that video. It might not have needed to be me, but I was willing. I shot up a wepay link (https://www.wepay.com/donations/uneditedcamera-goes-to-texas-to-help-with-media-for-tarsands-blockade) and told myself if one person donated, regardless of the amount. I’d go. It happened and I traveled to East Texas to add my camera and work to the media effort and embed myself, along with my press partner @occupymusician into the wall to help bring out to the public what was happening.

 

We moved through the East Texas woods loaded with gear with the intention of getting up to that wall and figuring out how to cover this event. It felt like a threshold of something big in United States, something happening in the now. I needed to be in it to grasp it, and I needed to be able to hear the peoples voices who held down this wall. I moved along the countryside as the full moon shone our way, and came to the wall.

 

I’d never climbed a rope before and watched as my press partner struggled up thinking that somehow I’d have an easier time. I learned things like prussic knots and footloops, struggled into a belt, and locked carabiners. I’d never done this before, and proved it as I struggled up thef orty feet in about an hour. Sweat spilt down my body and I reached the top just as Maggie Gorry ascended the monopod in minutes. (https://twitter.com/Uneditedcamera/status/253225253893980162/photo/1/large ) The obstruction used to block a roadway Transcanada had cut in order to move equipment around the blockade. I spent the next 42 hours watching and documenting this woman as she blocked the pipeline’s progress. She stopped Transcanada’s work crews from continuing, and while I struggled through cold nights laying on the platform of the wall, she sung her way through them powering a small crank radio with her hands.

 

The cops listened too and seemed confused and awed by the whole ordeal. They’d ask her to come down, back to Earth, but she just let them know she was fine. Maybe, she was on the Earth. You know? Grounded. The monopod laced into it’s four cardinal points. Putting herself in the path of the snaking certain environmental destruction.

 

A person masked sat next to me on the wall and we watched Maggie together. They told me in frustration that they didn’t understand why they were looked at as some sort weird tree hugging spectacle. They said, “This isn’t a spectacle, this is the simple truth. How do you block a pipeline from going into the ground? You get in front of it.” Those words hit like a gong ringing out echoing through the trees, shivering their leaves in agreement. Maggie sat up on that monopod, and the corporation who brought us the tarsands bitumen, also brought in spot lights and paid off duty Police to set up 24hr camps, and suddenly, coming down from that wall without being arrested became impossible, and maybe that was okay.

 

They were right. The blockade isn’t a spectacle. It wasn’t counter spectacle against a giant political convention, that tried to draw away off the attention the convention garnered to get a protest message out there. This was direct action. There was a wall, a monopod and a treevillage. The pipeline flags marked off an ending point in front of the Tar Sands Blockade( http://tarsandsblockade.org/ ), and folks up in those trees let me know they weren’t coming down.

 

Maggie did come down after the police intervened and folks were unable to get her food. They had drawn up a plan to throw a shot line to her and slide some food along the line, “Hey, Maggie, we got some cheese. You want some cheese?” The cops lined up in front of it and let us know that if that shot missed and struck one of them it was a federal offense. Maggie suggested they ditch the plan for the peoples safety on the wall. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JBbY16yTTA&feature=plcp)She stayed up another twelve hours or so…Police lined up around her and watched her rappel down as she yelled gleefully into the night. The police begged her to be careful, explained that she’d be weak after being up there so long, but she slid down quickly and sprung her knees to soften her landing. The police walked her out, forming a sort of honor guard around her. I never saw her cuffed. The cops moved back to the monopod when she’d been carted off and walked to the east anchor and slashed the rope with a knife and the tree trunk toppled back to the ground. Almost 2 days up. I still can’t believe that anyone could stay up that long, but she did it.

 

The next days turned into a blur. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnRy5A7R1PE&feature=plcp)With blimps of extreme joy. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=asVbomrZ1qU&feature=plcp ) I meant to spend one day up learning the situation and trying to figure out how to properly cover it, and ended up for seven days. I can’t explain everything that occurred, basically days of talking, eating cold beans and drinking from the stores of water. I learned a lot that week. I learned why those folks had chosen to be up there. I got a variety of answers. The simple felt truth that it’s the right thing to do, that there wasn’t any way to stop a thing unless you got out there and physically stood, or climbed or placed yourself in front of it. Someone also told me that if they didn’t do it the land owners daughter would have a wasteland to play in instead of a beautiful forest.

 

We read books to each other, and listened as we roller coasted through the ride of emotions that were our reality. We were watched 24hrs a day. Spotlights and watch fires in the night. The police and private security trained their eyes on us, as a sitter said, “They’re here to protect and serve their community and they watch us like we’re the criminals. They watch us as their communities are being destroyed, the pipeline primed to poison their water ways. We’re the ones, we’re the one’s who are protecting and serving,” she told me as Transcanada camera people glassed the village with their cameras with their local law enforcement backup.

 

Transcanada Pipelines aren’t rated as indefinite holds out that’ll never burst. (http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120626/dilbit-diluted-bitumen-enbridge-kalamazoo-river-marshall-michigan-oil-spill-6b-pipeline-epa ) They’re rated in whens…. Bitumen being pumped from the Alberta Tar Sands along the heartland of our country is said to even corrode the pipes faster than other fossil fuels..

 

Fossil fuels. I sat on that wall and realized that it’s all happened before. The land we sat on ripped from the indigenous folks that were here before us. Land now taken in far off countries from the hands of folks in third world countries where corrupt governments sold their people out for instant profit. Neo-liberalisms beautiful formula exploiting people’s lives for fossil fuels, for land, for mineral rights. For anything that can be dug, slurped, and exploded out of the Earth. Now, here we are in the midst of of one of the largest economic disaster in United States history. Federal and States government hemorrhage their economies. They take their queues from the good old U.S. pf A’s own history. What I learned up there, as the bulldozers tore soil, the cutters toppled trees, and the foreign corporation accessed the United States government to tear people away from their land…this moment is the threshold of this country slipping down into third world status. Slipping down into a category it helped create. And these folks up in these trees? They’re trying to save the waterways and land, and trying to put a stop to this destructive direction.

 

9/17/2012 Occupy Wall Street Cover Plan

I’ve recently come from the RNC and DNC. Two convergence events policed by public servants. These are the same police officers that walk our streets, and are put into place for public safety.Through the experience of being policed by multiple different agencies, and now at multiple different convergences, i plan to examine police tactics.  How are we policed? What are the plans the police use to control crowds, target disruptors, and I’ve been told various times, “Keep people safe.”

I plan to focus all my efforts tomorrow to document the police in order to do an analysis across these convergences, of how we are policed,tactics used, and also the differences between different tactics. The RNC and DNC were dubbed extremely police heavy, but policed showed unprecedented restraint.

It’ll be interesting to see how the New York Police Department compares to these different convergences.

9/17/2012  5am: I will be live on ustream.tv/uneditedcamera

I’ll be documenting intersections and tweeting under the #livepress to be able to do a concrete analysis of the event from the point of view of police organization.

I’ll utilize:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Using the freedom of the press to document public servants  in public spaces.

All love,

Lorenzo Serna

#citizenjournalists

@uneditedcamera

 

Last RNC post: Hello Charlotte!

Let’s do an exercise 5 words that describe the RNC: Heartbreaking,police,love,laughter and exhaustion. I”ll let that form this post.

 

But not limit it.

 

I stayed at Romneyville. I think I stayed their expecting the demographic to be slightly different than the Occupy Tampa camp, but I must be honest, I didn’t visit that other camp, and have no way of placing it’s size, or effectiveness. My experience with RNC’s or conventions in general is always a struggle. Local Organizers fighting to provide housing and open space for participation, while authorities interfere with every logistical call. This one was a strange one.

 

My experience here was different. It seemed like there was little for folks to plug into besides the standard protest march. Example: One person spoke to me and explained that they attended a Rally where people spoke for an hour, each repeating the same points. They then marched in a circle ending back up at where they started to experience the same speeches again.

 

Coming out of Occupy Wall Street, I think the one thing we learned, or the thing I hoped people learned was that people want to be heard, not preached too. The effectiveness of union organizers lambasting their unions about what they already believed is…charming, at best.

 

Regardless, it was interesting to see so many people screaming about the injustice of the GOP, and ignore the hypocrisy of the democrats. I guess it’s nice to be able to see a line and choose a side. Maybe, I’m not enlightened enough.

 

The people in Romneyville were sorted. I keep coming back to this old man in a wheelchair, his watery eyes shifting as they registered the world around him. I never spoke to him, but watched him pull himself around, edging his only working leg forward, and digging his heel into the ground and pulling his body along. I saw him for a week huddled under the shade of the trees mixed in with Occupy kids from Nyc, from Tampa, from Austin, from parts unknown. He sat in that shade and saw a world I probably couldn’t come close to seeing.

 

That’s what ended up driving this trip for me, was trying to uncover those perceptions that aren’t voiced, that are lost in the haze of our society, in the static and noise of conventions and phalanx of police, in the shouts for justice and the drumming of feet and laughter. Somewhere in there is a snippet of truth that needs to be allowed space.

 

In the end, I came to the RNC to listen to the murmur of Tampa Bay. I told one person in the camp that `I didn’t care about the RNC. I don’t care about that show over there. I came here to listen to the city. I didn’t stream as much as I’d like, because so few people outside of the camp wanted to be video taped. So I sat in small diners on the verge of closing as a women who’d been part of that business since 1962 explained that she was almost lost. That there was little she felt she could do. I came to know this women only because of chance.

 

I walked with @occupymusician and a fellow videographer Josh. We were going to Ybor city where the bars were teeming with people and the streets clogged with cars. The sidewalks were cracked and to my right rose a development of new condo’s and land for sale with suggestions for hotels and condiminiums. On my left where shotgun houses that sat squat and extended away from the rising apartment buildings. Some with tin roofs streaked with rust.

The air so thick and humid that my sweat just pooled along my skin unable to evaporate. Little traffic on the street,but one lone car crawled towards us. This African-American women with an ageless face and a motherly flower dress leaned towards us over the passenger seat. She pulled over to us and told us she needed help. Help me. She said, “ They came on my land, they came on  my land because I let the protesters park on it. I was only charging them five dollars to park and the city came on and told me to charge them ten. Then told me to not let them park there. They told me that it wasn’t my land, that the city owned it. I have my paperwork, I have it right here, and they tell me it’s there land. I’m so… No one is coming to eat anymore. The police are in my backyard and they never have come and eat at my restaurant,” she stuttered in wet breaths and wept, “they just drive everyone away. Cause folks are scared of the police don’t want to be near them, and what do I do it’s so hard, and I’m struggling and I need help and they threatening to take everything. No one cares, who cares? I don’t know what to do.”

 

She told us how the city had torn down the projects across the street. That they spread the families across the city, she doesn’t even know where they went, the people just gone. We talked to another lady who said that those projects needed to go, that they were festering, but that she didn’t know where the people went, there were good people in there, families and now they can’t afford to be anywhere. I don’t know, they just disappeared. We were told that the white folks had spent all their time moving away from the city, into the suburbs, into gated communities, and now they just changed their minds and are coming back. The city just buying up land, and tearing down low-income homes and here come the white folks. She explained gentrification without mentioning the word, and I just listened. She said, “I don’t get it, I don’t need much, all I got is this house, and that house, we own it too, and I’ve lived here my whole life, and if I can, I’ll give you some food, and let you come in and clean yourself up, because all I got I can share,because what more do I want. What makes me the most mad, is how the city treats the homeless. Where are they? They used to be everywhere, but the city just drove them out,  because god forbid one of these fatcats see them in the street.. You know what, they made it that I can’t go the library in the city, I got to go two miles the other way? Why? Why do I have to be pushed out, because these folks are in town. It don’t make any sense, to live here my whole life and be treated like nothing.” She  leaned back in her chair.

Now, I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Charlotte, 13 hrs where she told me her story. I feel honored to have been able to listen to her, to them give me so much in such a short time. It wasn’t just them though, I walked the streets of Tampa and asked every person I could see if I could interview them, tape them, ask them what it was like to be in Tampa during the convention, but that wasn’t all, asked them what it was like to live in Tampa. I ran into two old men sitting on a crumbling brick wall, in front of a boarded up house. I tried to interview them and one said, “I cain’t because I ain’t no quiet boy,” and the other raised fear because of parole. I asked them the general questions,and they lead me through the general answers. One believed that Obama was going to do right, was trying to do right, but that them good o’l boys up there just stopping him at every turn. The other whose upper incisors were gone to some unknown accident, raised his hands and said, “Look theirs a left hand and a right hand, but they both part of the same body. You know what I’m saying?” They were both in stained shirts leaned back on their elbows and talked easily of what it was like to be in Tampa. How the city just drove the homeless away. “You see what we’re doing here? Just sitting in shade and relaxing along this public sidewalk. That’s right, public sidewalk, well, up yonder is another spot where folks would sit all day. The land was owned by the public, and the trees shaded the walk so you could be kept cool. Well, you know what the city did? It came along and just sawed them trees down, just pushed them back so there would be no shade.” He looked at us his face tilted to the side, his mouth partly open. “They don’t want to see no homeless anywhere. What’s wrong with being in shade? Where do they go?

This was repeated through the walks, this sort of insistence, that the city of Tampa was driving the homeless away and that it’s the worst, because there wasn’t anywhere to go. The man with missing teeth motion to us to come closer and said, “Here, let me show you what’s it’s about, he held his fist up to us, turned them over and opened them to show us his palms. In one, a quarter nestled in the wrinkles of his skin, and in the other a small crucifix, made of some tin and gold alloy, with Christ splayed out in miniature. “This what choice you have in life, you get me?”

I spoke to a man in his twenties in Ybor city, that explained that he doesn’t believe in no protest. He doesn’t think there’s a point to march with signs and screaming slogans, that it doesn’t do anything anymore. He didn’t think anything did, but then he said, “But if you gonna protest, you better go lockdown in some streets, or do that thing where you place your arms in others, you know, hands across America style.” I asked him if that was okay, that if that wasn’t too much, he said, “Look, if you’re to the point where you think you need to stop traffic and make a disturbance, fine, do it, it’s America, you’re allowed that right.” I asked him if he thought that it was non-violent, and he said, “Yeah, they’re not hurting no body stopping traffic.

The marches at the RNC were small and boisterous, the police escorts nearly 3 cops to each protester. I don’t know what to really think of the whole experience. You know? It was and it did change me, as all things do as they sneak into my worldview. Romneyville was home to so many people, and I was able to leave it and it just continued on. I think soon they’ll disperse back into the streets, as the space closes to them, and I’ll be traveling the roads to NYC to see what OWS thinks it should do about the country. I’m tired here in Charlotte, even though I now am in an air-conditioned place, and there are things like showers and indoor bathrooms easily accessible to me. I wish I could leave this post with some sort of nugget of knowledge, or at least knowing that I got across the point I wanted. There was heartbreak in the leaving, love in the watching the camp come together around so many strangers sharing what they could at times. Laughter mixed with exhaustion settling in the nights as I listened to Diamond Dave tell stories from a past I never knew. And the police hovering overhead in their helicopters, to afraid to come close enough to listen to the murmur of life coming from the camp.

 

RNC Sprodic updates, constant rain, and showers in nature.

Hey all, 

 

Still working on the online project, but the goings slow. I’m not too worried about it. I think I just need to open up space for others peoples voices. Sometimes I feel like I’m just ramming out e-mails in the  space between being on the street. Regardless a lot of time to troubleshoot and play, until we figure out what works. I’m not that worried. 

Today, or yesterday August 26th was the first day of marches for the RNC. I expected an all day stream-a-thon You know, Live! till I can’t sort of stuff. Sadly, I suffered a billion issues with my hotspot, and ustream. I finally gave up and started tweeting pictures to cover the events as best I can. 

I probably could have done a better job, but got caught up in the different feel of it all. I come out of Occupy Wall Street where actions and marches were based around banks and corporations. The actions ranged from LGBT issues, environmental issues, housing issues and so on and so forth, but what underlay them all was the collusion of corporation and state. The thread ran through the actions…

Here it’s mostly against the GOP. It’s been an interesting transition and one I’m thinking about as I cover the events.

 

Started out wandering the city to some marches that ended up at the freedom of speech zone. This zone consists of double fences, and a giant space that didn’t give you the true reality of being caged in. One entrance, on exit and folks rallied and chanted and stuck their signs to the fences before taking off to St. Petersburg.

 

Had a fun ride on the way there as our vehicle threw a belt and we ended up marooned in a BP. I dealt with it how I usually deal with stressful events. I ate some crappy food while we troubleshot. 

The solution? Vermin Supreme and his partner appeared and carted us the rest of the way. The ride was pleasant, crossed the bay and I enjoyed the general feel of these two people being so casual with us, and each other. It’s nice, always nice, to see how two people’s relationship play out in a car ride.

I have to say, they’re fucking pleasant. 

 

I have to cut it short. I’m exhausted and have to get some sleep. Expecting a long day of coverage tomorrow, but it should be exciting. 

 

The organizers said that no storm would hold them back. So, let’s see how the rain and wind treat this visitor.

 

Uneditedcamera

 

RNC ticks into the future August252012

I feel like I missed a day on this blog, but I haven’ slept yet. I’ll just treat it like a birthday! Where it doesn’t end till you sleep. You know?

It was a good day. Started hot and unbearable, but good nonetheless. I went to a local coffee shop and just worked on the computer and enjoyed some coffee. I didn’t plan on streaming much else but my morning update, and just whatever came along. Sent some e-mails and worked with the folks online on our project.

I love projects. The end. I feel like I should just say, the end. 🙂 but just working with some folks online to cover and event has been really fulfilling, challenging and exciting.

So, I”m doing well. If a little tired and constantly dehydrated.

The highlights of the day were just being. I really enjoyed walking through Romenyville, with it’s weird woodchip parking lot connected to it’s fenced in tent space. People just floating around and being. It’s nice you know. Maybe not nice in that air-conditioned loft, or whatever, but nice in that just being alive amongst folks who all seem to be here for the same reason.

I’ve been enjoying floating around and asking why folks are here to protest the RNC, and most just say because they’re.

They didn’t see why not, and they’re going to march.

Even while the police threaten mass arrests and swoop around the encampment in their helicopters 24/7. They’re gonna march, and at times it doesn’t even seem to be what moves the camp. It just seems like people are sharing food and being. Just being, and something about that is more powerful than any march I’ve ever covered.

The folks come from everywhere, all walks of life and in these moments living together seem to understand that they can support each other with the absolute little they have.

Thanks for letting me see it.

Spent the night streaming a radio show with this guy Diamond Dave. He’s 75 years old, living in a bus and, “Feeding the people, it’s what we do, we feed the people.” And the kiddie village rainbow bus does just that. Every morning, cooking whatever food they have and giving it to anyone who comes along, not just the camp.

Ended the night at an open mic. It was at this little place called, “The Silver Meteor Gallery.” Just some guy turning a house into an open space. He said he doesn’t make any money, but he’s been there for over 15 years.

Diamond Dave, this guy who beatboxes who goes by Black Zeppelin and a guitarist whose name slips my mind played together. 3 folks who never met created what they did, and it times it was really good, and at other times it just didn’t matter. People had fun.

I thought, simply, here I am in Tampa Bay Florida, at an open mic put together by a homeless camp listening to strangers make music together.

Not a bad day,

Uneditedcamera

RNC 8/23/12 Here we GOGO!

So, I’ve been in Tampa now for nearly 3 days. It’s definitely hot, hot, and hot. I was told today it hasn’t been close to as hot as it gets. That’s a nice little wake up call to know it’s only gonna be hotter. I spent most of this morning trying to find a place to shower. A colleague and I roamed around looking for a gym to see if we could pay a little to use their showers. The answers were  no. So, no shower, but I’m looking forward to the next rain and I plan on getting out in it with some soap and using natures open air shower to get myself feeling a little cleaner.

Other news, when I was closing my eyes last night the headlines were being over run with threats: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/22/politics/conventions-anarchists/index.html?hpt=hp_t2 Why I find this frustrating is the article starts with this claim, “The bulletin, which was obtained by CNN, says that anarchists could try to use improvised explosive devices.” This claim being given it’s own paragraph and space amongst the whole article before diving into the explanation of the piece. What’s frustrating is that the article follows up with what it calls Anarchist tactics:”During past national and international political and economic events, anarchist extremists have blocked streets, intersections, and bridges to disrupt or impede local business operations and public transportation access and, in some instances have initiated violent confrontations with police, the document states.”

So the claim given so much space, and which forms the rest of the article is followed by what  the FED’s say Anarchists have done in the past. Which doesn’t sound much like IED use. It sounds more like non-violent blockades of streets to disrupt an event that folks didn’t agree with. Shit, you know those folks in the civil rights movement? The ones who sat at the white only lunch counters. They might have just been disrupting businesses, and those tactics would have fit into that  neat followup paragraph.

The article then uses this:  “Law enforcement officials cite the arrest in late April of five Ohio men for allegedly plotting to blow up a bridge over the Cuyahoga River near Cleveland. Authorities said at least three of the men are self-proclaimed anarchists who had considered “a series of evolving plots over several months.” The article absolutely forgets to mention that the Cleveland five were provided logistics and given resources by…(drum roll it!!!) the FBI!  http://articles.latimes.com/2012/may/02/nation/la-na-nn-fbi-stings-20120502 This article shows the FBI being the folks who gave the plotters the materials to pull off the  threat.  The Eric Mcdavid case during the Green Scare is pretty much explain the FBI’s standard operating procedure for this sort of actions: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eric_McDavid (Yeah it’s wikipedia , but check out the source material in at the end.)

So, my beef with this CNN article is that it lays the framework for some impending disaster, props it’s argument up with the past non-violent actions that have been documented, and then uses the sensational Cleveland 5 debacle which was orchestrated by the FBI as is finale. You see how all the pieces fit together. Shit, do you see how they were all built to fit together.

 

Regardless, my real beef is that I’m staying at Romenyville. With a collection of folks from everywhere who sat through a meeting that explained to them that the Police might use pepper spray on them. They didn’t run, or get upset, just a little lady in maybe her mid 40’s, sunburnt, asked what that would do to her if she had asthma.

She’s planning on marching on the RNC and planning to probably clap her hands and let folks know that she’s here, and tonight I’m gonna spend my time learning about these people. These people who’ve come to stay in an open air camp. Who are baking in the sun, and preparing to march. People  should start flooding in soon, and  each one of them has come here for their reason, and I want to learn why.

It’s like the new’s agency sometimes forget we’ve been at war for more than a decade, people’s homes have been taken from hands, and their families dispersed across the face of this country. All the work in the world doesn’t seem to buy enough food for their families, and sometimes thats enough to get a person to get together with some strangers and get ready to march their feet to let, not only the RNC, but the world know their grievances.

“They say get back, we say fight back.”

 

all love,

Uneditedcamera

 

 

 

 

RNC 8-22-2012 my day 3 on da road to the RNC

Hey all, so I’m just doing a quick update on where I’m at. I spent most of yesterday getting a feel of Romneyville. Romenyville being the encampment i’m staying at here in Tampa Bay. It’s a camp organized by The Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign.  (economichumanrights.org)  The camp’s pretty nice, everyone seems glad to be here. It reminds me a little of Liberty Park in NYC. I guess all camps probably will from now on.

I did get a little flack from a person who was helping in the camp asking me to not photograph them. I explained that I would try not to, out of courtesy. Regardless, camped next to a kitchen and getting free meals, though they’re trying to get some support to get more food to the encampment, but are unsure how to proceed on that front.

We also just got a Police helicopter hovering over the encampment. It showed up at 8:31 am and is hovering over the camp.  (whatever)(8:54am police gone) Some folks said they were told it was a traffic helicopter, but it was interesting that it wasn’t over the interstate, but over us, then moved towards the other camp.

Today I plan on getting out to cover a story that broke last night. (http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/police-recover-bricks-pipe-from-tampa-rooftop/1246953) I’m just curious if the building was built of brick. Since, they found bricks ontop of it, bricks and one pipe. The story reminds me of one that happened in 2008 RNC about hidden (anarchist) supplies at construction sites. These supplies looking much like construction supplies.

Regardless these stories will continue to increase, and so will the good v bad protester story line. I really want to show how these stories build an environment of fear. This environment then allows the police to get away with subduing peoples rights. They have no choice but to corral you, and force you down giant fenced areas, they do this for your safety, because somewhere, someone, has hidden bricks and a pipe–on a building no where near the convention.

Good times,

all love,

@uneditedcamera

Post-2 August 20th: RNC a GoGo

Right now, I’m sitting at a desk between two folks who are also working on covering the RNC. It’s a little humorous(shouldertoshoulder) and I wish I could share a pic, but can’t imagine anyone getting up to take one anytime soon.

These past few days I’ve been sending e-mails to as many folks as possible. I realize that I’m just organizing, or trying to organize a journalistic undertaking, and folks seem excited about coming along.

My goal is to create an interactive form of journalism where the streamer is intaking content, and producing a solid primary source for material.

The folks I’m contacting will be working together on a collaborative pad taking notes on what’s happening, time stamping events they see in my stream, and creating articles about what’s going on around the RNC in near real-time.

There will also be a group of folks who are watching the stream, and accessing my content and cutting it down to a more digestible format. Again, hopefully creating clean produced content using my stream as a primary source.

The exciting developments, are, well, interest, there are a lot of folks who are excited about jumping on board and helping this experiment, and model of content curtailing using streams as a primary source..

Also, someone is lending me a better streaming phone, which will up the quality of my stream. Which will allow the video’s that are cut to look cleaner.

 

I really want to push viewers to join in as well, and work together to take notes on what they’re seeing. While I’m organizing folks who want to help, I really hope that this sort of activity can be crowd sourced. Viewers and chatters giving an opportunity to engage with the stream in different ways, and actively trying to open space for viewers and chatters to engage in various ways.

I assume it’s always about building a model and then showing it to folks in hopes of improvement.

In the end, I envision this as a giant team undertaking. While I’ll be on the ground streaming as much as possible. It’ll be the folks who are working with the content and creating polished articles and vids off it that will be doing much of the work. I’ll just be running about capturing everything I can.

 

Alright, I need to go work on  my first vid.

 

All love,

 

Lorenzo Serna

 

PS: plane leaves tomorrow at 7am. I’ll be doing a live update, before i go. I’m a little worried about sleep. I usually get really nervous before a flight. I always assume I’ll miss it, so I’m sure I’lltry to get to the airport around 5am. Which will cause me to sleep less, and I’ll stay up worried my alarm wont’ go off. The usual. Regardless I’ll be in Tampa Bay, around this time, tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

First post-One week before departure to the RNC in Tampa Bay.

Well,

 

I’m currently planning on heading to Tampa Bay, Florida to cover the Republican National Convention, and then travel to Charlotte for the Democratic National Convention, and the then end up in New York for the one year Anniversary of Occupy Wall Street. I didn’t plan to start writing until Friday when I finally left town, but I’m prepping already. I figured I should explain the prep I’m doing to maybe add more clarity to my coverage plan.

Firstly, I plan on daily updates to this blog about where I’m at in my coverage of the conventions. I also plan on  daily streaming updates of my experiences, and also streaming the marches and events I attend. Check out. Ustream.tv/uneditedcamera for video updates.

 

These updates will be a daily morning update, where I explain my coverage of the day, and also answer any questions that are submitted via uneditedcamera@gmail.com, or are on this blog, or twitter: @uneditedcamera  I want to try to make this an interactive journalism experience. Where I am on the ground, but actively  providing methods for viewers to get their input used as I cover the conventions.

I’ll be honest, I don’t know exactly what that means. My first move will be to create a collaborative writing pad and tweet out and ask for folks to add links to any article they find talking about the RNC(it’s first) Hopefully we can read through them and create… a collaborative annotated bibliography?

For prep, I’m planning to meet with various communication professors and English professors to sort of nerd out on language and narrative. I really want to talk about what it means to provide this sort of coverage of an event, and think about it theoretically for a bit before really diving into it.

I’m expecting a challenge. I expect to create a massive about of content as I move through the conventions. I plan on exploring and learning as much as possible. I also expect exhaustion, and a touch of stress. It’s going to be a lot of work, but work I’m excited to do.

 

There’s also another element of worry. When I think of conventions in Florida I think of this film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u2QfHaFitMs Which covers the FTAA protests where the Miami police brutally attacked protesters. I’m planning to cover this as a journalist, but a video camera, and a press badge has never stopped them from arresting me before. I also believe that as journalist, or street journalist, indy journalist, or whatever, my job is to stay and show what’s really happening.

So, we’ll see how it goes. Right now just planning to pack light: One backpack of clothes(plan on a lot of handwashing) One camel back (totally dumpstered and in perfect condition) A messenger bag with my stream gear: Ipod touch,hotspot, battery, chords, a laptop.(laptop will stay back in bus) I’ll also be wearing a gopro on my head.

I’ll probably pack my messenger bag with notebooks and wear it across my chest. I do this in case the police decide to fire projectiles. I’ll also be, at least for now, packing a bandanna and some apple cider vinegar. Right now, I don’t think I have a lot of protective gear and assume if anyone donates to my wepay come in (https://www.wepay.com/donations/uneditedcamera-cover-s-the-rnc-dnc-and-s17), I’ll use the donations to get some more protective gear.

Well tomorrow, look forward to the collaborative writing tools try. I’m gonna go celebrate my birthday old school.

 

All love,

Uneditedcamera