Monday, March 26, 2012

The Occupy movement comes to the Barclays Center arena: "This is what kleptocracy looks like"

After Occupy Town Square gathered in Fort Greene Park yesterday, a smaller group (as per The Local) of a few dozen marchers moved first to Forest City Ratner's Atlantic Terminal mall, home to big box stores, then moved to the in-construction Barclays Center arena, accompanied by "the Illuminator," a van that projected images on the wall of the structure.

(Photo and set by Tracy Collins.)

"This is what kleptocracy looks like," marchers chanted, and "the Illuminator" broadcast photos of Atlantic Yards developer Bruce Ratner, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, and former Governor George Pataki.


Illuminate Atlantic Yards from rumur on Vimeo.

Would the 99% have made a diff?

The marchers surely were the 99%, compared to a big developer, but they were not huge in number nor demographically a full cross-section of Brooklyn.

"If the 99% concept had existed during the Atlantic Yards fight, would we have won?" asked Stuart Schrader on Twitter

My response: "Good question. But Atlantic Yards backers claimed to be helping Brooklyn's most vulnerable, via the CBA."

That said, the 99% concept surely would have made the fight more interesting, and complicated--and perhaps caused some media outlets and civic groups to look harder.

The chant: promises not met

Here are some more videos. The below chant, projected on the wall, was devised with the help of Develop Don't Destroy Brooklyn, but I'm pretty sure DDDB would not have gotten the Russian billionaire's name wrong.
"When space is used for private interests without community input, we occupy. They promised jobs and housing. Instead we have a subsidized parking a lot, and a demolition zone. We are here to raise the voice of the 99% over Bruce Ratner, over Mikhail Prokofiev [sic; should be Prokhorov], and their oligarchy, over Bloomberg, and his private army. They are few. We are many."


Below, note how participants tossed balloon basketballs over the fence.



Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn

Below, the short animated slide show with music about the Atlantic Yards controversy by Gavin Smith that was projected onto Barclays Center arena by the Occupy Wall Street Illuminator.


Once Upon a Time in Brooklyn from Gavin Smith on Vimeo.

Addendum

I got a call from former Dean Street resident David Sheets, a renter who was one of the plaintiffs in the Atlantic Yards eminent domain case, as well as a challenge to the condemnation. "I wasn't looking for a cause," he reminded me. "I stayed because it was the only thing I could to do.

He added:
"A number of people have asked me if I've been over to Zuccotti Park. We already did that. We did that for years. Instead of street theater and pitching tents, we lived it. We couldn't even get the 99% to see our point of view. And still don't. They don't make the connection. We were occupying our neighborhood. We refused to move. We did not move until Judge Gerges signed a condemnation order, and we had no choice."
(I'd add that I spoke to Sheets before I'd posted, and either of us had seen, the slide show above.)

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