DALLAS — On Nov. 19 Occupy Dallas held its first widely-publicized march since the group was evicted from its encampment Nov. 8.
A diverse crowd of 250 turned out at Pioneer Park and marched through downtown to two separate rally sites before returning to their starting place. “We are, we are, here to stay,” they chanted. “You can evict people, but not ideas,” read one of the many pertinent handmade signs.
I walked along with an old salt who, like me, has been protesting on Dallas streets for the last 30 or more years. He told me that it looks like Occupy Dallas and the protest upsurge it generated is about cooked. He told me that their first march, October 6th, had more than 400 people and that, if the people of Dallas truly supported them, we should have had a lot more than that now that the Dallas police, like thieves in the night, arrested 18 of them and evicted them all.
He told me that Dallasites were even more fearful than before, and that the outrage people felt over the city’s highhanded treatment was not enough to bring them out, even on a reasonably nice autumn day.
He claimed that the newspaper articles against the tent colony had done their work in undermining support. The Dallas newspaper wrote extensively about the violence that broke out at a Bank of America rally on November 5th, or at least they did until a video showed that one of their policemen had started it by pushing a protester off a 4-foot perch.
He talked about the same newspaper’s reports of minor scandals and divisions and fights between some of the occupation people and claimed Dallasites were gullible enough to withdraw from the overall movement.
Between chants, my old friend told me that the leading economic indicators were up, that Wal-Mart had made a fabulous 3rd quarter profit, and that initial unemployment claims were down. The economy is slowly recovering, he told me, unemployment will cease to be a problem, and economic injustice will be harder to see.
He told me that most people don’t really care that much about the erosion of our fundamental democratic rights, as long as it’s only the young protesters losing out and not that noticeable in their own humdrum lives.
He told me, in other words, that the protest upsurge in Dallas is on the wane and will soon be over. I told him he was crazy!