by Drew D. Duzinskas
It’s been a frustrating day here in the sweet and sleepy little city of Springfield. As usual, my mind is occupied with matters of a legislative nature. Our old nemesis, SB0397 came back to the Statehouse today.
As you probably know, SB0397 represents the worst kind of legislation to those of us in Occupy Springfield, IL. (OSI). Corporate extortionists holding the state legislature in terror of the prospect of losing more jobs in a state that’s already struggling to pay it’s own bills and keep it’s citizens employed; sounds like a job for OSI. In particular, Sears and the Chicago Mercantile Extortionists… oh sorry, Exchange, are demanding ludicrous tax breaks at the expense of a state budget wracked in debt. The proverbial Dude does not abide in this situation, and we felt this aggression could not stand. That’s why OSI has aggressively pursued stopping the bill, having before today appeared at the statehouse 3 times to protest it.
I was already spun from my recent incident at Congressman Schock’s office when SB0397’s return to the Illinois General Assembly was brought up at the Occupy General Assembly Saturday afternoon. Staring a $500.00 fine and a potential court battle in the eyes and knowing you just painted a bulls-eye on your back would be enough for a lot of people to want to back away from any more provocative protest actions. Too bad that’s not the kind of man I am, and if I wasn’t I don’t think I’d be an Occupier.
You see, targeting a bill like SB0397 is a lot like what I imagine hunting dangerous big game is like. We may not be able to bag the thing like we want, but we can damn sure see to it that some damage is done to the beast. Banners, sidewalk chalking, The People’s Mic, etc.… are the weapons we use in public spheres to take shots at these things. They create a spectacle people are compelled to watch because it deals with real issues, real people, real dollars being spent. Who wants to watch some crappy T.V. show some corporate shill put out to make a few bucks, when you can watch history unfold before your eyes? Hopefully, if you can get enough people talking about the things you’re talking about, educating themselves, and making decisions based on that, you’re cooking with a tin stove.
We’ve been itching to drop a banner somewhere, and this seemed like a good enough reason. Unfortunately, we had to develop the strategy on the fly. We didn’t really have the kind of in depth intelligence on the Gallery balcony in the Statehouse (our chosen public sphere for the operation) that allows for a perfect plan. We also didn’t have a banner yet. No problem for OSI.
We began designing and making a banner immediately. OSI is a do it yourself operation, so connecting a few bed sheets together and slapping some paint on them wasn’t beyond our capabilities at all. We found an operative with an artistic aptitude to recreate our OSI logo on it, and within 36 hours we had a banner that said “Stop Corporate Extortion OSI”. Gotta love Occupy Springfield, IL. R&D.
The trickier part came on the action end of the operation. We arrived about 25 strong at the statehouse, give or take. I filed in at about noon or so, and took up a role helping troubleshoot the situation. We were able to successfully teleport the banner in using advanced technology acquired from Occupy Area 51, and had it hidden near the railing we had chosen for maximum public exposure. There were unforeseen obstacles like lights on the wall and pillars that we had to work around, but we were able to develop a plan on the spot that would effectively display our message.
Unfortunately, unlike seasoned hunters that know the exact right time to use their weapon for maximum damage, we might have fired our shot of too quickly. As soon as the debates for the day began, we felt it was time to drop the banner. In hindsight, we probably could have waited until the debate on our bill. Oh well, you can’t roll down the highway of life looking the rear view mirror. Besides, the message we sent is what it is, regardless of timing.
I went down to the railing and took the banner out of its hiding spot, and started setting up. I handed it to one operative dressed in a suit, while another one in the same garb took the other end. We had to do a quick twist job to line it up, but within 10 seconds, the banner was up and visible to the politicos below. I stepped back and held my left fist up in the air, as did the rest of our group, as we heard someone call for security to stop us.
Within 30 seconds, we were being ejected yet again from the Statehouse. Despite the short time of the event, we did get some good exposure. There were iPhones and cameras out, and some of our people were able to retrieve video of the event. There were also some television cameras with a perfect pan shot of the banner. That was no coincidence.
Unfortunately, the bill passed through the House today, despite our efforts. It’s up for vote in the Senate next, but it looks like we won’t get this one. That’s alright, we’re making a point that we want everyone in that building to know about.
These actions are all about raising public awareness. You see, we at OSI don’t ask ourselves how far we have to go to get the change we want. We ask if we will be able to do whatever it takes to make change happen. By the looks of our crew so far, and the ruckus we continue to make, it seems that we will. We’ve already shown that it isn’t what we do that makes us hated and possibly feared. It’s what we don’t do, and that’s stop. Solidarity Campaneros, and good hunting!