Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Report back from Parade without a Permit...

Photo by Anne Nomus nyc


Report from one of the organizers of the parade...

September 29th: The Parade Without A Permit formed around the fountain of
Washington Square Park. At 7:45pm, the drummers played soft beats and 200
of us circled the park center. The vibe was both tense and jubilant.
Nobody knew how the police would react, when and if the seven cops on foot
would call in the reinforcements surely clustered just out of view along
the surrounding blocks.

When we stepped out of the west side of the park and onto the streets, we
were immediately in Speaker Christine Quinn's district and immediately in
violation of the new rules the police wrote and Quinn rubber-stamped.
Since February 2007, it's been illegal for 50 or more people to process
through New York City without first requesting and then receiving
permission by the NYPD.

Photo by Anne Nomus nyc
By the Stonewall Inn, the drummers played harder and faster, and everyone
chanted, “Resist! Resist! Raise up you fist! Resist! Resist! We know you
are pissed!” We swarmed Christopher Street. From that point on, we moved
along in the streets of the Village and, when we turned up Eighth Avenue,
transformed all four lanes into a dance hall.

Photo by Anne Nomus nyc

Our front line consisted of pink and black clad queers holding three
banners: the center one stated “Defend Freedom of Assembly! Stop the Cop
Law!”; the right one, “Quinn Betrays Queers!”; and the left depicted
Speaker Quinn in a way-oversized police hat with the message “Quinn Cops

Photos by Anne Nomus nyc

photo by James Wagner

Fists raised, drums thumping, our pack proved you don't need permission to
process through the City with 50 or more people. It wasn't just a healthy
sign of the democratic process. It was a fucking good time. Diners smiled
and clapped. Passersby jumped in.

Over the rhythms, revelers towards the back of our roving carnival started
a spontaneous chant that we all took up: “No permit! No permit! We don't
need no permit! We'll burn it! We'll burn it! Your fucking permit!” Most
of us wore a patch depicting the number “51” to underscore this point.

Plainclothes cops were in the streets with us. A police car zoomed up to
the back of the parade, and the officers in it shouted through
loudspeakers to intimidate the crowd. But really, the police response was
minor. In many similar kinds of actions, the NYPD have made arrests and
even cracked skulls. That they weren't on Saturday night was the clearest
indication we're focusing on the right target: Quinn gave the NYPD the
cover to pass the anti-assembly rules, and the police were returning the

“Chris Quinn! Hypocrite!” everyone chanted. “Your policies are full of shit!”

photo by James Wagner

We're going to keep exposing the fact that Speaker Quinn wants to be mayor
and she's willing to sell our civil rights down the historical river for
her own personal gain. As an out lesbian, she has betrayed the political
legacy that gave her the power she enjoys today. We're not going to let
Quinn take the streets away from us—not without a fight.

We danced through the Meatpacking District, longing for the days when
trans-sex workers still made transactions and six-story billboards didn't
exist. Then we processed south to Christopher Street, where we picked up
more people and steered towards the piers that still serve as a meeting
place for queers, especially queer youth of color—though the area is now
under heavy surveillance and locked down at night. By 9:30 p.m., fireworks
were erupting, and we were lounging in the grass, passing around beverages
and grins.

This is what democracy looks like. We hope to see it more often in the City.

Love and Rage,
the Radical Homosexual Agenda

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