A few photos from the #GeneralStrike in Oakland, California on November 2, 2011. I didn’t take many, I was too wrapped up in Twitting my experience and processing what was actually happening. Media estimates put the crowd at anywhere from “hundreds” to “thousands,” but there were easily over 15000 protesters present. It had a concert/festival atmosphere, jovial and respectful, with the anger and frustration one expects from Americans right now. Completely peaceful, save for a small band of decked-in-black instigators who were self-identifying as anarchists or anti-capitalists. These were the people responsible for most of the damage done to banks while the march procession looped around downtown.
The experience was amazing. I cried at one point – when the 10-block-long march turned a corner and trapped a truck in its path, driven by an older Asian couple who were collecting cardboard to sell at a recycling center. They honked and honked and honked and were all smiles, cheering with fistpumps out their open windows – happy to be caught up in the net of the protest. Here were people, likely immigrants that are under-served by the community, literally collecting trash for income, joining in without disdain for the inconvenience. I had to pause on the sidewalk because I realized that the language of this movement is not of the mouth, but of the spirit.