Monday, April 30, 2012

Good Thing

Good thing I wrote that letter.

ProtestKid struck up a conversation with his Vice Principal this morning in the breakfast line. He told her about the General Strike tomorrow and how he was participating.

"She tried to convince me to not go on the strike," he reports. "Reason one, because I needed an education. I told her I could home school. Reason two, that I was too young to go on the strike and you {ProtestMom} were a grown up so you could go on the strike. I said, 'No. I could go on the strike.' I didn't say anything about going to protests before, though. She said it wasn't safe because I was just a kid. Just for that reason, it doesn't make sense. Actually, she doesn't have a better reason because I've already done it before. I didn't mention the permitted stuff, as well. I just said, 'No,' that's it."

He did give the letter to his teacher, and she said she'd give it to the principal... but maybe it wasn't necessary after all. ProtestKid speaks for himself.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Dear ProtestKid's Teacher

Dear ProtestKid Teacher,

Since he’s been wearing his Occupy Astoria LIC button to school every day (he smuggled it in, actually, as I’ve been trying to stress that it is politics and we try to keep politics out of school. Has he stopped bad mouthing Bloomberg yet?), I expect you know how much he cares about Occupy Wall Street and how passionately committed he is to the values of justice and solidarity it espouses.

You might also be aware that this coming Tuesday, May 1st, is a “Day without the 99%” and Occupy Wall Street is standing in solidarity with other groups nationwide that have called for a General Strike.

I wanted to let you know that I plan on taking ProtestKid with me as we fully participate in the entire day’s events and planned actions. I expect he will be engaged in a self-directed exploration of the history and practice of change-making in the United States. He will have access to oral histories and documents that will further enrich his understanding of politics, history and math.

I believe that participating will not only give him the chance to witness history, but also to stand in solidarity with teachers, police, documented and undocumented workers whose labor has been exploited and dishonored by the establishment  for far too long. I believe that taking him this coming Tuesday is as important a civic duty as the many times I have taken him with me to the voting booth.

If you have any questions, please contact me.

Otherwise, please excuse ProtestKid’s absence from school this coming Tuesday, May 1st. He will be otherwise occupied.

Alia Gee

Monday, April 23, 2012

A hive of industry...

Friday, ProtestKid and I helped hand out almost 1,000 copies of Occuprint's Strike paper outside Ditmars Blvd Station. I stood quietly and held them out, but ProtestKid was an outreach natural, "Have you heard about May 1st?" he asked people, handing them the paper. "It's free!" he'd cajole, walking backwards and turning it around at puzzled commuters, "Look, it even has funny cats on the back!"

He chased people down-- every single person getting off the N & Q train at Ditmars Blvd, on the exit we stood at, had to consider whether they wanted to say, "No, thank you," to ProtestKid or not. At least twice, after he had trouble taking No for an answer, I'd pull him back verbally, "You have to stop when they say no, ProtestKid," and they'd turn, look at me, and change their minds. The other times, they usually at least smiled gratefully at me... So it was still a positive Occupy experience for everyone.

Also, he pursued kids in particular, which I would not have thought to do. (Because really, it's creepy for adults to do that. Don't do that) and they would smile at him and take the paper and I think most of them at least read the funny cat cartoons. Which is as much as I expected from the adults, so...

ProtestKid ran non-stop for almost two hours, one paper at a time, one interaction, one smile, one intense discussion on the merits of lolcats and strikes and the 99% at a time, "Take two!" he said to the gypsy cab drivers who grinned at him and kept saying no until finally they gave in and took three. "Take one for a friend!" he enthused at the preening teenagers outside McDonalds. And they did.

I thought I would post about the beautiful and functional linen scarves/headwraps/handkerchiefs I made Sunday and today, but really it was nothing compared with his boundless enthusiasm Friday evening.

Here's to ProtestKid, and the future I hope he earns for himself and all the other kids.

Friday, April 20, 2012


Yesterday I marched back and forth with my sign in front of the blockaded Federal Hall steps for half an hour-- the nice senior parks police official explained that I could either stand still behind the barricade or march outside, and I chose motion and freedom. At least the SWAT team was elsewhere, unlike Tuesday when they wore bulletproof vests.

So I marched. And then I bought hot sandwiches for the occupiers-- one of the medics almost cried, "This is the best breakfast I've had in weeks." She was the same one whose partner told the arresting cops that she had seizures, stop beating her-- so they threw her head (I could almost see the bruise, still) against stairs. She was the same one who witnessed cops (during the Liberty Square eviction) stomp on puppies and throw them in the garbage. (Unsurprisingly, they lost 4 medics who witnessed that behavior and were too upset to come back.) She was the same one who had 47 minutes of freedom between being released and re-arrested. The second arrest, as she was walking away from a protest scene-- with her lawyer walking besides her. She was about my height and several stone lighter, but it took ten cops to beat her up. She was as surprised at her fearsomeness as I was.

So then I had to get them coffee and hot chocolate-- one of the other occupiers said the medics had stayed up all night, keeping an eye on the people asleep at 60 Wall, since that is the only place (as of now) where then can sleep unmolested.

I slept for 11 hours last night, and I'm still tired.

[Edited to subtract some flaming rhetoric that hurt a friend.]

I'm going to blame the tired for the burning words. And/but it is hard seeing the protestors hurting, and I don't know how much energy the rest of the world has to care.
It makes me feel crazy.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


OWS Update: I guess I probably didn't mention here, though it was all over my twitter... Yesterday morning I went down to Federal Hall. I brought munchkins and canned fruit and then discovered the closest Dunkin Donuts (Google Maps lied, it is not on Fulton but Maiden Lane, FWIW) and ordered two dozen donuts and a gallon of coffee and a gallon of hot chocolate. "Will that be all?" asked the manager. "That's all I can carry!" I said, laughing. She smiled brightly, "I'll help you carry!" she suggested.

I'm not sure if she was serious or not. ...Maybe next time I'll take her up on the offer.

J and Y and (er, I forget his name) gave me big hugs and thanked me, saying that sort of thing really helped them keep going. A tourist took pictures and grinned and kept saying, "Is this a zoo? They look like animals!" I turned my back on him because yes, they are caged in by police and heckling tourists and they aren't perfect but they are trying. They are trying so hard. And if I was more clever or more kind I would engage him in a meaningful dialogue... But I had just carried two gallons of hot liquid several blocks and I wasn't feeling the right kind of thoughtful.

A young woman had "DEBT" written on her t-shirt. Later she added "End" above it and "Slavery" below it. She stood next to the Washington Statue and a Parks Debt SWAT team member-- in his bullet proof vest-- came up and told her she had to move away from George. Apparently, Washington didn't want her free speech cooties.

He made her move the cardboard signs that had piled up at George's feet, too. He didn't notice the fruit cup. I was proud of that little fruit cup. Go, fruit cup, go! Stand short and proud! Speak your truth silent and sweet!


Today is a LittleMan day, and he doesn't want to go to protests. "I scared, I don't want to get arrested," he says and I don't blame him. Monday morning he woke up, and the first thing he said was, "Mommy, when you get arrested I don't know where you are and I'm scared!" So we had a snuggle and talked about how  !ProtestDaddy and ProtestKid would be safe and would take care of him even if he didn't know where I was.

But he still doesn't want to come to protests, and I still don't blame him.

Tomorrow, then, when he's at daycare I'll tromp down. Maybe I'll bring some fresh markers and cardboard.

If there's something you'd like me to write on a sign and hold for the morning, let me know. I've avoided that, but if the police are going to escalate their harassment, maybe I need to escalate my silent truth.

Now, with added sugar.

Friday, April 13, 2012


So I haven't posted much, despite us still being pretty active, because I was struggling with how to justify bringing my kid(s) to protest(s).

Not to myself, because it's just what I have to do if I'm going to participate and boy howdy I must participate.

Maybe not to you, the person who reads my posts because we went to high school together and you love me.

But to you, the person who is shocked-- Shocked, I tell you-- that I am bringing my child(ren) into a Dangerous Situation. You, the person who plans to blame me (and is judging me in advance) if someone else hurts me or my child as a direct (or even indirect) consequence of my bringing my kid(s) to protest(s).

Dear You,

Everyone has different parenting styles, so if what I'm about to share doesn't make sense to you, then we'll have to assume that nothing else I say will make sense and please don't bother to comment, just move along to the next blog.

If you have kids, or ever were a kid, or have seen kids play, I hope you have experienced a mudpie. It might not be just mud-- there might be grass involved, or dandelions (or, in my own personal experience, it was mud soup in a bucket and along with the dirt and the grass there was one slice of American cheese broken up into tiny pieces... for flavor. The neighbor kids got much cooler food than my organic family. *yearn*)... but there was play. And sometimes there was a bite taken out of the pie (or a straw inserted into the bucket of soup...)... and it didn't kill us.

It became a story to tell, an experience to ruminate upon, a moment playing together in the sunshine that taught us important things about the power of cheese. (Like, it can't make mud and grass soup taste good.)

Kids need danger. Not guns in their faces and bombs in their backyards kinds of danger. But they need mudpie danger.

They need to learn to recognize it and how to protect themselves from it or they will go into the world and they will buy half the shares in the first mudpie factory they see. They will learn to fear dirt, grass, and cheese rather than the people who tell them mudpies are yummy.

They will believe the dangerous, pretty lies if they don't also see the people holding up big cardboard signs with the delicious truth on them.

I'm their mother, and it's my responsibility to make sure the mudpies they experience aren't laced with arsenic or toxic debt.

But I have to give them a taste of danger, or they will choke on it when I'm not there.

Thanks for reading, and I hope that helps you understand the decisions I make and the experiences I'm giving my kid(s).


Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I just tweeted, "I'm starting to wonder if I can rely on any rights, or if all I can do is throw my body into the machine &hope it breaks before my bones do."

This was in response to the Supreme Court deciding that we are all guilty until proven innocent; as soon as one is arrested one can be strip searched even if later one is exonerated from any wrong doing.

You may have noticed from my last two posts that I've been feeling twitchy about my right to protest and the frightening ways the system could hurt me and my family if I continue to exercise my right to protest.

This Supreme Court decision to nullify my right to privacy-- to the right to not be anally probed without cause-- is a core issue. (yes, i made a bad pun. sorry.)

But I'm not sorry.

Here we go, the other side of fear. I may not stay on this side, but for now I'm going to coast on laughter. You really want to see my squishy insides? You think that I will stop resisting because you stick a finger up my butt? I will be ashamed that you don't trust my body?

When have The Powers That Be *ever* trusted my body? It's female, it's dangerous and wrong already. How scary *is* my ass, people?


Fuck it. Yes, I will keep throwing my dangerous body into the jaws of the machine.

But honestly, I would much rather throw pumpkin bread at it.