by Kirsten Anderberg
Historical reenactments have been an American pastime for centuries. They reenact the Boston Tea Party in grand gala yearly in Boston. And remember the controversy when they tried to reenact the Columbus ships landing on America's shores? Wars seem to be a favorite for the pageantry of reenactment. There are reenactments of the Revolutionary War, the Spanish American War, and World War ll. But the Civil War wins hands down for the most reenacted war in America. They do it in South Carolina and Illinois, in Georgia, and Alabama...Now, if we can have Civil War reenactments, why not expand that to Civil Protest reenactments? What if we did an historical reenactment of the WTO riots in Seattle, Wa.? But this time, actors play the police and protesters, reenacting what happened for the media and excited spectators. It could be a family event that is educational *and* entertaining. Something Seafair could sponsor!
This concept of protest/riot reenactment has been successfully executed in Eugene, Oregon. You can view pictures of protesters reenacting a police riot on a hillside in a park on the Cascadia Media website, (www.cascadiamedia.org), in their Gallery. I think it is tremendously empowering to see people taking the power of HISTORY back into their own hands, by reenacting peaceful protests that turn into police riots.
We recently had the LEIU protests, turned riots by police, in June 2003, in Seattle, Wa. What if we got a permit for the same exact route of that protest, to reenact the protest? We would come in black uniforms, without name tags or badges, and bring our bicycles to use as barracades to block in protesters, and use as weapons to smash their feet. We could use seltzer bottles like clowns use, to mock drenching the crowds with pepper spray! We could even imitate the Infernal Noise Brigade, just for fun, for them and us! Some would reenact the protesters, others the riot police, others the mainstream media that stand around dazed, others the confused tourists, etc. Or we could reenact Seattle's nonviolent peace march that turned into a riot on March 22, 2003. Fake blood could come out of an elder man's head as we fake beat him in riot police costumes, as he sits, blocked in, at the intersection of Marion and 1st downtown, nonviolently protesting war. Or we can research historic labor/peace/social protests and confrontations in our own town's historic past, and reenact those populist struggles! The possibilities are endless! If you are having a lull in your city's protest schedule, consider a protest reenactment today!
Copyright 2003 kirsten anderberg