PROTESTOR WITHOUT A PERMIT in Tiananmen Square in 1989. Naughty, naughty boy!
"We, the people of Occupy Providence, would like to express our gratitude and appreciation for the continued respect shown to our just and legal gathering." So began the letter to Mayor Angel Taveras and Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare that was delivered to the mayor's office the afternoon of October 24.
"We believe that our presence is a legitimate exercise of our Constitutional rights to free speech in protesting the abuses of authority and the failures of inaction that have marked our era," the letter later read. "To this end, we respectfully restate our intention to remain in Burnside Park for however long it takes to build a society by, for and of the people." So, it's now a standoff.
Approximately 200 people marched from Burnside Park to City Hall to deliver the letter. They then filed out and marched through downtown to the court building on South Main Street and, finally, back to Burnside Park. P&J were struck by their discipline and serious intent. And we were struck by what they have built.
The park denizens, sustained by donated food, tents, and other necessities, have created their own General Assembly, which convenes each evening at 6 — an experiment in community building becoming a conversation. There are also ongoing workshops, reminiscent of other social protests.
But this encampment will eventually be moved, maybe by the time the Phoenix hits the streets. The big question is, will the connections made and community created continue to grow and flourish? If so, this was most definitely a worthwhile exercise — a true grassroots effort at connecting people and discussing some of the big questions.
P&J are alternately amused and appalled by the idea that people who want to protest are being told they need a permit to do so. Can you say "right to assemble" or "civil disobedience," boys and girls?
Nobel laureate Lech Walesa, leader of the triumphant Solidarnosc in Poland, once said, "Rights are not things you are given. Rights are things that can't be taken away."
Park those protesting butts wherever you wish, folks.
Inquiring minds have contacted P&J about what our old pal Frank Carpano has been doing lately anchoring the weekend newscasts for the JARheads at Channel 10.
It seems that when Barbara Morse Silva was shifted over to Channel 10's morning show with Frank Coletta, the weekend spot opened up. Carpy, a genuinely nice guy in an industry full of phonies, jumped at the chance to replace her, as he has filled in on the news desk in the past at 'JAR and can easily handle the assignment.
The reason for Morse Silva's shift is thought to be a response to the growing popularity of WPRI's morning team of Danielle North and Patrick Little. We imagine the move didn't sit too well with her new partner Coletta, who has dominated the morning slot in the Biggest Little seemingly since color TV became all the rage.
Coletta is highly respected in the JARheads' newsroom, as he has always run a smooth show, is a total pro, and stands up to management over the kind of empty suit-mandated "Live from Studio A" and "An (insert media call letters here) exclusive!" bullshit that pervades news reporting today.