Tomorrow! I can barely contain myself. In the meantime, here’s DA Mom’s round-up of important information for tomorrow’s actions in New York City.
The May Day NYC website has a schedule of events, list of participating organizations, links to other locations’ actions, and other useful tidbits.
If you use Twitter, some of the hashtags to follow will be #MayDay, #M1NYC, #M1GS, #GeneralStrike, #99PKTS, #May1, #OWS, #MTA, #NYPD, #NYC. Tweeters who usually have good info include @OWSTactical, @DiceyTroop, @sabokitty, @OccupySteve, @_girlalex, @OWSBC, @PoweredByCats, @occutine, @TimCast, @OccupyWallSt, @OccupyWallStNYC. Your dear librarians tweet, as always, from @OWSLibrary.
Streamers work from two places, UStream and LiveStream. On UStream, try stopmotionsolo, pinkladies, timcast, occupiedair, or owsnyclive. On LiveStream, try owshdtv.
Enough of that. On to dressing and packing! It’s going to be a long day, the weather might not be great, there’s going to be a lot of long walks, and the cops are going to be heavy-handed. That said, some of your decisions can be made based on your risk level; if you’ll be in green zones all day you might dress differently than if you’ll be going red. A longer check-list is here. My advice:
- Comfy, sturdy, water-proof or -resistant shoes, such as hiking boots.
- Full-length pants.
- A couple upper-body layers that are breathable & will still keep you warm if damp. I’ll be wearing light wool.
- It might rain in the morning, consider a light rain coat that can be stuffed in a bag when the weather clears.
- If you have the space, carry some clothes that allow you to khaki-flage or go civilian. Or, dress that way in the first place. For example, I might pack a blouse and a pair of loafers, and wear corduroys instead of jeans. That way I can look “normal” in a rush-hour crowd or look business-casual if I end up doing jail support later in the day.
- Do not bring anything that you aren’t ok with loosing.
- Do not wear contact lenses. Really.
- Don’t wear earrings, necklaces, etc. that could be grabbed and ripped off.
- Don’t wear makeup or put on lotion — pepper spray sticks to it.
- Wear long hair so that it can’t easily be grabbed, such as in a bun.
- Smaller bags, worn close to the body, are better. Harder to grab, and lighter.
- Water and calorie-dense snacks (Clif Bars, nuts, dried fruit, pastries).
- If you expect to be in yellow or red zones, consider a couple bandanas (mind the masking laws!), leather work gloves, air-tight goggles. Some of this stuff is really specific to the kinds of less-than-lethal weapons your local police force likes to use; for example, tear gas canisters are hot, so you need gloves to
throw them backhandle them, but aren’t a thing we’ve seen NYPD use. [By the way, canisters are easily dealt with by either putting a bucket over them or submersing them in water. Just saying.]
- Cell phone & camera. Bring an extra battery and charging cables.
- Carry a valid government-issued ID, if you have one. You don’t legally have to, but you might get out of jail faster.
- DO NOT bring anything that can incriminate you or people connected to you. Weapons, drugs you don’t have a prescription for (bring a doctor’s note or prescription if you have legal drugs), your address book, etc. Delete interesting photos from your phone or camera. If you are arrested the cops will go through all your stuff very carefully.
There’re a few important phone numbers. These are New York City specific. The National Lawyers Guild (those are the folks in the green hats) is 212-679-6018. Jail Support Coordination is 774-257-4697. Medic dispatch is 917-727-8621. If you haven’t already committed the NLG number to memory, write it on yourself in Sharpie, somewhere that clothes and sweat won’t rub it off. I go with the inside of my calf. Especially if you will be in red zones, also consider writing an emergency contact number and medical info (blood type, allergies, etc) on your body, in case you get the shit beaten out of you. If you witness arrests, or are arrested yourself, call the NLG to report it. Try to get arrestees’ names, so that we can find them later at precincts and central booking. If not, give a good description, or at the very least a head-count. If someone near you is injured, yell “medic!” as loud as you can.
Lastly, we know that the cops are mostly a bunch of jerks who don’t like to uphold the law when it’s inconvenient to do so. Which means, while there are laws about where we can be and what we can do, it doesn’t mean we won’t be arrested for trying to do those supposedly legal things. Signs, standing on the sidewalk, running, dancing, saying mean things, et fucking cetera, have all gotten folks arrested lately. That said, there are some things you can do to decrease your chance of arrest, or at least give yourself a stronger case in court.
Know your rights! The NY Civil Liberties Union has a lot of information, but I’ll also sum it up for you. As we said at summer camp, this is a repeat-after-me song; as you read this paragraph, repeat the things you might have to say a few times out loud. If police stop you, ask, “Am I free to go?” If they say yes, leave; if they say no, ask “Am I being detained?” If they say no, leave; if they say yes, holler for legal and media. If cops try to search you, say, “I do not consent to this search.” They’ll probably still search you, but anything they find may not then be admissible in court. Of course, if they have a warrant, they can search you and it’ll be admissible, no matter what you say; in that case, demand to see the warrant, don’t let them bullshit you. This also applies if cops show up at your door. Do not let them in — don’t even open the door! — unless they show you a warrant with all the correct information on it. Other than the above, the only other thing you should ever say to a cop (or other law enforcement agent) is “I am going to remain silent; I would like to speak to a lawyer.” You can (and probably should) give them you name and address, but after that, shut up. Really, anything you say can and will be used against you, so zip it! As Safer Spaces said at GA on my first day at the occupation: rule number one, don’t talk to cops, rule number two, don’t talk to cops! You are allowed to video the cops, including any interactions you have with them. They won’t like it, but it’s legal and good idea.
A short word on horses — the NYPD likes to bring them out for crowd control on big action days. We may see some tomorrow. Horses are naturally disinclined to step on people, though some of that gets trained out of police mounts. So, if you’ve got some coming at you, and you can’t get out of the way, make yourself compact, cover your head, keep your limbs tucked in, and stay still.
So, I’ll see y’all in the morning. I plan to eat a good dinner, polish my boots, kiss one of my menfolk, and go to bed early. We’ve a long day ahead of us.