TAMPA, Fla. — Having spent four days with Occupy Tampa and local anarchists, The Daily Caller’s photo and video team had the chance to overhear some of the more enlightening comments from protesters.
The group — maintaining the notion of being a nonviolent movement — conducted numerous marches throughout the week in an effort to protest corporate influence in elections, the GOP and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Here’s what we heard.
1. “You got locked out of your own convention!”
As several protesters took to lying in the street in an effort to speak out against the “one percent” and the GOP, one delegate and avid Ron Paul supporter from Nevada urged the occupiers to get involved in the political process.
Standing in front a mob of occupiers and security forces, the woman engaged in a debate with a protester. The woman, wielding a Ron Paul sign and wearing Paul stickers and pins, delivered an impassioned plea, encouraging protesters to take over a political party and get involved in the process.
A protester responded by heckling the woman, saying that she had been abandoned by her own party. “You were locked out of your own convention!” the man shouted. “You were locked out of your own convention!”
2. “Lady Gaga is a c***”
The occupiers paid homage to pop singer Lady Gaga as more than 50 protesters made the trek from downtown Tampa to Ybor City, blasting her hits “Bad Romance” and “Poker Face” from a megaphone and following a car driven by fellow occupiers, which was followed by a police motorcade.
When asked why these “little monsters” — the nickname for Gaga’s fans — support the singer, who has become quite wealthy, one protester spoke out in favor of the singer’s social activism.
Mike, who participates in the black bloc system of protesting, said Gaga identifies with neither the 99 percent nor the one percent, “but I personally think she’s a c***.”
3. “Materialistic shit”
Thank God for boyfriends. When you’ve clearly had a couple and you’re caught up in a revolutionary movement, they can be handy. Wednesday in Florida, one occupier’s better half was there to help her keep her feet on the ground.
As protesters took their rolling (or tripping) dance party through the streets of Ybor, one shirtless woman almost lost a card for Tampa’s bike share program. Shaken lose by the gyration of her hips in time with the music, the card began to slip out of her back pocket. A member of TheDC’s photo and video team tried to warn her of the impeding loss, but she wasn’t bothered.
“I don’t give a fuck about that materialistic shit,” she said. “None of that shit matters.”
Her boyfriend, another protester, disagreed.
“Well, it kind of matters,” he said running back to retrieve the item. “Actually, it matters a lot.”
She’s lucky to have him.
4. “The Muslims never fought the Christians … The Muslims never fought the Jews”
September 11? The Ottomon Empire? Crusades, anyone? While we may think it’s difficult to forget the long history of conflict between Muslims and Christians, and Muslims and Jews, some Occupy protesters have. In an exclusive interview with TheDC, one man — who refused to be named for fear of backlash from the CIA — told us “the Muslims never fought the Christians. The Muslims never fought the Jews.”
5. “We fed the homeless and picked up trash”
But really, they did.
Despite an ordinance in Tampa making it illegal for anyone to feed the poor, the movement marched out of their camp, called “Romneyville,” toward the homeless nearby and spread the wealth by sharing food they had prepared through the “Food, Not Bombs” system, which involves dumpster diving and preparing discarded food.
While moving through the streets of Tampa, the protesters started picking up trash as they made their way back to Romneyville for the first portion of their evenings’ events.
Police weren’t afraid to share their accounts of Occupy’s Adopt-A-Highway, radioing to one another. “I think they’re picking up trash,” a protester who overheard the remark told TheDC.
6. “What do we want? DRINKS. When do we want them? NOW!”
“What do we want? CATS. When do we want them? MEOW!”
“What do we want? TIME TRAVEL. When do want it? IRRELEVANT!”
While the Occupy protesters unveiled a wide range of catchy melodies proclaiming their anti-establishment message, TheDC photo and video team couldn’t help but take note of these two chants.
When faced with riot shields and billy clubs — and the possibility of being pelted with rubber bullets — protesters on Monday brandished an arsenal of nonsensical tunes, demanding cats “meow.”
Then, as they made their way up and down the streets of Ybor City past a row of bars and clubs, their message of revolution was quickly overpowered by the need to quest their thirst.
Piggybacking on political activist and Occupy frontman Vermin Supreme’s presidential platform, protesters on Monday also demanded time travel, though a timeframe to meet this demand, they said, was irrelevant.
Grae Stafford, Josh Peterson and Zachary Gorelick contributed photography.