Friday, April 03, 2009


Wednesday evening in Pittsburgh I was walking from my hotel to a meeting. On the sidewalk up ahead was a peaceful demonstration by 40 or 50 anti-capitalism protestors. There were 2 police cars and 2 police motorcycles keeping the peace. The protestors were in a tight little bunch at the entry of some building. A woman in the middle was shouting something through a bullhorn. There were some signs that I didn't really read, just struck me as "Socialism good, capitalism bad" kind of stuff. It was clear from the police presence that there was meant to be separation between the throng and any onlookers, but from what I could tell there were no onlookers and no threat of disturbance. There was also no way to cross the street due to a concrete median erected for construction purposes and the fact that traffic was moving in both directions. And I was in a hurry. So I barged right past them on the sidewalk in my suit and tie. After I passed by, I heard, "Sir! Excuse me, sir!" I was concerned that it was a cop eager to tell me the error of my ways, or maybe a protestor wishing to engage my capitalist ass. I had time for neither and kept on walking without incident.

At the time I felt a bit of satisfaction as the object of their scorn. Later as I reflected on it, I couldn't make any sense of what they were doing. There were no onlookers, they weren't really roused up, there were no cameras, and I hadn't read their signs. So now I am wondering whether the whole thing was somehow April Fools related. I wish I had stopped long enough to read the signs. I checked the websites of the two Pittsburgh papers on Thursday but couldn't find anything on it. Now it lingers as one of those memories that I don't know what to do with, which cabinet to file it in.

1 comment:

Tom said...

I would think of it as a social gathering without a refreshment cart. Where else can a throng of anarchists go to enjoy the afternoon? And how could they possibly enjoy the afternoon if you didn't know how they felt?

Post a Comment