On January 20, to mark the second anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, hundreds of activists and social artists engaged in street theater in the name of economic justice. Dubbed “Occupy Wall Street West” and organized by a coalition of 55 Bay Area organizations and dozens of Occupy San Francisco affinity groups, protesters peacefully entered Wells Fargo’s corporate headquarters and Bank of America’s main branch and held up signs demanding that banks end predatory evictions and foreclosures.
And then they danced.
A flash mob called “One People” converged on the plaza that houses Bank of America and Goldman Sachs and commenced with a freeze. A dancer called out “Mic check!” The group responded, “Mic check!” and vocalized a piercing scream of anguish, which collapsed into a die-in before transforming into an upbeat dance.
The above video was directed and edited by Ben Flanigan and produced by Magalie Bonneau-Marcil of the Oakland-based DancingwithoutBorders.org, which explores the intersection between art and activism. Street theater and dance are effective direct action tools, and they show the world that this movement has a sense of humor – and, more importantly, a sense of joy. As Drew Dellinger, a poet and educator who is quoted in the film, says:
“I think art and politics are connected, because it’s about imagination. It’s about having the vision and the creativity and the imagination to say, ‘I can imagine a world without foreclosure. I can imagine a world that’s moved beyond war, that’s moved beyond racism and sexism and economic injustice.’ So the same capacities of imagination that the artists use is the same poetic capacities that the poet uses to create, is the same imagination and creativity that we’re using to create a better world.”
Here’s One People and the flash mob the group begat on November 19, 2011 in San Francisco. This film was also made by Magalie Bonneau-Marcil and Ben Flanigan.