Living Resistance Vicariously Through a Lens - Brief Thoughts On May 1st Real-Time Journalism
As we all know, May 1st, also known as International Worker's Day, is rapidly approaching. An unfathomable amount of planning and outreach has gone into the shaping of what is hoped to be the starting point for a whole new level of resistance for our generation: the General Strike. "No work. No school. No shopping. No banking. No housework. No data. Everyone into the streets." is the popular message surrounding this upcoming day of action, and all who support this call are expected to participate in whatever way they can.
Now, I ask you… what of the mass array of citizen journalists? Anyone who has attended or viewed media of Occupy Wall Street actions and events is well aware that it is commonplace for a large percentage of those present to be recording the happenings in some way or another, whether it be photographs, video, livestream, or real-time tweeting. I am in no way condemning documentation of what takes place in these crucial moments, but I do have a number of things to speak on regarding journalism relating to the first of May, specifically.
- The necessity of livestreams, as opposed to standard video documentation, at times seems like nothing more than a way to offer the experience of being present in action for those who are unable to attend. It offers little more than videography does, except for the real-time aspect. This will be an especially counter-productive media method on May 1st, as anyone who would be watching the feed for whatever reason, SHOULDN'T BE. The general strike calls for participation, in whatever respect possible. If you cannot be physically involved on the streets, the alternative should not be sitting in front of your computer. (NO DATA!)
Watching a livestream channel on Mayday equates to scabbing.
- There is obvious trend when it comes to documentation of OWS actions, that being an absurdly unnecessary amount of folks taking it upon themselves to photograph, film and share information on Twitter. The reasoning behind Occupy citizen journalism is to protect itself from the misconduct of the state, and keep everyone updated, but there's little reason for 350 out of 500 participants to be spreading information of visuals of the other 150 being beaten and arrested. This is not participation. This is the illusion of contribution. A good example is the following photograph, taken from the December 17th action on Varick Street:
Obviously, media-based evidence of the on-goings of an action are important, but ensuring that there are multiple shots from every angle possible is not. Notice that there is a small contingent of folks attempting to rush the gate, while the majority gets it on film.
It is a dangerous thought, equating this with taking action. It isn't participating. It's spectating, and on May 1st, we need the least amount of spectators possible. This is not a game, nor a hobby, nor a pastime. We are fighting for our lives. We need a sense of urgency, and a physical manifestation of the love and rage that drives us. We need all the help we can get.
All warriors out for the general strike. Spectators need not apply.