Sunday, November 6, 2011

A Walk Through Occupy Baja

Sunday morning dawned overcast, rainy and chilly here in Baja Georgia.  I had read in the paper a couple of days ago that the Occupy Jacksonville movement was underway and that they were determined to create a 24-hour presence like their Wall Street brethren.  I decided to take a ride downtown and see if this was for real or just another fair weather occupation.

I was greeted by the erstwhile group who had taken up camp in front of city hall.  I thought the traffic signal was a nice touch.

This encompasses the entire Occupy movement here in Baja, an area of the country painted solidly red.  The protesters wanted to set up shop in a large, central-plaza park across the street but park rules, in an effort to discourage the homeless, prohibit camping.   Camping is also prohibited on the sidewalk so the protestors had to stay within the narrow orange brickwork between the sidewalk and the street.  But still, they seemed to be in good spirits and even offered me an apple.

Meanwhile, across the street in the central park, the real occupiers of downtown were lining up for lunch, along with Bibles, being distributed by a small Christian church.  People on the front lines trying to make a difference.  Conspicuous by their absence were congregates of the 20,000-member First Baptist Mega-Church located just one block away.
Residents enjoying their lunch and a card game.  Note iPod headphones.  I guess life on the street for some ain't as austere as we've been led to believe.

Another resident, enjoying her brown-bag lunch and a new Bible, loudly proclaiming to one of the church members, "Ya'll oughtta be gittin' paid for this!"  "Ya'll shouldn't be out here doin' this for free."  I'm not sure which is the case, she doesn't understand Christian charity or Economics 101.  Apparently, both.  But she was happy.

Another resident, who disturbingly looked like she could be any one of us, found a quiet spot to read her Bible and enjoy lunch.

An interesting juxtaposition, the facade of Baja's new $350 million courthouse located two blocks from the square.  Justice has its cost.

The facade of another $350-million Baja boondoggle.  A place where, in Jesse Jackson's words, "My people can entertain you" before they visit a more familiar facade.


  1. Three quarters of a billion dollars to make sure justice is served or service is judged.

  2. Must be a lot of criminal enterprise happening in Baja for a hall of justice to be that big.

  3. Yeah, the legal industrial complex is alive and well in Baja. Good to hear from you Mark.

  4. Wow, even Occupy Johnson City (TN) got a bigger turnout!

  5. Columbia, South Carolina has had some decent numbers in their Occupy movement, at least far more than I thought possible. Tried to get down there to the state house and take part but kept getting sidetracked.

  6. Glad you highlighted those actually out there helping to feed the homeless. They deserve the recognition.

  7. Great pics! The Occupy Atlanta crowd has actually been quite large, in spite of the rampant case of red-state disease around here. (Granted, Atlanta and Decatur are wee islands of blue.) The biggest GA boondoggle in my opinion was the Go Fishin' nonsense. Not that I have anything against fishing, but nineteen million dollars to build a fishing "educational center" in Perdue's land-locked town of Perry, and a few fishing ramps around the state???? All the legislators had to do to make it happen was slash money from education and public safety ...

  8. Good job, Mr. C! You turned a small movement into a big statement with your photogravure.

  9. Although your narrative puts perspective on the photos, I also like looking at them without reading, which allows me to see more of just the "humanity" of the situation.
    Great pics.

  10. Such a beautiful post I had to share it with the Facebook crowd before I commented here. I wish you could take pictures where ever you want whenever you want.
    For some reason, right now I seem to remember a story about you under a table in a German bar and it led to your career as a military photographer. And another about a friend of yours who was a juggler.
    You're some kind of wonderful storyteller, Mr. C

  11. I am sorry to say that the turnout in my home town (baja) is miniscule (Population 1,000,000 +/-) compared to where I live now (population 250,000) a factor of about 500 (and, it's getting damned cold here by the minutes). I guess I'm not really surprised though...Jacksonville and environs is lily Red, as you pointed out.

    Btw, fuck The First Baptist Church. Hypocritical jackwads.

    Great post C!

  12. Baja Update: I was downtown last night the Occupy crowd had swelled by a factor of 20 or so with about 50 people participating. I'm told on the weekends it swells to several hundred, I'll check it out and report back.

  13. I that bond something place close to the courthouse?
    I am constantly amazed by the things I learn about the US from blogs.

    It's getting a bit too damp round for here for the Occupy crowds. I wish it would take off in the provinces in the UK. I'd gladly lend a hand.

    What strikes me is that the crowds are so spindly. I remember barricades toppling under the weight of protesters in my day.

    But then, it, and everything else, was always better in the good old days, wasn't it?


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