Sorry for the late post guys! I decided to make my post about the #NotMyPresident march today so I was there documenting. Hope you guys had a good day off school.

There’s something about protests that are so exhilarating. As I get off the subway I am assaulted by the noise and commotion of Columbus Circle, where the Trump Tower looms. It’s a beautiful day with clear blue skies, a perfect day to actively oppose the president. I spot the crowd and start to follow it, it seems like a magnetized force is pulling me along. All at once I’m surrounded by hundreds of people of all different colors with one thing in common– we all hate Donald Trump.

The feeling of unity spreads through me as the first chant of the day begins. A woman shouts, “Show me what a democracy looks like!” and the rest of the crowd collectively responds with “This is what a democracy looks like!” The proximity of all these people is a bit overwhelming, but once a couple of smiles and apologies are shared for accidental bumping I feel comfortable among these people.

The people surrounding me are all completely different: people of different races, religions, ages, genders, and sexualities are around me. It’s difficult to be sure how many people are around by just looking but I feel as if the crowd goes on forever. The air is a little chilly but the bodies surrounding me are keeping me warm. The air is full of camaraderie. Everyone around smiles and compliments each others signs. A few people over I read a sign saying “All you need is Love.”

Of course on top of the feelings of unity there are the feelings of dissent. A man wearing a MAGA visor walks by carrying a yuuge Trump flag and hundreds of people start to scream. “SHAME” and “FUCK TRUMP” are yelled towards this man. The hairs on my arm stand on end as person after person turns to scream in this man’s face but I find myself joining in.

Protests emit an extremely powerful affect. Protesting among hundreds of people that share a common interest is validating and comfortable but it can also turn hateful. With that many people it is so easy to adopt the behavior of those around you. Theresa Brennan describes this affect perfectly in “Transmission of Affect” where she describes how the transmission of affect becomes unconscious in an environment of crowds. Individual consciousness is cast aside once there is a congregation of people.

There is also an intensity that comes with being apart of a protest. Brian Massumi describes this well in “Autonomy of Affect,” he writes “Intensity is embodied in purely autonomic reactions most directly manifested in the skin – at the surface of the body, at its interface with things.” Protests affect the body as well as the mind, on top of creating a sense of unity and safety there is also the feeling of rebellion and anxiety that comes with it. The intensity of the crowd’s vibe determines your own state of consciousness.


~ by lb2843 on February 20, 2017.

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