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October 7, 2011

All Assumptions Will be Contested

As the “Occupy Wall Street” movement gains steam, we are seeing all kinds of signs and symbols indicating “there’s something happening here.” Photographer M. Scott Brauer captured one of those indicators in Boston Wednesday. Whereas the Tea Party has had a perceptual lock on American political activism since 2009, with the Colonial Gadsden flag as their self-claimed flag, calling card and wallpaper, the fact a progressive activist would unfurl it in front of this high-profile building in the Boston Financial District filled with major bank, brokerage and investment outfits – in effect, taking it back from the libertarian and conservative right — provides a dramatic statement.

Of course, anybody could get their hands on another “don’t tread on me.” The fact that this progressive groundswell is almost a month old now, however, is expanding at the rate it is, and is starting to draw analogies to the Tea Party phenomenon and even the Arab Spring, invests this imagery, at this point-in-time, with a sense of a rebalancing of the political scales. On top of that, it’s a dramatic warning shot that all political and cultural conventional thinking will be contested.

PHOTOGRAPH by M. Scott Brauer/dvafoto.

(dvafoto photoblog; Brauer portfolio; Brauer photo archive.)

About the Photographer

M. Scott Brauer

M. Scott Brauer was born 1982, Landstuhl, Germany, to American parents. Grew up in various locations in the US, but Montana is home. Currently based in Boston, Massachusetts. Graduated with honors from the University of Washington with dual degrees in philosophy and Russian literature and language in 2005. Interned at Black Star and VII New York in 2005. Worked for daily newspapers in 2006 and 2007: the Northwest Herald in suburban Chicago, and the Flint Journal in Flint, Michigan. Moved to China in 2007. Represented by Invision Images, Aurora Select, and On Asia. Clients and publications include: The New York Times, Fader magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Time Asia, That’s Shanghai, Epsilon (Greece), Vision magazine (China), Lufthansa, Bosch, Amity Foundation, Pfrang Association, Colorlines, World Magazine, Map Magazine (China), AM New York, and XAOC magazine. See more of Scott's work for BagNews here .

  • bks

    Some pictures to compare and contrast from a Wall Street protest in 1967.   Black and white photography still rules:


    • Rob Shook

      What do you mean black and white photography “still rules?” 

  • Kevin I. Slaughter

    Using the Gadsden flag to protest business would not be “taking it back”, but repurposing it to a new expression.

    It has always been used to critique the abuse of government power against citizens.
    The TEA party movement is fundamentally about taxation, the #occupywallstreet movement is fundamentally about business and finance conducted in a free market.
    Using the gadsden flag in this sense may be construed as some commentary about how businesses have become a pseudo-governmental power, but since it’s never been used as such before, it can’t be “taken back” for a purpose it was never used for.

    • omen

      au contraire, at the start of this country’s revolution, it was reactionary monarchist conservatives who opposed this country seeking to separate from england and fighting for independence.

      200 plus years later, conservatives have the balls to rewrite history.

      so, yes, we are taking it back.

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