Although the CDC recently refuted the existence of flesh-eating zombies, visitors to New York’s Washington Square Park on Friday night saw zombies of a different kind congregate in the park.
“Debt zombies” from all over the city and beyond came together at the park for the “Night of the Living Debt,” the fourth installation of the weekly casseroles marches which, while showing solidarity with the Quebec Students’ Strike, also protest the rising student debt in the United States.
The zombie theme was based off a Harper’s Magazine article which included a statement made by the anthropologist David Graeber, who “likens the process [of acquiring a student loan] to a horror movie, in which the zombies or vampires attack the humans as a kind of recruitment policy.”
At this week’s casseroles march, the preacher-cum-activist Rev. Billy Talen delivered a passionate sermon exhorting people to “ignore the synthetic nonsense from the mysterious financial instruments.”
Talen called debt “a fundamentalist religion,” and also performed “exorcisms” on a few debt zombies, which ended with a flurry of red paper squares, the symbol of student debt, thrown in the air.
This week’s casseroles march saw more than a 100 people joining in again, with the march following a square-like route around and ending at Washington Square Park again.
Despite an entourage of police officers on foot and motorbikes giving the marchers company, the march was almost entirely without incident, except for the arrest of a young woman at the very end, as the march returned to the park.
SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM AND CLICK ON ANY PHOTO TO SEE A SLIDESHOW OF THESE GREAT IMAGES OF THE MARCH (Photos: by Aby Sam Thomas):
1: (Photo above and first in slideshow) “Squarely in the Red,” the slogan for the weekly casseroles march.
2: “When education is under attack/What do we do/Get up and fight back!” chanted the protestors. In picture: Janna Powell. (Photo by Aby Sam Thomas)
3: “From Montreal to NYC/Education should be free!” another chant of the protestors. In picture: Ashley Baxstrom.
4: Outstanding student loan debt in the United States is now over one trillion dollars. In picture: Jimmy Dunson.
5: The zombie walk was a special feature of the fourth weekly casseroles march of June. In picture: Jonathan Gomez.
6: Maria Tardif was one of the earliest “zombies” to come to the park. She was the lone arrest made on Friday night.
7: Billy Lolos attended the march, coming all the way from Occupy Tucson.
8: One of the many enthusiastic pacers and organizers of the march, Nicole Rose.
9: Joe Sutton was one of the many who came to the park and got decked up as a zombie.
10: The Rev. Billy Talen (on the right) with one of the marchers.
11: Andrew Ross, who has been involved with the Occupy protests for a long time, at the zombie walk.
12: One of the younger participants of the zombie walk, Zola Ross Gray, Andrew Ross’s daughter.
13: “We demand that quality education be accessible for everyone:” on a flyer passed out during the march. In picture: Yoni Miller.
14: Max Liboiron hung a miniature diorama around her neck, which showcased an NYU student’s plight with debt.
15: Max Liboirox’s “Night of the Living Debt” diorama.
16: Dominic Ryan arrived on the scene with an Occupy flag.
17: Dan and Stephanie Shockley came together as a “zombie couple” to the casseroles march.
18: “We the students will not stay complacent as we are robbed of our future:” on a flyer passed out during the march. In picture: Therese Watson.
19: In July, the interest rate on federally subsidized loans is set to double from 3.4% to 6.8%. In picture: Albert Brozcski.
20: “Student debt is slavery:” on a placard showcased during the march. In picture: Dan Boscov-Ellen.
21: Arckii Kim, holding a flyer passed out during the march.
22: Angela Winslow, although devoid of make-up, playing the “debt zombie.”
CLICK ON ANY PHOTO BELOW TO START THE SLIDESHOW (Photos by Aby Sam Thomas) :