Nichole Shippen

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Nichole Shippen is married to Sam Rasiotis.

Report from YDSer Nichole Shippen on The Battle of Brooklyn Bridge

According to Young Democratic Socialists leader Nichole Shippen;[1]

The solidarity march planned for Saturday, October 1, 2011 at 3 p.m. did not go according to plan. Although Occupy Wall Street claims to be a “leaderless resistance movement”, the march was in fact lead by a core group of organizers (or working groups) who presumably have been camped out the longest. According to the debriefing session following the police kettling on the bridge, the original plan had been for all the protesters to stay on the pedestrian walkway as we crossed over the Brooklyn Bridge to the Brooklyn Bridge Park where the march was to end in a rally. What happened instead was the following. As we began our march across the Brooklyn Bridge on the pedestrian walkway, we saw that coming from behind us was a line of police officers seemingly leading the back end of the march onto the roadway headed toward Brooklyn. People were walking with traffic, not against traffic. The police were not stopping or attempting to stop people from marching on the roadway. The people marching on the road asked those of us on the pedestrian walkway to join them. The police did not tell us not to do so. They did not warn us that we would be arrested as reported in the New York Times. They seemed to be making it possible for the march to take place on the road way. One lane of traffic remained open on the far right side of the bridge. Protestors spoke to the passengers encouraging them to get out of their cars and join us. A few cars got over the bridge before the protestors filled in the extra lane of traffic.

About half way across the bridge, there was a big push back. We had no idea what was happening, but as people were being pushed back enough space cleared to see that the police had stopped us and were beginning to arrest people in an unnecessarily violent manner. Collectively we decided to lock arms and sit down. Then we could really see what was happening, which was that the police were picking out random individuals and dragging them out of the arms of the fellow protesters. We slowly learned that the police had blocked both sides of the bridge so we were stuck in place. There were moments when people were starting to panic and we feared we might be trampled or suffocated as we were literally on top of one another, but as they arrested people we gained a little more space. A young woman reminded us of the battle of the bridge that took place during the Egyptian protests and said although this was not comparable that it was a beginning.

The problem or not, depending on how people come to understand the events that transpired yesterday on the Brooklyn Bridge, is that during the solidarity march—as might be expected—lots of new people arrived to join in the march, including people with little to no experience with peaceful protest, let alone training in direct action. For some, it was their first time attending a march. For others, it was their first time to NYC. This in itself is not necessarily a bad thing as it allows for an organic, spontaneous and democratic movement, which in turn provides the experience of democracy in action for the masses. However, once it became clear that everyone on the bridge would be arrested, which seemed inconceivable given the numbers, people volunteered to get arrested. Lined up even! Few resisted arrest beyond the initial few. It remains unclear why anyone would volunteer to be arrested even when it seems inevitable. How might we explain this phenomenon?
Toward the end there were about 50 or so of us left when the police began to divide the men from the women, and proceeded to escort the women away. We did not know if we were being let go or led to the buses at the end of the bridge. They let us go at the last minute, but it remains unclear why they did so unless it was for the sake of redeeming their image after macing young women earlier this week.
The ideological confusion of the protest remains unnerving. Someone was carrying a Ron Paul sign. At one point, the group spontaneously broke into song singing the “Star-spangled Banner.” Still others shouted, “USA, USA, USA!” In short, the ideological message was inconsistent beyond perhaps “end war and tax the rich,” but perhaps it is simply too soon to expect consistency. Nevertheless, democratic conversations and ideological debates were taking place all around us while we were being held against our wills on the bridge. Are we in solidarity with the police because they are part of the 99% or do the police simply reinforce a police state? At one point, we were informed that the Marines were coming to “save us.” Among the first arrested was a veteran of color who said, “This is how they treat a veteran. God Bless America? I say goddamn America!” At its best, Occupy Wall Street is made up of a democratic, diverse, intellectually curious group of individuals debating how we should live together. The movement is growing and as it grows it is going to become more unpredictable, but nevertheless democratic at its core.

Gramsci monument

Heidi Easton Chua Schwa September 15, 2013 ·


Dante de Blasio and his dad , democratic mayoral candidate , Bill de Blasio at the Gramsci monument in the Bronx. We all listened to a lecture by Frank Wilderson. — with Rose-Alma Lamoureux, Nichole Shippen and Kazembe Balagun in Boogie Down Bronx.

“Revolution at the Crossroads"

From February 17-19 2017, members of Young Democratic Socialists (YDS) gathered for “Revolution at the Crossroads: Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump.” The first YDS conference since the post-Bernie/Trump boom, the gathering "acted as a rally point for all our new members as well as the staging ground for building and confronting the new far-right administration".

More than 250 people attended, almost three times as many as last year. Many of the attendees had just joined DSA in the past couple of months, and many were first politicized by the Bernie campaign. But "as less than a month had passed since the Inauguration, all attendees were concentrated on President Trump's new far-right administration".

During the last day of the conference there was a final set of plenaries and group discussions. Longtime DSA member Michele Rossi and CUNY Professor Nichole Shippen spoke about socialist feminism and the importance of resisting the liberal feminist narrative of Hillary Clinton and Sheryl Sandberg, who prioritize women in power over the needs of working-class women. Workshop topics included building sanctuary campuses, socialist political education, and queer liberation. In the last hour of the conference, attendees reflected on their successes, the challenges ahead, and how to best fight the Trump administration.[2]

Central Arkansas Democratic Socialists of America

Members of the Central Arkansas Democratic Socialists of America public Facebook group, as of March 18, 2017 included Nichole Shippen.[3]

Metro DC DSA Public Facbook group

Members of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America, public Facebook group, as of March 12, 2017 included Nichole Shippen.[4]


  1. DSA OWS page, accessed November 26, 2011
  2. [ YDS YDS:Igniting the Socialist Resistance Against Trump Posted by Democratic Socialists of America on 03.10.17]
  3. [1]
  4. [2]