New York Aftermath
- Dear Max and other friends,This is something that came across me. One of my friends sent it to me. I would like to share it with you allRegardsGoldy
CHETHANA <chethanaindia@...> wrote:
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stephen (Esteban) Bartlett"
Sent: Friday, September 03, 2004 3:14 PM
Subject: New York Aftermath
> New York Aftermath, What now?!
> by Stephen Bartlett , September 3, 2004
> The sheer scale of the marches, rallies, civil disobedience and
> direct actions that took place in New York this week in reaction to the
> Republican National Convention (RNC) showed that resistance to the Bush
> 'reactionary revolution' is growing and deepening, but the virtual
> media blackout, police state 'security' operation and abuse of civil
> liberties and freedom of speech and assembly were dramatic and chilling to
> the degree they were considered normal and justified by the 'threat of
> In two previous dispatches, I wrote in detail about the United for
> and Justice organized half a million person march on Sunday August 29, the
> two Poor Peoples' Marches on August 30, the all day of planned and
> spontaneous, decentralized and autonomous non-violent direct action on
> 31 (some of whose actions extended into September 1st and 2nd). I only
> briefly described the large labor rally held on September 1st featuring
> leaders and members, James Gandolfini of the Sopranos and the much beloved
> actor Danny Glover filled with righteous anger. From 23rd St. all the way
> the stage at 30th and 8th Avenue thousands and thousands of union members
> rallied under the rhyming slogan: Push Bush Out The Door, in 2004. A
> estimated to number at least 12,000 decried the loss of jobs and the
> on the right to organize under 'free trade' regimes and the outrageous
> military expenditures that were gutting social services such as healthcare
> and education. Yesterday on the afternoon of September 2nd a smaller but
> highly spirited march took place in Harlem, featuring a diverse crowd of
> Harlemites, New Yorkers and out-of-towners, African American leaders, and
> some alternative and even local corporate press.
> We chanted: Bush Go Home, from Harlem, Bush Go Home, from New York,
> Go Home, Son of a Bush, Bush Go Home, from the White House, we shouted
> 'Harlem is Not for Sale' 'Deport Bush' and more colorful epithets I will
> repeat here. Large vigils and rallies also took place in Union Square and
> Madison Square Garden yesterday evening, as Bush was taking the stage to
> deliver his triumphalist and cunningly spun acceptance speech.
> Some remaining 900 of the total 1,800 people who were detained during
> RNC were released late Sept 2 after a judge, tired of the city's
> non-compliance with various release deadline orders, imposed a $1,000 per
> detainee fine on the city ($900,000?!) for failure to fulfill previous
> and again ordered the immediate release of the detainees. Many of those
> detained from actions on August 31 remained more than 24 and even 48 hours
> detention without being charged, read their rights, or given medical
> attention or decent sleeping facilities. The National Lawyers Guild, on
> behalf of the detainees whose constitutional 'habeus corpus' rights were
> violated is planning to sue the city of New York big time.
> The first photographs from inside the infamous holding pen on Pier 57
> were placed on-line by the intrepid volunteer media outlet New York
> Indymedia. NPR and even some corporate media folk admitted to consulting
> Indymedia website to get breaking news and find out what was happening.
> While the Republicans out-machoed John Kerry and presented
> golden-helmeted warriors on white horses weilding fantastic swords of
> self-righteousness, the violent riots they might have hoped to blame on
> democrats never materialized. The equation protester/ democrat =
> was denied to the republican and corporate media spinmeisters. Given the
> police state environment of New York, the determination and impressive
> restraint of the protesters was worth an in-depth story in the corporate
> media, but did not get much coverage at all. Ted Koppel said it was
> to say what New York was not: Chicago in '68. It will be long
> however, by those of us who witnessed some of the creative street theater,
> actions and courage. Republican delegates interviewed expressed cheerful
> praise of the New York Police in keeping them safe, evidently oblivious of
> the irony of requiring some 30,000 riot police in order to hold their
> convention in New York at all.
> The radio program 'Democracy Now' broadcast on WBAI with Pacifica
> and featuring Amy Goodman was a source of excellent coverage as well as
> profound commentary on the unfolding events. In a fascinating
> with Amy, Arundhati Roy, the best selling author from India responded to
> experience of accompanying Amy into the Convention Hall and meeting and
> interviewing some of the delegates and hearing the speech of Dixiecrat
> Miller and the V. P. Dick Cheney.
> One delegate, in answer to a question about the invasion of Iraq
> "It was necessary. It is good we got Saddam." When asked about the false
> claims of weapons of mass destruction, the man went off on a diatribe
> people who do not watch the same television station he does. "I don't
> what television station you watch, but it has to be a different one from
> one I watch." "What do you watch?" Amy asked. "I watch FOX and that is
> I need to watch."
> "Have you seen the movie Fahrenheit 9/11?"
> Turning a vivid red, his voice nearly shaking, the man said, "I think
> Michael Moore is despicable!: "But will you watch the movie?" Almost
> apoplectic to verbalize, he answered "I, I, I... do not intend to watch
> movie! I will not!"
> Later upon reflection Arundhati made some of the following
> (and I paraphrase partially from memory): One cannot even be angry at the
> man. He is a product of the media's lies, here in the very heart of
> jingoism. He is a victim of propaganda. With such people you cannot
> in dialogue. He didn't want to see Fahrenheit 9/11. He has no
> The power of fundamentalism comes in so many different garbs... compared
> the fundamentalists of the BJP party in India where if I entered their
> convention among those who had killed with their own hands, my life would
> in danger, but here in this more rarified space, where everything appears
> civilized, this is even more chilling to me... there is so much power and
> wealth concentrated here that... you can be nice... and only kill at
> distance and kill through proxies.
> In reference to the militaristic nationalism of the speech made by
> Georgian Senator Zell Miller, Arundhati made the following observations:
> "There is the theatrics of betrayal, the cheap drama of that. But what is
> important about that speech is that the democrats are in a space where
> are going to have to prove they are more vicious, more aggressive, more
> murderous... than the republicans. In terms of an analysis of power, the
> idea of the lesser of evil, it closes the space for softness, so Kerry
> have to prove he is in my terms worse than Bush... What is soft
> This was a display of how little space is left for us on the left in terms
> electoral politics. How much expediency can we afford? Where will the
> of dissenting powers be applied?
> "In thinking about that delegate we interviewed. Or even Dick Cheney.
> is like an egg, this smooth person, FOX had sorted him out. But put him
> anywhere in the world besides the place in the U.S. where he goes, he
> About the whole scene in the convention hall she painted this verbal
> picture: "It was like being in a cult place, chilling... the richest
> powerful people plotting before our eyes the next massacre, the next
> bombing... it is hard to believe the psychology, they can kill while the
> lies are being reiterated. They are like automatons, they chant all
> as if their pupils are dialated, like dolls... if you are a journalist you
> cannot but read this as a heightened, insane nationalism, as a hostility
> everything you stand for. A sort of hell on earth. In this environment,
> those activists who somehow get in here and put their bodies on the line
> hold up opposing banners, like those Act Up youth did among the Young
> Republicans who surrounded them menacingly, well, I have great admiration
> their courage." (from a radio conversation on Democracy now on September
> 2004 on WBAI in New York City).
> Where from here? I ask myself. The answer by Mother Jones:
> organize, organize!! As Presbyterian moderator Rick Ufford-Chase said
> his keynote address to the Presbyterian Peace and Justice conference on
> August 6 in Tacoma, Washington: "If we start working today, and continue
> tomorrow and the next day, and look ahead to a 100 year struggle, our
> grandchildren's children may live in a better world." I would add that
> must, as the MST of Brazil and the Zapatistas of Chiapas, and perhaps some
> us too say and do: live right now in the world we hope to create in the
> future. Manifest that world right now, in our relationships, in our
> unreasonable joy and solidarity, in our peaceableness, in our compassion
> kindness, in our active non-compliance and willingness to sacrifice and,
> to suffer." Pray for the spirits of those hurt in New York by the fear
> violence machines of the mind and of the body, and in Iraq, Afghanistan,
> Colombia, etc... There was a protester at the Harlem demonstration,
> up on a concrete barrier, with a sign that said: F__K the NYPD. He was
> livid and responding out of anger. As the crowd tried to talk him down
> ask him not to wave that sign, he told of sleeping in a puddle of oil, of
> being held for 24 hours, with many others who had not even been
> at the indignity of the treatment at the hands of the NYPD. He was so
> he accused those asking him to desist of being part of the system, of not
> trying hard enough to bring down the fascist system. His idealism and
> his immaturity was matched by the mature awareness of the Harlem residents
> who said: "This is our community. We are not talking about hatred, but
> about justice." Moments later, an African American New York City
> (whose name I have forgotten) said to a cluster of reporters: "the police
> use those nets on us, as if we were animals. (NY Mayor) Bloomberg has
> it big time. We got to stop Bush, yes, but we also got to START Kerry.
> has not earned our vote yet."
> That is the pickle we are in, and the struggle we face.
> Peace with Justice!
> Stephen Bartlett
> Louisville, Kentucky
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