[Imc-nh-editorial] Draft of FTM RNC Coverage Sept 10, 2004
raintomars at comcast.net
raintomars at comcast.net
Mon Sep 6 13:29:11 PDT 2004
Please let me know if you have any suggestions or feedback ASAP. We are still working on photos. And i still have to ask Steve F. about using the third page again (where the peace vigils usually go).
Patriotic Theater Group Alerts NYC
By Michelle Racine
The Greene Dragon group, named for the Boston tavern where early patriots including Paul Revere and Sam Adams plotted the Boston Tea Party in 1773, performed several creative actions in NYC last week. The street theater campaign is being called the "Battle of New Yorktown," and included a historical ride through Manhattan led by Paula Revere warning of the Republican Invasion.
Accompanied by a marching band, about 30 participants in the Greene Dragon theater group presented a bit of history about the American Revolution and how Paul Revere was supported by members of the community to make his historical ride through the streets of Boston, warning of the British Invasion. Paula Revere was introduced to the crowd and an open invitation was made for all to become patriotic revelers and join them on foot and on bicycle in join their "American Revel-ution." Dressed in patriotic uniform, the group mounted their creatively modified horse-cycles and called the crowd to action. Together with an additional 200 riders, they took to the streets and rode through Manhattan to warn New Yorkers, shouting "The Republicans are coming! The Republicans are coming! Sentry on the Brooklyn Bridge alerted all "One if by chartered jet, two if by SUV!
Green Dragon organized the first Flash Mob in NYC in November 2003 by creating a large corporate pig puppet and feeding it fake money on the threshold of a K-mart.
View the video created from this event at http://images.indymedia.org/imc/nyc/video/1/flashmobnyc112803oil1f8.mov
A Week of Resistance to the Bush Agenda
500,000 protest Republican Convention in NY
By Steve Diamond
The people of NY yelled a resounding NO! to Bush agenda and the republican convention's hijacking of 9/11 sympathies to justify the "War on Terror," privatization of everything, the continuing occupation of Iraq, and the prospect of invading more sovereign countries. Protesters chanted in the streets for universal health care, more jobs, restoration of civil rights, and even a raise in police pay, referring to the ongoing labor dispute civil servants have with the city.
Relations between protesters and police remained professional throughout most of the convention and grew strained later in the week. On Sunday, about 500,000 protesters (750,000 by some estimates), including babies and grandparents, marched for dozens of blocks in incredible heat, past the convention at Madison Square Garden and a picket of about 15 conservative activists associated with protestwarrior.com. Police were civil and abided by their agreement to not use riot armor (some have reported they eventually did at the end of the week), and radical protesters reciprocated by leaving their balaclavas and shields at home in favor of black-and-red umbrellas and a perimeter of cardboard posters.
Protesters regrouped Monday morning and held un-permitted rallies and marches in the streets throughout the afternoon. I attended the "Poor Person's March," which held a colorful rally in a park on the East side before a tense but jubilant march through the streets towards Madison Square Garden. We approached as the sun set, and I overheard a police officer say "They won't make it past 8th and 31st," where heavy barricades and hundreds of well-equipped police were waiting.
As the front of the march approached the barricades, a line of helmeted police managed to divide the march and surround most of the protesters in those blocks. At some point men on light motorcycles rode straight into the back of the march. I saw a protester on the sidewalk being treated by street medics for a badly bruised and bleeding shin, an injury consistent with being run over by a motorcycle.
Someone pulled one of the riders was from his bike and beat him up to arrest his reckless endangerment of the crowd and assault with a motor vehicle. The NY Daily News reported (http://www.nydailynews.com/front/story/227905p-195662c.html ) that the rider was not a lunatic or right-wing fanatic, but rather an undercover police officer! From the hospital, Detective Sample expressed determination to capture his attacker, but showed no concern about being arrested himself for the felonies he committed.
A stand-off and negotiations ensued until organizers called for the march to disperse and a sidewalk was cleared for people to leave. Hundreds of protesters remained in the street as an act of civil disobedience and were eventually arrested.
Tuesday the 31st was a day of massive coordinated civil disobedience and direct actions. Flash mobs of protesters formed and dissipated throughout Manhattan. Thousands of bicyclists seized the streets, clogging traffic in the downtown area for over an hour before eventually being thrown to the ground and arrested by police. Small groups held die-ins and street theatre in the financial district. Pagans demonstrated true security by giving away free food, water, and health care, then performed rituals that clogged major intersections. Lavish GOP galas and even the convention itself were infiltrated and disrupted by protesters despite heavy police presence at the convention, the delegates' hotels, and every ritzy bar in-between.
At the police station, hundreds of activists engaged in vigils for days for their thousands of friends and allies to be released. Most protesters were sent to pier 57, a filthy converted warehouse with motor oil all over the floor and no place to sleep, and endured a lack of privacy, toilet paper, medical care, food, water, phones and lawyers.
As reported by NYC-IMC, (http://nyc.indymedia.org/feature/display/116111/index.php), The National Lawyer's Guild eventually persuaded a State Supreme Court judge to repeatedly order the city to release all of the detainees due to the city's failure to provide them with legal council or a prompt arraignment. The city ignored the order until Wednesday night, when the judge found the city in contempt of court and ordered the city to pay $1,000 for each person held longer than 24 hours.
On Thursday, I went down to the World Trade Center site for the first time since the 9/11 attack. I learned how the area went from being completely undeveloped only a few hundred years ago, then being created out of the river with landfill, then becoming a swarming center of commerce and brothels, and finally the ongoing site of competing robber barons and venture capitalists to build the tallest skyscraper in the world. Today the fountains and foundations of Manhattan were dyed red to symbolize the blood of those killed by the Bush administration's policies.
I was pleasantly surprised to find the memorials generally tasteful and non-jingoistic. Even the dozens of police and heavily armed soldiers guarding the site seemed relaxed. A homeless "volunteer tour guide" yelled at visitors to "learn the facts" about how many buildings were damaged and people killed. A nun in a habit surfed the crowd for money for orphans. And there I met two moderate women with glistening Bush pins who were delegates to the convention. We shared our concerns about eroding civil liberties, the oil-tainted complicity of the Bush administration with the Saudi royal family, and the blind eye our politicians turn towards the plight of Africa. Agreeing to change this country "one person at a time," we shook hands and went about our way.
Mainstream Media Stumbles Along ... But it Doesn't Matter
By Chris Anderson, NYC Indymedia
It looked ready to be one of the defining moments of the 2004 Republican Convention. On August 31, outside the Herald Square studios of Hardball with Chris Matthews at the corner of 34th St. and 7th Avenue, protesters were massing to vent their rage at Republican delegates. The crowd surged forward, the NYPD pushed back, and sirens lit up the sky. Helicopters whirred. All this was barely visible outside over the shoulders of the Hardball anchors, and the sound of tumult pierced through the stage microphones. The face of Chris Matthews, the shows host, had the slightly strained look of a man who was used to live TV but didnt quite know what would happen next. As the Hardball cameras stood yards away from the massing demonstrators, the stage seemed set for an epic media spectacle, a whole world is watching moment for the 21st century.
Yet every time even a hint of disruption or confrontation emerged from over the shoulder of a Hardball host, the camera immediately jumped to another angle, away from the sight, or into the convention, whether the camera pan made sense or not. On stage, Matthews continued to burble political platitudes punctuated by moments of meaningless political rage. As the guests droned, the confrontation in Herald Square grew larger. At one point, dozens of protesters blocked a delegate bus, forcing the startled Missourians to walk to the Garden on foot. Hundreds of protesters were eventually arrested in Herald Square alone. Still the cameras avoided showing the drama unfolding only a few yards away. Finally, a single masked demonstrator leaped onto the stage, and was immediately tackled by show security. Dragged away, the political banter continued like nothing had happened.
The corporate medias poor performance over the last few days mattered littleprobably less than it ever has. Almost five years ago global justice activists, faced with the specter of similar media malfeasance on the streets of Seattle, dropped once and for all the notion of petitioning the corporate press for a few seconds of airtime and urged ordinary people to be their own media. Over the intervening years, the independent media network they envisioned has grown by leaps and bounds, and was on full display in the heart of New York this week: A 24-hour web-stream; Live reports from the streets; Up to the minute text messaging and breaking news; A nightly TV show; millions of internet visitors; and the largest distribution of a radical newspaper in the last 40 years. And at the same time the corporate media, so dismissive of the activity in the streets, relentlessly scanned the New York Indymedia website looking for the latest news.
It would be foolish to claim that the majority of people learned what happened during the RNC from independent media activists in New York. A huge number of Americans continue to receive their news from an increasingly homogenized corporate press. Nevertheless, the trend away from the mainstream monoliths continues. The RNC in New York was another step in that direction.
Creative Dissent in the Streets of NYC
Compiled by SCARE Seacoast Citizens Against Ruining Everything
Thousands of creative protestors took to the streets to express their opposition to the corporate control of our government and media, to the appalling consequences of our actions overseas, to the state of affairs here at home in healthcare, job security, loss of civil liberties, and the rapid growth of a police state trying to hold all this in place by putting those who dissent in their place. What follows is a compilation of most of the major events. A quick search on www.nycindymedia.org will connect you to hundreds of photos, video, audio, participant comments, and news stories from the streets.
Days before the convention began, New York City was decorated with Anti-Bush/Anti-RNC signs posted almost everywhere you looked. Buildings became canvases for political messages with posters on walls and huge billboard advertisements. Individuals posted their dissent from apartment windows and places of business. There is a visual art installation on Liberty Street that overlooks the 9-11 Ground Zero/WTC protesting war. There were actions involving scaling of the Plaza Hotel to drop a huge banner, reading ßTruth/Bushà, along with multitudes of banners being dropped off bridges and building roof tops.
On August 26th, the DNC 2 RNC March arrived in Central Park after traveling 258 miles on foot over 30 days. They were greeted by hundreds of people in Columbus Circle, and by their arrival in Union Square they were 1500 people strong. Making a huge impact just before delegates were scheduled to arrive, their purpose was to call attention to the overwhelming similarities between the Democrats and the Republicans.
Also on this day, ten nude AIDS activists led by ACT UP stopped traffic on 33rd Street and 8th Avenue by Madison Square Garden shedding their clothes to reveal DROP THE DEBT stenciled across their backs. As a crowd of hundreds gathered and news cameras rolled, the six women and four men chanted, Bush, Stop AIDS Drop the Debt Now! They were arrested in all their glory after standing their ground for ten minutes.
August 27th: Critical Mass organized the biggest ride in NYC history. Numbers were estimated at over 6,000 cyclists who rode around Manhattan for nearly four hours. While en route, pedestrians lined the sidewalks to show their support with a loud response of waving and cheering Shut it down. Cyclists navigated around several police blockades. In East Village, outside St. Marks Church, where the ride was scheduled to end, thousands of riders shouted opposition as cops plowed into the crowd using nightsticks and dragged people off their bikes. The traffic was halted and the area was cordoned off. Hundreds of New Yorkers poured onto the streets from surrounding bars and restaurants shouting F**K Bush and No Police State. The evening resulted in more than 264 arrests.
August 28th: New Yorkers gathered at ground zero to ring bells on Saturday in memory of those who died on September 11, 2001, as well as those who have died as the result of U.S. military action since.
In Brooklyn, the March for Womens Lives, started at the Brooklyn Bridge to make sure that issues of reproductive healthglobal family planning, real sex education, accessible, safe and legal abortion, birth control options, the right to privacy regarding sexuality, and equal access to health careare part of the national political dialogue. The rally started small with just over 500 protesters and only about 70 police officers, but quickly grew to as many as 16,000 marchers going over the bridge.
August 29th: Well covered on mainstream media, the United for Peace and Justice march drew out a half million people who denounced policies of the U.S. Government from every possible angle. The march lasted six hours and led to various autonomous contingents sprawling out across the city, doing everything from a "kick the heads of state" soccer game in Central Park, to jail solidarity demonstrations for those arrested, to a relentless verbal assault campaign on Republican delegates trying to hide out in Broadway theaters.
August 30th: More than 52 New York City community-based organizations led by people of color and poor people marched on Madison Square Garden under the Still We Rise banner. The rally started at 12 noon and continued in the streets well into the evening.
August 31st saw waves of autonomous, well-planned, yet un-permitted direct actions swept the streets of Manhattan. They stopped traffic, performed street theater and crashed parties, striking fear in the hearts of delegates. While none of the actions today could claim to have brought down the walls of the Empire, they may have, through their boldness and volume eroded some of the layers of its facade.
Also on this day, several hundred people rallied in Columbus Park in Chinatown to highlight the issues that many immigrants have been facing since September 11, 2001: racial profiling, unjust detentions and deportations of immigrants by the BICE (formerly the Immigration and Naturalization Service).
September 1st: Today, labor took its turn to show its displeasure at the policies of the Bush administration. In the morning, thousands of people formed a symbolic "unemployment line" and waved "pink slips" in the air. In the afternoon, thousands of labor activists jammed 8th Avenue to rally outside of the RNC. In the evening, a March on the Media attracted nearly 2000 people who gathered outside the national headquarters of CBS, CNN and Fox to say 'Separate the Media from the State' and 'We want control over our OWN information resources'.
September 2nd: More than 200 activists from Housing Works, New Yorks largest AIDS service organization, filled Grand Central Station during rush hour on this morning to counter the Bush campaigns attempt to spin him as a compassionate conservative. Demanding global and domestic access to treatment, HIV prevention using condoms and clean needles, and housing for homeless people with AIDS, protesters converged around the information booth and started chanting.
Nearly everywhere Republicans held an event, protesters were waiting for them outside to shout that the delegates were heartless and hated; that the Bush regime has ruined the country and has begun to work on the world. From the theaters in Times Square to Alice Tully Hall in Lincoln Center, Republicans entered and left events with the same message shouted at top volume: you are not welcome here.
After months of preparation, thousands of arrests, and a week of non-stop protest, the 2004 RNC ended much like it began: with an un-permitted march through Manhattan and with Republican delegates fleeing under a hail of abuse.
And so it ends, so may it begin
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