People from ex-fascist countries criticize United
NEW YORK CITY, August 31 2004--New York City police "just plucked him out of the crowd," said an older German man of a young Black man carried away by police while marching near Union Square. The German was in Union Square filming the demonstrations against the Republican National Convention.
"It's just like it was in my country before the war," he said; then adding, "I'm from Germany."
Numerous people such as this German stopped by to talk to MIM with the hope that MIM would know what to do about such an arrest or had further information. Others stopped by to tell MIM what they knew. We told the German comrade that the U.$. people were acting "scared" and "stupid" and he agreed.
Demonstrators all over the city were comparing notes and using text messages to figure out what was happening and every time MIM picked up an extra flyer with a schedule on it, another demonstrator wanted to take our copy of it.
Some New Yorkers hit back hard. A judge ordered a mass release of protestors and massive fines for detaining them.(1) (It remains to be seen how that all works out.) Even the New York Times recognized that what police were doing is "preventive detention."
Meanwhile, a poll of New Yorkers shocked pollsters: 49.3% of New York residents believe that the government "knew in advance that attacks were planned on or around September 11, 2001, and that they consciously failed to act." Majorities of New Yorkers also do not believe the existing reports on the subject hit the nail on the head and 75% of both Blacks and Latinos want another deeper probe.(2)
The poll shows a real opening for the revolutionary truth--that the u.$. government is the most dangerous factor against peace both in New York and globally. Bush and Bloomberg are pushing the public hard, but trying to blame demonstrators or staging political ads to take advantage of 911 may eventually backfire on the rulers.
On the negative side, the relative complacency of New Yorkers has allowed New York police to become the most aggressive in attacking demonstrators out of the major cities in the Northeast. At previous anti-war demonstrations, police succeeded in preventing demonstrators from carrying signs and in preventing their even walking on certain sidewalks.
It is clear that Mayor Bloomberg wants to convince New York City and the country consuming New York media that demonstrations contain the seeds of terrorism. That is the only explanation for all the cops on the street harassing demonstrators, other than the fact that New York City has too much money to waste on cop services. Every time a siren goes off--and it was all day long for three days--a portion of the public will accept that something legitimately "criminal" happened. On the other hand, hundreds of thousands of people in New York learned first-hand that the state is not what it says it is in this "free country."
The RNC was a long week of siren abuse--something that many people are already aware of. That fact alone required that the demonstrators who remained be stout of stomach. Scaring people away from politics while criminalizing the demonstrators--that was the political goal of the vast police expenditure.
The official newspaper of the labor aristocracy, the New York Post and others obliged the mayor with disgusting fiction stories about violence and demonstrators' plans that turned out to be untrue.(3) Others hyped the "anarchist" threat, whatever that is. It is unfortunate that the public has not entirely learned that that is just how the New York Post et. al. sensationalize or invent stories to make a profit.
One thing we did not see in the labor aristocracy media--a comparison of how much violence has been carried out by police as compared with demonstrators. The reason we do not hear that subject talked about is that police riots against the public are much more common than violent riots by demonstrators. Hiring fewer cops and providing existing ones something else to do is the surest road to reducing violence.
On August 29 2004, demonstrators in New York City marched to Union Square to remember the Amerikans sent to die on behalf of colonialism in Iraq.
Despite the fact that Amerikans are ready to throw in the towel on civil liberties, thanks only in part to 911, it won't be just U.$. citizens who observe what is happening. A few minutes after the older German fellow approached MIM Notes about the arrest of the Black youth in Union Square, a Japanese youth stopped to speak to MIM as well. He told us what he saw using his hand as a wall to represent a wall of police and how they shut down a street for demonstrators trying to march. "Police can't do that in Japan," he said.
After so many decades of bragging about being a "free country" and looking down at other countries with supposedly less freedom, the United $tates had a banana republic style election in 2000. Now increasing numbers of foreigners are seeing that "free speech" and "freedom of association" are not what they are cracked up to be in the united $tates.
"Can they do that?" is the question of astonishment that we heard from those who do not know the united $tates better. There were at least 1821 arrests of protestors (1) and the many thousands there to see it happen learned something important.
The current ruling class thinks that hiring cops and spending Homeland Security money harassing demonstrators is a great unemployment program. Someone needs to tell the capitalist rulers that no, the economy has not enjoyed any benefit from having legions of cops following marchers around. Such a "service" makes no one better off. Quite the contrary, the more the public sees such a service, the more it wants to stay away from the city involved.
As if in response, and after seeing Boston make very little money off the Democratic National Convention, Mayor Bloomberg tried to drown out the demonstrators by offering coupons to demonstrators who are "peaceful."(3) He succeeded in getting the courts to allow him to keep Central Park off-limits to an anti-Bush protest, but t-shirts and slogans mocked him for trying to buy them off with 20% off at Applebee's.
3. The New York Post (and echoed by the Washington Times) said that the long-dead Weather Underground had resurrected itself for bombings in New York during the RNC. More intelligently, the Village Voice did not take it seriously and realized people were reliving their Vietnam era conflicts, a la Kerry, McCain and "Swift Boat Veterans for blah, blah."
4. "Michael Bloomberg, the Republican mayor, is making his own contribution towards keeping the peace by offering protesters discount coupons for cruises and a free glass of chardonnay in selected upmarket restaurants."
You don't have to pay $8 to see this movie advertised by a demonstrator in New York City. You are already living it.