Friday, September 23, 2005

You know what's really wrong with protests...?

It's all the lengths that people in authority will go to to prevent them having any effect. Tomorrow is the day that thousands of people are going to converge in Washington and have a demonstration in front of the White House. The object of their attentions, their pleas and demands will be nowhere in the area.

He's a stinking coward.

Not that he's avoiding any physical danger, but that he's evading his own responsibility as head of state. When the people, as per their constitutional rights, "gather peacefully to petition the government for redress of grievances," don't you think the government perhaps ought not to ignore them? Or, as I've just today learned via one of the main groups organizing the demonstation, to restrict the news media from covering the event at a decent proximity so that it doesn't occur in a mainstream-media vacuum?

Here's (part of) what I got in my email today--it's an appeal for emergency donations:

We really need your help right now. All the major antiwar groups are coming together for this action at the White House, but only one organization, the A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition, has the financial responsibility for the powerful unity rally - for the stage, sound and setup. Now we have the opportunity to have this massive outpouring broadcast to millions - if you can help!

We have learned that C-SPAN is planning to cover this incredible assembly of opposition to the war. They will broadcast to millions - but there's a catch. The government is restricting C-SPAN's access on one side of the rally site, and their satellite trucks, which provide the live feed, are now only authorized to park much farther away.

In order for C-SPAN to have a live feed of the rally, hundreds of feet of additional cable as well as cable ramps must be rented. This will cost many thousands of dollars, on top of the tens of thousands of dollars that must be spent for the joint rally stage and sound to reach the huge number of people assembling, for the thousands of placards, hundreds of thousands of flyers, port-a-johns, the buses, banners, flags and everything else that it takes to make a demonstration successful.

You see, these groups--these people--don't organize rallies and marches just for the hell of it. They are putting their resources into trying to make a difference--trying to reach the nation's leadership, trying to reach the rest of the country and the world--and yet constantly, from Day Zero and before, they have been given the shaft in terms of the very goal of communication itself.

"We won't give you the permit--you'll ruin the grass in Central Park."

"Okay, we'll give you the permit, but you have to take your route all the way over here where no one has to see you, and we won't let anyone join you from the sidewalk."

"Okay, we'll give the the permit, but there won't be anyone there listening and we'll keep the media from getting any decent coverage."

And that's assuming that the counter-protests--the pro-Bush demonstrators scheduled to take the field concurrently and the next day--won't send in any of their own to infiltrate the peace rally and try to make trouble under other groups' names. Not that I want to give them any ideas, of course.....but I'm certain that it's happened with trade protests already, the sort of violent outbursts and vandalizing that work to give protestors a bad name. In reality, protests these days are so law-abiding and decent that the only thing they got majorly arrested in Chicago for was peacefully blocking Lake Shore Drive...just the obstruction of the everyday itself.

But I'm sure the conservative rallies will have all the mainstream news coverage they want.....meanwhile, in the four years since 9/11, I've seen better coverage of U.S. peace rallies on BBC World News than on the local network affiliates. To coin a phrase, isn't that just a bit....obstructionist? As in, obstructing and defusing all the legal rights of assembly and petition and demonstration that were clearly included in the Constitution. I mean, it does specifically say "redress of grievances" and not "just to show support for the administration and kiss ass"....

But that's the thing--the rich and the powerful will do whatever they have to--get whatever guards and police on the case, move their trade meetings to an island (or a secret fortress or whatever), live as far away fom the cities as they can--to avoid dealing with, hearing, or seeing the people their actions affect in real life. To not see what they don't want to see, to not hear things they don't want to hear--and truth and ethics be damned, even though that's all that the "other side" is counting on to prove their cause.

"A little revolution, now and then"....would actually be refreshing. It's a shame to see the majority of the truly "law-abiding" people in this country on the opposite side from the ostensible law.



--and I'm not including more publicity for the Republican damage-control groups on my blog, but they're mentioned and linked in the Yahell article listed first here.

1 comment:

Kelle said...


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