Fw: [nyc-dan] FREE RADICAL: INAUGURATION SPECIAL
snedeker at SPAMconcentric.net
Sat Jan 6 20:25:38 MST 2001
we haven't had any discussion of the Jan. 20th protests scheduled to oppose
the inauguration of George Bush. here is some information concerning these
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Sent: Saturday, January 06, 2001 9:43 PM
Subject: Fwd: [nyc-dan] FREE RADICAL: INAUGURATION SPECIAL
> Subj: [nyc-dan] FREE RADICAL: INAUGURATION SPECIAL
> Date: 01-01-06 20:17:35 EST
> From: lakauffm at erols.com (L.A. Kauffman)
> For list subscription options, see bottom of msg
> forward far & wide ...
> FREE RADICAL: CHRONICLE OF THE NEW UNREST
> an online column by L.A. KAUFFMAN
> [to subscribe, write freeradical-request at lists.riseup.net
> with the word subscribe in the email subject or body]
> INAUGURATION SPECIAL . . . . . . . . . . . . .Issue #14
> forward far & wide ..
> INAUGURATION SPECIAL
> Many are calling 2000 the "year of the protest,"
> after people took to the streets from Seattle to
> Belgrade and beyond to demand fundamental change.
> Now, in the United States at least, the year 2001
> promises to begin with an outright insurrection.
> The upcoming demonstrations against the inauguration
> of GOP coup leader George W. Bush will bring together
> an unprecedented mix of movements-on-the-rise,
> heralding yet another surge in activism in this
> already volatile time.
> Public outrage over the Republican theft of
> America's presidential election and the systematic
> denial of African-American voting rights has sparked
> a vast array of organizing efforts by everyone from
> revolutionary anarchists opposing "the entire state
> system" to Democratic voters questioning the fairness
> of American democracy for the first time. Most
> significantly, Bush's coronation is sparking a
> revival of grassroots organizing by the black
> civil rights movement.
> The players in the unfolding inauguration drama
> are so numerous and varied, and the pace of
> preparations so harried, that it hasn't been easy
> to get a handle on what will go down on January 20.
> Here, then, is a guide to the scenario and
> cast of characters for the inauguration protests.
> Many of the details concerning the actual Inauguration,
> like the exact parade route, have yet to be announced,
> but the basic outline of the day is set. The
> swearing-in ceremony will take place on the west side
> of the U.S. Capitol building beginning at 11:30 AM.
> Bush is scheduled to take the oath of office at noon.
> The ceremony will be followed by the traditional
> inaugural parade, which begins at 2:00 PM.
> For more information on official preparations,
> see the official web site, www.inauguration-2001.org.
> Other good resources are www.presidential-inaugural.com
> and the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee's "frequently
> asked questions" page: www.afic.army.mil/FAQs/FAQs_page1.htm.
> If you've got many hundreds of dollars to spare,
> you can buy a scalped ticket to one or more
> inaugural events, from the swearing-in ceremony to
> various inaugural balls; one source for these is
> There are three different announced meeting points
> and times for anti-inaugural protests.
> 1) At 10:00 AM, people will meet at Dupont Circle
> for the Voter March rally and protest (www.votermarch.org),
> which will culminate in a march to the Supreme Court.
> The organizers of this event, which has a moderate tone
> and good-government agenda, have received a permit
> from the D.C. police.
> 2) Also at 10:00 AM, folks of a more radical disposition
> will meet at Pennsylvania Avenue and 14th Street,
> responding to calls put out by the socialist
> International Action Center (www.iacenter.org) and the
> anarchist Revolutionary Anti-Authoritarian Block
> (www.infoshop.org/coronation.html). The anarchists will
> meet beneath a "Class War" banner. Presumably this march
> will also go to the Supreme Court, though there's been
> no public announcement of the route.
> 3) At noon, the Reverend Al Sharpton, with the support
> of other African-American leaders, has called for people
> to meet at Stanton Park, at 4th and Maryland. From there,
> there will be a march to the Supreme Court for a "Shadow
> Inauguration," in which Sharpton will administer a
> "Citizen's Oath" pledging action to safeguard voting rights.
> But these are not the only protest plans. Many
> direct-action-oriented activists organized into small
> groups hope to jeer and/or disrupt inaugural events
> including the 2:00 parade.
> The Partnership for Civil Justice is strongly urging
> protesters to form into groups of no more than 25 people.
> The group's guide to the inauguration protests -
> essential reading for anyone who will be out on
> the streets - explains:
> "Demonstrations in groups of 25 people or less may be held without
> a permit on Pennsylvania Avenue or other federal land subject
> to the jurisdiction of the National Park Service. See, 36 C.F.R.
> Section(s) 7.96(g)(2)(i). Based on this provision, the U.S. Circuit
> Court for the District of Columbia has ruled that it is unlawful
> for the U.S. Government to fine or arrest Inaugural protesters
> in groups of 25 or less on the asserted grounds that such protesters
> are demonstrating without a permit."
> As it happens, this regulation dovetails perfectly with
> the way that direct action protests are organized these days.
> The groups behind the rallies and marches, the anarchists
> excepted, favor an old-style mass mobilization model.
> In this type of protest, people attend as bodies in a
> crowd, individuals in a mass. Sometimes they form contingents
> based on shared identity or membership in an organization
> (like "gays against Bush" or "schoolteachers for democracy"
> or "National Organization for Women"). Everyone follows
> the direction of the protest leadership, whether that's a
> prominent individual like Reverend Sharpton, or a
> behind-the-scenes group of organizers, like the folks
> from VoterMarch who are making their event happen.
> Direct-action radicals - like the people who shut down
> the WTO meetings in Seattle - organize themselves
> quite differently. They often view themselves as "anti-mass"
> (www.spunk.org/library/misc/sp001304.txt), and generally
> take part in large actions as members of "affinity groups,"
> small assemblages of like-minded folks who act and make
> decisions collectively (see
> There is much less coordination among direct actionists
> for the inauguration than there was in Seattle or during
> the April 2000 protests against the World Bank and
> International Monetary Fund in D.C. The Justice Action
> Movement (JAM), www.j20.org, is arranging nonviolence
> trainings, legal support, and other key matters to the
> extent it can, given the severe time constraints.
> So the bottom line is, affinity groups are pretty much
> going to have to figure out for themselves what to do.
> Most will focus on finding creative, in-your-face ways
> of expressing their dissent, from street theater to
> colorful signs and banners (check the protest guide,
> www.InaugurAuction.org/training.asp for details about
> what size these must be according to federal regulations).
> There are no plans for large-scale civil disobedience,
> at least as far as I know. There's some talk of people
> doing sit-ins in the path of the inaugural parade, but
> it's not clear whether that will even be physically
> possible, given the massive police presence that's
> Then too, the parade route will also be lined with
> Republicans, including many of the budding right-wing
> street activists who staged their own in-your-face
> protests against the Florida recount. In fact, January 20
> will also witness a scary "Patriot's March on D.C.:
> Celebrating Constitutional Victory," which begins
> in front of the Supreme Court at 9:00 AM
> (www.loudcitizen.com/million/index.asp). One organizer told
> The Washington Times, "I think we will present a real
> contrast from a bunch of kids all dressed in black
> who dislike America, what the country stands for,
> and are waving big puppets."
> The D.C. police have been making menacing pronouncements
> about their preparations. (www.commondreams.org/headlines/121300-02.htm)
> If the recent past is a guide, there will be a huge
> law enforcement presence, and the real possibility
> of police violence against protesters. Be aware that
> you run some risk of arrest if you attend any of
> these protests, except perhaps the permitted Voter March.
> There's also a chance that you will encounter
> pepper spray or other chemical weapons; prepare yourself
> by reading an excellent guide on the subject from the
> current Earth First! Journal
> CAST OF CHARACTERS
> 1. Black Civil Rights Activists
> The centerpiece of the Bush campaign's theft of the
> 2000 election was an organized effort to deny voting
> rights to blacks throughout Florida - and no aspect of
> the inauguration protests is more important than the
> African-American mobilizations that are taking place.
> Civil rights leaders are terming the election a
> "wake-up call" and pledging renewed grassroots
> activism by African Americans.
> Ron Daniels, a respected scholar and activist who is
> executive director of the Center for Constitutional
> Rights (CCR), was among the first to issue a call to
> protest the inauguration, in two of his syndicated columns:
> At a January 2 press conference organized by Daniels
> and the CCR, the Reverend Al Sharpton announced his
> plans for a Shadow Inauguration:
> Reverend Sharpton has still not completely lived down
> his role in the 1987 Tawana Brawley affair, in which he
> vociferously backed a young African-American woman who
> claimed she had been the victim of a hideous racial assault,
> which a grand jury later declared to be a hoax. But even
> many of Sharpton's former detractors have expressed
> admiration for his organizing in the wake of the
> 1999 killing of unarmed immigrant Amadou Diallo in
> New York City, including a sustained multiracial civil
> disobedience campaign that led to more than 1000 arrests.
> The Kensington Welfare Rights Union (www.kwru.org),
> a Philadelphia-based multiracial organization of the poor,
> which has an impressive track record of successful
> direct action, recently announced that it will be mobilizing
> for January 20. The International Action Center's march
> has been endorsed by a number of prominent African-American
> groups including the National Coalition of Blacks for
> Reparations in America (www.ncobra.com). Other people of color
> efforts for the inauguration include a Puerto Rican contingent
> organized by activists who have been fighting the
> U.S. Navy bombing of Vieques (palfrente.tripod.com).
> However, the most famous civil rights activist in
> America, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, leader of the
> Rainbow PUSH Coalition (www.rainbowpush.org), won't
> be at the inauguration protests in D.C. on January 20.
> Instead, he will participate in a march in Tallahassee,
> the capital of Florida.
> Jackson's distance from the main action is not only
> geographical. On the night that the U.S. Supreme Court
> handed victory to Bush, Jackson declared he would
> "take to the streets . . . delegitimize Bush, discredit
> him, do whatever. But never accept him."
> The next day, however, Jackson made a sudden turnabout
> and telephoned Bush. "I called him to congratulate him
> as our next president and say it's time to engage in
> meaningful dialogue so we can start the process of
> uniting and healing our nation," Jackson said to
> The New York Post. "I told him that he would have my
> support." (www.workingforchange.com/article.cfm?ItemId=10377)
> According to an article in the Village Voice by Peter
> Noel (www.villagevoice.com/issues/0052/noel.shtml), Jackson's
> flip-flop came at the behest of the big-money moguls who
> have been financing Jackson's Wall Street Project, an
> effort to increase investment in minority-owned businesses.
> Noel quotes a "financial insider" who claims, "These
> contributors told Reverend Jackson, 'You better hold
> this down because we won't back you anymore if you are
> adverse to the new administration in Washington.'"
> To the general public, Jesse Jackson is progressive
> activism embodied, but those familiar with his
> grassroots track record aren't shocked by this turn
> of events: Jackson has a long history of placing his
> personal access to power over the issues he claims to
> champion. Many will never forgive him for undercutting
> the Rainbow Coalition back in 1988, when it held the
> promise of becoming a vibrant, multiracial, multi-issue
> grassroots movement with an agenda broader than Jackson's
> electoral aspirations. Jackson pushed through a set of
> by-law changes that greatly expanded his authority over
> the coalition and nipped independent organizing efforts
> in the bud.
> 2. Angry Democrats and Independents
> The election of 2000 is inspiring all kinds of first-time
> protesters to take to the streets. Several websites reflect
> the extent of spontaneous grassroots activism that is taking
> Also check out an account by Zack Exley, creator of the
> CounterCoup site, of how Internet organizing against
> the stolen election took off:
> To get a sense of the mood of this wild-card group of
> protesters, check out the Voter March listserv - but
> subscribe and read it on the web, unless you want your
> inbox deluged:
> 3. Direct Action Radicals
> The Justice Action Movement (www.j20.org) is bringing
> together many of the forces that fought the WTO in Seattle
> and have been actively organizing ever since, including
> at the Republican and Democratic Party Conventions
> last summer. These include various groups affiliated
> with the Direct Action Network (www.directactionnetwork.org).
> For many of these folks, including me, the pre-election
> debate was between voting for Ralph Nader or not voting
> at all. Most of us have little or no faith in the
> American electoral system to begin with, given its
> domination by big money and corporate interests, and
> see the choice between Republicans and Democrats as
> one between two wings of the same business party.
> The problem with the presidential vote, in this view,
> goes far deeper than inaccurate counting or even
> African-American disenfranchisement, to a system
> based on corporate power and white supremacy.
> So there's a certain amount of irony in our presence
> at the inauguration protests - we'd have been inclined
> to protest even if Gore had won. There have been a few
> flame wars on the inauguration listservs between direct
> action types and more politically conventional folks,
> sparked either by condescension from the former or
> efforts by the latter to distance themselves from
> the rabble rousers.
> 4. The Black Bloc
> The inauguration protests are also drawing a fair number
> of revolutionary anarchists, who are completely opposed
> to electoral politics and think the government should be
> abolished. One group, the Barricada Collective, has issued
> a call for a Black Bloc on January 20 (www.infoshop.org/coronation.html).
> Black Blocs became world famous after the one at the
> Seattle WTO protests engaged in organized property
> destruction, but they are often more about group
> solidarity than the use of any particular tactic.
> For example, the Black Bloc at the April 2000 D.C.
> protests against the IMF and World Bank pledged to
> uphold the larger direct action campaign's nonviolence
> code. Instead of smashing windows, they acted to draw
> police attention away from locked-down protesters and
> to reinforce weak points in the direct-action blockade.
> The inauguration Black Bloc has officially disassociated
> itself from the Justice Action Movement because JAM held
> a pre-action meeting with police. If anyone is planning
> to engage in property destruction, they haven't been stupid
> enough to announce those intentions publicly, so it's hard
> to say what the Black Bloc will do on J20. Dressing in
> Black Bloc costume will make you a police magnet;
> at past protests, the cops have either beaten or preemptively
> arrested anyone who "looks like an anarchist." Some activists
> are responding by dressing like mainstream protesters while
> using more militant tactics.
> 5. International Action Center
> The International Action Center (www. iacenter.org) is doing
> a vast amount of organizing work for the J20 protests,
> emphasizing the issues of black disenfranchisement and
> criminal injustice. The group has long experience with
> big national mobilizations; for this one, it's created a
> network of regional "organizing centers" that are both
> spreading the word and handling key logistical details
> like chartering buses.
> The IAC was founded after the Persian Gulf War of 1991
> by former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark. It's a
> front group for the Workers World Party (www.workers.org),
> a four-decade-old socialist organization with some
> super-creepy politics. Workers World applauded the
> Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, supported
> the murderous regime of Romania dictator Nicolae Ceausescu,
> and caused a major and ridiculous split in the antiwar
> movement during the Gulf War by refusing to criticize
> the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein.
> Many activists I know - some of them anti-authoritarian
> to the core -- cut the IAC a fair amount of slack, because
> the group boasts many skilled organizers and mobilizes
> a lot of people. I've been impressed with the size of
> their contingents at police brutality marches in New York
> and the protests outside the Republican Convention in
> Philadelphia. They do a great job organizing logistics
> like chartering buses - visit their site if you need
> transportation. But at the risk of being called a
> red-baiter, I've got to say that the IAC gives me
> the whim-whams.
> ADDITIONAL LINKS
> To keep up with protest plans, check www.infoshop.org/news.html
> and www.dc.indymedia.org regularly.
> Great posters for the Inauguration protests: www.bradkayal.com/i20
> Coming up the weekend after the inauguration is the
> Conference on Organized Resistance www.organizedresistance.org
> FREE RADICAL is an online column on the current upsurge in
> activism, written by L.A. Kauffman (lak at free-radical.org).
> It appears once every three or four weeks, more often if
> circumstances warrant.
> Back issues are on the web at www.free-radical.org
> This issue is archived at
> ABOUT THE AUTHOR
> L.A. Kauffman (lak at free-radical.org) is currently writing
> DIRECT ACTION: RADICALISM IN OUR TIME, a history of
> U.S. activism since 1970. A longtime radical journalist
> and organizer, she is active in a number of New York City
> direct action campaigns. Her work has appeared in the
> Village Voice, The Nation, The Progressive, Spin,
> Mother Jones, Salon.com, and numerous other publications.
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