First impressions

Louis Proyect lnp3 at
Tue Sep 11 11:59:25 MDT 2001

Columbia University closed down shortly before lunch and I took a cab
home to the upper east side. Driving south to 91st street from 120th
street, you could see a huge smoke cloud billowing up from downtown,
over 150 blocks away.

The sidewalks are filled with people streaming north, since the
trains and buses are not running. Cadet cops are directing traffic at
86th and Lexington Ave, as a steady stream of firetrucks and cop cars
head up and down the avenues.

Of the 10 or so television networks, only CBS is functioning. All the
rest appear to have had antennas at the WTC. They are actually
downplaying the "Arab terrorist angle" and focusing on the personal
pluck of the firemen, etc.

One of the biggest letdowns was Pacifica coverage, which was
practically indistinguishable from NPR. The Washington-based
reporters were just blathering about Bush's options. Since the
station is so isolated from the left and since the national reporters
are so apolitical, there was no effort to interview Chomsky or any
other such figure. Come to think of it, Chomsky never would have
agreed to an interview with them to begin with.

To put it as succinctly as possible, people are in a state of
shock--much more so than after the first WTC bombing and the Oklahoma
City blast. Part of the trauma is just replaying in your mind two
airplanes ramming into the towers, and then toppling to the ground
within the hour. Cops predict that thousands of casualties will have

While it is true that all efforts will be made to make political hay
out of this, this is a bit more than a Reichstag type affair. This
type of attack is qualitatively more disruptive to the functioning of
the capitalist system than anything that has happened before. All
business are shut down, from the downtown banks to the Barnes and
Nobel in my neighborhood.

It is far too soon to see how this will play out, but I believe we
have crossed a rubicon.

Louis Proyect, lnp3 at on 09/11/2001

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