NYC Report

Jon Flanders Jon_Flanders at
Sat Feb 15 23:01:40 MST 2003

I came down to the city from upstate with our Capital District "Peace
Train" group.We pretty much filled up the 7am. We were greeted at Penn
Station by a TV crew from Pacifica's "Democracy Now."

Some of us formed a "marchlet" up the the New York City Labor Against
the War gathering place at 59th and 5th avenue.

After a rally there we headed for the main event. Notable at this rally
was the singing of the Internationale led by a IWWer. At first we were
confined to the sidewalk, since no "marching" was allowed, but within
minutes we had flooded into the street, where we brought traffic to a
halt. This was the electric moment of the day for me. Labor was
beginning to breach the dike. The crowd was alive with chants that the
streets belonged to us.

It took a few blocks for the police to regroup, then they started
penning us in, ending in a box they created on 2nd Avenue. But by so
doing traffic backed up for who knows how far.

One of my shopmates ran into Jerry Springer, the former Mayor of
Cincinnati  turned low-rent talk show host. I glimpsed Springer myself,
chanting and carrying a sign. When he was told that in my shop, many of
the workers had gotten into the habit of watching his show in between
shifts on the lunchroom TV, Spring said "I'm sorry." He consented to
pose for a picture with my friend, which will certainly cause a buzz in
the shop.

Another vivid picture from the day for me was the phalanx of mounted
police riding into the crowd on 2nd Avenue. Shades of the Cossacks! The
crowd surrounded them after they charged in, and then they plunged here
and there, in a blatant attempt to intimidate. After spending some time
in this trap, we decided to call it a day, and proceeded to a deli where
we listened to some of the rally on WBAI. Our experience was shared by
many, we learned on the trip home, although some managed to get through
to the main event.

Everywhere in the city you saw people carrying signs and banners.

On the train back, another one of my shopmates had the idea of calling
the local TV stations to alert them of our arrival. A cell phone was put
to work, and sure enough two stations showed up when we arrived. All in
all, a good day for our side.

Jon Flanders

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