[Marxism] re 400,000 and disdain for Kerry

Ilyenkova at aol.com Ilyenkova at aol.com
Tue Aug 31 06:26:53 MDT 2004

>But I think Eli Stephen’s comment, if it is accurate - that “the
Nader-Camejo contingent was audibly booed, with their most prominent sign
reading "Bush-Kerry=War, Nader-Camejo=Peace" (or something like that)” - is
also worth noting.<

I don't normally crosspost but in view of claims that this huge march was 
pro-Kerry I'm sending the front page report from the Boston Globe. It contains a 
number of references to  strong anti-Kerry sentiments--in fact it's one of the 
themes of the report!! I watched the CSpan video in front of Madison SQ 
Garden and was struck by how few Kerry signs there were. On the other hand the 
Nader-Camejo contingents were chanting and vibrant, esp. the ISO kids. These were 
the "left" forces in the line of march, clearly. And rather than being 
isolated, alienated or demoralized they looked like the life of the march.There's no 
argument that this was an anti-Bush march (who wants the loathsome reptile 
around for 4 more years), and by extension, loaded with small d Democrats. But 
the big D Democrats deliberately distanced themselves, and no visible 
prescence-- A few desultory banners but no audible Kerry-Edwards chanting. The march may 
not have been red but it certainly wasn't blue! I did hear a few boos 
coinciding with the appearance of the Nader-Camejo contingent on video, but it was 
hard to tell at whom the catcalls were directed. The marchers were met at the 
Garden by a handful of irksome Bushies and the Fox News van and both were the 
objects of continuous booing and Fox News Sucks chanting.
Perhaps, the ISO marchers (and I know they were on "full mobilization" for 
the march) could do us a favor and weigh in with their thoughts. Other marchers, 
too.  I agree with the comment that the march bodes well for the struggle 
against the Bush agenda after November, no matter who wins. At the start of the 
summer there were fierce arguments in my household about ABB; now all anyone 
wants to know is when can we restart the antiwar movement.

By Raja Mishra and Tatsha Robertson, Globe Staff  |  August 30, 2004

NEW YORK -- As Republicans began converging on the city to renominate a 
wartime president, the largest protest ever at a political convention was staged 
yesterday in Manhattan, a largely peaceful march against President Bush and the 
Iraq war that underscored the deep divisions within the nation as the fall 
campaign approaches.

Five weeks after the Democratic convention in Boston, the antiwar protest in 
steamy Manhattan presaged a bitter contest between Bush and John F. Kerry and 
between two competing visions of America's role in the world after the attacks 
of Sept. 11, 2001. The Republican National Convention opens tonight, and Bush 
accepts the party's nomination Thursday, marking the start of the final two 
months of campaigning before the Nov. 2 election.

Estimates of how many participated in the protest march neared 400,000 
people, with the procession stretching for miles. But little of the predicted 
violence and unrest materialized. About 200 people were arrested, some for blocking 
roadways, others for assaulting police. The marchers followed a plan set by 
New York officials, snaking along a horseshoe-shaped route through New York's 
cordoned-off streets, then peacefully dispersing at the end.

Anger at Bush pervaded the gathering. Some signs read ''Bush lied, thousands 
died" and ''Bush: Empty Warhead." Protesters defaced photos of Bush and poked 
fun at his family and upbringing. ''No more years," many chanted.

Meanwhile, in hotels and ballrooms across the city, Bush's supporters 
prepared for their weeklong political celebration of his four years in the White 

The gathering was expected to be the largest protest during the four-day 
convention. ''It was the largest demonstration since the war began; we feel like 
we succeeded in combating the rhetoric the Republicans will be issuing from the 
convention," said Bob Wing, national cochairman of United for Peace and 
Justice, which organized the protest.

The assemblage, marching in the sweltering August heat, took nearly five 
hours to file past Madison Square Garden, the convention site in midtown 
Manhattan. New York police, in keeping with recent policy, refused to offer a crowd 
estimate. Protest organizers boasted 400,000 people, and several police officers 
on the scene said there seemed to be more than the predicted 250,000.

Previously, the largest protest at a national party convention occurred the 
day before Republicans met in Philadelphia in 2000, when 12,000 leftists 
marched for various causes. In 1968, the raucous protests at the Democratic 
convention in Chicago involved up to several thousand demonstrators.

Yesterday, opposition to the US occupation of Iraq was the day's overwhelming 
theme, beginning in the morning, when the march's lead organizer, Leslie 
Cagan, told the gathering: ''We want the troops brought home now. Not tomorrow, 
not next week. Now."

Earlier this month, Republican operatives said they would seek to link any 
protest violence with Kerry, the Democratic nominee. But Kerry's campaign has 
distanced itself from the protests, which began Thursday.

Many protesters expressed disdain for Kerry's refusal to denounce the 
invasion of Iraq, and said they would not vote for him. A sign at the head of the 
march offered a twist on Kerry's famous denunciation three decades ago of the 
Vietnam War, saying: ''How do you ask a soldier to be the last person to die for 
a lie?" Organizers said the sign was meant to warn Kerry that many considered 
his vote for the Iraq war a betrayal of his past.

Most protesters were white, although other racial and ethnic groups were 
represented, and they ranged from grandmothers to schoolchildren. The protesters 
came from all over the nation, as well as Canada and several European 
countries. New York, a majority Democratic state, was heavily represented.

''Bush has been disastrous for our country, especially the arrogance of his 
foreign policy," said Sean T. O'Connor, 33, of the Bronx, whose stepfather was 
killed on the plane that hit the Pentagon on Sept. 11. ''He's fighting wars we 
don't need to fight."

Bush campaign spokesman Steve Schmidt said, ''For most Americans, those out 
on the street today represent a viewpoint that is outside of the mainstream."

But recent polls have indicated that a majority of Americans think the Iraq 
invasion was a mistake, with an even larger percentage skeptical about the 
prospects for peace in the country.

The march began on 24th Street and proceeded north on Seventh Avenue. When 
demonstrators reached Madison Square Garden, they cheered and jeered at 
onlookers standing on the steps of the arena. But tension expected at that moment did 
not materialize. Many protesters had said they would march north to Central 
Park, where they were not permitted to rally, but a wall of police officers 
barricaded the street, forcing them to turn away.

''It's been very peaceful," Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said. ''We 
all along felt that if there was any vandalism, it would be from small groups 
not connected to the marchers."

Many protesters said they were drawn to the demonstration because of their 
dislike of Bush, but they seemed mostly indifferent about Kerry, who has pledged 
to keep American troops in Iraq, at least in the short-term.

''I think he will get over that," said Igor Bobrowsky, a former Marine who 
served in the Vietnam War and received two Purple Hearts. ''I think he should 
look back at his testimony in 1971 when he asked, 'How do you ask a man to be 
the last man to die in Vietnam?' I think he should now ask how many men will be 
the last to die for a lie."

Kerry's statement in 1971 was, ''How do you ask a man to be the last man to 
die for a mistake?"

Philip Greenspan, 78, of Spring Valley, N.Y., flashed a thumbs-down when 
asked whether he would back Kerry. ''He's worse than Bush. He wants to bring in 
more troops," Greenspan said. ''I'm not going to vote for anybody. No matter who 
wins, the same policies will be implemented."

Near Madison Square Garden, about 200 Bush supporters gathered to respond to 
the marchers.

''They're a bunch of left-wing pinko communists, and that is about as blunt 
as I can get," said Ruben Israel, 43, who had traveled from Los Angeles.

Hundreds of Massachusetts residents participated in the antiwar march. Alexis 
Sullivan of Somerville wore pink sunglasses and a long, pink nightgown with 
the words ''Pink Slip Bush" as she marched with pink-clad women from the 
antiwar group CODEPINK, chanting, ''Hey hey, ho ho, George Bush has got to go!"


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