[Marxism] March 20th mobilization in Los Angeles

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Wed Mar 24 09:01:11 MST 2004

by Walter Lippmann, CubaNews list moderator

Saturday's demonstration was very upbeat and spirited.
Estimates I heard were in the ten to twenty thousand, 
though to me twenty thousand sound rather larger than 
I thought. When you're right in the middle of one of
these event, and not on a rooftop or in a helicopter, it
isn't easy to get a fix on how many people really were 
present. It was very large, and it was very spirited.

A broad coalition was built by International ANSWER to
which all who were ready do protest the US invasions of
Iraq and elsewhere joined forces to make a statement so
big that even the corporate media couldn't ignore it.
In the English-language Los Angeles TIMES, the story was
buried on page ten. I didn't even see the paper today as
I no longer have a subscription. 

Our demonstration began at the famous intersection of
Hollywood and Vine. This is a great place now that we're
getting used to using public transportation. In this city
most people (who have automobiles) use them to go nearly
everywhere. In recent years surface traffic has gotten 
worse and worse. The public, even those who do have cars
are finding (I sure do) driving to large events like this
a great nuisance, so we're learning how to use the public
transportation system. It's not the most user-friendly of
systems, but it works and to get to his landmark it's just
great. The ride from my closest subway station to the
demonstration assembly point took perhaps fifteen minutes.

The demonstration was youthful and enthusiastic, though 
I saw veterans of the protest movements such as myself
at various points. Lots of Latinos participated, using a
range of Latino community organizations. Supporters of 
the FMLN campaign in El Salvador marched with a banner
and above that a Shafik Handal placard. Venezuelans in
support of President Hugo Chavez had their own banner as
well as election campaign posters for him. Groups from
the Chicano community, a wide range with many different
organizations and banners were perhaps the largest part
of the mobilization. Several Filipino groups and one
Korean organization also participated. It was strikely
broad from an ethnicity perspective, which has been the
case for some time. Free The Five had a contingent as 
did our Los Angeles Coalition in Solidarity with Cuba,
whose banner read (Ni se rinde, ne se vende -- meaning
we won't give up, we won't sell out). One group which
was heavily latino was the Bus Riders Union, an activist
grouping fighting for expanded public transportation.

Particularly noticeable were all of the Muslim women in
Islamic head-coverings of various kinds. But they were
marching, serving as monitors and in other ways active
as participants in the mobilization. Very impressive.

Though the pressure to support anybody but Bush is very
much a part of the political environment today, I saw 
not a single sign for Kerry. Indeed, I saw one satirical
sign saying "Bush-Kerry" in 2004. There were several 
signs and one dancing and musical group devoted to the
campaign of Dennis Kucinich, at least one sign I saw in
support of Dean. The Green and Peace and Freedom Parties
were also present, with modest-sized contingents as well
as literature tables. The Greens do seem to have genuine
Latino participation and half of their signs were written
in Spanish. And, of course, there were a few of the more
humorous kinds of signs, like "Lick Bush in 2004" <g>

There were a good number of hand-made signs saying "one
down, two to go" in various configurations. 

Though it seems virtually no one got arrested, I heard in
the crowd that the police had acted in a provocative way
at a couple of points along the route. I did see them at
one point, approaching a group of anarchists who jeered
and booed them profusely. The cops, who weren't wearing
battle helmets, but those smallish modern bicycle caps
moved on the anarchists and it looked like a beating
was about to ensue when the police decided to slowly
pull their forces back. I'm not convinced that it was
in response to the chants of the Spartacists whose
slogan was "No repression against anti-war protesters,
leave the anarchists alone!", but shortly thereafter
that was exactly what happened. 

In the Spanish-langugage LA OPINION, however, yesterday's
demonstration was given the most prominent coverage with
four of the six columns above the fold being filled with
a beautiful color photograph of the protest. The other
two columns were devoted to the election in El Salvador,
an important event for the large Salvadoran community in
this city. The LA Times, which was linked with LA OPINION
in the past, has recently begun publishing a competitive
tabloid to challenge LA OPINION, but it only come out 
five days a week, so by tomorrow, Saturday's protests
will be ancient history. I would note, however, that the
new paper, HOY, which is published in two other cities of
the US as well, gave very prominent coverage earlier in
the week to Sgt. 

Cuba's GRANMA isn't published on Sunday, but the world's
protests were well-featured in the special Sunday copy of
JUVENTUD REBELDE. A photo of a French demonstration to up
almost the entire front page of the paper. Here it is:

GRANMA doesn't publish on Sunday, but they loved it Monday:


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