[Marxism] Pittsburgh Sept. 20 Demo: videos and eyewitness report

jayroth6 jayroth6 at cox.net
Mon Sep 21 18:09:59 MDT 2009


Various sections of the march


Rosemary Williams


Victor Toro


Rocky from North Carolina FIST


Clarence Thomas





A first-hand report by a fellow Cleveland activist:


"The most stirring speeches came not from the the several labor leaders, not from 
the politician (who did, however, take Obama to task for his words to 
the G20 that belittled mass demonstrations), not from the clergy (though 
they too were militant more than they were sermonizing), but from 
workers in the thick of the fightback against, global exploitation 
(there was a clear sense of the need for global solidarity among workers 
to fight these conditions in many of the speeches), low pay, job loss 
and eviction. 

"One of the speakers drew a comparison between this event and the early 
stages of the mass movement in Guadeloupe. I find this particularly apt. 
When Élie Domota spoke here in Cleveland recently, one of the union 
organizers in the crowd asked him how he had been able to organize a 
demonstration that brought one fourth of his country's population into a 
single mass demonstration. He said that they started from an  event that 
had 5 speakers at the podium, with  2 in the chairs out front " and one 
of those was a cop." Our event seemed, very much, a later stage in this 
same process. There was a clear will, through all of the proceedings, to 
bring Guadeloupe's party to our streets. Our folks will be back to the 
streets, in ever greater numbers, ever more militant, until we have the 
strength to overturn the unjust system that oppresses us.

"Another activist remarked that while he thought this an impressive event, he had 
expected numbers approaching  3000 (we made the number of marchers, at 
the start, at something more than 200). I pointed out that our March for 
Jobs was a prelude to the general G20 protest which would be forming up 
over several days and would, most likely, peak on the 25th. He agreed 
that this was a more likely time to look for the large numbers that he 
hoped for.

"There were cops everywhere with cameras, fancy rigs with telephoto 
lenses. Mostly they were content to photograph us from the streets that 
lined the route of the march, perhaps also from their helicopter that 
circled overhead. I turned my sign ["FREE TROY DAVIS/ FREE LEONARD 
PELTIER" on one side "FREE MUMIA ABU JAMAL" on the other] 
side-to-the-sky several times so they might get a better picture of it. 
One or two of the cops passed through our ranks, camera in hand, at the 
Tent City before the march, and at the square where we assembled 
at the end of the march. Clearly there is something more afoot than a 
sudden great surge in the number of photo enthusiasts in the local 
constabulary. [I recall that the same sort of photos were used to direct 
the home invasions, and roundup of protestors and journalists, at the 
DNC and RNC in the run up to the last two presidential elections.]

"The "combat ready battalion"  from the national  guard, assigned to 
Pittsburgh for the event, was not to be seen. Neither were the cops as 
heavily armed as the often are, in this city, when they are not 
cultivating their interest in the photographic arts.

"I by the way lost it in an argument with a person that I believe to have 
been one of the ACLU stool pigeons assigned to the G20 protest. He drew 
me into a heated argument over the role of the ACLU before I noticed 
that he was recording our conversation with his cell phone. Several of 
our number had earlier filled out about 6 pages of a blue interview 
questionnaire, and I mentioned to two of them, with the interviewers 
still present, that the ACLU had published its plan to share such 
information with the Pittsburgh cops. Later, in the course of the march, 
some character proffered a couple of leaflets to Frances. I stowed these 
for her. He later returned and asked to have his leaflets back. After 
retrieving them from me he left again, then returned to chat me up on 
the ACLU.  Pressed on my views,  I launched into a tirade against the 
published ACLU plan to circulate among the workers at this event taking 
interviews that they proposed share with the Pittsburgh cops, suggesting 
that he not take my word for it but instead should check out their 
website, where I learned of the plan. He pressed on with "why would the 
ACLU want to do such a thing." I replied, "To fulfill their historic 
role. If there's a correct spelling of Quisling in American English, 
it's A-C-L-U.  The organization was founded buy an Anarchist, a 
Communist and a Socialist, yet in the 50's, they refused to defend the 
Communists." It was quickly downhill from there, with him pointing out 
that the arrests that they might be enabling were not yet happening,  to 
the point where I noticed his  recording device, pushed him away on his 
last approach, and told him to go "interview" somebody else. With very 
little more provocation I would have decked the son-of-a-bitch. 
Reflecting back on this, I think what steamed me more than his 
provocative probing was the surreptitious recording in the context of 
all that police surveillance and of the ACLU program to aid that 
surveillance as best they might."


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