[Marxism] The Story of My Arrest for Disrupting Tony Blair
gulfmann at gmail.com
Thu May 31 10:24:49 MDT 2012
Good advice, apparently painfully learned.
On Thu, May 31, 2012 at 11:16 AM, Louis Proyect <lnp3 at panix.com> wrote:
> Rule #1: YOU MUST clip all extraneous text when replying to a message.
> Counterpunch May 31, 2012
> Diary of a Mad Carney
> The Story of My Arrest for Disrupting Tony Blair
> by LAWRENCE REICHARD
> On May 20 I was arrested for yelling “liar” and “warmonger” at Tony Blair
> as he spoke to the graduating one percenters at Colby College in
> Waterville, Maine, 50 miles from my Bangor home. As the cops led me away,
> before they arrested me, I calmly led fully 4-6 of them in a serpentine
> pattern weaving in and out of a line of planted stately trees. It took
> them about four or five trees to figure out I was yanking their chain. And
> as they led me away I continued to yell. Hence my arrest.
> Much to my surprise the news shot around the world, thanks largely to an
> AP story that cited Blair’s current faux job of negotiating a solution to
> the Palestine problem. Never mind that he supported Israel’s 2008-2009 war
> on the people of Gaza.
> The story of my arrest made papers in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New
> Zealand, Ukraine, Iran and Ghana. And it made the front page of the Bangor
> Daily News, my hometown paper, replete with my name and mug shot. That’s
> when things got interesting.
> The next day I showed up for a previously scheduled substitute teaching
> gig at Hampden Academy, a public high school in Hampden, Maine, where I had
> been a substitute teacher for more than eight years. Before first period I
> was asked by a school administrator to keep a low profile. I agreed to do
> this, and I did. During the course of the day a half-dozen or so students
> asked me why I had protested Blair, and in a few short, calm sentences I
> told them. They uniformly supported me, and the students in general were
> more vocally and demonstrably friendly than normal that day.
> The next day I got a call from a local TV reporter who said she had heard
> I might be fired from my sub job because of the Tony Blair incident, and
> she asked to interview me. Thinking it might be an opportunity to further
> publicize Tony Blair’s war crimes, I agreed.
> I was wrong. All the reporter cared about was the possibility of my being
> fired. All my efforts to direct the interview back to the real issue at
> hand quickly and inexorably found their way to the floor of the editing
> room. The Iraq war is old news. It doesn’t sell.
> Bright and early the next morning I called my supervisor at Hampden
> Academy and asked to come in and speak with him. My request was granted.
> In that meeting I was told that I was innocent until proven guilty but
> that my presence at Hampden Academy had produced a “carnival-like
> atmosphere” and that this was not needed.
> In other words I had been fired. So much for innocent until proven guilty.
> I had been called to sub 12 of the 16 school days prior to my arrest.
> After my arrest I did not get called for six straight days and I emailed
> the school in an attempt to clarify my status. I received a reply asking
> me to call the school and I did. I was then told that I should apply to
> sub elsewhere and that the school wanted things to “calm down a little bit.”
> So I went public. In the week following my arrest the Bangor Daily News
> ran no less than three op-eds about my arrest, one of them by me. A local
> talk radio station had me on. And there was the aforementioned TV report.
> Clearly there was media interest in the story.
> I fired off a press release, and I got two bites and one nibble that has
> yet to play out. The Bangor Daily News wrote an online piece that will
> likely make its print edition, and the same TV reporter called and
> interviewed me again.
> Some people are a little slow to learn, and I am apparently one of them.
> Again I thought this would be an opportunity to talk about a war that has
> killed and displaced hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, has killed almost
> 5,000 Americans, has gravely wounded some 30,000 Americans, has wrought
> considerable environmental destruction, and has utterly squandered an
> estimated $3 trillion of national wealth. Meanwhile Hampden Academy is
> laying off personnel.
> But the media cares not one whit about all this. As had happened the week
> before, they wanted to talk only of my firing and the mechanics of my
> arrest, not the real issue at hand – Blair’s extremely costly lies.
> And so ends my more than eight years of unblemished subbing at Hampden
> Academy. In January I was fired from my other job after my heavy and much
> publicized involvement with Occupy Bangor. I was simply told my services
> were not needed for the time being, until further notice, but that I would
> be called back at some point. But when the state Department of Labor
> investigated my unemployment claim it was told the law firm had no
> intention of calling me back. And so it is that for the last eight years
> of my work life I can expect no reference letters.
> As devout CounterPunch readers may know, my father was fired from his
> professorship at George Washington University because he was a member of
> the Communist Party when he was a doctoral student in history at Harvard.
> None other than J. Edgar Hoover himself was on the GWU board of trustees
> at the time, and he insisted on vetting all applicants for professorships.
> I have thought about that quite a bit in this last week, and I have come
> to the conclusion that given 100 chances I would do what I did 100 times.
> But I will say this. To all Occupiers, and to all others who will buck
> the system that will, if unchecked, take this world down. Do not have the
> least bit of faith that any venue of the mainstream media will convey even
> a shred of the message you wish to convey if you give it the least bit of
> an alternative. Do not get sucked into the interview trap. If your
> actions are interesting they may want to cover it. If they are not, they
> won’t. Give them the message you want to convey – and only the message you
> want to convey, nothing more – in written form. Supply them with your
> phone number, but unless you really know them and trust them – and unless
> they are not MSM – avoid at all costs the interview trap. Simply refer them
> to your written statement. Only in this manner can you shift the focus
> from the no-issues, horse race syndrome that so infects our political
> Lawrence Reichard is a resident of Bangor, Maine, and an activist with
> Occupy Bangor. He can be reached at lreichard at gmail.com.
> Send list submissions to: Marxism at greenhouse.economics.**utah.edu<Marxism at greenhouse.economics.utah.edu>
> Set your options at: http://greenhouse.economics.**
More information about the Marxism