[Marxism] The Story of My Arrest for Disrupting Tony Blair

Gulf Mann 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
> process.
>
> 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.**
> utah.edu/mailman/options/**marxism/gulfmann%40gmail.com<http://greenhouse.economics.utah.edu/mailman/options/marxism/gulfmann%40gmail.com>
>



More information about the Marxism mailing list