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Huge, huge, superbig protests were planned for the late August/early September 2004 Republican National Convention. They were to take place in Manhattan, weeks later than usual, presumably to better invoke the tragedy of 9/11.
I was reluctant to go for two main reasons.
First, I was scared.
It was common knowledge that a police presence liked we’d never seen was going to descend upon New York City. At large-scale protests, cops have a tendency to mass arrest, tear gas, pepper spray, shoot (with rubber bullets), and beat protesters without that much regard for their guilt or innocence of any particular crimes. And the idea of being arrested, gassed, sprayed, shot or beaten by cops scared me.
Second, I didn’t see the point.
For an activist/protester sorta guy, I really go to very few protests. In the 60s found that marches and rallies could have a real impact on the political spectrum. At the time, such things were provocative, and could lead to conflict and change. It’s my feeling that modern activists are simply repeating the same old tactic without stopping to see if it’s actually effective. These days, marches and rallies do not provoke and do not lead to change. These days, your rally will get 10 seconds on the local nightly news, if you’re lucky, and not do much to “raise awareness” or anything of the kind.
And if rallies and marches don’t accomplish anything, why would I want to go to one?
I think that activists simply need to dump the rallies and marches and sit down and think: what do we want to happen, and what can we do to make that happen?
I didn’t see how the RNC protests were going to do anything. They were unlikely to change Republican policy, and were not going to get the party to alter its choice of nominee.
But I had a nagging feeling that if I didn’t go, that I would regret it. That in the future, I’d curse myself for my past cowardice, that I’d missed out on something big, that I’d miss my chance to stand near a stadium-full of evil motherfuckers scream out my contempt.
So, I went.
I’ve got daily reports here. They’re often long, and have many image files that your computer will have to load, so it could take some time. Also, at the end of most of the reports, I have links to another webpage filled with dozens of links to further webpages with photographs of the protests (most of which are better than mine).
Enjoy, or don’t.
Thanks to Tom & Serj, Kittie, Cari, Vanessa, Lili, Indira, Candice and Adam
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