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News ::
Mobe & BOOM to blame for Oct. 3rd scuffles, not unions.
07 Oct 2000
Repost of a message originally posted to the "realdebate-announce" listserv--run by the Task Force to Expand the Debate, the largest Boston Oct. 3rd debate organizing coalition--in response to another post by a Green Party member worrying about how union/protestor scuffles at the debate protests would effect labor-community solidarity.
See also:
http://www.fairjobs.org
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Another Perspective
07 Oct 2000
I'm very disappointed that Jason Pramas, an activist I used to admire, has decided to turn pro-cop and pro-thug. I was in the streets with the so-called "action faction" throughout October 3rd, operating as a street medic to provide emergency health care if and when things got nasty. As reported, the situation turned sour at the very first encounter between protestors and Gore-supporting union folks.

There were a lot of ugly scenes on October 3. And I have enormous criticisms I'll be elaborating on in the near future (here and on ZNet -- www.zmag.org). There was some inexcusable behavior on the part of protestors. There were countless tactical blunders as well. Organization and preparedness were in many ways dismal. However, the behavior of substantial numbers of union people, not to mention the police, practically eclipsed relatively isolated incidents of protestors getting out of hand.

Say what you will about provocation, but responding to taunts (of which I saw very few made by protestors directed at union people, but hundreds of the opposite) with physical violence is beyond the pale. So whether you're a cop or a union member -- and it was at times hard to distinguish between the two on Oct 3rd -- you don't get to respond to words with fists or clubs just because you've got more surging testosterone or Budweiser flowing in your system (yes, countless of the union folks were quite drunk, rumored thanks to Budweiser sponsorship of their demonstration).

Around 4:15 PM, when the small march that had left Andrews Station was crossing a footbridge populated by ironworkers, street medics were taunted as "AIDS victims" once some of the union people saw our red crosses. One of them proceeded to shove an IndyMedia reporter at the same scene, and they all started shouting and taunting protestors. Then some jerk protestor picked up a rock and threw it back up at the bridge once the march had passed on, missing by about 10 meters. Idiocy ruled the afternoon hours, on all sides.

About two hours later, an unprovoked carpenter picked a rock up off the ground and hurled it at a young woman who was struck in the forehead and had to be treated. I later overheard ironworkers laughing as one of them recalled, "Did you see that fucking carpenter throw that rock at that girl!? I mean, it was wrong, but damn it was funny!"

This kind of thing went on all evening. It was disgusting and inexcusable. Yes, protestors unnecessarily marched right into and through a union march, for some reason I may never understand. Yes, there were some taunts. Yes, some protestors looked "weird." But to even imply that this justified the violent and belligerent responses I saw time and time again, is to leave one's humanity, and ability to reason, well behind. I find Pramas' accusations and rationalizations simply unacceptable in a progressive forum.

Later, when police used violence against protestors, it was an overreaction in response to otherwise peaceful activity. I can't tell you how many young activists, surprised and bewildered at police violence, were treated by our medics. It was a despicable scene, and Parmas' deference to barbaric notions of justice aside ("they got what they desererved"), police conduct was deplorable.

So while I admit there were at least 100 things that should have and could have been done better on and leading up to October 3, I find taking the stance that protestors themselves are to blame for the antagonistic and violent reactions of union people and cops alike, to be decidedly inappropriate and misdirected.

Jason, I'm sorry if union people and protestors spoiled yours and my hopes for the optimal conduct of demonstrators in the streets. However, there is simply no comparison in scale and intensity between the behavior of union folks and that of protestors. I was there the whole time, I saw what went down, and no amount of re-writing history to excuse the actions of scoundrels is going to whitewash what I saw. As I said, the attempt itself is troubling and regrettable enough.

See also:
http://www.rootmedia.org/~bad
Pramas makes a better case
07 Oct 2000
I found Jason's explanation of the events significantly more compelling than the response you posted. Jason lists the specific groups in his accusations, and gives detailed background.

I find the response troubling for several reasons :

1 - It skips dealing with the apparent lack of cooperative decision making that segments of the activist groups engaged in while planing their action to coincide with the union action. People are responsible for their actions, and results, particularly when the results are predictable.

2 - The first responsw says that it was hard to tell the difference between union members and cops. This is divisive rhetoric unsupported by any facts.

3 - The response gives a great example of just exactly why many union members find _some_ far left activists elitist. It accuses the union for Gore folks, as a primary arguement, of being drunk, violent, and specificly mentions Budweiser sponsoring their event. It may come as some surprise to you, but not all members of the "uneducated" working class drink Bud and are violent. Your generalization is insulting, and about as counterproductive a sentance as ever was.

Union people, and more broadly workers in general, whether the writer likes it or realizes it, are the best hope this country has of a Left with some acctual power. Marginal clique cultures, such as the current Anarchist upswing, can have profound and positive impacts... but only to the extent that their work is relevant to the vast majority of the people in this country.

and... the fact is... the vast majority are workers, who's greatest area of common ground is the pathetic conditions of their labor.

Organize people, not hip cliques.

No excuse for violence
07 Oct 2000
look, i don't care who "predicted" what behavior. i don't want to hear anything about "we told you so" or "you shouldn't have protested there because union people are there and they will get violent". that's nonsense.

we ALL have the freedom of speech; we ALL have the right to protest on public property. whether it's labor, mobe, or boom; it was everyone's right.

i find it interesting that jason never calls for the union members to be held accountable for getting out of hand. no. they should, apparently, bear absolutely no responsibility for what occurred.

utter nonsense.

i am not willing to let labor off the hook because it was predicted that they would get violent, and they did. NOBODY has any right to hit (or otherwise harrass or assault) anyone, EVER. this blame game, finger-pointing, and scapegoating is getting old. let's all take responsibility for our actions.
Jason...right-wing bigot? I think so...
07 Oct 2000
I'm totally with you Brian Dominick. What Jason stated was totally unfair and unjust. Think maybe he's ONE of the cops or Gore supporters? I wouldn't be surprised, but one thing's for sure...he certainly does not belong on this website.

In Solidarity,
Tim SpiritWalker
I'm with Brian as well
08 Oct 2000
As a participent I felt that many of the Union for Gore people were out of control and I totally disagreed with Jasons support for the police as well as his condoning blatent attacks on protesters for simply looking funny. It makes me question just how progressive he really is or if he is really a Gore supporter in disuise. Still I think that something needs to be done to get the unions on our side. Their support for corporate candidates like Gore does not help the working people and will only harm their movement in the long run. I think perhaps we need to reach out to the unions. What is needed is not violence but solidarity.

-Todd

I support Brian as well
08 Oct 2000
As a participant in the protests I knnow first hand many of the Union for Gore people were inded drunk as well as violent. Morover I am shocked by jason's support for police as well as his condoning attacks on people who may look different then he does. Makes me wonder if he is a Gore supporter in disquise. Still I think we need to reach out to the unions as they should not be our enemies but our allies. Especially givin the 8 years which CLinton Gore has steadilly sold out the unions and other working people. I think that they could easilly be our allies in this fight and this division does not do much good for anyone. We don't need conflict with the unions but instead solidarity.

-Todd
Sorery for the double post
08 Oct 2000
I did not see the message after I posted it so I reposted it a second time.

-Todd
I;m also in agreement with Brian
08 Oct 2000
The excuse that Jason gives to say that the protestors were at fault for scuffles between them and union members is flawed, because it takes into account the history of unions at protests like that by saying that people like the AFL-CIO are going to be violent, and have a history of being violent. So by the protestors choosing being in the presence of a group that has a history of being violent, suddenly that makes them at fault if the group does become violent? Bullshit.

Jason admits that the AFL-CIO has a history of being violent, yet his article doesn't attempt to hold them accountable to their actions. It's all the protestors fault. Riiiiight.
I agree with Jason
08 Oct 2000
It is very depressing to read folks disgreements with Jason. There are definetly some good arguements but there are also some pathetic ones.

I can't believe people accuse Jason of supporting the police. He never said that, and that is a cheap shot based on bad logic that happens too often on these boards. You say anything negative about "black block", "action faction" type groups and suddenly you are "a COP who doesn't belong on this web site." That is absurd and those of you who use that logic should be ashamed of yourselves.

Secondly it is abundantly clear that some activists have a very distorted view of unions, and working class culture and politics in general.

Too many people talk about the working class as if we are a group of dumb people waiting to be led by the new cutting edge Anarchists (or marxists or greens, or whatever.)

One person mentioned the need to get the "working class on our side... or get unions on our side." This strikes me as bizare... Unions have been on "our side" for more than a hundred years... before there was an "our side". Mostly young, mostly white, mostly well-to-do, activist culture needs to "get on the unions side," not the other way around.

Please understand that there are plenty of different unions with different levels of democracy.. but the principle of a union is democracy. Some unions are corrupt, just like some anarchists are stupid... you don't invalidate the later for this, you shouldn't invalidate the former.

Why don't folks who are vague on this try giving up a bit of their class privelage... get a crap job... and see how the rest of us live for awhile. Then, when some little clique of wanna-be-hip rich white kids messes with you, you'll be able to relate to the feeling of frustration that a lot of working class people have about "activists".

I know this sounds like a dismisive "get a job" arguement... but there is a reason that people feel that way. It isn't all touchy feely and peaceful... but neither is life. For most of us it consists of debt, bad jobs, screaming kids, and a whole lot of stress.... and no opportunities for anything to change.



I am on the Unions side
08 Oct 2000
I have no idea what you are talking about. I do in fact have qa job and I have worked more then my share of crappy jobs in my life. The question is what has Gore done to improve things. He has continuosuly supported free trade agreements which place envionment, labor and human rights issues beneth the power of multinationals. He supports the Taft Hartly act which helps to prevent more Unions from organizing. He has supported welfare reform which has thrust millions into poverty. Look around you. Despite this so called booming economy over 20% of children are living in poverty and hunger and homelessness is increasing. Worekers are working longer hours for lower pay then they have back in the 1970's and we currently have the lowest percentage of workers organized then in the last 60 years. And what has Al Gore or Bill Clinton done other then to support this? Al Gore is no friend of the working people which is why many working people as well as rank and file union members were out their protesting for Nader. And you should have seen the hundreds and hundreds of local residents in Roxbury cheering us on in the Mumea parade walking through their neighborhood. Are these not working people? As for Brian what he said was accurate and I can verify this as an eyewitness. While their were Nader supporters who did things that went beyond most of the problkems were provoked by Union for Gore people. And Jason has directly supported police brutality as well as attacks against Nader people by Gore supporters. I quote "I'm supposed to shed crocodile tears because a union guy smacks some asshole who happens to be carrying a sign for a progressive candidate?" or how about "and anybody busted there got what they deserved." Is it a sign of peace to say that nonviolent protesters who were pepper sprayed by cops and beaten got what they deserved. How about to directly support violence against Nader supporters for looking funny. Whats next are you going to support calling medics AIDS patients. Lokk I am totally in favor of Unions and working class people in general but I do not see how supporting corporate candidates like Gore or supporting polivce brutality does to further your cause. If anything it only hurts it.

-Todd
Missing the point
08 Oct 2000
Tod the post you are replying to made no mention of Gore. Why do you focus on this instead of on the stereo types of working people and union members that the post was comenting on.

Also... if I read about a police officer arressting a man for assaulting his wife... and I say "that guy got what he desreved" now... according to your arguement, I support the police state. That is totaly ridiculous. I know that analogy is not direct, related, or fair, but it highlights the logical steps you are making... which is fair.

Automaticaly saying someone is in favour of the police (which you did), or questioning whether they are a cop (as others did) simply because they don't agree with everyone who does something against the cops is silly. Cops arrest drunk drivers, are you therefore in favour of drunk driving because cops are "opposed" to it?

Rhetoric independent of logic is going to take this movement away from democracy, not towards it.

No one deserves to be the subject of violence.

However, people who make bad strategic and tactical decision that have ramifications for the rest of us involved can and should be held accountable for those decisions... by the kind of criticism that Jason makes... not by violence... and not by the kind of broad, sweeping, and unsupported accusations that several people made against "budweiser swigging union guys".

What Would Jason Have Done?
08 Oct 2000
My take on the conflict with the union carpenters (that's the main group that was there) was that the "conflict" was not that big of a deal. I heard one person got into a scuffle. So what's new in Boston? I was working as a reporter trying to interview the union guys about why they were supporting Al Gore. Almost none of them would speak to me. What's up with that? I was wearing two press credentials and wasn't carrying signs or buttons. I don't look weird. These Gore people, by and large, can't even explain why they support Gore. I call them Gor-bots. One nice guy did respond to me and tried to defend Al Gore. When I asked him about NAFTA, he said, "That was an unfortunate incident." Indeed. We all need to be able to talk to each other and defend our political views in a civil, intelligent manner. The fact that this element of the union movement is confused (and many were drunk!) and supporting a corporate candidate is not a valid reason for the rest of us not to protest what are in fact rigged debates. Al Gore has spit in the face of organized labor. I hope one day soon we will all wake up and collectively wipe that spit from our faces. There has never been a better year for unions to break from the corporate democrats.
I don't support stereotypes
08 Oct 2000
I don't support stereotypes of anyone nor am I against unions or those in unions in any way. I personally know several people within unions who are my personal friends. I even konw several union people who support Nader. I in general have a positive opinion of unions and that has not changed as a result of the events. That being said several of the Gore supporters were drunk and indeed were violent. I do not think that these individuals represent the views of all unions or even of the majority of the Gore supporters present as I also saw several Gore supporters as well as Nader supporters trying to defuse the situation. Ultimatly though I think that the majority of the problems with violenece did indeed come from the Gore supporters. Also I do not like the stereotype of all Nader supporters as middle class college kids who do not care at all about the working class as that for one is simply untrue. Nor am I saying that automaticallly anyone who supports the police in any situation is violent and I think everyone regardless of their views has a right to express them on this page. I was simply saying I saw several instances on unjust arrests by police as well as violence against Nader supporters and anarchists. Personally I think their were mistakes in tactics with both Nader supporters and the Unions and I think their is room for improvement on both sides. Ultimatly though I think we should be on the same side as we all are concerned about and affected all are concerned about the same issues and both opposed to the corporate domination in society as well as the decline of unions and the power of the working class.

In solidarity
-Todd
hope it works this time
08 Oct 2000
I just made a post, and for some odd reason it said it didn't work, so I'll try again.
I totally agree with Todd. I was one of the protesters in Boston and not once did I see one of us use violence of ANY kind whatsoever. We were totally peaceful, maybe agressive verbally, but never once did any acts of violence come from the us (the protesters).
I didn't see any Gore supporters act violently either, although they were very obnoxious and seemed pretty drunk. I don't care what Jason or anybody has to say, because I know for a fact (and I was there) that the protest went very well, and the police were sometimes out of line, especially once we got to UMass. The only people who had any violent tendencies were the Gore supporters and the police. So Jason, stop being biased and stop supporting police brutality or any form of brutality.

In Solidarity,
Tim SpiritWalker
Words can be used as weapons too
09 Oct 2000
"We were totally peaceful, maybe agressive verbally, but never once did any acts of violence come from the us (the protesters). "
I have four comments on this attitude, that I've seen expressed in a number of recent posts:

1) This is an incredibly naive view. You simply can't seperate language and actions like this. Suppose we confront and begin to insult one another, then get into one another's faces, begin yelling, then bumping one another, then shoving then fighting. Where, exactly, does the violece begin? Verbal hostility naturally leads to physical hostility. Moreover, it's hypocritical for someone to claim that they are non-violent, yet use language in a violence provoking manner.

2) It's just plain, incredibly stupid to think that you can taunt a (huge) group of big burly guys and nothing's going to happen. Fortunately, there were only a few incidents, because union leaders had urged restraint and (I saw) many union guys holding back the less restrained.

3) Not only is it stupid, it's morally irresponsible, since, knowing that attacks are likely to be provoked, it's likely that some of your fellow protestors will be attacked. Everyone should agree that it's wrong to put your brethern at risk without their consent, but that's precisely what the taunters did.

4) I saw the police prevent several protestors from getting the shit kicked out of them by unionists that were read to answer their tauntings with fists. Those people are lucky the police were there, and they should acknowledge this--would they rather be in a body cast right now?

I 'm not saying that the attacks that did occur were acceptable--of course they were wrong. But anyone who does any finger-pointing at the unionists should also acknowledge the hypocracy, irresponsiblity and stupidity of the protestors who taunted and provoked the unionists. And anyone who has anything negative to say about the police should also acknowledge their positive role in this regard.

(I winesses the above-mentioned incidents between 5:45 and 6:45 near the T stop and near the protest area).


Response to Tristan
09 Oct 2000
First off, Tristan, I have a name, and it is not "the writer." There is no reason to be so impersonal in this forum.

On your point (1), regarding "the apparent lack of cooperative decision making that segnmants of the activist groups engaged in while planning their action to coincide with the union action": I actually did address this by saying I have every intention of writing a full report on this (I am a journalist, for what itís worth, and I focus on movement strategy/tactics analysis).

Still, I can certainly address it here. What I will say, as a witness to one spokescouncil meeting, and to some of the meetings which took place immediately before and during actions on the 3rd, is that indeed, cooperation was lacking, focus and analysis almost nowhere to be found, and strategic thinking found in preciously small quantities.

However, there was no sign of cooperation whatsoever among the union "rank and file" who had far less say in the planning of their actions, so Iím not sure why you would raise "lack of cooperation" as a criticism of protestors in contrast to union members. At least the protestors had meetings and TRIED to cooperate with one another. Neither side, obviously, did a very good job of making sure things would go smoothly on the streets.

But the main difference I think needs to be noted between the union folks and the protestors is that the latter were facing two apparent enemies in the streetóthe union folks AND the police. The scenes were not neat an d pretty, thatís for sure.

Nevertheless, I do agree that certain individual actions on the part of protestors, as well as at least one mass action (runnning their march head-on with the union march), were quite ridiculous and antagonistic. I just donít think they compare in scale or magnitude with the more common and more severe actions I witnessed on the part of union folks.

Regarding your point (2), concerning the difference between cops and union people in the streets, the differences were few. First of all, on only two occasions did I see union people so much as attemtping to intervene in the violence or inflammatory language perpetrated by a minority among them. I call that complicity. What would you call it?

Second, there were countless occasions on which union folks were favored by police. Against the interests of working class solidarity, union folks readily and greedily accepted being favored. While protestors were herded into tiny pens, unions were deferred to with free reign.

Third, there is no doubt that undercover police were following their normal tactic and operating as union members. This is a standard procedure, as they find union t-shirts and hats a much easier disguise than lip rings a nd dread locks. Agents provocatuer very often appear in union clothes. In this case, perhaps to antagonize protestors. I would like to think that most of the physical violence and verbal confrontations instigated by folks who appeared to be union folks were actually instigated by undercover agents. I would sleep better at night. However, itís difficult to believe that police would send in that many dozens of undercovers to a demo of this nature for that reason, so I actually doubt most of that was the result of infiltration.

Either way, people dressed like union members were doing the copsí job all afternoon and well into the evening.

And on point (3), concerning my alleged "elitism." I donít know what to tell you. I saw what I saw. I very much wish I hadnít seen numerous drunken union members running around attacking protestors (I never said or impl ied ALL). But I did see that. And I wish I hadnít heard several union people tell protestors to "get a shave" or "go home." What I didnít see were protestors calling union people "corporate whores" (though Iím not denyin g it may have happened). And I didnít see protestors telling union folks to stop dressing all alike, nor to "go home." And I didnít see protestors telling union folks to stop washing their hair so often. I saw nearly unil ateral violence and abuse. I canít lie about that. If you read my previous analyses of mass actions, youíll find I do not hesitate to criticize fellow radicals. And I very much intend to do just that re this event. But th at doesnít mean they were the worst behaved group in the streets. Cops and unions get those awards.

A lot of us have been feeling relatively elated since last yearís actions in Seattle, where the "Teamsters and Turtles" finally saw eye to eye for a moment. Unfortunately, that relationship didnít continue into the street s of Boston, and I think itís time to face it that the big unions are not only absent from our side most of the time, they are in many ways the enemies of the working class. Gore is, of course, an enormous enemy of the wo rking class. Supporting him is, of course, the proverbial shot to oneís own foot.

I did overhear a couple of conversations between union people and protestors, where union membes admitted they did not know Al Gore was pro-NAFTA. It is clear that the union hierarchies are whitewashing that monster in th e eyes of their rank and file, so itís not surprising that union people in the streets of Boston were so defensive. It is, however, regretable, and the particular ways it manifested itself on countless occasions is, indee d, inexcusable.

As for union people being the Leftís greatest potential source of "real power," I essentially agree. I also recognize, however, that that power has been in rapid decline since the 1930s, and that when union people continually hand over segments of that power to their bosses, owners and politicians, that potential source of power diminishes. Supporting someone who intends to send jobs overseas at the fastest rate possible does not exactly preserveólet alone expandó that base of leverage we might find useful in more revolutionary times.

As for relevance of our work and actions to the vast majority of people in this country (i.e., workers), I think you and I would agree. But misunderstanding radicalsótheir lifestyles, their rhetoric, their allegiences, their methods, and their purposeódoes NOT justify beating them up. Thatís what it boils down to.
Not all workers support Gore
09 Oct 2000
In response to the attacks on workers for showing up in support of Gore some key points must me mentioned. First of all is the fact that there were indeed several pro-Gore workers who showed up drunk and were likely looking to cause trouble. Many of these workers joked or glorified the fact that the sanctions against Iraq have led to the deaths of millions of Iraqis and were very open in there racist support of US imperialism's human rights attrocities and in their support of more wars and more violence by the US military for the bosses profits. However, and this in the key point, MOST workers there were NOT supporting Gore, but were protesting and hate the system just as much as students there hate the system. I found many workers protesting against the US supported attrocities in Iraq, Isreal, and Columbia. The largest group of workers was in fact a group of muslims protesting the US support of the Isreali army and Isreal's racist oppression of muslims, particularily Palestinians. Still the fact that less than 1,000 violent pro-Gore supporters attended shows that they are infact a small minority when compared to the thousands of supportive workers watching the anti-death penalty march and the tens of thousands that have protested against police brutality, racial profiling, and the racist criminal justice system. It is a grave error to ignore workers and assume they support the enemy. Hopefully, further protests will show that workers are winnable and hate the system and they should be reached out to as we look to expand this movement. Workers and Students Unite, will Never be defeated!!!
Not all workers support Gore
09 Oct 2000
In response to the attacks on workers for showing up in support of Gore some key points must me mentioned. First of all is the fact that there were indeed several pro-Gore workers who showed up drunk and were likely looking to cause trouble. Many of these workers joked or glorified the fact that the sanctions against Iraq have led to the deaths of millions of Iraqis and were very open in there racist support of US imperialism's human rights attrocities and in their support of more wars and more violence by the US military for the bosses profits. However, and this in the key point, MOST workers there were NOT supporting Gore, but were protesting and hate the system just as much as students there hate the system. I found many workers protesting against the US supported attrocities in Iraq, Isreal, and Columbia. The largest group of workers was in fact a group of muslims protesting the US support of the Isreali army and Isreal's racist oppression of muslims, particularily Palestinians. Still the fact that less than 1,000 violent pro-Gore supporters attended shows that they are infact a small minority when compared to the thousands of supportive workers watching the anti-death penalty march and the tens of thousands that have protested against police brutality, racial profiling, and the racist criminal justice system. It is a grave error to ignore workers and assume they support the enemy. Hopefully, further protests will show that workers are winnable and hate the system and they should be reached out to as we look to expand this movement. Workers and Students Unite, will Never be defeated!!!
Reply to "Sad"
09 Oct 2000
A few remarks in response to the person posting under the handle "sad."

Sad wrote: "I can't believe people accuse Jason of supporting the police." Then how do you explain this statement: "the police were quite well-behaved"? Or "anybody busted there got what they deserved"? People deserve to get arrested for holding up peace signs and stating their beliefs? Or even for approaching a building on a public campus? This is blatant support for police misbehavior. What else could it be called?

Sad wrote: "Too many people talk about the working class as if we are a group of dumb people waiting to be led by the new cutting edge Anarchists (or marxists or greens, or whatever.)"

This is true, but I don't think it's evidenced in what I or most others on this board wrote, so your argument is very limited, and essentially agreeable by the same people (me and others) who found unionists behavior unacceptable on Oct 3.

Sad again: "Unions have been on 'our side' for more than a hundred years... before there was an 'our side'."

I'm not sure what history you are reading, but there has been an "our side" since long before there were unions, so let's not quite credit them with the origination of all social movements, shan't we?

In the meantime, let's figure out if, when unions support a candidate the likes of Al Gore, they are indeed on the samee side as most people who post on this board, or indeed most working people in general. Al Gore is against almost everything we stand for, so taking the time and energy to picket on his behalf is, as I see it, quite against "our side."

Does that mean I differ with unions or most working people on the issues that I care about the most? Not necessarily. Since I am anti-free trade, for instance, I am presumably in agreement with the typical union stance on that issue. But since Gore is a cheer leader for free trade (and was integral, remember, in passing NAFTA), how is supporting his candidacy consistent? I could go on and on down the list, but suffice it to say *being* on "our side" and always *acting* on our side are obviously two different matters...

Sad: "Mostly young, mostly white, mostly well-to-do, activist culture needs to 'get on the unions side,' not the other way around."

Oh, so now unions are the vanguard of progressivism or revolutionism? Let's not kid ourselves. Certainly they are a significant power base. Clearly there are bright, progressive thinkers, leaders and organizers within union ranks. But to suggest that they have it right and the rest of us need to join them is, I think, a bit bizarre. Most of us, at least, don't think that supporting Al Gore is in any way consistent with our goals. So I'm not exactly about to tip my hat at the ingenuitive, strategic thinking demonstrated by unionists who support that goon.

Sad: "Why don't folks who are vague on this try giving up a bit of their class privelage... get a crap job... and see how the rest of us live for awhile."

What on earth could prompt such a juvenile remark? Who are you to know what kinds of jobs I work? I'll tell you one thing, I doubt my present income even approaches the beginning wage for any of the ironworkers, carpenters and plumbers who were ordering me to "get a job" on the streets of Boston. And I have certainly worked far shittier jobs than many of them do, for far less, for long periods of time, unless cleaning toilets is part of their job description, which by virtue of being in a union it is certainly not.

But all that aside -- and it might be equally true for others whose posts you seem to be addressing, mind you -- I wonder why anyone should wish a "crap job" on another human being. It seems, instead, we should be working to eliminate crap jobs, not fill their vacancies.

I can understand the sentiment, in feeling, but really, to actually suggest it as a solution is to violate logic, I think. Lots of "reproles" have decided to swing shit jobs rather than pursue college and careers, only to find themselves stuck much deeper in that shit than working class families have been. I feel I've been luckier than most, in that respect, actually.

Sad: "I know this sounds like a dismisive 'get a job' arguement..."

Of course it does. Presumably that's why you used it. It offends people, most notably those of us who work 60+ hours a week and take home less pay than most unionized workers!

Sad: "But there is a reason that people feel that way. It isn't all touchy feely and peaceful... but neither is life. For most of us it consists of debt, bad jobs, screaming kids, and a whole lot of stress.... and no opportunities for anything to change."

Forgive me if I don't pity you for having "screaming kids." If that's really the way you look at your children, that would explain your rabid response to criticisms of anti-progressive behavior at demonstrations. I hope it isn't really how you feel. And I also hope there is something positive about your life and that of other working people.

My guess is you are only telling one side of the story in order to contrast your life with the rest of ours, which of course consist of debt-free budgets, wonderful jobs where we are well-paid and -respected, no stress to be found, and only delightful encounters with children. I'm not sure which "reality" you are in touch with, but judging by your post, the answer is "neither."

Instead of all this bickering about who was wrong, why are we not using this discussion to figure out how things could bee done right. I'll give Jason props for at least stating he WANTED things to go better. I said the same thing earlier. And Jason seems to think communications could have been handled far better. Maybe that's a start. But what wentt wrong, really? Without just saying "unionists were drunken idiots" or "protestors were spoiled brats," why not evaluate why union rank-and-file is falling in line behind Gore, and why Greens, radicals and other leftists seem unablee to form/maintain the bonds and dialogs necessary to convince more workers to support Nader, or at least not support Gore?

That's where I'd prefer to see the conversation turn, rather than continual banter over who misbehaved the most on October 3.

--brian
I agree with people
10 Oct 2000
I was at the debates, i got shoved by some union people, I saw some people get attacked, and although more of the violence was on the union side, I saw a protester punch some gore surporters.

I also talked to one injuried gore surporter, and although at first he was quite rude to me, he agree that fighting gets us nowhere.

I think assholes started the fights, unions had more assholes, but at the time their was unions surporters. Yes the cops did take the side of the unions but I did see some cops risk themselves to help people out on both sides.
I agree what the cops did later was inexcusable, and I helped knock down the police baricades. Also I thought that what went on later was a lot more important then a few assholes attacking people, regeardless of what orgization(government) they calm to surport.

Why can't people be people, they maybe gore surporters or anarchists, but in the end they are responcable for their own actions.

Attacking people(with violence) because of what they believe in is wrong I think just about everyone can agree on that.

So stop labeling people and start talking about the issues.

I've never had a shit job, I goto college and I took a bath 3 days ago(actully this is true but normally I take one everyday, just curcumstance), does this make my agruement wrong?

My polical belief is for people,