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News ::
Boston rally puts warmongers on defensive (english)
31 Mar 2003
Modified: 05:02:53 PM
Media Pigs underestimate the peace protests - are you surprised?
Numbers estimate off
Boston rally puts warmongers on defensive
BOSTON, MA, March 29, 2003--The largest Boston rally in the last 20 years marched on streets bordering the Boston Common, the public park. The marchers stretched further than the eye could see. After MIM handed out 3750 copies of MIM Notes April 1 2003, the rally still stretched further on the street than the eye could see.

Unlike other rallies that MIM Notes has reported where it seems a general notion of their size made it into the press, MIM Notes contests the numbers reported by the Boston Globe, which only pointed to the police estimate of over 15,000. (The Globe later updated its story to read 25,000 by police estimates.)(1) Indymedia.org reported 30 to 50,000,(2) but on the street level it looked more like over 100,000 finally marched: once the rally left the Boston Commons and the march started after the die-in. We overheard one counter-demonstrator telling one of the older ones that police estimated 50,000, while the senior counter-demonstrator said, "I only saw 5 or 7,000, so why did the police say 50,000?" The younger counter-demonstrator did not have an answer. The Boston Herald said the event had 25,000 and no arrests.(3)

At any given moment, even at noon, hundreds were coming and going to the rally at the subway stations. (We were a little disappointed with the complacency of people who showed up for a few minutes to be counted and then left.) People also were showing up for the first time at 5pm for a demonstration that started at 11:30a.m. This in itself probably means the rally was much bigger than estimated. Unfortunately it spread out too much from the subway stations to the march, with many people not able to find it.

Where the rally really picked up numbers was on the street during the massive die-in and subsequent march, and that was the late afternoon already.

Local media reaction to the war

Some of the backwaters radio stations in New Hampshire and country areas of New England did organize rallies to support the war. WAAF, 107.3 from Worcester, Massachusetts lived up to its reactionary white trash image by organizing a "Support Our Troops" rally. The slogan on the radio was "debate the war and support the troops."

In contrast, rock-lovers will now have WBCN--104.1--to tune to. At www.wbcn.com, one can obtain all the anti-war songs that are available to download. In contrast, WAAF is in step with the rest of the country, but not Massachusetts.

In the last two weeks, the Boston Phoenix has firmed up a bit in its opposition to the war. The front-page of the Boston Phoenix called Bush a "neo-imperialist" and the editorial referred to lies being told.(4)

At the same time, at least two Phoenix writers continue to hold more in common with Bush than the anti-war movement. On the point of sound-bites, Bush says the war is about "freedom" and the peace movement says, "oil." Oil stands in for the economics of war and MIM is quite clear whose one-word summary is more accurate, Bush's or the peace movement's. The United $tates leads the world in imprisonment percentage-wise and England leads the European Union. (4)

For the second time, the Phoenix raised the Hitler-Bush comparison, in the most recent Phoenix and chalked up Boston's good sense not to have the same Hitler/Bush comparisons seen in DC.(5) Unfortunately, Kristin Lombardi and others at the Phoenix seem not to have noticed that Bush justifies his attack on Iraq vis-a-vis parallels with "appeasement" in 1938. Bush ridiculed the Europeans for "appeasing" Saddam Hussein when they wanted weapons inspections and he continues to use the theme as the war is underway. However, the fact is that Hitler occupied a country (Czechoslovakia) and the world did not stop him. Analogously, Bush is now occupying a country and the world did not stop him. The UN is appeasing Bush, not Saddam Hussein, who is not powerful enough to make the whole UN tremble, as much as the Big Lie told by Bush might make out. Anyone with close to a sense of reality knows that Bush brought the comparisons to Hitler upon himself. Iraq is not Nazi Germany threatening all of Europe. Iraq is a country with 27 million people. Iraq is Czechoslovakia in 2003, and it's too bad that Bush brought on the comparison to Hitler. Occupying Iraq while most of the world feels threatened by Amerikkkan power and using the big lie technique are enough to earn Bush the Hitler comparisons.

Police

At the end of the day, police illegally closed off the sidewalks and even a portion of the Boston Commons. They brought over 50 cops (state police, special operations force without badges, Park rangers, paddywagons). With mounted police and men on motorcycles, they closed off sidewalks outside the Commons first. They obviously tried to intimidate protesters by surrounding them on all sides--horses in one place, motorcycles on the other, standing cops at the gates. They were obviously looking for an excuse to shut down the whole park at 7:00 pm.

In response, demonstrators chanted, "whose streets? Our streets!" Like in other cities, the police do not seem to know who owns the streets, the government or the people. It's the kind of thing that led Americans to take up arms against the British.

Counter-demonstrators

Individual counter-demonstrators attempted to serve as provocateurs all day. After talking with police, and in some cases celebrating the election victory of Mitt Romney together with police, provocateurs went individually into the crowd. One white male about 6' started yelling at a womyn of 100 pounds and would not leave from in front of her. He asked the same question over and over again for 10 or 15 minutes, obviously hoping to provoke something, but the crowd was on to him when the police arrived saying all will go to jail.

Later towards the time when police were trying to close down the park (before 6p.m. though), another provocateur brought his flag to wave at people in the anti-war camp. One persyn claimed a flag-waving redneck used his flag to enclose and break a protester's sign. The redneck who showed up at the end of the Commons Rally was probably drunk too as he wiggled his butt while facing everyone with his back-end and called all the wimmin there "lesbians." (How many times we've seen counter-demonstrators (and in this case 95% were male) go to peace demonstrations with the desperate hope of finding girlfriends.) The antics of this flag-waver caused more police to charge in in the evening hours.

When two wimmin counter-demonstrators came in, one spoke up and replied to the peace movement, "I don't have an SUV; I have a Mercedes." "Yes, we're doing great with our Mercedes, having fun with our Mercedes." One persyn had told her she could afford her gasoline if she traded in her Mercedes and she was welcome to move to Iraq if she wanted cheap gas. Also, "if you want 'regime change' in Iraq, move to Iraq!"

Later in the day, two senior citizen veterans (with some mostly quiet younger men in their 20s, 30s and 40s) caused the most trouble heckling a MIM Notes distributor. One wearing a dirty suit and tie at Park St. came up to MIM to show one MIM distributor pictures in his veteran scrap-book and actually pushed the MIM comrade physically to get his attention while his young friends looked on at his elbow. This same veteran in the Big-Lying-propagandist category tried to raise the Bush line on appeasement of Hitler in 1938 and even mentioned Czechoslovakia! What gall! This veteran knew that appeasement referred to Hitler's occupation of another country with the acquiescence of England, but he tried to turn it all upside down by saying that occupied Iraq is in fact being appeased! Whether Bush or this veteran, it's a measure of their desperation to lie about history that they say the UN appeased Saddam Hussein, when in fact, the UN is appeasing the United $tates by not attacking it for occupying Iraq.

The other senior citizen veteran was even less historically informed. After a lot of arguing he said, "I fought for your freedom." When he started to add, "and brought you peace too," the MIM comrade cut him off saying, "no you didn't. You and your government brought me 911." As is typical across the country with reactionary veterans, this veteran pretended to speak for all veterans, by repeatedly saying "you don't know what war is about," (as if that could make 2+2=5) but as soon as we asked him if he spoke for all veterans and we called him a pig for trying to, he shut up.

"You don't know anything about America," one of the senior citizen vets kept yelling at the MIM comrade. "Where are you going to go after they [enemies like Iraq] destroy America? What are you going to do? Where are you going to go? What are you going to do?" The MIM comrade told him he was waiting for all of them to move to Iraq and take their SUVs with them.

Then another counter-demonstrator, much younger came up and threatened the MIM comrade with violence after admitting he didn't know who put Saddam Hussein in power in the first place. A member of the crowd said pointing to the counter-demonstrators, "why do you have to bother this man [the MIM distributor]? I support the troops, but. . . obviously he believes in what he is doing." Witnesses also chanted "no violence" as the counter-demonstrators heckled MIM.

Record distribution for one rally

MIM Notes ended up giving out 4350 copies for the day, with another persyn picking up 200 to take home. It was a record for one rally.

If you think you could send MIM money for papers, take them to rallies in your area, hand them out, take notes and write a story for MIM Notes about the rally like this story, please do it. See our web page at: http://www.etext.org/Politics/MIM/pirao/mndistrocampaign.html for information on the approximate costs. Just doing this would be a great support to the party and the movement.

Notes:
1. http://www.boston.com/dailynews/088/nation/Thousands_for_and_against_war
2. http://boston.indymedia.org/front.php3?article_id=12810&group=webcast
3. http://www.bostonherald.com/news/war/prot03302003.htm
4. http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/editorial/documents/02
(See our FAQ or prisons page in MIM Notes for references on global prison statistics.)
5. http://www.bostonphoenix.com/boston/news_features/top/features/documents




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bit of context on police behavior (english)
31 Mar 2003
I was one of the volunteers helping marshal the M29 march. When the march began to proceed down Beacon St from the Commons, the counter-protestors at Park St. decided that they would try to mix in and provoke some rally attendees. We formed a human chain to slow them down and keep them away from the main march, but they charged us when they got to the intersection of Beacon and Charles. There were probably 40 of them going up against 10 of us, and it was very likely that they would've overrun our group and started hassling the rear of the march.

However, the police intervened and forcibly held back the counter protestors and lined up a group of ambulances and police cruisers to keep them at bay while we moved the march forward. The police kept a 50 foot buffer between the counter protest and the rest of the peace rally and kept things from getting a lot uglier than they could've been.

End note: if the police wanted to shut things down and provoke the rally attendees, they could've stood aside. They could've let the counter-protestors charge through and mix it up with the rest of us and moved in to arrest everyone in sight. They didn't. They kept the peace and they did their job. I'm sure many of us are quite willing to see fascist overtones in any kind of overbearing police presence, but the lack of arrests is just as telling of police restraint as it is of demonstrator civility.
MIM is great! (english)
31 Mar 2003
Oh man, MIM Notes is one of the funniest publications of the radical left. "Amerikkka"? "United Snakes of America"? Man, that shit is rich! Do you still do the proletarian movie reviews? That section always has me in stitiches.

I can't really tell who is the bigger joke, MIM or the Sparticist League. Oh well, good thing absolutely NO ONE takes you seriously.
Huh? (english)
31 Mar 2003
Who taught you to count? Over 100,000 on the streets? C'mon, don't discredit the rest of us with these wildly exaggerated numbers. I think most "persyns" (ha, ha, ha!!!) who were present would agree that 30-50,000 was a pretty accurate estimate.
Thank you (english)
31 Mar 2003
Cris, thank you for giving the police a little bit of credit.