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Commentary :: DNC : Human Rights : Organizing
Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
28 Jul 2004
The green grass of the Boston Common, along with the civil liberties of several thousand people were trampled today by squads of police that continually marched, biked and cycled around and through the peaceful displays of the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar. Under the propagandized shield of "combating terrorism" and "preventing violence", the growing security state seeks to protect itself from the exploding numbers of the disenfranchised that will inevitably rise against it. And on the Boston Common, approximately 2500 people of all flavors celebrated "another world is possible" while ignoring the police. Live music on two stages, free haircuts, free massages, free bikes, and free hugs were just several of the ways people expressed their commitment to the creation of community and the living protest to consumptive living.
pinkcheerleaders.jpg
The green grass of the Boston Common, along with the civil liberties of several thousand people were trampled today by squads of police that continually marched, biked and cycled around and through the peaceful displays of the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar.

But this useless show of force indicates just how frightening the world of ideas and alternatives is to a corrupt system starving itself to death on a diet of war and vanishing natural resources.

Under the propagandized shield of "combating terrorism" and "preventing violence", the growing security state seeks to protect itself from the exploding numbers of the disenfranchised that will inevitably rise against it.

And on the Boston Common, approximately 2500 people of all flavors celebrated "another world is possible" while ignoring the police. Live music on two stages, free haircuts, free massages, free bikes, and free hugs were just several of the ways people expressed their commitment to the creation of community and the living protest to consumptive living.

Among the more compelling displays was a representation of the Israeli apartheid wall and a car that gets 75mpg on vegetable oil. Radical cheerleaders sang out exuberantly, and Seeds for Peace, Food Not Bombs and the Frida Bus provided fed all those that were hungry.

But those that champion sustainable alternatives to the current system of war and exploitation face an increasing level of harassment and disruption. At one point during the bazaar a Coast Guard helicopter, machine gun sticking out of the open hatch door, buzzed just several feet overhead of the event attempting to drown out music and conversation. Groups meeting to discuss protest plans were also harassed by circling police helicopters.

State police in soft riot gear marched by, while bike cops continually cut swathes through the bazaar itself. Local,state and federal undercover agents stood out against the many black clad anarchists (http://www.blackteasociety.org).

The history of Boston, its source as revolutionary hotbed, has clearly been dismissed. The most striking example of this memory failure is the prison pit known as the "free speech zone." Stuck under a highway overpass with eight foot high steel fences covered with plastic mesh and topped by black mesh and razor wire, the free speech zones are an affront to the very idea of free speech.

On Monday, a group of about 40 people sponsored by the Save Our Civil Liberties Campaign (http://www.saveourcivilliberties.org) performed a powerful street theater action using black hoods and "Camp DNC" guards. Drawing the comparison between the pit and similar facilities in Iraq and Camp X-Ray Guantanomo Bay, Cuba, the event drew a large amount of media and bystanders curious at the dramatic play unfolding. (http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/24450/index.php and http://www.alternet.org/election04/19365/)

MSNBC called the creative action the "worst way" the Democrats could start the week, and indeed no critique of the protest pit has been raised inside the Fleet Center. Apparently the Democrats are so desperate for an election victory, they're willing to drop the Constitution along the way. This is just another way the Democratic Party has become little better than the Republicans and neocons they are trying to replace.

Another disturbing trend for the Boston DNC security is the use of regular Army personnel for domestic policing. Unlike Georgia where a "State of Emergency" was declared, this time both national guard and regular military personnel have been placed on the street and in the subways to search and police peaceful citizens.

The use of regular military for domestic policing can only occur under an executive order, this time signed and delivered in secret. It's taken four years, but Bush Administration has finally gotten the Posse Comitatus Act fully discarded without public disclosure or discussion.

Despite visible and creative resistance in Boston to the corporate take-over of government policy, civil liberties continue to fall under siege. Where this erosion will end remains to be seen but despite the siege - those who resist continue to assemble and celebrate. The grass is greener, and untrampled, on the other side.

Naomi Archer
http://www.intuitivepath.org

[Most photos by stlimc, originally posted at http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/24613/index.php , photos of helicopters posted anonymously at http://boston.indymedia.org/newswire/display/24835/index.php ]
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See also:
http://www.saveourcivilliberties.org

This work licensed under a
Creative Commons license.
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The big dig
28 Jul 2004
You need pictures now, to defeat all this defeatism. This is Boston, a grassroots movement without all the “Democratic” agents can still garner thousand of activist without endorsement. We know where to go and what to do. The arrogance! Drop dead, just like Kerry.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
28 Jul 2004
Did anyone else see the strange bible thumper with the sign that featured a "support president bush & jesus" slogan and had graphics of tanks, guns, missiles, et cetera? And here I was under the impression that the big J said all that "turn the other cheek" stuff. I get the feeling that most of these religious nuts have never even taken a peek at the new testament...

too weird.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
28 Jul 2004
Other than the annoying helicopter, I thought the cops did a pretty decent job of staying out of the way. I'm more concerned about fellow anarchists who thought that screaming at the two fundamentalists present was the correct way to handle a difference in opinion.

I don't know about anyone else, but I would like to see anarchists presented as intelligent, rational beings, and not as ridiculous rebelling teenaged brats. We can't control completely how the mainstream media presents us, but we can control our own behavior.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
28 Jul 2004
hey kitty, the helicopter was obviously annoying (as it drowned out the sound of the performers) but it likely also served to photograph the people there.

But is that truly all you found upsetting? How about the fact that police wouldn't allow the 25 ft replica of the Israeli Apartheid wall to be erected in the Commons? Or the fact that the large gang of bike cops kept randomly riding through the park - for no damned decent reason other than to flaunt power? Sure, the police were somewhat restrained... but that's because the people there were too. And as far as I see it, we've given up much more so far in this convention than THEY have...
Re: comment by Hagbard Celine
28 Jul 2004
"And here I was under the impression that the big J said all that "turn the other cheek" stuff."
He did say that. But, it's usually taken out of context by people who don't read the Bible. To turn the other cheek means that if someone offends you and you can easily dismiss the situation, do so. A slap was considered an insult, but, insults can be turned aside. Christ defended Himself, and stood up for Himself on more than one occasion. (He grabbed a bullwhip and drove the moneychangers out of the Temple, for example.) People who don't read the Bible tend to forget that story.

"I get the feeling that most of these religious nuts have never even taken a peek at the new testament..." Granted. However, it's more likely that they've taken a peek, seen something they like and can use that will empower them, and then proceed to use that statement out of context to further their own agenda. But, the same can be said of most secular, agnostic nuts as well. They tend to find something that they think is contradictory, or goes against their beliefs, and they harp on that one point.

Bush is the most openly Christian president in recent memory. He's a man who stands firm in his beliefs. Those beliefs don't line up with most of what mainstream society feels. He's criticized, made fun of, and labeled as unintelligent. Support or oppose the man, people can't deny his moral convictions. They're there, and evident for the world to see.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
28 Jul 2004
I was there yesterday for the Bazaar and i dont recall seeing any gun on that helicopter. Does anyone have any photos since i sure didnt see it. It dont think the cops were that bad either, i was actually suprised how absent they were except for a couple ride throughs.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
28 Jul 2004
Okay, the cops can stop posting now.

The cops were absent? I didn't see a gun on the helicopter?

Okay. Let's see. Cops on bikes biking through the middle of the bazaar all day. Cops on motorcycles driving through just after noon and zooming by all day. A regiment of riot cops marching up the side of the park by the bazaar and then stationing themselves in the parking garage. Police helicopters overhead all day - and the damn Coast Guard helicopter that came and flew just a few hundred feet over the crowd (like THAT is safe) and yes Virginia, there was a machine gun mounted. Everytime groups gathered to talk - the police moved to disrupt and create a presence next to them. Cops on horses stationed on all the high points surrounding the bazaar. And undercover cops all over the damn place.

Despite this bullshit show of macho brawn, good people gathered to express alternatives to this madness. The only positive thing I can say about the cops being there is maybe some of them learned a thing or two about the truth.

hop hop
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
29 Jul 2004
All citizens in favor of free speech and freedom of assembly report to the razor wire holding pen for identification and orderly disposal later by the enemy of the constitution government; by the masons and for the mafia.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
29 Jul 2004
Note; the national secutrity state media networks pretend there is no dissent in Boston, to help assure that one of the two "Skull & Bones" member candidates takes office.
Re: comment by John Tynsdale
29 Jul 2004
I'm really growing weary of Christians using the "Jesus driving the moneychangers out the temple" story to justify acts of violence. I attended Sunday School faithfully for 18+ years, read the entire New Testament, and never got the impression that Jesus would sign up to be a bombardier to rain missiles down on Afghanistan or Iraq. Quite the opposite, in fact - Jesus was all about love.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
29 Jul 2004
I think what the story about Jesus driving the money lenders shows is not that Jesus was someone who advocated violence, but was willing to use force. There is a difference between violence and force. As Dave Dellinger (the great radical pacifist organizer who recently passed away) pointed out nonviolent direct action is force without violence. When folks shut down the opening meeting of the WTO in Seattle in 1999, denying delegates access that was both nonviolent and an act of coercion. That seems to me most consistent with the ethics preached by Jesus and most of the other great spiritual teachers.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
29 Jul 2004
Yes, I saw the cops on horses going through and thought it was a silly reminder to us that they were there. I didn't see the bike cops constantly zooming through as someone pointed out. My point was that for all the fear & hype that has plastered this site and others in the past few weeks, I was surprised and impressed by how much distance the cops kept from the events going on.

I can do the obvious and blast Boston for wasting money on unnecessary security, or I can talk about the things that everyone seems to pussyfoot around, like a supposedly open community which was attempting to censor others left and right.
If the anarchists behind the RRDB wanted to exclude marxists and christian nutjobs, then they should have just booked this as an anarchist event and I wouldn't have a complaint about that. It's when someone attempts to make an event or group seem to be something it isn't when I get pissed.

All that aside, though, I'm hoping that the anti-RNC folks pick up the positive things that occured at the RRDB and do something similar. Yelling and holding signs is fine consent, but I think that community building is a more positive and pragmatic action to take. I want an alternative to the current system. Changing leaders is small change.

I guess that I don't care how sappy this sounds...I sorely want a sense of real community. Tuesday was pretty close to that. I'm glad to be reading about the actions occuring today in Boston.
Re: Marsh Bunny and the rest of you wackos
29 Jul 2004
Alternatives to this madness? Exactly what madness are you referring to? It's called security... it happens to have increased after something called Sept. 11th. But then again, judging by your postings, it sounds like you were born yesterday so maybe you've never heard of it. Been to the airport lately?

It's police bravado, machismo, etc. etc. until something terrible happens and then all of a sudden, there wasn't enough sceurity right? Get a grip.

A Coast Guard heli with a machine gun?! GASP! The audacity! Maybe they should use water pistols to protect our borders! Or maybe your argument is that they should have them but YOU shouldn't have to SEE them, heaven forbid!

I think it's time marsh bunny "hop hop" back to the marsh they came from.

Bush 2004
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
29 Jul 2004
Unfortunately I couldn't make it to the bazaar, but I'm really impressed with what I've seen and heard. It's a shame the cops were obnoxious, but at least they were just obnoxious, not violent.

to "The GOP"
Yes, we all know about 9/11. Security is one thing, but a terrorist attact should not be justification for to intimidating mostly peaceful protesters, using their first amendment right to hold demonstations. (And the bazaar was permited. But should we even need a permit to excercise a constitutional right???)

Also, we're not talking about using machine guns to patrol a boarder, we're talking about pointing guns at American citizens who are excercizing a constitutional right.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
29 Jul 2004
The cops did a great job. For those who say that the police presence was excessive I ask you: what would happen if there were no police? A nice peaceful demonstration, I don't think so.

I would agree with the operation of that Coast Guard Helicopter. I observed it flying way to close to some high-rise buildings. If anybody has pictures they should send them to the FAA.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
30 Jul 2004
I was there as an interested neighbor passing through rather than a participant. I too was amazed by the large groups of bike cops constantly and rudely riding through the crowds of people calmly and peacefully trying to enjoy their afternoon, then stopping right in the middle of the crowd. I saw one of the cops on a walkie-talkie looking up at and apparently communicating with the Coast Guard helicopter overhead. It seemed clear from his gestures and the motion of the copter that he was helping to coordinate the harassment of the crowd.

To those posters who say "get a grip" and feel that this type of security is necessary, let's see if you say that when you have dozens of police hovering around and over you, watching your every move at your next barbecue or social event - not to protect you but to watch you and intimidate you. There was an obvious and undemocratic attempt to intimidate those gathered there. I agree and accept that most large public gatherings require some kind of security presence should things get out of hand. But this was overboard and plain wrong. They should've stayed at a distance and been fewer in number.

I know from the experience of someone close to me that the police and government can and do harass, intimidate and infiltrate groups that have unconventional views. How do our police and government security forces get away with these excesses? Because they can. Until, that is, fellow citizens stand up for harassed minorities, even if we don't agree with them 100%. Stand up for them not only in our own self-interest - i.e. because we don't want that type of harassment happening to us someday - but because it's wrong. Citizens simply living, enjoying their afternoon, breaking no laws, should be free from this type of intimidation.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
30 Jul 2004
I am sick and tired of hearing all you hippie pussies complaining about the police. If some sort of attack or violence had taken place then all of you would have been complaining about the lack of police presence.
Re: Strong police presence for 'peaceful protesters'
30 Jul 2004
After the behavior of your 'peaceful' friends exercising their democratic rights to trash businesses at events like the WTO in Seattle, are you really suprised there's a huge police presence @ the first national convention post 9/11?

i've got a lone, young republican friend who intercepted your march to the holding pen @ the fleet center. He had a Bush sign, and was surrounded by little anarchists and what not, complete with eeevil, anarchist spikey hair sponsored by Paul Mitchell. They gave him the finger, told him his 'momma has a bush(which she probably does) and generally intimidated him. So i guess the message is: tolerance for other views... as long as they're anti-establishment and leftist.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
30 Jul 2004
Interesting conversation. I saw horse mounted police at the peripherary and sometimes riding through. Lets remember that in the last 40 years there have been massive riots at previous democratic (and republican?) conventions. Here is one example:
http://www.cs.colorado.edu/~l3d/systems/agentsheets/New-Vista/chicago68/
Im not saying that the security measures put in place this time also taking into account 911 and WTO etc were right or necessary. But it seems that however all of this was managed, while I am not an "anarchist" and I dont agree with everything the people there espoused (although there are things I do agree with), I felt that there was a new way the police and feds handled things all over town which allowed people their constitutional rights to assemble and protest without things getting out of hand as they have in the past. Remember that the day they dont let any marches, protests and rallies happen is the day we will all have lost. Lets hope that day never happens. Which is why all of that this time (and at the RNC) was so important, using it or losing it. Dont stop using it.

This is from an email I sent to some people I know after reading the above articles.

I saw them tuesday when I went downtown.
In the govt center T station there were 8 black
uniformed soldiers decked out in gear and machine
guns.
People were asking them directions and so I went up
and spoke to one of them. The patch on his jacket
said MBTA and another one said Transit Police.
But these were no kind of transit police you have
ever seen before. These were special federal forces
called in for this new homeland security police
action.
As I walked around there were a few groups of army
uniformed soldiers. But mostly some police and these
black uniformed guys sometimes with the word POLICE
spelled out in white on the back. I discreetly
videotaped many of them. I videotaped outside
the convention center, the "free speech zone",
and around Fanueil hall and boston common.
A bit of Boston history to remember it by. I wasnt the only one.
There were plenty of people with new digital cameras
and videorecorders everywhere as well as news media.

On Channel 7 news this week the reporter went to the
"Federal Police" secret base where they showed how
they can watch everything downtown with 90 cameras
placed on federal buildings. Then they showed
the state police helicopters that fly over the city
and any protests constantly. The copters have high tech cameras on the bottom of the copter to take video and images and send them back to HQ or to handhelds of officers at various locations. I did see the helicopter flying overhead. I was
looking at the new 911 memorial in the public
garden which is supposed to be a solemn thing
but it was hard to appreciate this with the constant
drone of helicopter blades above all the time.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
01 Aug 2004
I actually just got my photos back today from the demo and i have a photo of a different helicopter buzzing above the bazaar when "Fuck You" was spelled out. Were there two, since this is a completley differnt one from what i saw.
Re: Barbed Wire Over Boston: Strong Police Presence at the Really, Really Democratic Bazaar
01 Aug 2004
I think it needs to be said that...


THIS WASN'T A PROTEST. AT ALL. NOT EVEN A RALLY. IT WAS JUST A FESTIVAL.
Comment by John Eskew
02 Aug 2004
"I'm really growing weary of Christians using the "Jesus driving the moneychangers out the temple" story to justify acts of violence. I attended Sunday School faithfully for 18+ years, read the entire New Testament, and never got the impression that Jesus would sign up to be a bombardier to rain missiles down on Afghanistan or Iraq. Quite the opposite, in fact - Jesus was all about love. "

Read the ENTIRE New Testament, eh? Hmm...I doubt that. Reading is one thing, understanding is another.
For example, you missed the point of my comment. I was not justifying violence. War is war. It is what it is. It's bloody. It's violent. People die if they're lucky. War is not always the answer.
But, it's incorrect to say that War is NEVER the answer. Ask France, our largest critic, if our going to war in 1942 was the wrong call. Ask a Jew if the US was wrong.
War is an occasionally necessary evil to preserve the greater good of society.
Ask the Iraqi's, the real Iraqi's, if our going to Iraq was a bad idea. I know a dozen soldiers who all write the same thing: They're glad we're here. They're glad we got rid of that monster.
You don't hear that on the news.

Wholesale, wanton violence is wrong. BUT, if it is used to free an oppresed people, to defend someone who can't do it themselves, then warfare can be a tool used for the benefit of mankind.

In Iraq, we have seen troops acting with utmost respect (with the exception of a few) for the Iraqi people, for their religion, for their monuments and landmarks.

Example, Marines under fire from a mosque will not return fire until they have an open shot that will not damage the building or endanger civilians. Most often, when the insurgents fire 200 rounds, the Marine sniper will fire 5-10 shots, and eliminate the targets.

What's the point? Christ was all about love. That's right. But, he wasn't all about peace. He was here for a purpose, for a reason. That was to tell the world why He was here. He was love, and sometimes love does the hard things.
Excellent site, very helpful, thank you for sharing, keep up the fine effort and excellent job.
30 May 2006
Excellent site, very helpful, thank you for sharing, keep up the fine effort and excellent job.