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News :: Human Rights : International : Organizing : Social Welfare
Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
20 Mar 2005
Boston City Councilor and Anarchist Youth Lead Unpermitted March--Five Unprovoked Arrests

Like many others across the world, on March 20--a global day of action--thousands of Bostonians gathered on the Boston Common to protest the continuing US occupation of Iraq in a rally organized by Boston Mobilization. The crowd size was large enough to make it difficult to estimate, with figures running between two and five thousand. Local activists, veterans of the invasion and occupation of Iraq and those with loved ones in the military spoke out powerfully against the war, mixed with a multicultural cast of musicians. The plan had been to close the rally with direct action, blockading the entrance to a near-by military recruiting station. In response, the military recruiting station simply never opened for the day. Instead, the final speaker, Boston City Councilor Chuck Turner, urged everyone still at the rally (a couple hundred people--the rally ran far over time) to join an unpermitted march originally planned by a group of young anarchists. The march snaked through the streets of downtown Boston before returning to Boston Common. There, some of the police began unprovoked attacks on activists, shoving people to the ground and arresting five. A stand-off ensued, with the police eventually pulling back. Plans are underway, with the support of Turner and Boston Mobilization, to support those arrested in court. The day’s actions managed to at least temporarily unite members of Boston's progressive community across some of the racial, ideological and generational lines that often divide them.

[UPDATE 3/28/05: Two of the detained activists, were later released without charges. Only the other three were officially arrested.]
Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq--Boston City Councilor and Anarchist Youth Lead Unpermitted March--Four Unprovoked Arrest
I got to the Common around 12:30, a half-hour before the rally was scheduled to happen, to see what was going on with the group of mostly (but not exclusively) young anarchists who had called for an unpermitted march at 12:30. One of them, Cameron Pond, explained, why they were not planning to go the large rally: “I would rather take to the streets. People won’t take us as seriously if we don’t take direct action. We can’t keep waiting for the right moment--nothing will happen. The right moment is now. We have to forcibly take our victory, by being out there and being loud.” He also, however, expressed a wish for greater unity among the various factions of the left: “Personally, I would rather have the rally and the march combined. The liberal and radical half of America hasn’t been able to oust Bush because we’re so divided. The conservatives have unity in their bloc, while we have disunity on the liberal side.”

As it turned out, Cameron got his wish. Seeing that there were only a dozen or so of them and learning that direct action against the recruiting station was planned after the rally, they joined the main rally, hoping to get people there to join their march afterward. One of the MCs announced the unpermitted march saying, “Boston Mobilization does not endorse this march, but we don’t want to stop anyone who wants to take part either.” This was the first of several refreshing changes from the divisions among various progressive groups one so often sees.

Boston Mobilization ( ), a local student-organizing group, did a good job in pulling together a diverse range of rally participants, speakers, and performers. Although many of the people at the rally were the usual older, white activists I generally see at such actions, there was also a strong turn out among young people and people of color, reflecting the diversity of Boston. A number of politically oriented musicians and spoken word performers did acts between speakers. They reflected a diversity of genres including punk, heavy metal, reggae and a lot of hip-hop. In addition to anti-war songs, they also spoke out on other issues such as poverty and sexism.

There were also two small groups of counter-protesters, at most a half-dozen each. One group consisted of young Republicans, another of young, openly avowed fascists, dressed up like jack-booted thugs. They generally remained at the margins of the rally.

A few of the early speakers were sort of off key, members of sectarian groups calling for Communist revolution. I’m not so much critiquing them for their ideas (though I don’t agree with those either), as their attempts to convey complex ideas to people through simple slogans. I had the sense that they simply lost much of the crowd with their simplistic, militant rhetoric.

Most of the speakers were strong though. The first speaker was Sholom Keller, a twenty-three year-old veteran who spent six months in Afghanistan and a year in Iraq, participating in the initial invasion. What he saw and experienced turned him against the war. Anguish and rage in his voice, he recalled how, during the invasion of Iraq, “I saw a four year old girl begging for food. I was told not give her any bread, because others would come after us to feed her. Well, it’s two years later and no one’s come to feed her yet!” He also said, “People I know personally are dead!” naming those in his unit who have died in this senseless war. Finally, he decried those in the military who have justified the war on Christian fundamentalist grounds as a crusade for Christ. Removing his hat to reveal a yarmulke, Keller shouted, “Do I look like I’m fighting a crusade for Christ here?! I’m kind of Jewish.”

Rose Gonzalez, of Military Families Speak Out ( ), told the gathered crowd about her mother: “Like many others, she joined the National Guard, thinking that they would help her by paying for an education and a mortgage for a house. Currently, at forty-seven years old, she is deployed in Iraq--deployed long after he have found no weapons of mass destruction, long after it’s been proved there is no connection between bin Laden and Hussein, long after Hussein has been captured, long after we were promised the war would be over. Why is she still there?” She also spoke of the importance of groups like Military Families Speak Out, a national network of over 2,000 families with loved ones serving in Iraq: “I thought I was alone in being someone with a loved one in the military and vehemently opposing the war, before I found Military Families Speak Out. We are an organization with a very simple message: Bring Them Home Now!”

Near the Bandstand was a wall with the names of photos of US soldiers who have died in Iraq, reinforcing the speakers’ message about the war’s grim toll. According to the Department of Defense’s website, 1,509 American soldiers have died in the invasion and occupation of Iraq and 5,871 have been seriously wounded.

Others besides the veteran Keller spoke about the devastation being visited on Iraqi civilians. According to a conservative estimate published, after extensive peer review, in the highly prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, at least 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died as a result of the invasion and occupation on Iraq--numbers that do not even account for the devastation wrought on the city of Fallujah, which was excluded from the study. Layla Hijab, a Palestinian activist living in Boston with family in Iraq as well as Palestine, spoke of what it is like to live under occupation. She spoke of the policy of collective punishment, where entire communities are punished for the actions of individuals; of doors broken down and people arrested without warrants and held without charges; of checkpoints making it impossible to get from one town to the next; and civilians killed in cold blood. She said, “The suffering is the same in both Palestine and Iraq and it is deep. The situation in Iraq is similar to Palestine because there are Israeli advisers telling the Americans what to do.” Hijab’s charges about American actions in Iraq have been documented by such groups as Iraq Occupation Watch ( ).

The focus of the speeches was not simply on the grim realities of war. Others spoke of the efforts under way to force the US government to withdraw from Iraq. Among the most important of these efforts is counter-recruitment, the effort to expose the realities of military life to the young people the military targets and to kick military recruiters off high school and college campuses. The thinking behind the strategy is that if the military, which is already seeing falling recruitment levels, cannot get people to join, simple shortages of personnel will force the US government to withdraw from Iraq. Kai, a student at Northeastern University and a member of the Campus Anti-War Network (, a national group, put it bluntly: “Anti-recruitment is very simple--it breaks the military at the ankles.”

Bill Sweet, a member of the American Friends Service Committee, who also does counter-recruitment work, noted the disturbing trend in which the military is increasingly focusing on trying to recruit high school students. He explained that counter-recruitment efforts “are based on providing information on alternative scholarship and work programs available for students. We also explain to students about things like the effects of being exposed to depleted uranium [a radioactive substance used to tip American missiles], being used as guinea pigs for experimental drugs, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and the high rates of sexual harassment and rape suffered by women in the military.” Many of the things Sweet mentioned have been documented by the group Citizen Soldier ( ), an advocacy group defending conscientious objectors and GI’s rights in general. Sweet noted that their efforts at counter-recruitment have lately been frustrated by the government, which is--even after the AFSC submitted requests under the Freedom of Information Act--refusing to tell counter-recruiters when and where the military will be engaging in recruitment efforts. The AFSC is currently suing the government to get it to release this information.

Renowned radical historian Howard Zinn put the current peace movement’s efforts in historical perspective, while lambasting the Bush administration’s claims that this is a war for democracy: “When Vietnam Veterans Against the War was formed, that was an important turning point in the struggle against the Vietnam War. Now that veterans are returning and speaking out against the Iraq War, more and more people are seeing the truth. Bush has stolen the wealth of this country and put into the war. Bush has said that the soldiers are fighting for liberty. That is not true. They are fighting for Bush, for Cheney, for Halliburton, and for Bechtel--and they are not worth dying for. You don’t bring liberty to a country with napalm and cluster bombs. You don’t bring democracy by breaking into houses and terrorizing civilians. Bush has said this is a war on terrorism. War is terrorism.”

The final speaker, City Councilor Turner, a respected, long-time civil rights activist and African-American community organizer, highlighted the connection between poverty and war: “Our government is not acting in the interests of our people. It’s not just what’s happening overseas. It’s taking place in our communities as well. They’re taking money and giving it to the military-industrial-prison complex to protect American business, while cutting social services at home.”

Turner also showed that he had lost none of his taste for confrontational action simply because he has been elected to public office. Several times in his speech, he urged people to join the unpermitted march after the rally. Unfortunately, the rally had stretched well beyond its schedule end time of 3:00 to 4:20, so only a few hundred people remained. Most of these people proceeded to follow Turner on the march, resulting in much higher numbers than the anarchist youth (who followed shortly after Turner) could have gotten on their own. Indeed, this was my own reaction--thinking the unpermitted march would be small, I had not been planning to take part; when I and some other Indy Media reporters realized that Turner really was serious about taking part in the march, our reaction was, “Hell, if he’s going, so am I.” The gathering stopped briefly in front of the military recruiting center to celebrate the fact that it had shut down for the day in anticipation of the direct action, while an activist marching band played. Turner and the anarchists then proceeded to lead the group on a march through downtown Boston, snaking along various streets, including through the shopping district of Downtown Crossing, where hundred of people saw and heard the anti-war banners and chants. Some people simply looked on in puzzlement, a few flipped us off, while others made V-signs or honked in support (including a few folks trapped in the traffic by the march). Although at times, it looked as if Turner and some of the young anarchists wanted to take the march in different directions, it was nonetheless refreshing to see such a disparate group of progressive activists--in terms of race, generation and political beliefs--working together in a fairly militant action.

The original plan had been for the march to go from the Common to Harvard Square. Police blocked the way, eventually directing the crowd back to the Common. At first, the police seemed like they were nonetheless going to be relatively mellow, simply stopping traffic and steering the march by parking their motorcycles in various intersections. The police presence became increasingly heavy though, with police in paramilitary uniforms and giant batons appearing and walking alongside the march, with legal observers trailing them in turn. When the march returned to the Common at 4:45, there were paddy wagons parked there and the police were evidently trying to stop the march from further movement with their motorcycles. According to numerous witnesses, some of the cops than flipped out as some of the marchers tried to move forward, shoving numerous people to the ground (including two senior citizens) and arresting five people (including an Indy Media writer), in some cases violently piling on top of them, all without provocation. That it was the police that were out of line is clear in light of the fact of the behavior of the other cops, who sent some of the responsible officers away to cool off. A tense stand-off between the protesters and the police followed. It became clear exactly how unpopular the police already were with the predominantly student crowd, as people called out things like, “You killed our classmate Victoria Snelgrove,” referring to a Emerson College student killed by riot police using “non-lethal” weapons as she peacefully celebrated the victory of the Red Sox in the World Series. (See Indy Media coverage at , and .)

Turner worked to de-escalate the situation, using his standing as a City Councilor to negotiate with the police, while telling the other protesters over a bullhorn, “Your anger is justified, but the best way to support the arrested people is not for more of you to get arrested. The best way to support them is to appear in court tomorrow and help them with their legal defense.” The stand-off continued for a while. At 5:00, about thirty of the anarchists and other young protesters further de-escalated the situation by sitting down on the ground, adopting a less confrontational pose but also refusing to back down by going away. They sang the classic civil rights song, “We Shall Overcome” and “Give Peace a Chance,” effectively changing the atmosphere. Eventually, the police, realizing that their continued presence would only be a provocation, backed down and moved away from the protesters. Turner announced this victory to the other activists and reiterated the need to appear in court the next day. An organizer from Boston Mobilization also stressed the need for solidarity across their differences in beliefs and organizing tactics. A hat was passed around for bail for the four arrested activists. People gradually dispersed into smaller groups to talk, while some went to the fountain and held a drum circle. Despite some tensions between the various groups involved in the protest, it was great to see such different people as Chuck Turner and the anarchist youth working together. Hopefully, we can build on this not only to get any charges against the arrestees dismissed, but to build a stronger activist scene in Boston.


A chronology of events on March 20 (from the Boston Indymedia newswire, a collaboration of the collective):

1:00 PM - Rally begins, as many as 5,000 attending. Many speakers, including Howard Zinn, Chuck Turner and many college student/activists.
4:20 PM - The last speaker at the rally, City Councilman Chuck Turner, is leading the unpermitted march to Harvard Square! Estimated number of marchers 300-500 people.
4:33 PM - The march is at State and Congress heading the wrong way down Congress St.
4:34 PM - Cops prevent protesters from going into Cambridge, leading them around shopping district and back into the Commons.
4:36 PM - Cops are herding the crowd back down Winter St. back to the Commons. As many as 16 policemen walking on each side of the march, some holding batons, and cops on motorcycles.
4:40 PM - Cops block Tremont Street with motorbikes and lead marchers back into the Commons.
4:47 PM - Policeman, unprovoked, pushes an activist into a police motorcycle by the Commons, they exchange insults, activist spits in his face. Activist runs down the park chased by 7 cops and many protesters follow to see what happens. A female protester is shoved to the ground by the stampede, policemen trying to keep people from running.
4:48 PM Activist arrested while other protesters yell "let him go" and "shame". Activist locked up in van.
4:50 PM Two more arrests. As many as 8 cops on one guy, fighting. One protester crying arrested on the ground by 6 cops.
4:51 PM Undercover cop arrested (apparently for concealed weapon) and immediately released when shows ID.
4:52 PM - Two more violent arrests, reports of police choking protestors. One is a 15 year old high school student. Chuck Turner is speaking through a megaphone trying to calm things down.
4:56 PM - 30 or more people are sitting down. Chuck Turner is negotiating with the police.
5:40 PM - Things have calmed down. NLG has collecting money to bail out the arrestees, they are still trying to contact the high school student's parents.
6:30 PM - One protester released from jail. Other 4 are still in proceedings to be bailed out. Not clear if they will be released tonight.
10:32 PM - All activists have been bailed out from jail, including a second minor. Activist who was shoved by policeman has been charged with two counts of assault.


Photos taken by Pete Stidman (originally posted at ) and Jonathan ( ). Map by Cory C.
Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq--Boston City Councilor and Anarchist Youth Lead Unpermitted March--Four Unprovoked Arrest
Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq--Boston City Councilor and Anarchist Youth Lead Unpermitted March--Four Unprovoked Arrest
Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq--Boston City Councilor and Anarchist Youth Lead Unpermitted March--Four Unprovoked Arrest
Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq--Boston City Councilor and Anarchist Youth Lead Unpermitted March--Four Unprovoked Arrest
Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq--Boston City Councilor and Anarchist Youth Lead Unpermitted March--Four Unprovoked Arrest
Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq--Boston City Councilor and Anarchist Youth Lead Unpermitted March--Four Unprovoked Arrest
Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq--Boston City Councilor and Anarchist Youth Lead Unpermitted March--Four Unprovoked Arrest

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Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq--Boston City Councilor and Anarchist Youth Lead Unpermitted March--Four Unprovoked Arrests
20 Mar 2005
more pictures!
more photos
21 Mar 2005
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anti-warMarch05 017.jpg
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anti-warMarch05 018.jpg
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anti-warMarch05 027.jpg
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anti-warMarch05 032.jpg
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anti-warMarch05 038.jpg
more pics from sunday
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
the "official" organizers derailed the march and facilitated these arrests by extending the rally to 3 hours, thinning the crowd tenfold and giving the police time to bring in their reinforcements. we could have marched 5,000 strong, instead we were 500.

they did this when they heard they werent getting a permit to march. this was cowardice on the part of the organizers, and courage on the part of everyone who marched. at least we had each other's backs, even if "boston mobilization" and the self-appointed "leaders" of the movement did not.

this war demands a stronger response next time.
Five arrested at Boston anti-war rally
21 Mar 2005
Sunday, March 20, 1:00, Boston Common:

This feels like a resurgence, a return to the feeling of optimism, excitement and activity we haven’t much seen around here since last summer’s Democratic National Convention here in Boston. Since then there’s been, I think, a sort of acknowledgement that, as activists, we are on the defensive from the media and the police and that we must respond with a growing sense of solidarity. I suppose I can only speak for myself when I say that since last summer, I’ve met many new people—activists and community members, and have deepened my relationships with many of the people I already knew. Some of this happened through the many courtroom appearances we’ve had to make in support of the people who were arrested last spring and summer in connection with the DNC, cases which are still dragging through the courts.

The demo starts at 1:00 with music from the stage. Already there are a few thousand people, with more flowing in. The weather’s beautiful.

A speaker says 120,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed since the start of the war. An Iraq war veteran talks about friends of his who died. Another says, “The anti-Vietnam war movement cut down the tree, but left the roots still functioning. A group from Chelsea holds sings that say, “Chelsea Uniendose Contra de la Guerra, Chelsea Unity Against the War.” And Basta Ya La Guerra Por el Petroleo.”

“War is the problem. Only the sick and the ill of mind would think it was a solution,” says John Schuschardt, the activist minister from the North Shore. “I see white male faces of the new imperialism that looks a whole lot like the old colonialism…Don’t bare the shame and don’t die for a lie…Once again, America is on the wrong side of history.. This is a war against civilians, especially women and children…It’s time to take the glory out of war. It’s cruel, it’s criminal and it’s cowardly…War is the pre-eminent gender issue of all time…I tremble for our children and our children’s children. Don’t let the pied pipers of militarism do to your generation what they did to mine…Our leaders know all about torture and nothing about human dignity.”

Howard Zinn: “We’ve been in Iraq two years. What have we brought? Nothing but death and destruction. It’s been four years since we’ve been occupied by Bush. So we’re both occupied…More and more people have realized they’ve been lied to. Bush lies to the soldiers when he tells them they’re fighting for liberty. Bush and Cheney, Haliburton and Bechtel. That’s not worth dying for. You don’t bring liberty to people with napalm and cluster bombs. You don’t bring democracy by breaking into people’s houses. Bush talks about the war on terrorism. But war is terrorism.

“For every person at the demonstration there are 100 people who [agree with you but] don’t want to demonstrate. Support for Bush in the polls is going down, down, down. In Vietnam, people began defecting, airmen began refusing to fly missions, ROTC chapters closed down. If we don’t give up, the point will eventually be reached when the government will give up their occupation. And then we’ll work on ending the occupation of this country.”

The next speaker says, “Howar Zinn is cool. But do you want to hear something even cooler than Howard Zinn?: The military recruiting center across the street on Tremont St. is closed down for today because we’re here!”

Near the end of the two-hour rally, a group of about fifty anarchists began marching around the crowd beating drums and chanting, “Out of the rally, Into the streets!” On stage a rapper says, “We’re pouring fuel on the fire with war and hatret.” And “Freedom of speech is no longer essential.”

Across the yard a group of kids start drumming and dancing. The anarchist marchers approach and interrupt their music with their call to go “Out of the rally and into the streets.” I think about the fact that the rally has brokein into three distinct groups: the main group by the stage, the drummers and dancers across the yard, and the anarchist marchers, and what this might mean. A few cops stand around talking. The band Superpower starts playing.

I run off with a friend for some food, and we come back outside just as hundreds leave the rally and cross the street toward the recruitment center. They stay in the street as a small group of outnumbered cops try to establish a sort of order. They appear to almost be pretending to be controlling the situation. Throughout the confusion, a single lane of traffic is always kept open, though. It was pretty chaotic for a while. At one point a city bus came out of a side street and made a sharp left turn, as demonstrators and cops seemed to run in all directions in front of and beside it.

With no permit to do so, the crowd starts through a downtown street. Saturday shoppers look on as we pass through Downtown Crossing. Hundreds of us weave through downtown streets, motorcycle cops riding alongside. One cop runs his rear-view mirror into National Lawyer’s Guild legal observer Frank Little from behind as he marches along, apparently on purpose.

Past Quincy Market the crowd chants, “Exxon, Mobil, BP Shell, Take your war and go to hell,” then “Halliburton and Bechtel, take your war and go hell.” It’s fun, we all feel a rush. We’re breaking the law en masse and are getting away with it. We feel a bit of power, crowded together making noise, the center of attention. Still, I wonder what it all means, and as always I have no real answers. Up the hill and back to Washington Street, a line of black-clad Boston cops looking meaner and more serious than the others line our left flank. We would have had to turn left to get back to downtown crossing, which they apparently don’t want us to do. After a moment of confusion at the corner, the whole group turns right. A similar thing happens at another corner. I conclude that since the anarchists are so loosely organized, so decentralized, police have trouble blocking us because none of their infiltrators know our route.

As we approach the Common, I wonder what we’ve accomplished. Surely something, but what?

Near the end of the march, I could feel the police becoming meaner and more impatient. I imagine they weren’t happy with our illegal, unpermitted march. Still, I assumed our return to the Common would mean a relaxation of tensions. Instead, this is when all the trouble began. Some motorcycle cops partially blocked our way back into the Common. Most people walked in front of them, but Jamie Phillips walked inbetween two motorcycle cops. One of them turned around and saw Phillips behind him. “He was mad at me because I came too close to his motorcycle,” Phillips said after being released from jail later that evening. “He tried to hit me with his bike and he tried to grab me, I just ran.” Police caught him and arrested him, charging him with two counts of assault and battery, one on a police officer, and one on a paramedic. “They said I assaulted a paramedic. I didn’t even see a paramedic,” Phillips said upon his release.

Just seconds later, I saw police pushing an older man who witnesses described as being seventy years old. A 15-year-old boy then came to the older man’s defense. “The police pushed [the boy] out of the way,” a witness told me. “He didn’t move out fast enough, so they jumped him.” They all came tumbling in my direction, and I stood just a few feet away and looked down to see five big cops grabbing and wrestling with the boy. I was stunned at how small he appeared, and at the almost absurd size difference between him and any one of the cops, except that there were five cops. The boy told me later, after being released from jail, that he stood at 5’ 6” and weighed 125 lbs. He was charged with disorderly conduct, and assault and battery with a dangerous weapon. The weapon was his shoes. Interestingly, he was wearing canvass sneakers with soft rubber toes, which looked almost like slippers.

Ryan Herlihy, objecting to the treatment of his 15-year-old friend, was also involved in a scuffle with police, who later thought he had a gun. “He’s got a gun! He’s got a gun!” police yelled as they jumped on Herlihy. He didn’t have a gun, and there’s no apparent reason why they would have thought he did. Herlihy was released that evening with no charges.

Two other demonstrators, Michael Long and Charlie Weinhardt, both objecting to the treatment of the others, were also arrested. Long was charged $540 bail and charged with assault and battery on a police officer, resisting arrest, and malicious destruction of property. The police said Long broke an officer’s cell phone, which Long claims no knowledge of.

The others said Weinhardt was beaten by police, that his mouth was bloodied and a tooth knocked loose. Upon his release, Weinhardt was in no mood to talk with reporters. “They just beat me up, that’s what happened,” he said before leaving the station.

All five activists were released by around 9:00 p.m.

The 15-year-old will be arraigned Monday morning.

Ryan Herlihy, Charlie Weinhardt, Michael Long and Jamie Phillips will be arraigned Tuesday morning at 9:00, at the courthouse at Post Office Square in downtown Boston. Local activists are invited to come show solidarity. See you at the metal detector!
Re: Five arrested at Boston anti-war rally
21 Mar 2005
Sorry, it's late. A correction: Since Ryan Herlihy wasn't charged, and also Charlie Weinhardt, who was beaten up by police, was also not charged, I guess only Michael Long and Jamie Phillips will be arraigned Tuesday.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
Wlhy is it the Boston Globe could only center on the arrests and numbers, airing none of the issues that was so cogently described in this article. Could someone please ask the organizers to NOT allow the bands to play so long? i would have loved to hear that guy's poem, who wasn't allowed to read it. Too much of the entertainment was just ego trips for some talented musicians/singers. More of Howard Zinn and Nancy Murray and chuck Turner, bless his heart. I would have been in the march, but at 4 I left. More pictures, please.
And thanks for covering Roslindale. I thanked the Roslindale group, but they weren't the Direct Action folks.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
4.5 hours. 4.5 hours of speakers and music while standing in the cold on wet ground. 4.5 hours of American flags flying everywhere at a supposedly anti-war event. 4.5 hours of Murderer's Row behind you and the proudly waving flags of American imperialism in front of you. 4.5 hours with speaker after speaker after speaker after music group with no place even to sit and rest your feet because you are standing in mud.

Why - oh why? - would anyone organize a rally that lasts 4.5 hours on a day that the weather was forecast to be (even more so than it actually turned out to be) miserable? Is it because they are grossly incompetent? Unfortunately, the real reason is even worse.

Boston Mobe and the Socialist Alternative couldn't get a permit to march (which is a good thing, BTW, because permits increase the danger of a march 10-fold), but they were in control of the sound system (4.5 fucking hours!), so they drug the proceedings out in order to kill the march. This was largely successful and, in fact, by the time that the march started, the crowd had dwindled down to a tenth of it's former size.

Furthermore, a representative of Boston Mobe even went so far as to denounce the march from the stage, saying "Boston Mobe does not suport this march, but we will not stop anyone who wants to march." Will not stop anyone?! Who the fuck do these people think they are?!

This patheticly spineless betrayal of the marchers is disgusting and horrifying but, unfortunately, not unexpected. Even as the rally was forming up, we received word that Boston Mobe had made an agreement with the police to turn the rally on the gazebo by about ninety degrees. The purpose of the rotation was to isolate the site of the military recruiting center, which was to be the centerpiece for a civil disobedience action later and which was the launching site for the march. The idea of a supposed activist organization making agreements with the police to intentionally marginalize other groups actions is disgusting enough, but when you realize that the rotation of the rally also placed most of the crowd into a depression in the land that made them invisible to passing traffic and severely reduced visibility, then you began to get an idea for how completely spineless a betrayal it really was. In order to marginalize the actions at the recruiting center, they were willing even to lower the efectiveness of their own event.

But, again, even this was not unprecedented. Boston Mobe has a record of denouncing and attempting to marginalize other political groups and especially anarchists. During the DNC, for example, Boston Mobe was quoted repeatedly within the corporate press as belittling, marginalizing, and attacking the Black Tea Society's anti-DNC convergence.

The Mobe's flagrant disregard of even rudimentary solidarity with respect to anarchists is particularly bizarre in light of the fact that of the 4.5 hours of speakers, they managed to field representatives of some of the most embarrassingly un-reformed of the Left menagerie of dictator-loving authoritarians, even including the PLP at one of the lower points in the line-up.

All in all, Boston Mobe yesterday continued their long and growing record of colluding with the police and corporate press in order to marginalize other political organizations and, in fact, sunk to a new low when they compromised the effectiveness of their own rally solely for the purpose of marginalizing actions at the recruiting center across the way.
Re: Five arrested at Boston anti-war rally
21 Mar 2005
I was very impressed by the fact that the ABC and the NLG stayed for hours and hours down at the police station untill everyone had been released.

I was even more impressed that the huge bails that the people had to pay which were way over $1000 in total were all completely paid for by the ABC. The bail fund that people contributed to at the rally only managed to raise about $350 or so, but the ABC took the rest from their bail fund and allowed everyone to get bailed as soon as the bail commissioner showed up. These folks really had their shit together and it was impressive to watch.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
Although the rally could have been a little bit shorter and the march earlier, I think we need to focus on the positive here. If anything, I was so happy to see people united marching down the streets. I was glad that there were not only speakers at the march but also music bands. I was glad to see the IMMENSE solidarity of people towards those who got harrassed and arrested by the police. I was glad to hear that groups got together to bail out those who had been arrested. Glad to see people shooting photos and video of the arrests.

Lets not create further division by ranting on the net about "what could've been better" and focus on what worked so we can use it next time.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
It's called community accountability, Sofiushka. What Mobe did yesterday was reprehensible and if we don't call people out when they do reprehensible things within the activist community, we're not "focusing on the positive", we're allowing people and organizations to act in an anti-social manner without any accountability whatsoever.

When you talk to the corporate press, then feel free to "focus on the positive" (translation: "spin, spin, spin"), but this is Indymedia and this is OUR press and it is the only place that community accountability can take place. Trying to squelch it here is detrimental to the community because it smothers any hope of holding organizations responsible for their actions and it creates exactly those un-aired, deep-seated angers about past violations of solidarity that Matthew was talking about in the article above.

If you really want to "focus on the positive", then I'd suggest you focus on the fact that after Mobe betrayed the marchers in such a fashion, some groups and individuals' behavior was amazingly good.

First off, there's all those people who refused to let Mobe kill the march and stuck it out and marched anyway, even after 4.5 hours of torture. Not to mention all the people who took pictures of the police attacking us, all those people who will be called upon to provide testimony about the police attacks, all those people who contributed bail money to get the arresteees out of jail, and all those people who went down to the jail and stayed there in solidarity until every one of the protestors had been released.

Chuck Turner, for example stayed with the march the entire way, then went to the police station and agitated to get the prisoners released, and stayed until every last one had been released.

Likewise, the NLG was on top of everything. They had legal observers present - at least two of whom I saw get hit with clubs as a reward for being good witnesses and getting badge numbers, they were circulating through the crowd getting witness statements, and finding out who had evidence, pictures, and so forth. Then they went to the police station and stayed the whole time until everyone was released and as they were released, they gave them a de-briefing about how to deal with the court cases and gave them free legal counsel for their court cases!

The best of the day, though, had to be the ABC. I was amazed to watch a young woman from the ABC lay out over $1000 from the ABC's "warchest" in order to pay for bail for all those people. Considering that we only raise like $300 at the march after the arrests, that was really, really damned impressive and was one of the more humbling examples of solidarity that I've seen the whole time I've been going to protests and actions in Boston. Those people deserve mad props.

So, Sofiushka, if you want to focus on the positive, then focus on the actually positive and don't try to make excuses for Boston Mobe's disgusting, reprehensible activity yesterday. That's what meritocracy and community accountability is all about, rewarding the good and condemning the bad, not trying to pretend that the bad didn't happen.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
If I never attend another rally overrun with privileged college kid do-gooders, middle class Brookline-Cambridge liberals, activist clowns and whackjobs, Buddhists, Leninoid-cultist paper-peddlers, or "civil disobedience" fakers (yeah, nice job shutting down that recruitment center ON A SUNDAY!!) it will be too soon.

What a totally depressing and embarrassing spectacle yesterday was.

I honestly hope they bring the draft back in this country. And I say this from a position of total anti-militarism and revolutionary defeatism. I want to see privileged college youth FORCED to pick a side and FORCED to up the fight... instead of what we have now: poor people being poverty drafted, and middle class students playing the role of passive "solidarity" from a position of comfort. Until a sizable percentage of our numbers get a little taste of desperation and a sense of having their backs against the wall, this movement will continue down it's path of privileged passivity.

In the meantime, we need to be concentrating our anti-war efforts in lower income communities and against recruitment efforts in high schools. We need to reach pissed off workers and poor folks feeling the crunch from Bush domestic policies. We need to bring the fight to the steps of the rich and powerful.

Unfortunately, when our main public image is some activist loony from Cambridge or fucking white bread Harvard student or Sparticist League person with a twitch trying to sell you a newspaper we're never going to get anywhere in this country.
Re: Five arrested at Boston anti-war rally
21 Mar 2005
For those who don't know, Anarchist Black Cross Boston is part of a the larger Anarchist Black Cross Network. Here is an explination of the network:
and here is the Boston chapter's website:
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
In all fairness, MOBE could not have endorsed the march and organized the event. One was licensed, the other was not. Had they endorsed the march from the stage, they would have risked having the whole event shut down.

If that had happened the situation between the crowd and the police would have been much more volatile than it was.

Don't lay the blame on MOBE for trying to keep the event going instead of getting it shut down.
criticism and accusations of bad faith
21 Mar 2005
Emma makes some important criticism of yesterday's rally, but unfortunately not in a way that is likely to lead to improvements. Accusing people of bad faith shuts down dialogue. Why would Boston Mobe listen to what Emma has to say when she accuses them of a "patheticly spineless betrayal", implying that the rally lasted so long not through incompetance, but malice towards the marchers? She also claims that the announcement from the stage: "Boston Mobe does not suport this march, but we will not stop anyone who wants to march." was a denunciation. Actually to me this sounds pretty good. They announced the march and said they weren't against it. Previous rally organizers have actively denounced unpermitted marches and used marshals to impede them. Emma also singles out the PLP for criticism. Now there's a lot to criticize them for, but of all the lenninist groups they tend to be among the most supportive of militancy and the most principled in their solidarity with others against the cops.

The reason rallies usually last too long has less to do with malice than with the traps of working in coalition. Everone has an issue they want addressed from the stage. Every group wants their piece of the limelight. They think it's their right to speak because they helped organize the event. While there might be those who want to scuttle unpermitted marches, if we handle things right, they will be isolated and those who wish to march and others who support a diversity of tactics will call the shots.

I think the way to make big rallies like this better is to stick to a few important points and get other like minded groups to sign on and demand (for instance):

-All big rallies should include or be coordinated with a march and action.
-Rally programs should not last more than 2 hours.
-Relations between rally and march/action organizers should be respectfull and supportive.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
First, sorry for the double post above, I hit refresh and re-posted. Sorry about that.

Second, I agree MK. You make some very good points.

What Emma fails to mention is that several of the speakers endorsed the march and asked people to join, and MOBE did not stop them from doing so, nor did MOBE tell people not to march. They simply said that they were not endorsing it, and when I heard the lady that emceeing speak (I forget her name), she simply said that MOBE did not endorse the march, but people should march if they so desired.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
Yo anyone have an pictures of The Greater Good? I was the rapper that was singing "The CIA got a CEO diggin his own grave 6 feet below literally insane and its this we know Goerge W. Bush uffin sniff kilos"

Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
To the Boston Community:

I am an intern at Boston Mobilization and was one of the primary organizers of the permitted rally on Boston Common in addition to being the MC. We definitely made some big mistakes on March 20th. No doubt. The day had some amazing potential and unfortunatly we made poor decisions and did not give the maximum amount of solidarity to the Boston community and people that joined us on that day.

I am glad that their is a community to keep us, as well as myself, accountable for our mistakes and call us out on the things we did wrong. We will never improve without this, and I truly appreciate the criticism that has come forward. The most important thing about this criticism though, is that it shows that we can work together, that we can make mistakes and that next time, we can pull things through in the best way possible.

The goal is to build an inclusive community that has respect for one another and can collaborate and stop the war. I do not agree with every one that I organize with, I do not agree with their philosophies, or their ideologies, or many of the things they do...but I am choosing to work with them because we all want to stop this war.
The Boston anti-authoritarian community has a very important role in this. If not for the huge fault of timing and organizing, March 20th could have facilitated a new kind of potential. The most difficult thing about all of this is that if we don't work together opportunities like Sunday will slip further and further away.

After the rally was complete, I went to catch up with the march. As I walked into the middle of the police confrontation I was met with the community that may have been endangered because of poor earlier actions. Although, there were huge divides that were present, with Chuck Turner and the Anarchist Black Cross we were able to come together and support the people who we may have unintentionally turned our backs on earlier in the day. Chuck, Members of Boston Mobilization and the March 20th coalition, the lawyers guild and the anarchist black cross, myself and other supporters all came together in the waiting room of the police station to do what really mattered at that moment...helping the young protesters get out. This is a moment of solidarity. Although this in no way excuses what happened earlier in the day or in these prior months of planning, I hope that these actions can be a start for collaboration.

One of the most corageous things that anyone can do is decide to work with someone even though they do not like them. If we are going to unite Boston then we have to work with each other. Boston Mobilization, and no other organization has the right to a day. The day belongs to all of us. The War in Iraq and around the world has been initiated by a group united individuals. If our goal is to truly end this war we must work together to combat this evil that is swallowing our world.

I cannot promise you anything of Boston Mobilization or of any other member of the "March 20th coalition," but I can promise you that I will take the lessons of this day and make sure to never repeat these mistakes and to stand stronger for every community in Boston.
It is my hope that we can learn from the irreversible mistakes made, that we can work together in the future. Besides, this war needs to end along with this rhetoric.

Again, thank you for your commitment to this movement, your participation on March 20th and your strength to call me and others out on our wrongs.

In learning,

Alison Ramer
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
I think that progress can be seen. remember the december 4th rally and march??? The organizers definately showed more guts on march 20th than they did on december 4th. I think it was amazing to see a city councilor call for people to take the streets illegally. I wish though that the march, even though unpermited, could have been better planned. We marched right by the JFK federal building and the Boston Stock exchange. it would have been cool if we could have done some civil disobedience at the federal building. Also, we were at the busiest interesection in Boston when we were at Congress St and the old state house, blocking the intersection could have been another possibility.
but anyways, it was a great day and Im really proud to have taken part with everyone involved.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
Thank you Alison for entering the conversation. Hopefully dialogue can be kept open and constructive (which is not to say necessarily happy and shiny).
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
Yes, Alison, thank you for entering the discussion. Emma, I think some of your comments are a bit over the top. Somone correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that Boston Mobilization is primarily composed of high school and college students. My guess is that they've never organized a big rally like this before and made some mistakes (as Alison has admitted) as a result, like working with sectarian groups and not realizing that when you schedule people to speak and perform, you have to assume that they're all going to go over time and plan accordingly. But I think Boston Mobilization showed good solidarity. To me, it seemed pretty clear that when they announced the unpermitted march from the stage, it was to let people know it was happening. The "we don't endorse it" seemed just pro forma. Also, after the arrests, Alison came over, admitted Boston Mobilization had made some mistakes, and expressed her solidarity with those who were arrested. Boston Mobilization also sent out an e-mail this morning, letting people know the arrests had taken place. While they may have made some mistakes, I think Boston Mobilization showed as much solidarity as Chuck Turner, the NLG and the ABC.

I think may be instead of assuming the worst about other activists, we should try to give others the benefit of a doubt, while still pointing out areas of disagreement and mistakes, but in a respectful way. In some cases, the worst may turn out to be true (I'm sure we could all name certain sectarian groups). In most cases, I don't think it will be true. And if we can have a healthy dialogue,we can all learn from our mistakes and our differences of opinion and build a stronger movement.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
Boston Mobe is neither composed of just high-school and college students, nor is it new. Their rally was literally a giant circle of liberals and commie sectarian groups. Everyone who was there has already made up their mind about the war; so 3 hours of repeating that war is bad accomplished nothing but bore and allienate many people. Finally, there was no solidarity at all for march. Around 2:30 people tried to organize a march, and were drowned out by some ridiculous punk band. What was the point of that?

Boston Mobe has, as emma said exactly, been hostile towards radical groups through and through. They denounced the Black Tea Society for opposing John Kerry. Solidarity isn't a given, and with a group like Boston Mobe, they deserve none.
21 Mar 2005
Click on image for a larger version

anti-warMarch05 016.jpg
Undercovers at rally
Another case of police brutality
21 Mar 2005
The saddest thing that can come from a tremendous peaceful protest against the illegal and unjust war and occupation is brutality from the state. A close friend, and not having his permission to use his name he will remain nameless, was brutally assualted by the police. While trying to get his friend from the grasp of the police, he was then attacked and surrounded. He got his face hit mulitple times, his crotch grabbed and pulled, kicked, choked, and just generally unjustly and greatly abused. After this unwarranted attack by the police my friend is now going to bring his case to the courts, but living in corporate America the justice system is the same arm as the police. Worker of the World Unite
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
Boston Mobe has a board of directors, paid staff and is a non-profit.

They have been involved in many rallies in the past, and have betrayed people they were working with, including setting up a Boston-wide student organizers list with Jobs with Justice after the Seatle protests, somehow getting sole control, and then killing it off when people were raising concerns on that list. Anyone else remember the "Campus Action Network?"

They always have a fresh new crop of sincere and dedicated students who *do* mean well and probably are quite trustworthy, but the structural baggage, the need to take central credit for things, no doubt such as this rally, is to pitch to their fundraisers. With the anti-death penalty march out to UMASS to protest the presidential debates in 2000 that the two Mode staffers at the time tried to exclude from coalition posters, even as it was organized by a coaltion group, suddenly became a sole Mobe project in their fundraising literature! How corrupt.

The revolution will not be funded, or driven by non-profits. They have structural weaknesses that make them silent about controversial issues such as Zionism, and make them pander to US-nationalism - all in the name of keeping the salary money flowing.

Don't blame the people in Mobe, see the structure for the limits it has. Build alternatives based on participatory and real grassroots democracy - and don't think for a moment groups like AFSC, Mobe or coalitions dominated by such groups are going to stop the war. Same story for groups like the ACLU, and even the NLG in some instances - for example, especially if you happen to be Palestinian!

We need to build real alternatives to relying on the state and the funded non-profits to resist for us. ABC is a good model. We need more such models... and with more such groups, the non-profits will be better held accountability and the "volunteers" can be better aware of the kind of structure they are working within.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
Thanks, Alice Brown. I'm glad you liked the article. As for the Globe coverage, that's one of the reasons why Indy Media was set up in the first place. The mainstream media are generally just interested in riot porn, not substantial coverage of the issues. I suppose we can all be greatful that the Herald doesn't seem to have covered the protest at all, considering their recent history of slandering anarchists.

One note on the history of Mobe. I was actually on its board at the time of the whole UMass presidential debates fiasco--and quit when I learned from others how irresponsibly the staff had acted. While Mobe still has the same name, I think it's fair to say that it is a completely and totally different organization now. I doubt anyone involved then is involved now (though I'm not sure, since I am no longer close to the organization). When I first got involved Mobe's main focus was fighting the sanctions on Iraq; now it's student organizing. Both staff members involved in the UMass fiasco have long since left the organization. I would say that Mobe today should not be judged based on what Mobe was back during the UMass debates. On the limits of non-profits, well, they have their pluses and their minuses. Mobe's board at the time I was involved was made up mainly of active volunteers who were expected to consult with other volunteers before making decisions--although boards of directors can be undemocratic, they are not inherently so. But that's a whole nother kettle of fish.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
Well, it sounds like Boston Mobilization may have screwed up in the past, during the DNC (although I'd like to hear their side of the story). But they did not break solidarity yesterday--quite the opposite from everything I saw. Why let this wound from the DNC fester and poison the whole activist community, especially when there's a hand reached out in reconciliation? People make mistakes, organizations make mistakes; people learn and change, organizations learn and change. It seems like Boston Mobilization is trying not to repeat its mistakes of the past. Why not give them a second chance? I'm not suggesting that you all should pretend that no conflicts have happened--that would not actually be healthy. Instead, I think BAAM and Boston Mobilization need to have a dialogue--and I actually don't think the internet is the best forum for it. Communication tends to be better face-to-face, so may be BAAM and Boston Mobilization should sit down, talk about their past differences, their different perspectives and how they can work together better in the future. Or at least avoid stepping on each other's toes. Both groups, and the Boston activist scene, would probably be the stronger for it.

Honestly, some of you posting here seem to have an insular, chauvinistic attitude--if you don't do things the anarchist way, we don't want to have anything to do with you. Certainly not all of the folks in the anarchist youth community in Boston have that attitude--many of you are cool. But the attitude is definitely there. I find it thoroughly un-anarchist, the idea that you have nothing to learn from those who disagree with you. Certainly, more conventional non-profits could definitely learn something form anarchist forms of organizing, but you might learn something about effective grassroots organizing from people in those non-profits who've been doing it far longer than you, in some cases longer than you've been alive. I'm not calling for mindless defference here, but for open-minded dialogue between people, who in the big picture in this reactionary country, aren't all that different in their basic values.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
Hey y'all,

While I'm no member of any organization except the Tufts Coalition to Oppose the War in Iraq, I was a member of the March 20th organizing coalition, along with Alison and members of many others, from various organizations, (including, by the way, a number of members of Socialist Alternative, who, to a person, worked their asses off publicizing and fliering for this event, even though they were only getting one speaker slot for the whole day--hardly my view of a Leninist plot to capture the movement! :)

I was also *that guy* who didn't get to read the poem. (For those who are interested, it's called "The Low Road" by Marge Piercy, and I totally recommend checking it out online; it's very moving).

A few points: 1) For the record, when I addressed the rally from the stage (around 2:30?), I encouraged people to participate in the unpermitted march at the end of the rally. I point this out because the person that reminded/encouraged me to do this was none other than Alison Ramer of Boston Mobe herself. So let's lay off the conspiracy theories of Boston Mobe trying to sabotage the march alright? [Structural analysis? ok. Conspiracy theories? ... Not so much
2) Having seen the speaker list "backstage" I can also testify that the rally timeline-schedule had the event wrapping up at least an hour before it actually did. Mainly I attribute this over-run to the musical acts, though I suppose such surprises as ZInn's visit pushed things back more.

The point here is that the length of the rally was, I agree, an organizational mistake. (Frankly I would have liked to have had a chance to read that poem! :)) But as it is an ORGANIZING problem, those who are concerned about it, and interested in preventing/correcting similar mistakes in the future, should get involved in organizing--and actively mobilizing for-- the next Boston rally + march. I am pretty sure that members of the March 20th coalition and Boston Mobe would have only been too happy to have some of y'all involved in the organizing and mobilizing efforts for this past weekend, notwithstanding many a political difference.

All of that said, I think the event was great!Contrary to several cynical posts out here, there were MANY first time protesters in the crowd, and many passerby who stopped to listen to the music and or/speeches--and the march, though late, was still a strong one.

As a side note: One small criticism I would make of the emceeing--which generally was quite good--is that I would have liked to see some more crowd-interaction; chanting, etc. I understand that Brady and Alison were feeling pinched for time; but I for one would be all for losing a few of the musical acts--and even a speaker or three--to make some room for the people in the crowd to give voice to the common sentiments that brought them out to the Common.

To close: If we can keep the channels of communication, and the networks of solidarity strong here and for the weeks ahead, than I think that we really do have the beginning of something great in Boston. Consider for instance that we may have had about the largest anti-war demo outside of NY in the whole US this past weekend! There is so much more to be done of course--including additional organizing and mobilizing in high schools and workingclass neighborhoods--, and much to be learned (both positive and negative) from yesterday. But as we criticize one another, let's try to remember what we have in common--an opposition to this war, and to the people and policies and government that perpetruate this war; in many cases, we also share an opposition to US imperialism generally, and to the growing racism, militarism and corporate domination of life in the US (and beyond).
Let's not understate our unity, when we highlight our differences and criticisms.

Educate, agitate, organize,
Joe Ramsey
rally numbers
21 Mar 2005
On a quick note about rally numbers, the Boston Globe says 2,000. Based on past experience, if you take the Globe's number and doubel them, you get a pretty good idea of idea of how many people were there. So, I would say it's safe to say 4,000.

How many do the organizers estimate?
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
Again, the issue isn't that we want Boston Mobe to do a better job leading our protests/rallies. We don't want Boston Mobe, even under the pretense of some "coalition" to lead them.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
If you object to the way MOBE handled things, then, instead of complaining, HELP. Instead of criticizing, get involved next time. Instead of letting them do the organizing while you stand on the sidelines and do nothing until the day of the event they organized, HELP ORGANIZE THE EVENT. Instead of bad-mouthing them after the fact, get involved before the fact and have your say.

You can either be divisive and insult those who actually put forth the effort to bring large groups of people together, or you can be pro-active and help organize the events in a way that works.

Without MOBE, there would not have been thousands of people on Boston Common on Sunday. WIthout those thousands of people, there would have been no rally. WIthout those thousands of people, a large number of those who did march would not have been there to march.

If you aren't part of the solution, you're part of the problem. If you are being divisive, then you aren't contributing to the unity and solidarity that is needed to creat an ongoing and cohesive movement that, in the end, will accomplish the goals that all of us desire.
Events with and without police permit
21 Mar 2005
The March 20 rally was organized by a coalition that met weekly and included many groups. A widely held objective was to conduct an antiwar event in such a way that more people will attend the next one, including families, teenagers, older folks, new people. To have broad appeal, an event needs to be free of prospects of police intervention.

The publicity about arrests March 20 will make attending the next event more difficult for some people, especially under-18s under parental control. For that reason, it would be better for actions like the march-without-police-permit to occur on different days from the actions with permit. The two kinds of activity should not be confused by planning one on the same day as the other.

Publicity for the coalition-built event went out by early February; when was the other one first called?
Don't divide, let the people decide.
21 Mar 2005
David Keil raises an important dilemma. How do we attract a broad range of people to our events while making them exiting, effective and threatening to the the powers that be? I think by calling for strict boundaries between legal rallies and unpermitted actions David is being too cautious. The press will always spin the movement in ways that discourage people from getting involved. Even if actions are on seperate days they will be associated together in the papers and in people's minds. So we gain little by errecting strict bounderies. On the other hand we do have a lot to loose from compartmentalizing the movement. While for many a legal rally is enough to stay involved for many others who want to impose a social cost on the warmongers (and for whom arrest doesn't mean deportation or parole violation) much more is needed. Many people even on their first rally become energized and want to take the streets, even without a permit. By holding events with different tactics on seperate days we deny these folks the opportunity to an intense political street education. Also there are many people including many of the young people who brought such vitality to yesterday's rally who wouldn't have attended had it been strictly a rally with no prospect of marching. Everybody derserves the chance to decide for themselves how much they can risk and what actions they want to get involved with. Let's keep different actions seperated by time like yesterday or by place (as in red and green zones), but let's not compartmentalize the movement by holding actions on seperate days.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
Thank you, David for providing a brilliant example of exactly the kind of patronizing attitude that we are upset about with regard to the way the marchers and the people doing the action at the recruiting center were being marginalized on Sunday.

You and the people who think like you and who would increase the level of danger at a march by doing an incredibly selfish and stupid thing like getting a permit are exactly the problem here. Those of us who have been around the block once or thrice within the activist community know exactly why you people want permits and we're not going to stand for it anymore. You are endagering hundreds of people at every march, going against the direct advice of the lawyers who tell you explicitly to NOT gte a permit, go against the personal experience of all the organizers who have seen first-hand how dangerous permits make marches, and you do all of this solely because if YOU have the permit in your name, YOU can use the cops as attacks dogs (supplemented by your militia of "peacekeepers") to keep all the other protestors in line and make them go where you say and do what you want them to do.

Sorry, but some of us who are long in the tooth have gotten wise to this little game and your use of permits to dominate marches. And it's exactly that craven approach to working with the police in order to marginalize and dominate people who disagree with you that we will not stand for anymore. We've had enough and we'll not be put into protest pens or led down primrose permit paths anymore.

Ya basta!
Boston MOBE isn't THE movement
21 Mar 2005
Again. I don't want to join BM and reform it, nor make it more acceptable to my tastes. What you don't seem to understand, is that Boston MOBE and its fake "coalitions" aren't the movement. There exists many powerful individuals and organizations who exists outside and seperate from BM, who not only don't want your help, but are hindered by your actions.

The kids facing serious felony charges can directly blaim Boston MOBE for holding an absurdly long rally, and dwindling a crowd of 5000 to 500. The pigs wouldn't have provoked violence had there been a serious numbers. Instead, all that was left for the march was the group of people who happened to wait around through a boring and anti-inspirational rally for 3 hours. Imagine if everyone who had shown up had been radicalized against the war and stood in solidarity against police, instead of filter away at 2:00 bored and cold.

Boston Mobe, and their circle-jerk rallies accomplish nothing but stymieing dissent, boasting their ego, alienating everyone (myself included) who isn't a college student and doesn't like crappy commercial punk music.

Honestly, I don't mean to be an asshole, but please check yourself and examin whether your actions are really to put a clog in the machine or just to soothe your guilt of complicity and boost your ego.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
just wanted to say that although boston mobilization may not have done anything wrong (duh they can't endorse the march), it is still very important to note that by the time a march took place, most people had left. i had to leave as it started because i had to catch a train. i think some people were confused as to what the event was (if there was a march). i dont really see the purpose of a rally without a march, especially if the rally isnt interrupting anything. lets actually shut down the recruitment center (over and over) and take our opinions to the doors of the war profiteers like bechtel or ratheyon. rallies serve a purpose and are enjoyable, but we need to seriously consider how we are going to shut this fucking war down. it wont be by talking.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
21 Mar 2005
not to beat a dead horse, but...

if it was a coalition event, why does it seem like Mobe is taking credit for organizing it? Their website gives that impression, for example. Others are claiming that without Mobe their wouldn't have been thousands of people, but I have seen other groups mobilize lots of people - the students on Dec 4 didn't even have a special date to draw people out - it was all from outreach.

While the problematic staff of 2000 are both gone, one was on the board of directors as late as 2002, the last time I was lied to by a Mobe staffer - I agreed to help them get access to a space only if both those two problematic folks were gone. One was still around, but the staffer fudged that fact in order to secure the space on a campus that they hadn't done any outreach to, since it was coming down to the last minute. The board member in question showed up to the event and when I confronted the staffer about his lie, he apologized and explained that he was really pressed to get the space. Maybe they should have a workshop about what meaningful consent is all about, I can't say, but it has been a pattern in my view.

There was the recent as 2004 smearing of anarchists in the press and attempt to discourage any protesting of the DNC in any way by a certain Mobe staffer.

All of these "problems" can be traced to structural problems and/or political alliances. Funding sources need to be kept happy, thus taking full credit for coalition activities (even one they tried to sabotage as in 2000) are tempting. Many funders are democrats, so they might not like people protesting the DNC. Betraying the anarchists to the press is harder to understand other than inexperience, but maybe someone who worked with a "Civil society" project in Afghanist has certain preconceived notions about the good of US society and the US government and the "American Way" that they are just confused about who is and who isn't the enemy of the people.

Anyhow, the point isn't to bash Mobe or anyone. The point is to learn to see how politics and structure and yes, sometimes corrupt personalities, as well as ego and other factors can cause division, misunderstanding and even betrayal.

I am all for keeping lines of communication open, but I am against being naive about past patterns. For example, Mobe worked on ending the sanctions before the post-Seattle anti-globalization push, but apparently, before Gulf War I, their slogan was "let sanctions work" as a kinder/gentler version of imperialism to outright invasion. Well they got their wish, but the sanctions didn't "work." Instead, those sanctions had genocidal consequences.

The people who work there or volunteer there have not signed on for life and can learn and grow as much as any of us. But it should be ok to be honest about past and present political limitations as well as structural limitations.

There was a nice quality to the DNC protests - the fact that most of the liberal groups didn't put much effort into hijacking events around that time. Even if you plan early or try to participate with certain groups, it doesn't mean the end result will be any less US-nationalistic or any less hijacked by one of these types of groups. If they have full time staff or they think they are the "rightful people in charge", strange things happen to make them suddenly the central address. Seen it before, many times. And Mobe is by no means the only non-profit to fall into that tempting trap.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
this is the political talk of children. good luck america if this is where you are.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
I wouldn't have put it like ff but I think this dialogue is breaking down. y'all started out well, but it's digressing into a shouting match.

Let's start talking about the future and what folks can do next time. Whatever the problems people find with Mobe, they are fighting for the same cause the rest of us are, ending the war. SO it isn't as if groups will try to keep MOBE out of it in the future, right?

In the interest of building a constructive dialogue I would like to promote the idea that next time, the rally, march, or whatever it is, try to articulate the desires of the Iraqi people. If they are calling for a timetable, then we should be too. It's possible they are not after a complete sudden withdrawal.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
It seems (though I haven't read every single word in this thread) that nobody has bothered to mention that the march happened solely because individuals from anti-authoritarian groups, NOT the mobe, decided it would be a good idea to march instead of just standing around at an endless, isolated socialist circle jerk.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
Yo! That's just what I'm talking about. Fine you want some credit. Don't you think you could have phrased that in a more cooperative way?

Cooperation is what we are after right? We are not so stupid as to believe that any one of our groups can go it alone, right?

I noticed that there weren't any anarchists on stage, why not? We can try multiple tactics no? Marching is good yes, but so is communicating in a meaningful way.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
Bingo Pete.

The only way to create progress is through cooperation. Insults and negativity aren't beneficial to anyone.

The fact is that regardles if "anarchists" started a march or not, the people would not have been there TO march if not for the MOBE event which brought them there.

Divisiveness solves nothing, ridicule solves nothing, complaining solves nothing.
22 Mar 2005
Hey all. I don't think that the griping here is uncalled for--any kind of communication is better than none at all. That said, everyone should be channeling their negative energy away from whichever anti-war person or group they think are assholeous and towards the enemy, which in my opinion is the apathy of the public at large. Let's remember what we want to accomplish--increased awareness, sympathy with our cause(s), increasing the numbers of dissenters. Big gatherings are great, though they may never be perfect. But big gatherings are not all we're capable of. Take a lesson from history's resistance fighters, because we're clearly engaged in asymmetrical ideological warfare. Let's see many more spontaneous, even if smaller demos, spread out far and wide. Marches are cool, but so is occupying a space and creating a spectacle where no one can tell you to move on, and where lots of people pass through. Don't like bands? Sit out and make your own noise somewhere, and get your message across that way. Aim to educate people, not just annoy them. Don't wait for the Peace and Justice Union of United Airlines or whatever coalition organizes something--pick your own targets, your own methods, and take the struggle to the people. I don't mean to sound preachy, but it's so important to at least pretend to respect people you think are way off the mark. We all know how easy it is for some shmuck to post personal attacks online for the sole purpose of sowing discord--don't let those bastards succeed. I take it no one would disagree that we're all very much for human dignity. Let's start by showing some ourselves.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
Wouldn't it be nice if the local activist community actually stood behind it's rhetoric and convictions and there was a move to actually confront the war machine. Why not plan a day of civil disobedience, target every recruitment center in town on a weekday when they are actually open, and really shut them down? By "shut them down" I mean just that. Enter them, lockdown, disrupt business as usual. Or else lightning raids. In and out, cause as much damage and chaos as possible for a few brief moments. Redecorate the exteriors. Whatever it takes. Bring the war home. If something like this were coordinated right, and every recruitment center in the city were hit simultaneously, well I think alot of people would take notice. International headlines. Unfortunately an action like this would require serious risks and take alot of courage and moral conviction, something that is sorely lacking in this city. Oh well. Another day and the occupation in Iraq continues. Who cares that people are dying. So long as we're comfortable in our own safe activist righteousness, right?
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
No, Pete, you completely missed hidden temple's point. The march happened because the anti-authoritarians were unwilling to accept the dictates handed down by the NGO of the Week and made it happen even though the Mobe was outright hostile to the march and the recruiting center action.

The point is that groups like Mobe with their fake "coalitions" and their bizarre and embarrassing desire to put authoritarian scum on the stage or, even worse, to get permits for the prupose of controlling other protestors are part of the problem and we have allowed them to control and suppress protests for way too fucking long.

Remember when it was ANSWER/WWP that we were all suppose to worship because they had big, meaningless liberal rallies and systematically attempted to marginalize anyone who didn't follow their line? Then after that it was UJP, now it's Mobe. And round and round and round the circle-jerk goes. And, furthermore, for those of you who are too myopic to remember this: when ANSWER/WWP was the NGO of the Week and we were screaming about their repeatedly betrayals of anyone who didn't toe thier line, all those same things were being said "You gotta give them credit for getting a lot of people out." "Don't be divisive." "Left unity!" "We're all on the same side!" It's the same old shit, the same old pattern. The disturbing thing is that those people who were saying that about ANSWER now have no memory of being duped by ANSWER/WWP, so now they say the same shit about the new NGO of the Week. It's nothing more than the internal "Leftist" version of the myopic, memory-less state of mainstream US politics wherein the government can claim anything about anything today and tomorrow the masses will have forgotten about it and moved on to the next Columbine or Shiavo and there is never a day of reckoning, never any accountability.

And for those of you who wonder why the protests here are so pathetic, why the political dissents in this country never seem to get anywhere, that's your damned answer. We keep repeating the same old fucking patterns over and over and over with new names for the NGO of the Week, putting our faith into some patriarchial, authoritarian group after another. Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results is about as good a definition as exists for insanity and in that respect the American "Left" is completely insane.

What we have seen over and over and over from every one of these NGOs is, just as "seen it before" said, that they consistently stymie protests, seek to marginalize any other tactics other than stand here, listen to this, give us money. And their own internal dynamics and their desire for more money and more legitimacy in the eyes of the corporate state inevitably are better indicators of their behavior than any sort of political agenda.

For all of those misguided people on this board who keep talking about how Mobe is supposed to be glorified for getting 5000 people to stand in the mud and be bored out of their skulls, what the fuck do you think those balloon-buckets were for? Do you have any delusions whatsoever that Mobe contributed a single fucking dime of the thousands of dollars they raised that day to get any of those people arrested out of jail? Do you think those US government flags they had flanking the gazebo were there for some other mysterious purpose other than to legitimize Mobe to the corporate press?

And, most crucially and yet what so many of you seem to be ignoring completely, why do you think the Mobe made an agreement with the cops to marginalize the recruiting center location? Was it because they thought "Gee, it WOULD be better to be down in a hole where less people can see us!" or was it because they saw a way of being more "legitimate" to the state by cozing up to the cops while marginalizing more radical actions?

I'm horrified that people on this board are trying to excuse Mobe's denunciation of the march by saying they couldn't endorse it. Are you fucking kidding? They did everything short of dragging Chuck off stage to try to stop it. And why? Because after the march was called, Mobe and the Socialist Alternative tried to go and get a permit to march.

Like someone pointed out earlier, getting a permit for an event that has already been called in order to control it is classic bullshit for the NGO of the Week merry-go-round. Remember the infamous ANSWER permit for the UJP and Anarchist events two years ago?! Remember what the Socialist Alternative tried to do during the march before this one in December with their permits and "peacekeepers"?!

At any rate, The legal staff told them this was stupid, they did not need (or want) a permit and that they'd never get one anyway because of the St. Patrick's Day events. Without a permit, the march that was called by the anti-authoritarians would be uncontrollable by Mobe and the Socialist Alternative, so they did exactly what they did last time, they tried to kill it.

The great shame is that, unlike last time, on Sunday they largely succeeded in killing it and decimated (literally) the number of people on the march by a combination of rally placement and dragging the rally out so that it was so long that it became de facto THE event. In so doing, they contributed enormously to creating the situation in which a smaller number of marchers faced aggressive police violence and which led to 5 arrests. And, again, how much of that balloon-bucket money went to bail them out or will go to their legal defense? Not a fucking dime.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
And yet you offer no alternative, and you do nothing but complain.

You offer no alternative, you just complain about what someone else has done.

If you are dissatisfied, THEN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. So far, you haven't done that.

I don't care what your little personal gripe is with MOBE, it doesn't concern me in the least.

All you are doing is saying "well they should have done this" or "they did this wrong" yet you offer no alternative and provide no basis for forward momentum.

Here's a hint, NOTHING happens without organization. Regardless of logistical problems that cause the main event to run longer than planned, the people would NOT have been there at all if not for what MOBE did.

You did NOTHING to bring those people there. Judging from the fact that people stayed to listen to what speakers were saying, they weren't bored. Simpley because YOU were bored doesn't mean everyone else was.

If you want to make a difference, make a difference. If you want to organize a march or a rally, do so. If you want to watch someone else do it then bitch about how they didn't do it your way, then you're ineffectual and counter productive at best.

Was the MOBE event perfect? Hell no. Does your posting here whining about it make a difference? No.

If you want change, make change. If you want events organized and handled differently, then organize and handle them.

If you aren't prepared to put forth efforts to bring people together to make events happen, then don't complain about those who are.

Sorry, but MOBE doesn't control the weather, however nice it would be if they could.

I could care less if MOBE, or any other group organized the event, the fact is they did ORGANIZE an event. They publicized it. They made it known. They drew people to the site.

If they had not done that, all you would have had is a few anarchists walking down the street.

Either take action and organize, or don't. Don't blame those who DO organize for your own unwillingness to do so.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
To Pete and EF:

We're not going to be able to "all get along" and the common enemy isn't the some cult of persona around Bush and the war. In my book, slick, self aggrandizing liberals are just as bad as neocons. There are very real, and very concrete political, structural, tactical, and social differences betweeen groups in Boston. These differences won't fade away, and they can't be worked out in coalition, as was tried in the abortive Dec. 4 group.

The call for a "united front against the war", is ultimately (and historical, looking at the SDS here and the United Antifascists Front in Spain in the 30's) a call for people of principle to work with undesirables, in this case democrats and authoritarian commies. United fronts, typically try to legitimize themselves and aggrandize themselves to act as the "voice of the movement" and in the end only care about enhancing their media standing and image.

Cooperation and solidarity are great, and dissagreement and diversity are key, but there comes a line that some of us just aren't willing to cross.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
I think some of the anarchists, however right they may be on a lot of their points, need to be a little less righteous. As an impartial observer of this argument, it does strike me as odd that people who were not involved in getting a few thousand people to show up at the common expect that those few thousand people will just get up and follow wherever they lead. There is a certain amount of anarcho-elitism at work here in other words. Did the less anti-authoritarian elements involved in organizing the rally show a certain lack of solidarity with the more energetic and ballsy anti-authoritarians who were present there? Yes. Do the anti-authoritarians have a right to complain? Yes. Should be people be nasty to each other over this? No! Someone just wrote that some groups just won't get along with others, and that's true. Anarchists of all people should accept that people have a right to associate or not to associate, and to march or not to march. Those, on the other hand, who want to do everything by the book need to loosen up and get creative. Of course everyone can do whatever they want, and we have no obligation to be civil to one another, let alone all be friends. Whether you look at last Sunday as a success or a failure, it's so much water under the bridge at this point. There is another weekend coming up, which seems to promise better weather. I am not calling for a protest. I am not calling for it at Harvard Square on Saturday afternoon. But who knows? Everyone loves a surprise! Seriously though, just get back out there and disagree with real live people--it's much more fun!
It Was Anarchy
22 Mar 2005
Did you expect Anarchists to actually follow ANY rules set by organizers?
Question: What do you get when you invite Anarchists to your event?
Answer: Anarchy
Is this so difficult to figure out? Am I the only person here who is a master of the obvious? The comic relief factor of this alone is priceless though. Thanks for the laughs!
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
The march did not happen just because the anarchists called it. When you guys gathered at 12:30 to hold the march, there were about a dozen or so of you. The march happened because you had the idea (yes) and you moved it to after the rally (which took too long, as everyone including the folks from Boston Mobilization have admitted), because the MC from Boston Mobilization announced it (Ramsey already said, she encouraged him to announce it--can we drop the idea that they didn't want people to take part?), and because Chuck Turner encouraged people to go and then went and lead the march along with the anarchist youth. The anarchist youth played an important role by calling for an unpermitted march in the first place. But Boston Mobilization and Chuck Turner played an important role as well. It was Chuck Turner who got the hundreds of people left at the end to participate, not the anarchist youth contingent. Why? Because Turner has way for street credibility than the anarchist youth because he's done years of serious grassroots organizing--the man has stature in the activist community and he's earned it. People respect him and so they were willing to follow him on this unpermitted march, not a bunch of kids they didn't know anything about.

A lot of you have been praising Turner for the solidarity he showed, and with good reason. But when was the last time you showed solidarity with Turner and his constituency, the folks in Roxbury and Dorchester, among the most oppressed people in Boston? When have you tried to reach out beyond the anarchist scene to work with those folks? One of the remarkable things about Turner is that he is willing to take risks by reaching and working in solidarity with people who are different from him--different social background and different beliefs. I've seen him work with not just folks from Roxbury and Dorchester but with the white, middle-class non-profits (I wouldn't assume they're all liberal--I know anarchists and other radicals who work with them); with Buddhist peace activists; even with some of the sectarian Leninist groups. And on Sunday, he took a risk by working with a group I'm guessing he didn't know too well and had no personal ties with, the folks form the anarchist youth scene. (And I think it's fair to say at least some of his ideas on political strategy are different, since he's an elected official.) Turner is willing to consistently step outside his comfort zone and work with those who are different. Why don't you guys in groups like BAAM and ABC try it? (I think NEFAC already is.) No, it won't be easy, but I think it's worth it.

You guys have a lot of good militant spirit, although I don't always think it's channeled the best way. Others can learn from your spirit. But if you're not willing to work with people who are different, to reach out and engage in dialogue, you'll become historically irrelevant. Which would be a pity because once again anarchism has a chance to be historically relevant, to shape the course of the larger social movements and of history. And if you look at the classical anarchist movement it did not exist on its own as an anarchist movement--it took its power from the larger labor movement of which the anarchists were a part. Take the Haymarket bombing, for which anarchist labor leaders were framed. They were not just calling for a revolution at the protest--the were calling for an eight-hour workday. They knew you have to work with people where they are at and build a larger movement around bread-and-butter goals, not just noble ideals (though those are important too). You all in the anarchist you groups need to find some way to work with other groups, to explain your ideas about non-hierarchical organization and direct action to them. You won't always get what you want because coalition work is a matter of give and take. But that's the best way to have a real affect. There are actually a lot of anarchists (myself included) who start off in groups like BAAM and ABC and then moved on and start working with more liberal-seeming non-profits and other not specifically anarchist groups because that seems like a better way to connect with a larger movement. Something is also lost that way--a really visible anarchist presence. May be you guys in BAAM and ABC and groups like that can find some middle path, sort of like the one NEFAC is trying to walk. I'm not sure what the best way forward is, but it sure isn't isolating yourself from other groups just because they're different.

On another note, you guys were decrying the lack of confrontation with the war machine. I think you underestimate the potential of counter-recruitment work, which is now central to the peace movement. There are other ways besides direct action to disrupt the workings of the machine (a lesson I was slow to learn myself). And certainly, it's perfectly consistent with anarchism to tell people it's a really bad idea to join the military. You guys might actually be good at it, since you're the same age as the people the military targets. Just something to think about.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
Oh, and you folks are also ignoring the fact that the good people at Boston Mobilization were planning to shut down the recruitment center--only it closed down for the day in response, so there wasn't any need for direct action after all.
22 Mar 2005
Umm...Muskrat...the recruiting office is ALWAYS closed on a Sunday.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
Well said Muskrat.

How much more can I say than that? You've put out there much of what I was trying to say, but done it more eloquently.

Another pointless attack by Muskray
22 Mar 2005
Again Muskrat seems to have no comprehension of the timeline of the events, nor even who participated. Seeing as neither BAAM nor ABC had ANYTHING whatsoever to do with the march, I have no clue what you're talking about.

What you are doing though is insulting comrades who spent over a thousand of their personal dollars to bail people out of jail... What's your contribution Muskrat?
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
FYI: The Coalition--no it was not just Boston Mobe--which organized the Sunday rally, was composed of members of student, and community peace and justice groups, including but not limited to UJP, Chelsea's anti-war group, Tufts', Northeastern, UMass, as well as organizers from Chuck Turner's District 7--actually Chuck himself was at aleast one meeting, and representatives of a number of political groups in the area, such as ISO, PLP, Socialist Alternative, WWP, and IAC. Also there was a rep from Billionaires for Bush, as well as a several Boston Mobe interns, and several others people from the community, whose group affiliations I'm not sure of.

For the most part, the coalition functioned in an effective, open, inclusive, and democratic manner to organize and mobilize for this rally. Any organization that maintained a consistent presence at these weekly meetings, which endorsed the call for the event, and which devoted time and/or resources to the organizing and mobilizaing, was granted a spot on the speaker's list. This seems to me to be a good policy; though it can result in a long speaker list, especially when combined with other outside speakers.

In my opnion, if an anti-authoritarian and/or an anarachist representative had respectfully participated in and supported--as well as criticized-- the organizing taking place in these meetings in a spirit of solidarity, they too would have had use on the stage.

More importantly, perhaps, in retrospect, such groups 'participation would have brought to the coalition's attention--with added emphasis--the importance of keeping the rally short. For instance, if elected reps from a number of area anarachist or anti-authoritarian groups had come to meetings and said, "Hey we respect what you guys are doing, we want to bring out thousands of Bostonians against the war, but we don't think a rally is enough"--actually this point I myself brought up in the Coalition meetings, with results which I can go into later-- "so we're planning an unpermitted march. We want to wait until your event is over, but we don't want to wait until the crowd disappears. So could you keep it firmly under 3 hours?" than I am confident that we could have made this happen.

All this is not just idle ciriticism on my part; I write now to alert all of you to the next meeting of the March 20th Coalition, which will be meeting Monday, Feb. 28 at 7pm in the Boston Mobe office at 971 Comm. Ave (Suite 20). The point of this meeting is to organize a Boston-wide Action Conference at which there can be open dialogue and discussion of issues realted to building the anti-war movement. Organizers are also hoping--though not guaranteeinig-- that out of this conference--planned for April 23; check the website yourself at will emerge another Big Boston Action in the Spring or early Summer. One biger than 3/20.

I know that many of you may not agree that "Big Rallies with/or without permitted marches" are the way to proceed at the present time at all. Certainly, I would agree that they are not the "whole" solution, though I do think that they are one great way to get us activists out into the community on a daily basis educating people and convincing people that they ought to stand out and speak out publicly against this war. It gives such conversations a concrete focus--not as concrete perhaps as working to get them to throw military recruiters out of their schools, perhaps, but concrete enough that its not just idle chit chat on the T, or at the town square.

Many of you are complaining out here about the details and planning of this past--quite successful and I think, energizing--big rally. So there you have it: if you really want to get involved in helping plan a Big Spring Summer Rally/March/Day of Action in Boston, then get involved.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
Final Comments:

I want us to work together because I truly believe we need each other. The anti-authoritarian community has a very important place in this "movement". They can take "the movement" to a new level that many organizations and individuals have not yet taken it too. I do think however that if we are truly going to have solidarity we need to have solidarity with each other and move forward in defense of peoples that are fighting against this war not each other. Although I did not want to re-enter this conversation, I feel that it is really important to show solidarity with the people who continually organized for this event even though they do not all agree with each other or like each other and extend a request for this criticism to be more fact based and constructive. Rumors don't do anything, they just tear people apart. Besides i can gurenttee you that no rumor spreading about any community is allowed in the Mobe office, its a rule of solidarity we have with all people in our community and I just want to denounce a few misconceptions that may be spreading around in hopes of us working together.

"The march happened because the anti-authoritarians were unwilling to accept the dictates handed down by the NGO of the Week and made it happen even though the Mobe was outright hostile to the march and the recruiting center action."

We did make a poor decisions about the timing of the rally which did directly affect the march. I can promise you that this was unintentional. Although many people in the "March 20th coalition" may not know this I worked with an individual from the anti-authoritarian community to plan the march because I believed that it was an important part of the day and because I wanted to make a different communities action work. This individual attended a meeting, sat and listened to us and was in contact with me. I failed him and the community by not reaching out to this community soon enough, and by not educating myself enough on what was going on in the community and creating a realistic plan of solidarity with the different communities. In addition, the civil disobedience action was planned by a "member" of the coalition and so although the rally did go on too long, I do not think that this individual believed that we were intentionally being "hostile" to his action.

"For all of those misguided people on this board who keep talking about how Mobe is supposed to be glorified for getting 5000 people to stand in the mud and be bored out of their skulls, what the fuck do you think those balloon-buckets were for? Do you have any delusions whatsoever that Mobe contributed a single fucking dime of the thousands of dollars they raised that day to get any of those people arrested out of jail?"

Ah yes the buckets. The buckets helped us so that we could pay for the event. We didn't even break even from the rounding up of buckets. As for bail and the entire situation with the people arrested...I along with Chuck Turner made a second pitch to the crowd to get bail money. We were able to raise a few hundred dollars which was contributed as well. Between us and the ABC we were able to get everyone out of jail. Additionally, myself and Boston Mobe's director stayed at the Police station until all protesters were released and then today, attended all the arraignments.

Do you think those US government flags they had flanking the gazebo were there for some other mysterious purpose other than to legitimize Mobe to the corporate press?"

The flags were brought by an artist who has his right to portray how he saw the atrocities in Iraq and make what ever kind of impact he thought was needed. We had no idea he was going to be there or that there were going to be American flags.

"And, most crucially and yet what so many of you seem to be ignoring completely, why do you think the Mobe made an agreement with the cops to marginalize the recruiting center location? Was it because they thought "Gee, it WOULD be better to be down in a hole where less people can see us!" or was it because they saw a way of being more "legitimate" to the state by cozing up to the cops while marginalizing more radical actions?"

We definetly did not make an agreement to marginalize the recruiting center location. It was planned by a member of our coalition and we were trying to support him the best we could.

"After the march was called, Mobe and the Socialist Alternative tried to go and get a permit to march."

If we would have known that the march was called why we would plan one? Who does that? only people who are disunifying i think and I most definitely don't think that is our goal.

At any rate, The legal staff told them this was stupid, they did not need (or want) a permit and that they'd never get one anyway because of the St. Patrick's Day events.

That is correct.

Without a permit, the march that was called by the anti-authoritarians would be uncontrollable by Mobe and the Socialist Alternative, so they did exactly what they did last time, they tried to kill it.

Mobe is not trying to control any communities. We are more then willing to work with them. We did not want to kill the march but we had made some irreversible mistakes by extending the program too long and did not want to exclude those people either.

"How much of that balloon-bucket money went to bail them out or will go to their legal defense? Not a fucking dime."

We helped collect money that did end up paying for half of the bail along with the NLG and ABC.

This has got to be the end. We have bigger wars to fight then eachother. I respect everyone on the list for speaking up about this and holding us accountable. Now please just give us a chance to prove we are here to work together.

Thank you,

Alison Ramer
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
I assume you're being sarcastic about BAAM and ABC having nothing to do with the march. I have them credit for calling it--but I'm also pointing out you could not have pulled off such a big march on your own. Sorry, if I seem condescending or insulting. I'm not trying to be. Like I said, I think you guys in the anarchist youth scene have a lot of good energy and ideas about organization others can learn from. This is meant as a compliment. I'm trying to suggest ways you better accomplish your goals and spread your ideas. I'm trying to engage in critical support--constructive criticism, saying where I think you're strong and where you're weak. It's based on personal experience, both from being involved in the anarchist youth scene when I was younger and other experiences since as I've gotten older and done other things. You don't have to agree with my advice, but I don't think you need to take it as a hostile attack either. Certainly, that's not the way I mean it. I'm trying to engage in dialogue.
Have We Forgotten the Occupation of Kosovo?
22 Mar 2005
Why have you turned your back on Kosovo? Thousands of United States troops occupy the country with no end in sight. For 75 days bombs rained upon Kosovo with nary a sound from the Anarchists and now 8 years later...a deafening silence with US troops still there. I want to see a demonstration against the continued occupation of Kosovo.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
22 Mar 2005
so, some people are asserting that last Sunday's events were the flawed product of a liberal-left sectarian conspiracy to silence the alternative view of the anti-authoritarian (left?).
well, i'm not a member of Mobe or UJP or an organized left formation--& as an AfroLatino active in anti-war/anti-racist struggles since 1965, i'm hardly a privileged, white liberal or spoiled college student. but i was on the Common. and while have many criticisms of the rally program (22 speakers & 17 bands!), the idea that the program was stretched out and the stage rotated 90 degrees for the sole purpose of sabotaging the planned march is not only baseless, but patently absurd.
first of all, the decision to orient the stage into the park was based on two considerations: audience visibility (excepting at the point of the steps, which happen face the center of the park, railing obscures the view into the bandstand) & the need for amplified sound (requiring access to electrical power). Mobe might've said "screw the cops," but have any of you ever tried addressing a crowd of more than 50 people w/ only a bullhorn? at some point, folks have to get real: being in the belly of the beast, we can give it indigestion, but that doesn't really change our relative positions--& won't for the near term. so, contrary to some of the wilder claims on these pages, collusion w/ the police & corporate media to isolate the rally in order to dampen its militancy is not only wrong, but wrong-headed.
second, the ongoing debate over the march itself has elevated a tactical consideration into a fruitless political schism. if getting into the streets--& shutting down the recruiting office--was really so critically important to march organizers, then why wait until Sunday afternoon? why not plan the march/blockade on a weekday when the office is actually staffed? by Sunday, these Intrepids would've become the stars of the rally (i hesistate to say "movement"). or were march planners just hoping to pimp the rally to swell their numbers?
for those of us who remember, the goal of non-violent direct action in Selma & Birmingham wasn't to foment a black insurrection, but to force the federal government into finally defending the Constitutional rights of black folks. and as King pointed out, the first principle of defying any unjust law is the willingness/resolve to accept the consequences of defiance-- if you can't do the time... SNCC eventually took this notion to the limit w/ its "jail, no bail" policy.
third, i heard/saw very little of the program. my time was consumed--as part of event security--dealing w/ the cops, counter-demonstrators & other assorted knuckle heads. yeah, i was one of those folks villified by the so-called anti- authoritarian community for wearing an armband & thinking that the toddler in a stroller & his-her grandma shouldn't be placed in jeopardy by some kid playing out romantic fantasies of urban guerilla warfare, or some gung-ho neanderthal looking to provoke a fight & some headlines. though ridiculously few in number we did a good job of defusing disruptions to defend the political integrity of the rally & the physical safety of participants.
lastly, a number of responders have criticized the poor turnout of low-income people & communities of color at these events--a point well taken. but beyond the established peace movement's apparent inability of the to "get" the links btw the "triple evils" of racism-militarism-capitalism (MLK 1967), is the fact that when riot cops move on demonstrators, we're likely to be the among first targets for brutality. i've seen this acted out too often in the past. and it always seems that the very groups most likely to engage unilateral acts of provocation are also the most anxious to put my black ass on the line. no, thank you.
they say that empty pots make the most noise. tdp
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
"and as King pointed out, the first principle of defying any unjust law is the willingness/resolve to accept the consequences of defiance-- if you can't do the time..."

this is about the stupidest thing i've ever heard. talk about legitimizing the state!
Whose really at fault
23 Mar 2005
Responsibility for the violence and the arrests near the and of the day falls solely on the BPD. Instead of arguing amongst ourselves we should be seeking acountability, and placeing where it belongs.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
Now I've heard everything, people bashing King for "legitimizing the state?"

In case you've forgotten your history, King was one of the most successful activists of his or any other time, and made more progress in the Civil Rights Movement than any single person did.

Kings methodology did work, does work, and will work again. You might want to research it a little bit.

If you think there was violence and police brutality on Sunday, you don't know what the words mean. King was beaten, imprisoned, beaten somemore, imprisoned some more, and ultimately died for his cause. How many of you can say the same?
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
" Now I've heard everything, people bashing King for "legitimizing the state?""

Um, yeah, people did that when he was still around, too.

You don't really have too much of an understanding of politics, do you?
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
"[...] and ultimately died for his cause. How many of you can say the same?"

Well geez, THERE's one way to win an argument!
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
LOL . . . Let's bash King! We all know his tactics didn't work! Oh wait, yes, they did.

Tell you what guys, when you've organized to the point King did, brought as many people together in a common cause as King did, and had the successes that King did, then feel free to bash him.

Here's a little clue, if it works, it's worth paying attention to. Kings methodology works.

This all started because someone disagrees with the statement that you SHOULD violate the law, and if you do so, you should be willing to accept the consequences. How that statement "legitimizes the state" is beyond me. The FACT is that by accepting the consequences, you bring MORE attention to your goals. If King hadn't gone to jail, hadn't been beaten, hadn't been harrassed, hadn't accepted the consequences of breaking unjust laws, nobody would have known who he was. He would have been nothing.

Instead, he accepted the penalty, but publicized it, called attention to it, etc. Not only that, he went out and broke the same law again and again, accepting the consequences each time and drawing attention to it each time. If you want to draw attention to it, you don't cut and run when the going gets tough then whine about it. You accept the consequences, then make sure that the consequences are in the face of the public at every opportunity. Otherwise, all the public at large sees is a bunch of people who are causing trouble.

If someone is arrested, posts bail, and disappears other than a few court appearances, the story is dead from the moment bail is posted.

If someone is arrested, posts bail, and instead of posting on a website, personally approaches every media outlet for 1,000 miles to tell their story, the story gets noticed.

King had it right. He knew how to organize, he knew how to bring extremely diverse groups together for a common cause, he knew how to make sure that the cause was noticed.

What Kind did worked, and King based much of what he did on what Gandhi did. Both of them were highly successful in their methodology and ultimately accomplished the vast majority of their goals.

Ineffectual whining about "legitimizing the state" doesn't accomplish anything except making you look less and less appetizing to anyone outside your own little circle of like-minded individuals. To accomplish anything, you must bring the majority around to your way of thinking.

"First they ignore you, then they ridicule you, then they fight you, and then you win." - Gandhi

“Gandhiji would always offer full details of his plans and movements to the police, thereby saving them a great deal of trouble. One police inspector who availed himself of Gandhi’s courtesy in this matter is said to have been severely reprimanded by his chief. ‘Don’t you know,’ he told the inspector, ‘that everyone who comes into close contact with that man goes over to his side?’”

—Reginald Reynolds, in A Quest for Gandhi, Doubleday, 1952
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
Has n e one seen those undercovers before ?? Are they locals or fbi ??? I think i may have seen them before, but I'm not sure ...
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
King and Gandhi certainly had their good points...

but personally, I think El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X) was more inspirational and effective.

Of course, this all depends on your vision of how social change happens, but in truth, King would have been much less well known and effective if it weren't for El-Shabazz. But let us always be careful about too narrow a way of viewing history - one person does not a movement make. King and El-Shabazz would *both* be unknown if it weren't for MILLIONS of people willing to take risk, willing to defend themselves and their communities, as well as those willing to try non-violence tactics in the presence of cameras. And even King would caution "authorities" that they could choose his way or the alternative of riots and chaos - so even King *used* the tactics of others as a bargaining chip. Movements are complicated, reinforcing processes.

But I recommend listening to El-Shabazz - he has much to teach about social change, empowerment, and geopolitics - all of which are pretty much just as dead on today:

He also has much to say on the issue of movements being betrayed by "leaders" and certain organizations. The parallels to the current situation in the antiwar movement are many.

Lastly, just because Gandhi advocated and used tactics of non-violence against the oppresser, doesn't mean his struggle would have been successful (to the degree that it was - partition wasn't so pretty at the time orwith its re-erruption in the early 70's, and now India is a neo-colony and the "communal" tensions persist to this day) without the massive violent assault that the occupier, England, was facing at the time. A little conflict called WWII. Hardly a non-violent or small factor in that struggle. Also, there were currents in the de-colonization struggle within India that did use force - they also contributed to the net result.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
Malcolm X, much like the anarchists here, was preaching only to his own choir. He was not involving the greater masses that are necessary for the success of any movement, in fact, he was quite exclusionary.

If you only motivate your own little circle, you go nowhere except that circle and you will be ignored.

If you involve your circle, the circle next door, the circle across the street and the circle on the other side of town, you end up surrounding the opposing factions and eventually absorbing them as well.

You can not have success by using a Malcolm X style exclusionary approach, all you will do is motivate your own group and alienate all others. Instead of creating unity and common cause, you create divisiveness and animosity.

Without unity and solidarity, you end up with nothing more than the activist equivalent of tribal warfare.

How much more powerful a voice would Malcolm X have been if he had worked with King and the various groups that King worked with and brought all of those factions together as a unified voice? As it was, Malcolm became a voice in his own community who was largely forgotten by the greater majority of people.

For a movement to be effective, it must involve as many people as possible and convince others to join your cause, not alienate everyone who doesn't march in lockstep with your narrow view of how things should be.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
One more thought...

it is interesting the way predominantly privilaged groups and/or the oppressor society chooses to glorify those leaders who chose non-violence in the face of horrendous violence against their people. Ward Chruchill has written about this in _Pacifism as Pathology_.

It is also the case that Europe honors and lifts up the name of "Saladin" (Salah al Din), but then they choose to forget the man who lead the uprooting of the last 80 year old Crusade settlement in Arabia and drove them into the sea. (That was the last Crusade for hundreds of years until the Zionists got the Chritians all excited again at the begining of the last centruy.) His name was Baibars - ever heard of him? I didn't think so.

Is it just possible that the dominant society that perpetrates these policies of conquest, genocide, theft and oppression prefers and idealizes people who challenge them "peacefully" over those who are willing to use any means necessary for their liberation? Is that part of the tactic of "divide and conquer" against those resisting conquest? Is it up tomembers of the oppressor society to choose the "good" resistance over the "bad" resistance?

Is it possible the US antiwar movement has the same "problem" with the Iraqi resistance? The same with the Palestinian resistance?

Is it possible that this is a form of racism and perpetuation of unjust privilege by means of perpetuating the default violence being visited on others so that we may live relatively comfortably?

Important questions that I hope you will all consider, especially if you intend to bandy about terms like "justice."
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
By engaging in violence, you ensure more violence and guarantee a never-ending cycle.

Look no further than the Israel/Palestine conflict for examples of what endless circles of violence and reciprocal violence do. No one accomplishes anything except killing each other. What have Palestinians gained by engaging in violence? Nothing. What have Israelis gained by engaging in violence? Nothing. All that's happened is that a vicious circle has continued and the status quo has been maintained. It's a no-win situation.

Violence is not necessary in order for change to come about.

You want to see change? Look at a Gandhiesque idea such as a general strike. You want to see change, create a situation where tens of thousands of people refuse to work for even a single day. Create a situation where people refuse to consume for a day. Create a situation where thousands of people cancel their cable television subscriptions and rob the corporate media of their revenue. The best way to break the corporate strangelhold on America is to rob them of the only thing they value, money. Violence doesn't bother them, nor does death, it never has, they will simply meet it with more of the same.

By engaging in violence, you create a situation where anything done to you in retaliation can be justified in the eyes of the masses. If you perpetrate violence, then violence done to you will be seen as justice, and that is not conducive to forward progress.

If instead, you create a situation so that those who depend on you for profit are threatened by financial loss, for money is all they truly understand, then you create an enviornment ready for change.

Violence begats violence, it has been that way for centuries and is not likely to change.

Considering that what we are discussing here is an ANTI-WAR movement, engaging in violence is decidedly counter productive and contrary to the goals.

Through history, violence has been met with violence and despite any perceived temporary "victory" has always been met with yet more violence.

It doesn't work. It never has, and it never will.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
ET awful

often times the choir needs a preachin' to.

The antiwar movement, with its blatant nationalism, US exceptionalism, demonization of Islam, demonizing of the resistance, and failure to put effort into supporting those in our midst being profiled, detained, having their bank accounts frozen, and being deported certainly have a lot to think about.

ET, I don't know if you are a member of an oppressed group. But if you are, than you will see that there are many in that group, including yourself to some degree, who have internalized the system of oppression dictated by the dominant society. El-Shabazz was seeking to spur people to free themselves from their own *mental shackles*. King was speaking more to whites. A movement against a deep and old system of brutal oppression needs *at least* both of these target audiences spoken to, and often it will require different people to do the job, but these two were moving towards each other in many ways. Tensions within movements can be part of their strength. I think this is a good example of such a case, but again, it depends on what you think success is.

If success in Black Liberation comes from whites agreeing to give over a few rights and a few jobs, then you will probably want to emulate the tactics of King. If you believe liberation is not yet achieved and comes from people being organized and strong in their sense of empowerment and self-worth, than you might want to emulate the focus and tactics of El-Shabazz more. ( I am speaking in sketches here, oversimplifying both men, but I assume we are speaking about what the men stand for as symbols of resistance and not a thorough accounting and paying full respect to all that each of them tried and did.)

Personally, I can't think of a struggle where resources were at stake where the former approach in isolation worked. I can think of cases where the latter approach in isolation worked. The Iraqi resistance is a current example of being forced into that latter position because of the ineptness and racism of our antiwar movement. Same with the resistance in Palestine. They are abandoned, so they must continue to try whatever is at their disposal to end the genocidal campaign against them.

Anyhow, nice chatting, keep reading and thinking and questioning - and never rest until we are *all* free!
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
violence was very successful in ending the Crusades. Baibars found it so. Palestine was Crusade free for CENTURIES after that. Before that, they had faced wave after wave.

Palestine is not a "cycle of violence".

This latest Zionsit Project/Christian Crusade in Palestine is a straight European, Imperial power perpetuated, genocidal colonial conquest of the people of Palestine. The people there TRIED a general strike - it was called the first Intifadah. See what nice "Israeli Peace camp" officials like Mitzra did in response. It was called the "bone crushing policy" and it targeted children, making some 80,000 disable. Hundreds were killed, of course. And the Zionist theives just used Oslo as a cover for taking over more land and displacing all the Palestinian workers in Israel with immigrants and guest workers from elsewhere. The US kept facilitating, the US public kept quit and/or believed the lie of "peace" at Oslo, even after we should know better based on all the treaties with Native people our own government has completely violated.

When the world refuses to watch or do anything, non-violent resistance fails. If we in the US succeed in divesting from Zionist apartheid and get our government to stop cutting the billion dollar checks each year, then sure, we can ask them to consider "non-violence" only. But *until we do that*, until we are NO LONGER sending the genocide against them, we have no STANDING to tell them a goddamn thing. We are their killers, after all.

A little humility about what living in the hub of the empire implies, please.

And anyone who calls a genocidal project a "cycle of violence" is either completely ignorant of history or is racist enough to blame the victim of genocide. Were those resisting in the Warsaw Ghetto contributing to a cycle of violence? ? Please.

If you don't like the resistance in Iraq, do something to end the US/Zionist conquest of Iraq.

If you don't like the resistance in Palestine, do something to help dismantle the genocidal Euro-supremactis apartheid state of Israel.

Meanwhile, at least have the good sense not to "preach" tactics to people who your tax dollars go toward slaughtering. It is beyond racist.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
Anyone who equates "anti-war" with "blatant nationalistm" hasn't been paying very close attention. If you want to see blatant nationalism, go to a Bush "townhall" meeting and take a look around.

To talk about not practicing exceptionalism, then to back it up with talking about the teachings of Malcolm X is a bit contradictory, since all Malcolm taught was exceptionalism and exclusionary rhetoric for several years, only changing his tune shortly before his untimely demise.

Blatant nationalism denotes a "my country right or wrong" philosphy, by its very nature, an anti-war movement cannot convey blatant nationalism, as the two concepts are contrary in nature. If you are a nationalist and as such support your nation and believe it can do no wrong, then you can not support a movement that opposed what your nation is engaged in, you are no longer a nationalist if you do, but, in the eyes of true nationalists, you become a traitor.

If you want to see blatant nationalism in action, go to and see what they have to say. If you want to see blatant nationalism, look no further than the "protestwarrior" folks who were "counter-protesting" the rally on Sunday (pathetic really, there were maybe 1/2 dozen of the little bastards, and they, by the way, were the ones carrying US flags, NOT anti-war folks).

I have yet to see any anti-Islam factions in the anti-war movement, if they were there, they would not have had a Palestinian woman with family in Gaza and Iraq as one of their speakers on Sunday.

It appears that you are projecting the ills of the Protestwarrior group ( onto the organiers of anti-war events simply because they show up there to distract and divide, yet they are highly visible.

Am I a member of an oppressed class? Only if you consider growing up in poverty and not knowing where my next meal was coming from (or, for that matter, having new clothes that weren't hand me downs) until I was 18 or 19, then sure, I'm an oppressed class.

What you're missing here is that it is not "racism" that makes our anti-war efforts unsuccessful, but it is invisibility. The media misreports and pays no attention (unless there is violence, in which case protestors are always at fault in the media). If you hit the media where they live, by removing their profit through boycotts of advertisers, disconnecting cable, etc., then you force the media to take notice. When the media takes notice, more people become aware of the movement, when more people become aware, more people take part. And so the movement grows.

Engaging in violence drives people away, and weakens your ability to reach your goals.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
Ummm No Gods -

What have Palestinians actually accomplished through their use of violence. Explain it to me. You can't tell me non-violence failed for Palestinians, because it's never been tried. Since the creation of Israel in 1948, there has been violence.

Now, what would they accomplish if instead of engaging in violence they, en masse, blocked points of ingress and egress to Israeli cities. If they made it impossible for Israelis to travel between cities, not by violent means, but by simply having tens of thousands of people simply take a seat on the street.

Could the IDF take a violent retaliatory approach to such an action? Certainly? But if they did, how would the rest of the world react? The pro-Israel opinion that is shared in much of the world would alter greatly if there was a highly visible action such as this.

What has happened with the approach the Palestinians have taken, (and don't get me wrong, I despise the way they have been treated, mistreated and oppressed by Israel), is that they have sacrificed world opinion and backing for no gain whatsoever.

Iraqi insurgents are a different matter altogether, they have not sacrificed world support, as unlike the situation with Israel/Palestine, the majority of the world was opposed to US invastion to begin with, so, in the long run, much sympathy and backing through the world will fall with the so-called insurgents (who are, in reality no different than Minutemen who fought to rid the US of an occupying force).

The fact is that Palestinians have gained nothing through violence. What has happened is that despite how wrong it may be, much of global opinion lies with Israel who is viewed as the "victim."

Don't mistake me for someone who is defending Israel, as that is most definitely not the case, I think Sharon should be on trial for war crimes right next to Bush.
Palastine Unmasked
23 Mar 2005
So called palastinians have been murdering innocent Jews on a regular basis since before the crusades. The true purpose of the crusades was to free Christians and Jews who had been enslaved by mohammedans. Interestingly enough, Jordan occupies most of historical Palastine. Palastine was once the land of the Jews, not the Arabs. The current myth is that these Arabs were long established in Palestine, until the Jews came and "displaced" them. The fact is, that recent Arab immigration into Palestine "displaced" the Jews. That the massive increase in Arab population was very recent is attested by the ruling of the United Nations: That any Arab who had lived in Palestine for two years and then left in 1948 qualifies as a "Palestinian refugees". Still, one can't ignore that the Jewish connection with Palastine goes back to Abraham, and there has been an Israelite/Jewish community there since Joshua long before it was King David's first capital. In 1929, Arab rioters killed or drove out virtually the entire Jewish community. In 1948, Trans-Jordan seized much of Judea and Samaria (which they called The West Bank) and East Jerusalem and the Old City. They killed or drove out every Jew. By 1948, the Arabs had still not yet discovered their ancient nation of Palastine. When they were offered half of Palestine west of the Jordan River for a state, the offer was violently rejected. Six Arab states launched a war of annihilation against the nascent State of Israel. Their purpose was not to establish an independent Palastine. Their aim was to partition western Palestine amongst themselves. They did not succeed indestroying Israel, but Trans-Jordan succeeded in taking Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and East Jerusalem, killing or driving out all the Jews who had lived in those places, and banning Jews of all nations from Jewish holy places. Egypt succeeded in taking the Gaza Strip. These two Arab states held these lands until 1967. Then they launched another war of annihilation against Israel, and in consequence lost the lands they had taken by war in 1948.
During those 19 years, 1948-1967, Jordan and Egypt never offered to surrendar those lands to make up an independent state of Palastine. The "Palestinians" never sought it. Nobody in the world ever suggested it, much less demanded it.
Finally, in 1964, the Palestine Liberation Movement was founded. Ahmed Shukairy, who less than 10 years earlier had denied the existence of Palestine, was its first chairman. Its charter proclaimed its sole purpose to be the destruction of Israel. To that end it helped to precipitate the Arab attack on Israel in 1967.
The outcome of that attack then inspired an alteration in public rhetoric. As propaganda, it sounds better to speak of the liberation of Palastine than of the destruction of Israel. Much of the world, governments and media and public opinion, accept virtually without question of serious analysis the new-sprung myth of an Arab nation of Palastine, whose territory is unlawfully occupied by the Jews. So please tell me why Israel is bad and why Sharon is a war criminal but Arafat was not.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
covering your protest in US flags is a good way to indicate that Americans matter more to you than the victims of America.

Many got that impression. That may not be the "fault" of the organizers, but I know one person who tried to address this bias by removing some of the flags to the side was accosted by some of the organizers (not Mobe folks.) So, is it possible to be against the war because you think it is bad for America and certain sectors of America but you still don't give a shit about Arabs or Muslims? The answer is yes. That is what I am talking about. And even if "organizers" are being "strategic" in pandering to nationalism, even if they themselves hate nationalism, I argue the result is perpetuating and normalizing that nationalism.

What has the violent part of the Palestinian resistance accomplished?

Well, if the Palestinians had "Apache" helicopters and F-16s, or even RPG's and better rocket launchers, people might have championed them as well as freedom fighters. In fact, much of the world DOES champion them as freedom fighters doing what they can, at great personal sacrifice, to free their people and their land. It is only in this KKK country called the US that people expect the resistance in Palestine to be people sitting around singing Kumbaya. Only here do those most participating in their genocide and conquest, does the "peace movement" put requirements on the resistance.

As the now murdered Hamas leader Rantissi explained it, in the first intifada, the death rate was 10 Palestinians for every Israeli death. The Israelis were by and large military targets. The Palestinians were largely children, and this doesn't even count the numbers intentionally disabled which is in the 10s of thousands and largely children again. It doesn't get into the use of systematic torture, including sexual torture, and worse such as trying to force a father to have sex with his daughter, and any manner of sadistic and sick things you can think of the Israeli military has done. The resistance was very contained and VASTLY a non-violent work stoppage. What was the result? Oslo, which was betrayed by settlement building from day one. What did Clinton and the democrats do to stop this? Even less than Bush Senior.

So, we got the second intifadah, and with the use of martyr attacks within the green-line of Israel, the ratio of deaths is now 3 Palestinians to 1 Israel death. Granted, again, this neglects the tortures, rapes, checkpoints, closures, home demolitions, curfews etc. that are only happening to the Palestinians.

Further, the impact of deaths inside the "green line" has severely harmed the Israeli economy and for the first time ever reversed the immigration trend from into to Israel to out of Israel. Harder to recruit settlers when safety is not 100%, right? Harder to attract tourists if safety is not 100%.

So, instead of the world, and largely this means the US, picking up a massive campaign to get divestment from apartheid Israel, to stop US funds to Israel, etc. they bought into the sham of "peace" and let it be violated continuously without doing anything. What are Palestinians to do, wait for ever for us to give a shit about them?

Their impact on the economy exceeds anything we have managed to do. Yes, the US makes up the difference, but that strains relations with the nationalists in this country, which creates a wedge between these two settler western-supremacy societies.

So, again, if you don't want to see such tactics used, than it is up to you and I and everyone else to divest not just from Bush, but from Rabin and Perez and ALL who betrayed the Palestinians and talked peace while funding genocide behind the scenes. All of apartheid Israel needs to be challenged, because it was founded on genocide and maintains racist laws about who counts as a "national" and who may "return" and whose property may be stolen.

And whether you agree with the tactic of martyr attacks inside the green line or not, it is *not your place* to judge. It is your and my place to STOP exporting genocide to Palestine. Once we make the need for such actions moot, only THEN may we criticize. Meanwhile, our complicity in backing a genocide on behalf of one people against another makes our "advice" suspect, to say the least.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
NOBODY covered the protest in flags, or maybe you were at a different protest? As Alison stated above, the flags were part of an art display which the organizers had nothing to do with.

There were flags being carried by individuals, yes, but as I stated above, those were people who were COUNTER PROTESTERS they were there for the sole purpose of causing problems (see for info on the group they represent).

You are not reading, you are not comprehending, and you are simply spreading rhetoric and misinformation.

Second, the Palestinians do NOT have Apaches, etc. Thus, their violent tactics can not and will not have any lasting effect, so something more ingenious must be done.

You are simply repeating ideas that have been proven to fail time and time again.

As to Liam, Arafat is dead first of all, Sharon is not. Sharon supervised and allowed the massacre of masses of innocent civilians at Sabrah and Shatillah and faces war crimes charges if he ever has the balls to go to Belgium which is doubtful. Sharon purposefully incited the latest infitada with his intentionally inflammatory march up the temple mount. Unlike Arafat, Sharon has the ability to give orders at any time to halt violence by IDF troops. Arafat never had that ability because he was never in charge of all the Palestinian factions opposing Israeli atrocities. Arafat never had true command over all the different militant groups, and could not have ever stopped them from taking the actions they saw fit.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
Liam, you are completely deluded.

There are to this day Jewish Palestinians in the West Bank who have rejected the state of Israel. They were not evicted by their non Jewish Arab neighbors. They are also Arabs. Jordan didn't exactly "invade" - Palestinians thought they were there to protect them, but their general was a Britain, of the same country handing over control of Palestine to the Zionists - not exactly the most fierce enemy to face... the Jordanian regime installed by Britain has always been more dangerous to Palestinians than to European Jews.

Palestinians don't hate the Jewish faith or practitioners of Judaism. They resisted and continue to resist the imperial appropriation of their land to be a home for European Jews. They reject the export of the racist European idea of the ethnic-nation state to their shores, that turns them at worst into a "people too many" which drives the genocidal policies against them or at best second class citizens in their own homeland.

And the Crusades were not about protecting Christians, they were about conquest and hating Jews and Muslims as "infidels." Anyone attempting to defend the Crusades is either sick, deluded, or a person who gets their history solely from the bible - or possibly all three.

but hey, if the bible is your guide, there is a little passage in their that says "though shalt not steal" and "though shalt not kill" and "though shalt not covet your neighbors property." No justification here for using force and imperial backing to wage a genocidal campaign against the people of many faiths who were able to live together quite peacefully for centuries.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
See No Gods, we can find common ground and agree on some things :).
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
Some consider martyr attacks to be a pretty ingenious and courageous way of getting around the lack of delivery systems to wage resistance.

The attacks have harmed the economy and weakened the Zionist project more than anything the UN or the US or the US public has done.

As far as the flags, I didn't say who put them up - but to someone who attends, they see it. That is the way it works. Where were the symbols honoring Iraqi dead and fallen Iraqi fighters? Instead, there was a wall honoring dead participants in the genocidal project against Iraq, you know, "our boys."

I feel you don't listen, but I share my thoughts in case anyone is interested in working to make the antiwar movement less US exceptionalist and less nationalistic as a whole.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
No Gods -

You're right about there not being any efforts to memorialize the 100,000 plus dead Iraqi civilians, and that is something that should be done.

But, one thing you have to consider is that to get people involved, you must first hit them with what will effect them. You and I look at the situation and know how tragic it is that thousands of innocent men, women and children in Iraq have died, but the average observer who will be drawn to an event like this does not because there is no mainstream information available that tells them this. So, you can more easily get them involved and interested by assaulting their senses with the familiar. Then, once they see the familiar, you present them with the unfamiliar and expand their understanding of the situation.

The sad truth is that the masses in America will be awakened more by the death of their own than by the death of others, so if you emphasize the fact that X number of US soldiers have died, it gains their interest, after you have their interest is when you shove the realities of what their government endorsed down their throat. But doing that doesn't work unless you first have their attention.

I have some ideas for some attention getters, I just need to find an open-minded person with access to a large-scale printer or plotter :). (e-mail me if you know anyone).

As I said though, you can't truly get people to sit up and take notice in this country unless it's about something that effects them personally, so you must first gain their interest with the familiar, then pummell them with reality :).

I won't insult the individual soldiers (such as Shalom Keller for instance) because it is NOT their fault that their government abused their willingness to serve. There are a large number that deserve scorn (such as those at Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, etc.)

While I can understand your position, I just need to point out that it is a position and stand that will make people stay away rather than draw new people in, and in order for a movement to work, it must grow. Most people aren't ready to accept that they live under one of the most corrupt regimes and misrepresented forms of government in history. They are however ready to take baby steps by first admitting that preemptive war against non-threatening nations is a bad thing. They are ready to believe that the government overstepping its bounds and showboating for one dying woman to pander to their christofascist zimbie brigade base is not permissible.

You have to engage people in dialogue before you can gain their support, and once you have support, then you can move mountains. History is not made by individuals and small groups, history is made by the masses.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
This is very enjoyable. I am a conservative. I support the War in Iraq and I support Israel's struggle against Arab agression. I enjoy reading the articles and comments on the Boston Independent Media Center website because it allows me to learn what the enemy is up to. I must say that this is by far one of the best series of exchanges that I have seen in months. This is rivaled only by the exchanges following the Black Tea Society's botched attempt at demonstrating against the Democratic National Convention in July. It was great to see the blame being thrown about! This time, it's almost as good. It's great seeing ET and no God fight with each other and the hypocricy that was noted by one writer about how you all simply ignored and continue to ignore the Clinton escapades in Bosnia and Kosovo and even in Iraq! But seriously, you can't pay for such good entertainment and it's free! It's like watching rats fighting each other to get off of a sinking ship. Even better, it's like Al Capone and the mobsters of Chicago fighting each other while the police watch from the sidelines as the crooks do their job for them! Keep up the good work gang! I hope to see many more such exchanges!
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
If you want to talk about crooks, I suggest you look to your idols like Tom DeLay (Mr. Ethics himself), Kenneth Lay, Dick Cheney (the war profiteer extraordinaire), Rush Limbaugh (the self aggrandizing drug addict who avoided the draft by having a pimple on his ass) and all the rest of your beloved hypocritical idols.

The reason no one here is discussing Kosovo is because it is not the topic at hand, nor is it related.

Maybe you'd rather us discuss the fact that if not for Reagan and Rumsfeld, Saddam would have been out of power following his ill-fated war with Iran, but with the backing (both logistic and financial) of the Reagan administration, he was able to remain in power. Or maybe you'd like to talk about how Poppy Bush's representative to Iraq greenlighted Saddams invasion of Kuwait (ever heard of April Glaspie?) Or maybe we should discuss Prescott Bush's financial ties to the Nazi war machine and the fact that his company was shut down for trading with the enemy.

You should really educate yourself. So tell us, if you support the war, why haven't you enlisted? Of course, you're now in the minority since 56% plus of the populace no longer believes we were justified in invading Iraq, and that number increases regularly.

Maybe you'd like to explain how your beloved party of "conservative" thought has spent more money than any administration in history and created less revenue, creating a deficit that will, in the long run, create an economic disaster (which may not necessarily be a bad thing in the long run).

Or maybe you'd like to explain to us why your beloved leader values the life of a single woman whose cerebral cortex has liquefied over the lives of 100,000 plus innocent people?

It's pretty telling that you interpret debate as "fighting". That must be what comes from bowing down to your lord Bush for so long that you forgot how to think independently.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
What's all this talk about those who oppose the occupation of Iraq being in favor of Clinton's wars in Bosnia and Kosova/o and his sanctions against Iraq?

I and many others, anarchists, progressives, socialists, and even some liberals and conservatives marched, demonstrated and agitated against the 1999 bombing of Kosovo/a. We worked throughout the 1990's against the continuing sanctions and air war against the people of Iraq. We opposed Clintonite police state legislation after the Oklahoma City bombing and the sellout of the American commons to corporations like in the 1996 Telecommunications Act. We called the U.S. government to account for its slaughter of the Branch Davidians.

At the end of the decade, we turned out in record numbers in Seattle, Prague, and other places to militantly oppose the Clintonites' neoliberal globalization schemes.

What we're being subjected to now in Iraq and here in the U.S.A. is a shift from a neoliberal imposition of soft American hegemony to a neoconservative imposition of hard American hegemony. But they both aim at the same thing: subordinating the common inheritance of all humanity to a very small fraction of it, whether by multilateral means (the U.N., IMF/World Bank, WTO, etc.) or by unilateral means (the U.S. military and Department of Homeland Security)).
Those of us who believe in self-determination and liberty have always opposed either method, because the ends is the same.

Oh, and the Palestinians participate in an ongoing basis in nonviolent civil disobedience: they resist taxation, they march and demonstrate against closures, checkpoints, and the separation barrier, they form grassroots medical and educational organizations, they appeal to Israeli and international legal institutions. They get tear gassed, beaten, shot, shelled, rocketed, imprisoned, tortured, maimed and often killed for it, and the U.S. media ignores them. Only when Israelis or internationals get hurt in these campaigns is there even a peep from American reporters.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005

Any person can change and renounce their former way of life and acts, and if this is what Shalom or any other Vet for Peace is doing, great. Especially if they sincerely apologize to the Iraqi or Afghan people for their participation in the crimes against them.

And for those who have been killed in battle, I consider their situation tragic, but that does not make them innocent.

There is an economic draft in this country to the military - but also to the drug trade and to pimping. We might understand and work against the forces that pressure young people into the last two trades I mentioned - drug trade and pimping, but should we think that somehow people who choose those solutions to economic difficulty are any less moral than those who choose to become a trained killer for the world's largest empire in history?

In all three cases, people get tricked into these professions by people who are already involved and willing to lie. Does that take away the need for adults to take responsibility for their own choices?

Anyhow, tactically, I do hear your point about not scaring away people who are just starting to question, but what about alienating those who already get that non-whites and non-Americans are not less important, less sacred beings? Won't taking such a cautious approach to one audience risk alienating another? And isn't this also important?

Incidentally, I agree the hype of "genocide", the invasion, and the continual manipulation by the US in Yugoslavia is reprehensible and all for getting control of their economy. The US hates to have any country not knuckle under. Now Yugoslavia is safely straigth-jacketed to the WB and IMF, so there can be "peace" now. That is why the policies towards puny little Cuba only got worse since the cold war ended. But that is a whole nother discussion...
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
Wat - you have to consider the mentality of those making such accusations. They are not basing their statements on any independent thought, but simply on antiquated partisan rhetoric.

Instead of viewing each instance and circumstance in its own right, they will, instead view it as "Clinton Bad" "Bush Good" and their whole belief system is built around such ridiculous thought processes.

People like "undercover" are incapable of reaching conclusions that fall outside their pre-conceived partisan politics box.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
NG (is it okay if I refer to you as that, it's quicker to type) :).

If you looked at the group of speakers that appeared on Sunday (as an example), it was very diverse. There was a Palestinian woman, two black males, a jewish ex-soldier, Puerto Rican spoken word and performance art, etc. It was a very multicultural event. So, I'm unsure where you can allege racism in such a context.

In reality, the only part of the speaking that I found objectionable was the overload of socialist rhetoric that came from a couple of the speakers. While I feel they're entitled to their opinions, that is even more off-putting to an observer than some of the other things we've discussed.

As to an economic draft, I agree wholeheartedly, which is one of the reasons I would rather see marches and actions taken on recruiting stations in the extremely poor neighborhoods. I would also like to see activists shadow the recruiters that walk around the malls, etc. looking for recruits and hand everyone they talk to materials that tell the truth, if not about war specifically, about lies that recruiters tell (I have first hand knowledge of this, I was in the military for 8 years before I had a radical change in my political view in the early to mid 90's).

I'd also like to see giant posters showing the realities of Iraq plastered every few feet for a few blocks leading up to any recruiting station.

I have quite a few ideas along those lines, I just need to figure out efficient ways to implement them.

You and I probably agree on more things than we disagree on, we just approach them from different angles :).

As to financial hegemony, I find it very interesting that the US is debt up to its eyeballs to China, yet paints Cuba as being evil for being a communist nation. The double standard is pretty striking (maybe our newly arrived self-described conservative can explain that one for us).
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
I agree with ET that anti-recruitment efforts are what the antiwar/anti-imperium movement should be looking at. Especially telling young potential recruits about the lies that recruiters tell.

Pictures about the realities of war? Check out the article in the New England Journal of Medicine from last fall with quite graphic pics of U.S. wounded in Iraq. Sorry I can't provide a link; google "U.S. casualties" + "combat medicine" + "New England Journal of Medicine."

This is something I'd like to do more of, although I don't have the credibility of actually having been in the service. Closest I ever got to combat was as an international facing down Israeli tanks in the West Bank in 2002, but was never shot at with live ammo directly. Did see the effects of modern munitions on others' bodies and property, and witnessed rocketing by Apaches.

How about counterrecruitment in high schools, at job fairs, etc.?

Anybody else hear that this week the Army National Guard raised the initial voluntary signup age from 34 to 38? The military is getting desperate for recruits; if we want to be strategic and help stop the poverty draft, this is the time.

It's one thing to defend your country, it's another to go fight a foreign imperialistic war for muddled reasons based upon recruiter lies. Witness the huge number of non-citizen immigrants who have died in Iraq on promises of becoming Americans (20 from Mexico alone, as many as the third-largest fatalities in the coalition, Italy).
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
Wat -

There are good odds that in the not too distant future it will not only be an economical draft (coupled with the already existing backdoor draft of soldiers who thought they were in the clear), but an actual full on draft as well.

Selective Service boards received instructions long ago to fully staff and report on their readiness as of early this year (I believe the date is March 31). At this time, the boards are supposed to report that they are ready to implement a draft on 75 days notice. These Selective Service boards were given an additional $25 million to finance the readiness orders.

If you want to see mass opposition and activism, that is what will bring it about, until then people will remain apathetic.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
gente - this thread has taken some interesting turns since i posted last. and while there're a number of points i take issue w/ i'll limit myself to a couple of comments on ML King & Malcolm X.
first, i caution folks to resist the simplistic analyses offered up to explain the political significance of these martyred brothers. we need to separate their media representations from what they actually represented.
yes, King was all about non-violence, but he held no illusion that whites would willingly support or accept a fundamental change in the longstanding dynamics of race & power in the US. doubt me? read his words in "Beyond Vietnam" or "Where Do We Go From Here?" (1967), where he introduced the idea that poverty, war & racism were "inexticably linked." he called for a mass movement movement dedicated to a united struggle for peace and social justice--driven by “a divine dissatisfaction” with injustice and sustained by “an audacious faith in the future.” he hope that such a movement would be able to compel the American people to “probe the essential nature of democracy.”
(not petition, not beg, not cajole, but compel. King was never just a dreamer.)
second, w/ respect to Malcolm X, overemphasing his grittier style of delivery ("keeping it plain") or his long association w/the separatist ideology of the NOI ignores the actual trajectory of his political development. by the time of his murder in 1965, Malcolm was also a political thinker of world-renown. after his hadj, he toured African capitals & met w/ anti-colonial leaders & heads of state. speaking out against US policy in the Congo (& elsewhere), he linked anti-imperialist struggle to the broader need to redefine black identity/consciousness in a frame work stressing global solidarity. Malcolm insisted that the goal wasn't "changing the white man's mind about us...but changing our own minds" about ourselves.
finally, both men were products of a social movement--a widespread confrontation w/ the traditional arrangements of wealth, status and power. both came to see the struggle in terms of international human rights, rather than formal civil rights--which is what made them both so dangerous.
indeed, the main difference btw them was that MLK posed nonviolence as a strategy, whereas Malcolm viewed it as a tactic--hwvr, both understood the ultimate goal as liberation.
Ideological bent
23 Mar 2005
Lorax said:

"Boston Mobe is neither composed of just high-school and college students, nor is it new. Their rally was literally a giant circle of liberals and commie sectarian groups."

--This is true, and while IMC goes out of its way to post pictures of the three "brownshirts" they found, No one here ever says "we spotted some communists trying to hijackor disrupt the event."

This illustrates that the newswire IS biased.
23 Mar 2005
Caprio Said:

"Question: What do you get when you invite Anarchists to your event?
Answer: Anarchy"

--I agree. And at the Zinefest (which was almost ruined sunday by alternate programming), the Anarchists present were themselves stupefied by a new phenomenon: Ultra-Anarchists (Archists) who use the Anarchist signs and symbols but refuse to obey any form of solidarity with Anarchists because that would be "following rules." This kind of absolute anarchy was authored my myself, and at least three anarchists from BAAM intensely disliked this. Other members at Zinefest enjoyed it. This is the new trend.
A note for the uninitiated
23 Mar 2005
There seems to be alot of new folks on here so I thought I'd let the new folks in on two important facts:

1.) we have these things called trolls. According to the wikipedia, internet trolls are, "people who affect a deliberately inflammatory persona in order to provoke a vehement response from other users."

If someone's not paying attention to reason, and they seem to just want to piss you off, chances are it's a troll. ignore them. read more here:

2.) generally we don't hide stuff unless it includes hate language, attacks individuals or promotes violence on individuals. We ride the fence on stuff that seems to be intentionally disruptive or counterproductive because it not always easy to identify. It also may take us a while to catch everything. Suggestions are welcome, contact us here:
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
23 Mar 2005
Zoltar, I think this exciting new trend you've identified is called nihilism.

And what's up with people trashing Buddhists? And pretty much everyone else on this thread?
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
24 Mar 2005
thanks for that, Ty.

BTW, do you think El Shabazz would have acted to intervene if someone were attempting to reduce the nationalist blanketing of this particular protest this past Sunday by putting some of the US flags draped on coffins to one side? I mean, if that person were frustrated with the hyper-nationalism and US exceptionalism - the fretting over "our boys" while simultaneously not representing Iraqi civilians or fighter deaths well at all, would it not be in their right to take matters into their own hands to respectfully improve the situation? Not steal the flags or burn them, just put them to one side to have more black coffins instead of flag-draped ones, considering there was also a whole wall that only showed faces and details about US killers, not Iraqis...

Just curious. What would Malcolm do?

I am thinking about his speaking about the assault on the Congo where he tries to deconstruct the spin given to aerial bombardment that was slaughtering men women and children in villages as the nicer sounding "operations by American planes flown by anti-Castro Pilots."
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
24 Mar 2005
Concerning the coffins, the coffin display and the deceased soldiers display were presented at a coalition meeting and reviewed. Artists in the coalition were assigned to handle this part of the protest.

Once a display is in place, it ought to be left alone. If a person holds up a banner or sign, others should respect that banner or sign, and if they disagree, hold up a different one.

Let me raise a question with those who marched at the rally site during the rally, marched around it several times, fairly close to the part of the crowd that remained and between the crowd and some tables. You carried a banner about 15 feet wide at the front of the march.

What if somebody had stood in front of this banner and had not moved to the side? Did you discuss this? Was this coordinated with rally organizers? It's just a question.

I agree with Alison and Ramsey that the antiwar movement, with all its tendencies including anarchist ones, needs to meet together. It needs to plan its actions democratically, and democratically made decisions should be respected. The pre-March-20 coalition meetings were part of this process of unification and democracy.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
24 Mar 2005
Well said David. I think that in order for progress to be made, there has to be a meeting of the minds and a real cooperative effort put forth.

The real way to do this is instead of arguing about differences in opinion and methodology, find common goals and agree on ways to work toward them. Once the common goals have been reached, the individual goals can be focused on.

Unless there is a concerted and combined effort to reach those common goals, you wind up with a bunch of different groups that may or may not end up at the same place at some distant point in the future.

Individuals or small groups working as individuals and small groups can only accomplish small things. But, if you take those individuals and small groups and combine them into a large body, that's when people start to take notice and real movement begins.
police are looosers
24 Mar 2005
i would just like to extend a very special FUCK THE POLICE out to the BPD, cause they are spinless cowards who throw 110 pound 15 year old kids A)against trees (me) or B) into PTVs (that other kid)

they are bastards.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common
24 Mar 2005
Hi people
I'm the poetess spokenword artist who did the piece with the human beat box. How you doing? Ive been reading carefully allong for a while now.
Myself and Nate (the humanbeatbox) went to the police station with Alison (of MOBE) and two of the Legal observers. We hung out there with these dudes familys allong with ABC, Lawyers Guild folks, Eve (from MOBE) and Chuck Turner till all were released. Dan the Bagel man and Steve Isk. were there as well, and everyone was friendly with each other, no silly infighting.. just there to free the imponded and see if they were ok. nyway, noone else was there with us at the Jail. Noone else from the marchers, etc. We saw the money collected from the crowd get given directly to ABC and used to pay bail, allong with witnessing the massive generocity of the sisters & bros of AnarchistsBlackCross, a group I hadenbt ever heard of till Sun.
I'm still impressed by that act, and by Chuck Turner MARCHING w the unpermitted march, then standing up inbetween Cops and the youth they sought to beat or arrest, and going over to the Jail, and staying there till 1030pm or so. I really liked his vibe.
So, Im writing to say I wrote soem e-mail to Chuck, and he replyed that he would LOVE to hold an open session for all those activists and anarchist youth, marchers, etc. who would like to attend and rap w him personally.

He is willing and wanting to meet with y'all to discuss and share tactics of street organizing, marches, and how to handle the cops, press, situation stratigys, etc.

Who would like to attend such a thing and ask Chuck questions/ talk informally with him?

I mean, hey: Why Not?

Why not ask questions directly to those with feet in halls of power who show all of us that they care?

Why not learn from elder activists who have the street cred and heart and guts left in them to march with youth?

Who wants to meet up w Chuck Turner?
Lemme know! =)
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
24 Mar 2005
Hi Amatul -

I didn't catch your name at the event, but I was impressed. I enjoyed the performance. I actually got a couple of good photos of you guys one of them is here

Perhaps we can get Chuck involved in the meeting and planning that Joe Ramsey posted above?
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
24 Mar 2005
I think a meeting of all these groups is a great idea. Like I said in my article, I thought it was great to see such disparate groups working together and I was hoping everyone could build on Sunday's experience to do more such work in the future. It would really strengthen the progressive community in Boston. The anarchist youth groups (well, mostly youth) with all their energy and militancy, the more established peace groups with their all resources, Chuck Turner with his deep roots in the community--imagine what they could accomplish if they worked together. Thus, I was really saddened to see the hostilities break out in the comments section here.

In Boston Indy Media, where we communicate a lot by e-mail, we've found we can work out our differences much better when we talk face-to-face. I imagine this applies to this situation as well. So many nuances get lost in electronic communication.

Little story I read by George Lakey (a long-time Quaker peace activist and libertarian socialist), now working with Training for Change in Philadelphia: During a protest against the first Gulf War in some midwestern city, the more established peace groups got into a conflict with an anarchist group--the Revolutionary Anarchist Bowling League (RABL)--threw some bowling balls through the windows of a car dealership or military recruiting center or something like that. Nasty mutual recriminations followed. Then Lakey, as an outside mediator, got them to sit down and talk with each other. And they began to understand each other better. Did they agree on everything? No. (I'd hate to see everyone agree on everything--new ideas often come from intellectual debate.) But they were able to put aside their past conflict and work better together in the future. If they could do it after such a major disagreement over tactics, I imagine folks in Boston can do it after differences over who said what and some mistakes about organizing a rally.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
24 Mar 2005
oops! dbbl posting... Im not so great w this bbs yet lol
thanx matt W et all who enjoyed our lil
The Great Mother say hey to enlisted/
Feminists LOVE MEN
spokenword poetry piece

anyway, Chuck is a sweet guy - Ill write back to him after I get more feedback... I think he means hed love to hold a session with him for all who really wanna keep taking it too the streets -a larger session can be great as well as a private smaller one, I donno. I really have mad respect for this guy, and I think in private without masses of Cops or Mass Media Press in the room he will be very very real with all of us with questions as to how to do this best from here on out... we can just keep trying, right?
This is OUR land, OUR lives, OUR generation to be lost or to gain some wisdom and higher ground.. lemme know who wants to meet up w Chuck.. tell me about the other meeting again? Time, date, location?


your sistah
please, no SPAM ;p I'm going vegan
Right to march and defense of marchers
25 Mar 2005
Can we get a report on the status of the cases of the 3/20 arrestees? Is there an effort to get endorsements of the defense?

Along the same lines, having been denied permission to march this time and having seen arrests of some unpermitted marchers, we now need very much to call a date in the fall for a permitted march and we need to make a political and legal case in the city for the right to march against this war.

Those who did take a risk and marched last Sunday have a role to play in this effort, to say the least. If everyone works together then we'll win back the right to be in the streets again.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
25 Mar 2005
Uhm, no David K. Have you not been paying attention to the above comments. We do not want or need a permit to march and getting a permit only makes the march more dangerous for the participants and allows sectarian groups to hijack it and exclude those they do not like.

Did you not RTF comments at all? Sheesh.
To Sheesh
25 Mar 2005
Err... dangerous ideologically? (I've been reading comments that actions with permit are dangerous and that unpermitted actions are safe, but I have not been understanding them, especially in light of what actually happened Sunday.)
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
25 Mar 2005
Amatul, you may want to post your suggestion about a meeting with Turner to the main newswire--I'm not sure how many people are actually reading this really long thread any more. To post to the main newswire either click on the "post an article" link near the top of the page or go to ; be sure to check off "Local interest to this IMC". Your suggestion will be more visible then. And, yes, it's fine to use the newswire for that sort of thing--people do it all the time.
26 Mar 2005
I re-posted myopen session Invitation for a youth/activists session with Chuck Turner on the newswire - many thanks!

you seem like a sweet fella, Brother.
Stay in touch.
Coalition and Mobe thus DID back nationalist display??
29 Mar 2005
Someone wants Mobe and the coalition to have it both ways.

On the one hand, the display of soldiers and the US flag drapped coffins were claimed to be not a Mobe decision. Now we find out the colation did approve this display.

So, which is it?

And why did no one in the colation take a stand to make sure that - at the very least - the Iraqi victims and Iraqi fighters were properly and noticably memorialized?

And Ty, what would Malcolm have thought of all of this?

Still hoping for your reply.

PS for an example of a more respectful display, look here:
how can space be shared in the (dead) movement?
30 Mar 2005
hmm. been reading this here. rather than accusations, i have a question--

i see people from many, many different political philosophies, viewpoints, and backgrounds arguing here. I take it, however, that everyone who's posted can agree on at least one thing, and thats the War. The protest was about the War.

There may be anarchists, democrats, sparticists, guerilla theatricalists, viet vets against the war, answer-ists, green party folks, nader-ites, veterans families, anti-authoritarians, and so forth here. But NO ONE likes the War. everyone was there to protest it, yes? Well, except the Nazis. . .. how does a movement build up enough unity w/o killing individual philosophies to drive off leeches- and who determines that?

HOW on EARTH are all these different folks going to locate their common ground and work together where they are able? Everyone holds their beliefs for serious reasons, i think. How can an atmosphere of basic elementary level respect be created so people can work together on what they agree on, and go their separate ways to work on what they don't without all killing wach other?

i missed this protest, i was visiting a deathly ill family member in another state, but i've seen all this in-fighting over and over and OVER, man, you can't even TALK about it without triggering off more of the same, and i've gotten drawn into it too, but it is NOT HELPING!- what do we- such as "we" are- DO?

Is there an equitable process for dialouge and critisism the anti-war community- or the alternate economies/anti-corporate community, or the alternative media community, or teh anti-bush community-- might employ so we could put more energy into the REAL work of stopping the scary fascists from killing people and destroying things?
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
31 Mar 2005
The discussion on this thread has been very interesting so far; but I'd like to weigh in with a very simple idea:

There is absolutely nothing that should make the anti-authoritarian crowd here feel that they are entitilled to undemocratically co-opt the work of others.

To "we don't want or need a permit" and all the other criticisms of Mobe posted here: Okay, fine then... you have two options; participate in the organizing comitte and get your views into the process, or organize your own event. If you don't want to legitimize the state or work with "undesirables," then don't. Organize you own event; do it on your own day, and do your own outreach. I've seen this option extended to Anarchists before; nothing has ever come from it.

The comments here that the march would have been a joke (Much like Dec. 4ths breakout march... of what, 30 people running from the police? Way to disrupt the system!) without the organizing efforts of Mobe, along with Joe Ramsey's and Chuck Turner's direct involvement from the stage are very salient, and anyone being honest with themselves can see the truth of it.

So, in a broader prospective, if your tactics and methods are more effective at building a large, lasting movement that has an actual chance to disrupt and end the war, capitalism, and anything else, go for it. A success would go against almost all serious historic precedent (See Ty de Pass's comments; many, many other examples abound. Quote Seattle 99 at me and I'm gonna start laughing. Nice ongoing action stemming from that, eh?) but it would be great to see, of course.

To be honest though, I have the impression that a large number of Anarchist's have been reading too much of their own press, and having wanna-be flunkies probably doesn't make that an easy temptation to resist. C'mon, anyone who's ever been to this site knows just how ridiculous it is for the anti-authoritarian movement to call anyone's rally a circle-jerk.

But hey, I wish the anti-authoritarian movement the best of luck with becoming politically relevant, even if just to the far-left. But please, if you don't want to cooperate with others or do your organizing work, and all you'll do is attack and criticize after the fact, don't be suprised when no one will listen to you. You should probably jsut stick to whining on this board.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
31 Mar 2005
I don't really have a problem with the main point of your comment. Sometimes the attacks and criticisms from anarchist or anti-authoritarian side of the local left community is just straight-up whining or unconstructive posturing, and it would be nice if people spent alot more time actually organizing alternatives more agreeable to our politics. Myself included.

In the wake of the Afghanistan invasion, the local anarchist community was responsible for some key organizing in Boston (teach-ins, literature, postering, and multiple protests and actions, including the very first demo in the city after the war's start) while much of the rest of the left were still grappling with their post-9/11 cold feet. It would be nice if we could get our shit together in the local anarchist community, regain some of this initiative, and not rely on the efforts of others.

With that said, there are parts of your comment that seriously annoy me. Say what you will about how successful this anti-war demo was, but one fact you overlook is that anarchists and anti-authoritarians represented the single largest bloc of participants at this rally. Hands down. Yet, how many anarchist groups were contacted to participate in the planning for this event? How many anarchist voices were represented from the podium? What acknowledgement did we receive other than straight up condemnation for daring to try and initiate a break-away march (which was supported by nearly everyone who was still present at the end of the rally)?

Beyond this particular event, how often is our attendance or participation ever acknowledged by other so-called left allies? Rarely to never.

And this, despite the fact that not only do we show up in large numbers to YOUR protests and rallies (which people like you are more than happy to capitalize on), but many of us also bust our asses day-in and day-out to maintain vital infrastructure that all sections of the progressive-left utilize in this city (bookstore and community meeting space, free food distribution, independent media, legal support, labor solidarity, etc.).

So yeah, if you want to talk about respect, fine. But recognize that it is a two way street. Many of us are tired of being being the unacknowledged and unappreciated shitworkers and foot soldiers for the local left, and I think alot of this frustration is largely to blame for some of the less the comradely responses anarchists have written on this thread.
Re: Comments by Katt and MaRK
31 Mar 2005
To unify the antiwar effort further, we need to discuss next steps. A conference is planned for April 23 at Roxbury Community College (see People of many different political tendencies (including the anarchist community) have participated in the planning, which just began. The antiwar movement in Boston is now applying a tradition of including everyone who's willing to participate.

My own opinion of the unpermitted march that occurred March 20 is that it was too risky to be a good idea, but that the marchers also did a service to everyone, by showing that the right to march in the streets is going to be asserted, permit or no permit. This will help us all to regain our right as citizens to march peacefully in the streets without fear of arrest. Starting this fall or earlier.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
31 Mar 2005
We're not going to be able to stop the war if we don't take risks like the unpermitted march, if not much bigger ones. The key is that people know what risks they're taking--that they don't get sucked into an action they thought was safe, but had a higher level of risk than they were ready for.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
02 Apr 2005
The only reason I am bothering to post any of this at all is that I believe that the anti-authoritarian movement has much to offer the anti-war effort. Anarchist and anti-authoritarian spirit and it's past examples of pro-active initiative (As durring the period at the start of the Afghanistan war, as you pointed out.) are very admirable. Anarchist tactics have their merit in the proper circumstances. However, it's seeming failure to get moving again, towards anything but criticism and self-aggrandizement, has marginalized it completely, which is something that most of the criticisms seem to forget. This is, unfortunately, evidenced by MaRK's post, even though he purports to agree with the primary content of my last post.

MaRK:"fact you overlook is that anarchists and anti-authoritarians represented the single largest bloc of participants at this rally. Hands down."

Okay, this is a blatent example of anarchist community over-hype. I'd imagine that "unaffiliated people opposed to the war" was the largest block of those present. And even if you'd like to ignore that, UJP, via it's member groups, certainly had the largest number of people in attendance. Hands down.

MaRK: "Yet, how many anarchist groups were contacted to participate in the planning for this event? "

Bostonmobe's web listserv isn't exactly difficult to get on. And the meetings were open. If the anti-authoritarian groupings are unwilling to work within that framework, well, see the points raised in my previous post. Also, in this thread alone, Alison Ramer, Joe Ramsey, and David Keil have posted, in a manner that opens potential lines of dialog, despite the ongoing rejection and criticism of March 20th and it's organizers. David Keil even extended an invitation for participation in the April 23rd confrence. What more do you want? If you are unwilling to meet others halfway, don't complain.

MaRK: "How many anarchist voices were represented from the podium? What acknowledgement did we receive other than straight up condemnation"

Hmm, you want acknowedgement for what, precisely? Refusing to help organize, or being there and attempting to co-opt work you didn't participate in? As for direct condemnation, I heard no such thing come from the platform. And if any condemnation did occur, trying to co-opt the work of others and acting disruptive to the efforts of others (That silly "jog in a circle around the bandstand while being as loud as possible" bit hardly fits any other definition.) will engendar a condemning response. People will hardly thank you for it. If you'd like to avoid that, I'd suggest another approach.

MaRK: "for daring to try and initiate a break-away march (which was supported by nearly everyone who was still present at the end of the rally)?""

Okay, here you admit attempting to attempting to co-opt the rally; interesting debate tactic. Also worth noting is that the first attempt at a breakout was a failure, and the march at the end of the rally only succeded after Chuck Turner's appeal. Not acknowledging that is yet another symptom of anarchist community over-hype.

MaRK: "And this, despite the fact that not only do we show up in large numbers to YOUR protests and rallies (which people like you are more than happy to capitalize on.)"

Your "large numbers" in Boston are, to any honest estimation from some at March 20th or Dec 4th, less than 100. That is hardly impressive in any context, and isn't a terrible priority to "capitalize on." Your sense of entitlement for just showing up is indicitive of the exact problems I was trying to highlight in my last post. I would also suggest that the apparent inability of the anti-authoritarian movement to realistically evaluate it's forces and plan it's tactics accordinly is a major hold on it's success. Some of the communist parties have simillar numbers, I imagine, and yet they put in the work, collaborate with others, and, for the most part, recieve the "acknowledgement" you are so concerned about.

MaRK: "but many of us also bust our asses day-in and day-out to maintain vital infrastructure that all sections of the progressive-left utilize in this city (bookstore and community meeting space, free food distribution, independent media, legal support, labor solidarity, etc.)."

I have never used, nor seen, any of this "vital infrustructure" you mention. No broad organizing effort in the past year has used it either, with the excpetion of anti-authoritarian's who were arrested in the march on the 20th. I would hardly describe it as "vital infrastructure." Indymedia is the only exception to that, and it has only been used as a rare and infrequent line of communication. It is hardly "vital" to the anti-war movement. Again, we see here the tendancy towards hype and entitlement.

MaRK: "So yeah, if you want to talk about respect, fine. But recognize that it is a two way street. Many of us are tired of being being the unacknowledged and unappreciated shitworkers and foot soldiers for the local left, and I think alot of this frustration is largely to blame for some of the less the comradely responses anarchists have written on this thread."

It's an old cliche, but respect is earned, not given. If you've been slighted on credit for genuine efforts in support of these rallies, that's one thing. But when the only activity from the anti-authoritarian movement comes in the form of a flyer that directly criticizes the event and subsequent disruptive actions, you should be prepared for the obvious response.

Muskrat: "The key is that people know what risks they're taking--that they don't get sucked into an action they thought was safe, but had a higher level of risk than they were ready for."

Dec. 4th, anyone? Practically NO ONE in the march to Copley knew that Newbury street was not the permitted route. That was irresponsible and, in many ways, unethical. Basing your arguements in hypocritical assertions isn't going to do the debate of what way forward for the anti-war movement any good.

Stopping the war ain't gonna happen if you don't build your forces first; 50 people isn't going to do it, and neither is 500. That's kinda obvious, no? This is precisely why many opposed to the war call for permitted actions; they allow new people to come in to an expression of public anti-war sentiment that they feel safe with. From there, new layers can be drawn that will be ready for more direct action, when the timing is right. Trying to jump the gun right away, and think that it will do anything but alienate and drive away the proverbial masses, is a sign of insular and isolated thinking. It's a tactic so far out of touch with reality as to be laughable. Direct action has it's place and time, but you must prepare for it first, otherwise you risk abject failure, which can actually set the movement back from it's goals.

I'd like to see more anarchist involvement in upcoming events and the process for organizing them, and the confrence David Keil brought up on April 23rd would be a good oppertunity for that. If that, and other events, is politically untennable for the anarchist and anti-authoritarian community, so be it, (Although that, or the inability to cooperate effectively may say something very striking about the political relvance, and prospects for growth, of the anti-authoritarian movement.) but you should cease the endless and ridiculous criticisms until such a time as you organize a truly independant action that is qualitively more successful.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
02 Apr 2005
"And if any condemnation did occur, trying to co-opt the work of others and acting disruptive to the efforts of others (That silly "jog in a circle around the bandstand while being as loud as possible" bit hardly fits any other definition.)"

i'd just like to point out i'm pretty sure MaRK didn't participate in that particular tactic.

and if I know his politics at all, I'd hazard a guess that the "infrastructure" he's refering to is for something significantly different than these sporadic protest rallies. though, yes, he may be overstating the case.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
03 Apr 2005
So you're saying independent media, free food at events, legal defense, outlets to disseminate radical and progressive ideas, and free spaces to meet are not vital infrastructure for the local left? So what exactly would you consider important in maintaining a foundation for the local left to grow? More lame protests?
clerificaion question
03 Apr 2005
i'm a sometimes bostonian and i'm horrified at the thought of 4.5 hours of speakers and that the size of the march was thus reduced. it seems like that trully limits the impact of any message being sent out. more to the point it puts those who do decide to march at much higher risk for police harrassment which i cannot imagine any true peacenick wants. boston can do so much better there does not need to be this type of devisivness.
i am curious as to what the numbers in the march wound up being?
i'm also curious if there were medics present.
and if the kids who were roughed up were okay in that sphere.

thank you to emma and steve for your posts.
p.s. big hug to boston abc.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
04 Apr 2005
RemberingDIY: " However, it's seeming failure to get moving again, towards anything but criticism and self-aggrandizement, has marginalized it completely, which is something that most of the criticisms seem to forget. This is, unfortunately, evidenced by MaRK's post"

Thanks for taking the time to respond (condescending remarks and all). Let's see if I can do better this time...

I'm not sure what this "complete marginalization" of local anarchists is that you are talking about. Marginalization by liberal protest groups and socialist sects? Honestly, I don't know many anarchists that hold acceptance by these (also marginalized, in a larger social sense) organizations to be top priority.

Many of us are active in broader social movements, be it labor, community, housing, prison abolition, independent media, immigration issues, environmental, solidarity, etc. Really, the fact that we're anarchists has never been much of a roadblock for participation. Despite the stereotypes, the young punks with bandanas on their faces only represent a small minority of anarchists in this city (not to try and distance myself or anyone else from these comrades, just stating fact).

RemberingDIY: "Okay, this is a blatent example of anarchist community over-hype. I'd imagine that "unaffiliated people opposed to the war" was the largest block of those present."

Sorry, I wasn't clear. I meant of the conscious political tendencies. As for UJP, as far as I know they are a mish-mash of different groupings, representing a pretty diverse political range (although, if you want to talk about the dominate groupings: CPUSA and AFSC, I would say their actual numbers are on the small side).

I would estimate between 1-200 conscious anarchists in this city (not including non-anarchist sympathizers). Which as far as I can tell, dwarfs the local membership of every socialist group combined.This isn't to say that the local anarchist milieu is one unified political force, far from it. But as far as anti-war activism I think it is safe to say that most of us are more or less on the same page in terms of strategy and tactics.

RemberingDIY: "Hmm, you want acknowedgement for what, precisely? Refusing to help organize, or being there and attempting to co-opt work you didn't participate in?"

I'm sorry, exactly which work did "I" co-opt? I personally showed up, held a banner for a bit, and listened to speeches. Aside from a few dozen restless people marching around the crowd trying to initiate a march, most other anarchists did the same.

After the main event was over, I followed along for some of the breakaway march. If you are holding to the idea that the main event was YOUR (or your group or coalition or whatever) baby, well, you don't have much to complain about since it was over by the time people started marching elsewhere. No co-optation, no disruption.

It was the second anniversary of the Iraq invasion afterall, so I think it is fair that any number of different groups could hold whatever event or activity they wanted throughout the day with YOUR permission, no?

RemberingDIY: "Your "large numbers" in Boston are, to any honest estimation from some at March 20th or Dec 4th, less than 100. That is hardly impressive in any context, and isn't a terrible priority to "capitalize on."

Well, it's all relevant I suppose. Not sure if you've noticed, but the entire left is currently in full retreat in this country. Even the unions, women's group and environmental organizations (our traditional areas of numeric strength). I don't know of any progressive-left group or tendency that really has numbers to brag about in a broader social sense.

Of the radical left locally, I'd say 100 people is sizable (although I think that is a conservative estimate, but whatever). Again, we are not talking about 100 warm bodies, but 100 conscious militants who have developed an analysis of society that has brought them to a certain level radicalizaton and political development. With enough unity and initiative you could do alot with 100 solid militants.

RememberingDIY: "I would also suggest that the apparent inability of the anti-authoritarian movement to realistically evaluate it's forces and plan it's tactics accordinly is a major hold on it's success."

You could say the same thing for advocates of civil disobedience. Am I going to criticize the courage and dedication of, say, the plowshares movement because they carry out audacious actions with small numbers? At this point, I would support anyone who stepped up the level of resistance to the war in Iraq (obviously within reason, and not at the expense of other peoples activity), regardless of their numbers.

Honestly, it is a fucking imperialist war we're talking about. With the exception of the anti-recruitment efforts and support for deserters, nothing the protest movement has done up to this point has made one iota of difference in Iraq. Millions of people around the world in protest didn't make a difference, why would you think a few more liberals coming out for rallies is going to?

Don't get me wrong, I am not against coalition building and broad-based mass movements. But when it is clear that rallies like the one a few weeks ago are demoralizing and pushing away just as many people as they are attracting, well maybe it's time to switch gears and try something else.

Say what you will about the anti-globalization movement, but at least there was a positive tension in tactics and strategy at work, and as a result there was momentum and excitment. Each new militant protest made international headlines, and energized a whole new generation of left activists. The anti-war movement by contrast is dismal. It is dominated by groups with their tired rallies and predicable marches. I don't know anyone who goes to anti-war events out of any sort of genuine enthusiasm. It is more like obligation.

RememberingDIY: "Some of the communist parties have simillar numbers, I imagine, and yet they put in the work, collaborate with others, and, for the most part, recieve the "acknowledgement" you are so concerned about."

What are we talking about here? Just because anarchists do not actively seek out a relationship with Boston MOBE or UJP we are against collaborating with groups outside of our own? Who's feeling self-important now?

Again, many of us do collaborate with other progressive forces in this city around social movement work.

RememberingDIY: "I have never used, nor seen, any of this "vital infrustructure" you mention. No broad organizing effort in the past year has used it either, with the excpetion of anti-authoritarian's who were arrested in the march on the 20th."

I feel the same way about the student movement. I rarely ever go to an event at a university and don't have much contact with student activists. I'm also not religious, and have little contact with proressive church congregations (well, that's not entirely true). And really, I don't particularly care for salaried 9-5 activists and NGOs, and tend to stay out of their world altogether.

But that's beside the point. I like the fact that there is something of a student movement, NGOs, and progressive church congregations or synagogue groups or whatever with their own infrastructure and resources, to contribute toward a general progressive movement.

If we are ever to get anywhere in this country, I think it is important to lay down solid infrastructure. We need dependable means for spreading our ideas (bookstores, publications, online activists news services, radio programs); we need spaces to meet; we need medics, and legal defense, and general social assistance (like free food, etc.); we need alot of things. Some of these we have, and they are completely self-organized and independent of any political group, government money, or university ties. I think this is something to celebrate and support personally, but that's just me.

RememberingDIY: "Okay, here you admit attempting to attempting to co-opt the rally; interesting debate tactic."

I have no idea what you're talking about. Again, not sure if you noticed, but by my watch the main event was over by the time that march started. And yeah, if it were some co-opting action, well you can blame Chuck Turner and everyone else present too.

RememberingDIY: "Also worth noting is that the first attempt at a breakout was a failure, and the march at the end of the rally only succeded after Chuck Turner's appeal. Not acknowledging that is yet another symptom of anarchist community over-hype."

Uh, yeah, or the fact that everyone was leaving anyways and saw that a march was taking place and decided to check it out. After standing around in mud for five hours it's very possible they just wanted the exercise too. Who can say.

RememberingDIY: "It's an old cliche, but respect is earned, not given. If you've been slighted on credit for genuine efforts in support of these rallies, that's one thing."

Again, I probably wasn't clear. I was talking more general than this particular rally. You know, the efforts people put in day-in and day-in to maintain something of a left-activist community in this town. I would say the thankless shitwork done by anarchists in Boston is more than sufficient to earn respect.

I have no idea what "flyer" you are talking about. The only criticisms I have seen in print are on this newswire. People are entitled to their opinions and criticisms, why not voice them? If they are way off, by all means respond to them and maybe some constructive dialogue can happen. Or not.

Anyways, this was way more of a long-winded response than I wanted to write and probably didn't resolve much of anything.
Re: Thousands Rally on Boston Common Against the Occupation of Iraq
13 Feb 2006
The killing is quite barbarick, and something has to be done quickly. Let us pray too for God's intervention.