Coverage in the Alt (bi)Weeklies
The cover of the New York Press "Summer Guide 2004" issue shows a Godzilla-sized George Bush stomping on taxis and chomping on New Yorkers while the crowd flees in terror, like the arcade game Rampage that some of us played as a kid.
Since a change in ownership around Christmas 2002, New York Press's libertarian rantism has shifted to a healthy, lefty iconoclasm, while the Village Voice has grown ever more tired and corporate. Looking back on it, The Voice's swan song was Esther Kaplan's "Keeper's of the Flame" article on the rise of anarchism on the left and the critical role of anarchists in maintaining radical activity in the U.S. following September 11. But that article wasn't enough to make up for Richard Esposito's "Law of the Fist" article the week before, which brought and unusually large quantity of mail to their doorstep. Subtitled, "New York Cops Vow to Crush Violent Protest at World Economic Forum," Esposito began, "Seen through the eyes of New York cops, the anti-globalization movement looks like one bloody line of terror and mayhem, stretching back to the Seattle riots of 1999 and heading right at them."
NYPD To Be Questioned in Court Over Tactics Used Against Protesters
NY1 is reporting: "Police Commissioner Ray Kelly will have to answer questions about the tactics officers use during protests, even though the city says that knowledge might help terrorists. A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the commissioner could be questioned in a way that will protect public safety, if the questions are limited to what police have done in the past. Lawyers representing groups planning protests during the Republican National Convention want to depose Kelly in connection with three lawsuits charging police tactics during protests are unconstitutional. The city had argued that revealing NYPD strategies would allow terrorists to better plan attacks."
iRaq posters, Bush billboards
Soho pedestrians with a sharp eye may have noticed something different about some ipod advertisements: an image from Abu Ghraib, designed to the specs of iPod posters but reading "iRaq: 10,000 Volts volts in your pocket, guilty or innocent."
Over in Chelsea, on 10th Avenue between 17th and 18th Streets, a particularly goofy caricature of George Bush graces a large billboard atop the snazzy Park restaurant. Underneath the image, it reads, "This is our president" with a signature from the artist, Stefano. From across the street, with the Empire State Building in the background, it's a sight.
Got any RNC-related street art sightings? Tip us off at firstname.lastname@example.org.
That's What Makes Him The Boss
On March 16, The Daily News reported that Bruce Springsteen is considering a free concert somewhere on September 2 to encourage his fans to vote and to provide "counterprogramming to the message the Republicans will be broadcasting," according to an unnamed source. Now, "somewhere" might not be New York City, but a kid can dream.
NYPD Rejects Another Protest Permit
The NYPD is staying a consistent course in its refusal to allow community organizations the right to protest peacefully ahead of the RNC. Following in line with United for Peace and Justice's permit refusal, the NYPD rejected an assembly permit by The Still We Rise People's Assembly and March, a coalition of 15 grassroots organizations throughout New York City, for a rally scheduled for Saturday May 22. SWR held an emergency press conference today at 2 p.m. at 1 Police Plaza to call attention to the NYPD's permit refusal. The Saturday march would have set a "People‚s Agenda" by and for low-income communities of color to project a cohesive stance in response to the RNC. Also during the protest, SWR hoped to denounce the leadership of Manhattan South Patrol, the police unit which will be in charge during the RNC. In particular, SWR was going to call attention to the Manhattan South Patrol's chief Bruce Smolka, who was in charge of the four Street Crimes Unit officers who killed Amadou Diallo in 1999.
How the Other Side Lives
Here's a must read ... this blog's tried to give out as much information as possible about the upcoming RNC and the protests that will be greeting it. But it never hurts to check out the enemy. Scott, over at Slant/Point, proudly admits that he's a "Republican in NYC ... Damn Straight." The guy also obviously reads the no-rnc list serve, NYC-Indymedia, and Counter Convention as much, if not more, than I do. Its stomach-upsetting reading, but useful to check out.
In perusing this site you'll see: Scott's plans to "distract" protesters by publicizing "alterna-events" and his encouragement of google-bombing in order to de-rank "bad" anti-RNC websites. You also get a lot of great information about right-wing events in NYC like Lynne Cheney's visit to town and Young Republican meetings.
It seems worthwhile to keep up with this site, and probably others like it in New York, as the convention draws near. They're certainly reading our sites. We might as well read theirs.
Big Bucks, Big Parties
A few more official RNC events have come to light over the past few days.
The New York Times is reporting today that Wall Street is rolling out the red carpet for the Republican Convention. Who woulda thunk it?? The article by Michael Slackman contains a good deal of information about the financial connections between big business and the Republicans. And, of course, about the festivities.
"There are so many parties going on you have to pick and choose the location and date rather early to try to lessen the competition," said Richard Hunt, a spokesman for the Securities Industry Association, a 600-member trade group. "Competition will be great every hour of every day."
For New Yorkers who might want to observe a few of these parties, the Times reports that a "can't miss event" on the first night of the Convention will be held at the Rainbow Room. "[Rep.] Michael Oxley and members of the Financial Services Committee are to be "honored guests" at the Rainbow Room, said Pamela Sederholm, a Washington-area public relations consultant who said she is helping organize the party. An investment industry organizer said that the invitations called for sponsors to contribute $25,000 to $100,000 for the program, which will include dancing to midnight to big band music."
Also, it seems the Times itself has got a few events planned for the Republicans. According to NYC Indymedia, "the New York City Host Committee 2004 and CEO Harris, along with the New York Times, announced in Times Square a program to provide theater tickets and shopping discounts to Convention visitors." A rather shameless promotion, as the Times was hyping an RNC trip to Broadway as a news story a few weeks ago.
A Chance To Tell The RNC What You Think
As we close in on 100 days to the convention, Convention CEO Bill Harris wants to hear from you. You can submit questions to him here for an online chat Friday, May 21 at 3:00pm.
The Shadow of Chicago?
In the May 13 edition of Christian Science Monitor, staff writers note that Republican "officials and city fathers are also trying to avoid the sort of image fallout sustained from riots at Chicago's 1968 Democratic convention."
A few commentators have made this analogy. NYC 2004 = Chicago '68? But that begs the next question: what exactly happened at the Democratic National Convention in 1968? The myth is pretty well known, of course: Yippies; the police riot; Mayor Daley; "the whole world is watching!"; the battle on the convention floor. The details, however, tend to get lost in the iconic images. It might not be a bad idea for activists to reaquaint themselves with the events of that fateful summer.
Dean Blobaum has a pretty decent website devoted to the events of DNC 1968; most interesting is his bibliography, which has a ton of great reading materials for those inclined to actually read a book.
There's also this website, which is a collection of Yippie writings about Chicago.
Why should New Yorkers protest the Republican National Convention?
• Bush has shortchanged New York City on homeland security funding and endangered our neighbors.
• Bush has cut funding for our schools, hospitals and homes.
Facts you can use:
• Portion of EPA samples of the air around Ground Zero that showed asbestos levels higher than the agency's own 1% danger threshold while the Bush administration was saying it was safe to return downtown after September 11: 1/3 (source: The Daily News 8/26/03 and 10/28/03)
• Odds that a member of the New York-based 442nd Military Police is suffering from exposure to depleted uranium shells during their recent deployment to Iraq: 4 out of 9 (source: The Daily News 4/4/04; The Daily News tested 9 for exposure; 4 tested positive. One of the four, Staff Sgt. Ray Ramos, a Brooklyn housing cop, is experiencing "daily headaches, constant numbness in my hands and rashes on my stomach" as a result.)
• Amount the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) says it needs to be prepared for terrorist attacks: $331 million (source: The Daily News 10/21/03).
• Amount the FDNY has received in homeland security funding: $36 million (source: The Daily News 10/21/03).
• Among the fifty states, New York’s rank in antiterrorist funding on a per capita basis: 49 (source: Jack Newfield, “Bush To City: Drop Dead” in The Nation, April 1, 2004)
• Amount that Bush's proposed cuts to Section 8 rent subsidies would take away from the 112,000 city residents currently using the program: $104 million (source: The Daily News 3/25/04).
• Amount of funding to New York City schools Bush has cut over the last two years: $1.2 billion
(source: An “F” For Education: A Two-Year Review Of The No Child Left Behind Act, Congressman Anthony D. Weiner, September 7, 2003)
• Amount the Republican Medicare bill is depriving New York City hospitals in federal funding: $400 million (source: Jack Newfield, “Bush To City: Drop Dead” in The Nation, April 1, 2004)
• Number of jobs lost in the United States since Bush took office: 3 million (source: The Daily News 2/23/04)
• Number of jobs lost in New York City since Bush took office: 232,400 (source: The Daily News 2/23/04)
• Amount Bush has raised for his campaign: a record $182 million (source: The Daily News 4/3/04).
• Number of New Yorkers the RNC wants to work for them for free: 8000
• Where can I go to find out how to really help my fellow New Yorkers? The volunteer board at CounterConvention.org.
[Please send your research, with sources, to us at email@example.com.]