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Tom Hayden: RNC Protests Will Be 1000X Bigger Than '68 Protests in Chicago

For its special "RNC Issue" John Tarleton of the Indypendent interviews SDS founder and Chicago 8 "conspirator" Tom Hayden about the Republican Convention, Chicago '68, the political impact of RNC protests, the Miami Model, and much more. The first part of the interview is below; read the whole interview in this weeks Indypendent, coming out soon. Also, beyond just talking to figures from the radical past, the Indy also speaks with Rosa Clemente, co-founder of last weekend's First National Hip-Hop Political Convention

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JT: How do you see the 2004 RNC protests compared with what you experienced in Chicago in 1968?

TH: They'll be bigger by a thousand fold. [Chicago mayor Richard] Daley and the police really frightened people out of coming and it was a hardy handful who were there. I believe most days it was a thousand people. And on the final day it might have been 6,000. I think between 100,000 and ten times that many will be in New York. And that influences the character of everything including the strategy of the Department of Homeland Security.

JT: So far no permits have been issued.

TH: There they go (laughs). I think people are entitled to march without a permit. When you have a few hundred thousand people on the street you have permission. Nevertheless, the good people seeking permits have to continue doing that because it might happen and they need to lay the legal foundation for a later lawsuit.

JT: What's your advice for dealing with an intransigent local government in this kind of situation?

TH: The politicians of New York have everything that is necessary to make proper decisions and they will have to live with what happens afterwards. The worst scenario is the politicians covering their eyes and turning it over to the FBI.

JT: What do you think of the "Miami model" and the possibility it could be deployed in Boston and New York at this summer's political conventions?

TH: Well, it would certainly be the plan. But remember in Miami there were only a couple thousand protesters in a city that is heavily Republican and includes a lot of rightwing terrorists. It was favorable territory for the police. They had the protesters outnumbered 10-1. they had planted undercover agents inside the protests to stir up trouble in order to justify all the overtime. They shut down the downtown business district themselves destroying a lot of small businesses which lost everything for two weeks. The alternative model would be the Mexican police in Cancun.

June 29, 2004 | Permalink

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