[sixties-l] Re: modr8tor's warning

From: Jeffrey Blankfort (jab@tucradio.org)
Date: 10/10/00

  • Next message: Carrol Cox: "Re: [sixties-l] Mercy for a Terrorist? [SLA]"

    Yes, I too, have found my e-mail list overly expanded and I'm only on
    the digest version of this list.
    I would like to point out, however, that the Middle East crisis has a
    very direct relationship to the 60s because it was the Six-Day War in
    1967 and Israel's conquering of Arab territory that led to a major break
    between black organizations such as SNCC and the Panthers and much of
    the white movement which at the time included many Jews, who while not
    conscious Zionists, still felt connections to that country as Jews.
    Groups such as SNCC nad the BPP, as well as other third-world groups
    viewed the conflict, and correctly so  in my opinion, as an extension of
    Western imperialism.  That rift was never resolved but lingered on in
    the refusal of many Jewish activists around Central America and South
    Africa to condemn or even acknowledge Israel's military connections
    witfh those regimes and leads to rationalizing Israel's behavior today.
    Jeff Blankfort
    Ted Morgan <epm2@LEHIGH.EDU> writes:
    > Subject: [sixties-l] Re: modr8tor's warning and topical message
    > This may reflect information-overload (away from the weekend, I returned
    > to find 175 messages waiting for me --most from sixties-l, and most, in
    > my view largely unrelated to serious discussion of the 60s (I now
    > categorize all DH-linked messages in that category no matter who sends
    > them, and the rash of messages about the Middle East blow-up failed to
    > make many links, as far as I can see).  I am about to sign off this list
    > if this continues.  I have other current-issues, left-lists that I read
    > and or subscribe to --plenty of 'em.  This list has until recent months,
    > been a source of some good discussion about 60s movements, their
    > legacies, and their connection to today, along with some good
    > resource-sharing.  I appreciate several of the things forwarded by
    > radman --though sometimes I don't have much time for some of them-- and
    > I've forwarded my share, too (one below, in fact).  But if things
    > continue like this, I'm outta here, out of necessity.  That would sadden
    > me.  It may be we face a dilemma --only an actively moderated list
    > (keeping posts to the 60s subject as Kali once did)-- can maintain that
    > integrity --yet we have a moderator who volunteered to revive the list
    > again and is doing the best job time allows. Without more moderators, as
    > Kali once had, maybe we can't return to that old list, at least with DH
    > around, etc.
    > Just some thoughts of frustration.
    > Ted
    > Now, this (post that follows), in my view raises issues of moment today
    > that are in fact quite linked to the 60s --probably, also, closer to my
    > heart by a little bit.  In fact, you might say it's late-60s-redux.
    > - -
    > > From:         rachleff@macalester.edu
    > > Reply To:     laborpartyusa@egroups.com
    > > Sent:         Friday, October 6, 2000 9:47 AM
    > > We will NEVER get ANYWHERE if we don't face the reality conveyed in these
    > > stories and figure out what to do about it.  Peter Rachleff
    > >
    > > ---------- Forwarded Message ----------rr
    > >                 U M A S S   -   T H E   U N T O L D   S T O R Y
    > >
    > > 1. UMass - the untold story
    > > I was at the protests at U Mass on Tuesday night.  For those of you who
    > > have only read the press accounts (or lack thereof), there were 10,000
    > > joyful, angry, nonviolent, energetic people outside the debates.  The
    > > Democrats called up their union bosses, who sent white workers out to hold
    > > signs for Gore -- and some acted as thugs in the crowd.  For those of you
    > > who participated in protests against the war in Vietnam, the following
    > > scene, written by Joy Campbell (don't know what state she's from), will
    > > seem all too familiar.  You may have seen this, since it's been
    > > circulating around.
    > >
    > > I am really glad that I went to Boston.  The super rally was energizing --
    > > and the best part was to see, hear, and feel 12,000 people who want change
    > > and a way to make it happen.  Howard Zinn was up there talking about
    > > history and class war to 12,000 people! When was the last time you saw
    > > that?  Michael Moore is a great speaker and really captured the crowd,
    > > especially young people, who he was appealing to -- "Slackers can change
    > > the world...with a few hours of volunteer work each week." (that's a joke,
    > > folks) And of course, Nader was great.
    > >
    > > Fond regards, Cathy
    > >
    > > ----------
    > > From: "Joy Campbell" <feelah@earthlink.net>
    > > To: <gpusa-talk@greens.org>
    > > Subject: GPUSA-TALK Boston protest
    > > Date: Wed, Oct 4, 2000, 9:34 AM
    > >
    > > I sent this out after coming home from the UMass campus. It's not as
    > > polished as I'd like, but it was late, I was tired, and I wanted to get it
    > > down. It's interesting that the Boston papers today focus on the arrests
    > > that took place, which must have happened after I left -- it was pretty
    > > peaceful for the three hours I was there. The papers also make no mention
    > > of the fact that the Iron Workers Union were trying to pick fights -- they
    > > mention altercations as though they were a natural result of "conflicting
    > > political views," when what was really going on was the Iron Workers
    > > trying to pick fights with the Nader supporters. Well, read on...
    > >
    > > ***
    > >
    > > OK, I don't know how much you'll see on the news, or what kind of coverage
    > > was shown, but I was at the UMass campus tonight as a protester/Nader
    > > voter, and I'd like to share what I saw.
    > >
    > > I got off the train and followed a large crowd that was making its way
    > > toward the campus. It was the kind of motley group you might expect:
    > > neo-hippies, Mumia people, anyone with an injustice to protest was there.
    > > Which was fine -- it's about free speech, isn't it? I have to say I was
    > > glad to see that the Church of Euthanasia wasn't there - personal
    > > editorial: I believe in everyone's right to free speech, but I get
    > > irritated by those who treat that right lightly and who trivialize the
    > > efforts of others by exploiting organized demonstrations for/against a
    > > particular issue by using those efforts as a forum solely to draw
    > > attention to their own narrow self-interests. In my experience, they don't
    > > give a rat's ass what the issue is, they just love a crowd to which they
    > > can show their deliberately inflammatory banners ("Eat a Queer Fetus for
    > > Jesus"; "Save the Planet; Kill Yourself").
    > >
    > > I wish the Church of Euthanasia would practice what it preaches.
    > >
    > > Anyway. There were police present, but everything seemed pretty peaceful.
    > > I walked around, and came to an area where people were milling about.
    > > There were lots of Gore/Lieberman people. I noticed a lot of these
    > > supporters bore placards indicating they were from the Iron Workers'
    > > union. Many of these were young, muscular guys strutting around with their
    > > signs. They seemed a bit aggressive. Two were walking with their Gore
    > > signs shouting, "Gore! Gore! Gore! I walked next to one and smiled.
    > >
    > > "Nader."
    > >
    > > He stopped and looked at me. "Gore!" he held up his sign.
    > > I smiled again. "Nader!"
    > > "Gore!"
    > > "Nader!"
    > >
    > > I just figured we were having fun. I walked on, looking around. Then I
    > > heard a commotion behind me, and went over. I saw that the two Iron Worker
    > > dudes had grabbed a sign from a woman who was a Nader supporter, ripped it
    > > out of her hands, broke it in half, and threw it on the ground.
    > >
    > > "NO STICKS ALLOWED!!!" They shouted at her.
    > >
    > > "You have no right to do that! " She shouted. She was visibly shaken, but
    > > also angry.
    > >
    > > They were getting in her face at this point. Again, these were, large,
    > > muscular construction worker-types, in their twenties. A cop came over and
    > > basically ignored them and addressed the woman. He told her no sticks were
    > > allowed. "Fine, but they don't' have to bully people! They pushed me
    > > down!" "Are you hurt?" the cop asked in a tone of voice that indicated he
    > > couldn't care less. "No, but aren't you going to do something? These
    > > people are hurting other people!" "Just come away ma'am and you'll be
    > > fine." "You aren't going to do anything??!!??" The bullies were closing in
    > > again. I put my arm around the woman and said, "he can't protect you from
    > > all these people. He may not want to, either. You're right; they're
    > > assholes. Let's go." I tried to get her away from the goons, but she
    > > turned to face one of them began telling him he shouldn't be picking on
    > > people (I had to give her credit; she was short and scared but wanted to
    > > stand up for herself and for what was right). He responded by getting in
    > > her face and hitting her in the face with his placard. I was getting
    > > pretty angry by this point, so I stepped in between them, facing the goon.
    > > "What is WRONG with you?" I asked. You're voting for Gore; fine; that's
    > > your right. Leave other people alone."
    > >
    > > There were a few Iron Workers - older men -- who were clearly disgusted by
    > > what was happening and tried to get their guys to back off. I felt bad for
    > > them, and was really grateful.
    > >
    > > Where were all the cops? you ask. Too busy keeping all those puppet-toting
    > > Greens from getting violent, one supposes. I went to the barricade by the
    > > street, where several cops where hanging out. Let me paint the picture for
    > > you: Three cops are standing in the street shooting the breeze, ignoring
    > > the fact that, fifteen feet away, these thugs are bullying people, pushing
    > > them around, looking for a fight. I promise you that if a Green Party
    > > person tried anything amiss, they'd be bagged and tagged before you could
    > > say, "First Amendment." After I'd called "excuse me" about four times, one
    > > of the cops said, "how can I help you?" His tone of voice was more, "what
    > > the hell do you want?"
    > >
    > > "The Iron Workers' guys are being real bullies. They're pushing people
    > > around and I think they're going to hurt someone."
    > >
    > > "Yes I know - I was there before," the cop replied. He didn't move.
    > >
    > > "Well, do you THINK you might WANT to go BACK before someone gets
    > > HURT??!!?? I yelled.
    > >
    > > He went back in -reluctantly-I guess his conversation with his buddies was
    > > more interesting -- and I walked around some more.
    > >
    > > A married couple with Iron Workers Union T-shirts were screaming at some
    > > Nader supporters, calling them communists and telling them to go back to
    > > Russia. I stopped to watch them, and I got included in the vitriol.
    > > "YOU'RE ALL A BUNCK OF FUCKING FREAKS!!!" the woman screamed at me.
    > >
    > > "Why?" I asked.
    > > RIGHT!"
    > > More commands from both to go back to Russia where we belong.
    > >
    > > Now, picture this: two Iron Workers Union supporters calling us
    > > communists. Do you get the irony? They didn't. I tried to point out that
    > > they had the communists to thank for unions and the 40-hour work week, but
    > > apparently they weren't interested in serious dialogue, or actual history.
    > >
    > > "YOU'RE JUST A FUCKING FREAK!!!!" the woman screamed at me again.
    > >
    > > I finally lost my temper. I'd had it. "FUCK YOU!!" I screamed back. I
    > > walked away, took a breath, and returned.
    > >
    > > "You're just a fucking commie freak dyke," the guy said to me.
    > >
    > > "You know, " I said, breathing deeply and evenly and reminding myself that
    > > I was trying to be committed to non-violence, "I'm amazed. You must be
    > > psychic. You know all about me without ever having a single conversation
    > > with me."
    > >
    > > To condense the drama that followed, He repeated his assertions that I was
    > > a "pickle-sucking dyke bitch" (???), then I had someone else (another
    > > stellar representative from -- you guessed it-- the Iron Workers' union)
    > > ask me if I had a job and benefits, and when I said yes, proceeded to call
    > > me a "fuckin' prostitute." At this I was puzzled, and when I followed him
    > > and tried to get him to explain what the hell he was talking about, I got
    > > more of the same verbal abuse. Plus he kept walking away, so I went back
    > > to My Favorite Couple, whereupon the man told me what I could shove up a
    > > certain part of my anatomy."
    > >
    > > "You're eloquence is touching," I said. "You've convinced me. I'm going to
    > > vote for Gore and be just like you. I'm sure your mother would be proud."
    > >
    > > Some Nader supporter dudes did tell the man he shouldn't talk to a woman
    > > like that; it was rude.
    > >
    > > To which the guy repeated his conviction tat I was a "fucking commie
    > > dyke."
    > >
    > > Now, I have to say that, although it is out of character for me, I really
    > > worked hard to not get into a heated exchange. These people were vulgar,
    > > rude, and just plain out of control. I badly wanted to clock the woman. I
    > > do confess that in response to her assertion that all the Nader people
    > > looked like freaks, I did point out that she was not one to talk , what
    > > with her unfortunate perm and all.
    > >
    > > So I got tired of that pointless action and went down to the barricades by
    > > the college. More Nader supporters gathered there, and we had our signs
    > > and there were those with their catchy, glib, rhyming slogans. We were
    > > basically minding our own business.
    > >
    > > And something strange happened. I looked at the cops standing there,
    > > armed, silent, facing us, and I felt myself start to cry. I thought, we
    > > are all people, we are all really the same, and yet here we are, with
    > > fences and guns and these policeman don't' see us as being people like
    > > them, people with families and cats and dogs and jobs and friends. If we
    > > met at a party we would sit around and have a beer, and simply because we
    > > support a different candidate, or dress differently or have a different
    > > political conscience, we look at each other as The Enemy. How can we hope
    > > for peace if we can't even bridge this gap?
    > >
    > > A girl stood next to me, and we began to chat. Seems Our Favorite Union
    > > Couple had called her a "skanky commie dyke." I told her she must be
    > > special because I didn't rate "skanky." She had been told by one of the
    > > Nice Iron Workers that he didn't' really like Gore but had been told he
    > > had to come down and hold a sign or he'd lose his job. God Bless
    > > Democratic Freedom. We stood this way for awhile, talking among ourselves.
    > >
    > > Then the riot police arrived.
    > >
    > > Now, I have to say, watching them on TV is one thing; having them line up,
    > > facing you about 10 yards away with sticks and guns and riot gear is no
    > > joke. I was scared. Really, really scared. Things flashed through my head:
    > > Big black boots, stormtroopers, footage from the Seattle riots, Klaatu
    > > Barada Nicto. They stood there, holding their clubs at the ready, and I
    > > thought, "my God, are they really going to hit us? For just standing
    > > here?" We began to talk among ourselves, wondering whether anything would
    > > happen, and if so, would we be warned. The cops put their visors down, and
    > > I could feel my stomach drop and my whole body shake. I wondered what the
    > > riot police felt; were they making themselves hate us in case they had to
    > > hurt us? Did they hate their jobs right now? A girl near me had a cell
    > > phone and I briefly thought about asking whether I could use it to call a
    > > friend so that I could just tell them how scared I was. I saw police dogs
    > > being brought out.
    > >
    > > I think the fear I felt came from feeling that the police were no longer
    > > the Good Guys. If you're raised a law-abiding white person, you think,
    > > "the police are good -- they don't hurt innocent people." But I'd seen
    > > that no matter what we did, the police saw us as a threat and a nuisance,
    > > and didn't care what happened to us. I didn't want to be in the action end
    > > of mace or a night stick wielded by a riot cop with a chip on his
    > > shoulder. But I was glad I'd brought saline solution and some bandanas
    > > just in case. I knew that in Seattle they'd sprayed protesters with a
    > > substance used in Vietnam and which was proven to cause miscarriages and
    > > chromosomal damage, among other things.
    > >
    > > The crown began to repeat, "we're nonviolent; how about you?", although it
    > > seemed more like a plea than a chant.
    > >
    > > But after awhile it seemed that they weren't going to do anything as long
    > > as we behaved ourselves; it also seemed that if we gave them any reason,
    > > they would attack. A few people jumped the barricade to wave a sign and
    > > were quickly subdued and taken away by the cops. The cops did spray into
    > > the crowd when someone jumped over. People there said the cops were being
    > > indiscriminate when they did it. For the most part the crowd was
    > > self-policing, chiding demonstrators who taunted the police.
    > >
    > > We heard Nader was turned away twice, although a student had given him a
    > > valid ticket - they are so afraid of letting him just sit in the audience,
    > > for crying out loud. So much for open campaigns. This one's all bought and
    > > paid for.
    > >
    > > I stayed for a couple hours and then the girl and I finally decided to
    > > leave as some people moved away to discuss some civil disobedience -- we
    > > didn't feel it was necessary; it wouldn't accomplish anything and although
    > > we were prepared to be injured in the advancement of a cause, provoking
    > > the police at this stage would do nothing. We are not the type who see
    > > romance in senseless jailing and confrontation.
    > >
    > > As we left, I saw the crowds had diminished considerably. Some cops were
    > > standing near where I had had my chat with My Favorite Couple. That area
    > > was now empty. I went up to one of them; he was dressed in riot gear, and
    > > I said, "I just want to have a positive experience with a policeman before
    > > I go home," and I held out my hand. He shook it, and said, "have you had a
    > > bad experience?"
    > >
    > > "No," I said, but it's so odd to stand there, faced with cops in riot
    > > gear, to look at the clubs and guns and think, "is that for me?"
    > >
    > > The cop smiled and said, "no, it's not for you -- as long as you don't'
    > > cause trouble, it's not for you."
    > >
    > > I looked at him and said, "well, we both know that's not always true." We
    > > chatted a bit, and I asked whether anything had been done about the Iron
    > > Workers. They kind of chuckled and said, "oh, they left." I tried to
    > > express my dismay at their behavior, but the cops' attitude was pretty
    > > much that that was what the Iron Workers were like, boys will be boys,
    > > etc.
    > >
    > > So my advice to you is : don't mess with an Iron Worker. The law will not
    > > be on your side.
    > >
    > >
    > > If I could convey anything about tonight, I'd say that, while I was
    > > grateful thing didn't get out of hand, it was mostly due to the protesters
    > > being committed to nonviolence. I was truly dismayed at how unbalanced it
    > > all is. The police protect their own cronies, and the system protects its
    > > own as well. I don't want to sound like a nut, but if you want to feel
    > > powerless, try having a voice against the established power structure and
    > > see how quickly people turn on you and label you an Enemy (or a commie
    > > dyke, if you're lucky). You will not be who you know yourself to be; you
    > > will become a threat, a criminal, and you will not be protected. When huge
    > > men knock down women while the police turn a blind eye and riot police
    > > mace skinny kids for waving a sign on the wrong side of a fence, your
    > > perspective changes pretty dramatically.
    > >
    > > This is long and disjointed, but I knew that if I waited to make it
    > > polished I'd lose the freshness and momentum of the experience.
    > >
    > > Thanks.
    > >
    > > Joy
    > > www.voteNader.org
    > ------------------------------
    > End of sixties-l-digest V1 #343
    > *******************************

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