- js reader version
- view hidden posts
- tags and related articles
by Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial
Thursday, Aug. 24, 2000 at 5:30 PM
Why the protesters' message didn't echo.
Sunday, August 20, 2000 Go to: S M T W T F S
Why the protesters' message didn't echo.
The query was posed to a group of lawyers representing protesters arrested during the Republican Convention.
A reporter wanted to know: Why had the demonstrators decrying police abuse and corporate power elicited so little sympathy from Philadelphians?
The subtext of the question was obvious: This is a Democratic town, traumatized by the sort of post-industrial globalization the protesters denounced. There is a history of tension between the black community and the police. It's a city full of working class and poor people, lots of whom the protesters no doubt consider part of the "oppressed." So where was the local outrage?
The quick-and wrong-answer was shouted out by a protester: "It's you media, who aren't telling our story!"
Sorry, it isn't that simple.
The truth is Philadelphians know that real solutions require smart thinking, hard work, and money, not emotional ranting about evil corporations.
Philadelphia is desperately trying to sell itself as good place for businesses, families and jobs. This it must do to survive, so it can generate the taxes to address its schools, blight and crime.
The convention was widely embraced as a chance to showcase the city. Nationally broadcast chaos on the streets was a nightmarish thought. So does anyone really wonder why Mayor Street said he'd have zero patience for protestors who got out of hand? Bluntly put, shoot rubber bullets in Los Angeles and no one crosses the city off a list of places to vist. Not so Philadelphia.
For a practical application of Philadelphia's fiscal realities, and a grasp of how far the protesters must journey to reality, consider the city's prisons. The demonstrators-released after giving their names-say they're now going to work for better jail food, improved access to lawyers, and drug rehabilitation.
All great goals. But the hard part is figuring out where the money comes from. The state won't just give it to you. The city doesn't have it lying around. Philadelphia isn't, say, Seattle, where the much-hated corporate/global economy throws off the tax dollars needed for just those kind of services.
All that helps explain why so many of the protesters arrested on Aug. 1 after blocking streets, overturing Dumpsters or assaulting police were viewed as annoying out-of-towners with a holier-than-thou attitude. Their refusal to give police their names, while on the other hand demanding to be released, enhanced the image. (None of this it to minimize protesters's valid complaints about absurdly high bails nor to deny that police still need to justify the Aug. 1 raid on the protesters' puppet warehouse.)
The post-convention rhetoric by protesters fudges a key distinction. Protests on Sunday and Monday went smoothly and were sympathetically covered. Those who walked down Broad Street on July 31 to protest economic inequality had no permit but made their point well without violence.
To the limited extent the Aug. 1 demonstrators could explain what they wanted-an incoherence that went far beyond the missing puppets seized by the police-their message lacked the bright, clear moral line a protest needs.
The globalization of the economy has mixed impacts, here and abroad. Drug companies may be greedy-but they employ thousands in this region and produce life-saving discoveries. Abhor bio-tech food? That same agri-business has given this country the world's lowest food prices. Does that mean bio-tech foods and drug companies are uniformly good? No. It just means reality is uncomfortably complicated.
Philadelphians seeking social change -and there are lots of them-know that blocking traffic and throwing trash in the streets mostly distracts from the clear thinking and commitment needed to create meaningful reform.
And they know that a blanket, cynical rejection of governments, as offered by some demonstrators here and in Los Angeles, cuts you off from their very entitities you need to work the changes needed on the scale needed.
Perhaps, the demonstrators arrested on Aug. 1 will figure that out someday. Let's hope so, because their passion is needed, even if their immaturity is not.
Report this post as:
LATEST COMMENTS ABOUT THIS ARTICLE
Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 5 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
|Yes Officer... to Whom Are We Speaking?
||Donald W. Pleast
||Thursday, Aug. 24, 2000 at 8:43 PM
|A couple of points
||Thursday, Aug. 24, 2000 at 10:45 PM
||Friday, Aug. 25, 2000 at 5:55 PM
|Phila Inquirer Editorial
||Friday, Aug. 25, 2000 at 6:00 PM
|blah, no need for half truths
||Monday, Aug. 28, 2000 at 12:47 AM
Change Links September 2018 posted
More Scandals Rock Southern California Nuke Plant San Onofre
Site Outage Friday
Change Links August 2018
Setback for Developer of SC Farm Land
More problems at Shutdown San Onofre Nuke
Change Links 2018 July posted
More Pix: "Families Belong Together," Pasadena
"Families Belong Together" March, Pasadena
Short Report on the Families Belong Together Protest in Los Angeles
Summer 2018 National Immigrant Solidarity Network News Alert!
Watch the Debate: Excluded Candidates for Governor of California
Change Links June 2018 posted
The Montrose Peace Vigil at 12 Years
Unity Archive Project
Dianne Feinstein's Promotion of War, Secret Animal Abuse, Military Profiteering, Censorshi
CA Senate Bill 1303 would require an independent coroner rather than being part of police
Three years after OC snitch scandal, no charges filed against sheriffs deputies
California police agencies violate Brown Act (open meetings)
Insane Company Wants To Send Nuke Plant Waste To New Mexico
Change Links May 2018
Worker-Owned Car Wash on Vermont Closed
GUIDE TO REBEL CITY LOS ANGELES AVAILABLE
lausd whistle blower
Help KCET and UCLA identify 60s-70s Chicano images
UCLA Luskin: Casting Youth Justice in a Different Light
Change Links April 2018
More Local News...
Antrhopocène, le grand effondrement
Creative Destruction Hack Diamonds Windows/iOS/Android - Creative Destruction Generator
The Dictatorship of Corporations
18 Lethal Consequences Of Hunting
Paraphysique de l'outplacement déontologue
Creative Destruction Hack Mod Generator
Shopping du bashing
After Lehman Brothers, Experts Say Global Financial Crisis Can Happen Again
“Animaniacs in Concert!” Starring Voice Legend Rob Paulsen
Probabilités de fin d'humanité
Florida Area of Migrant Farmworkers Denied Right to Construct Health Clinic near NaplesCIW
Propagande de virus, virus de propagande
Steer clear of work morality!
Sweatshop Lodge Ceremony Continues in US Fed Prisons Led by Inmates
Paraphysique de l'origami
The Shortwave Report 09/07/18 Listen Globally!
August 2018 Honduras Coup update
Du réussissement putréfié
Brett Kavanaugh Filled The 5th Circuit With Execution Judges
Augusta Georgia Woman Gets 5 Year Prison Sentence for Writing About Russians Crime Acts
Paraphysique de contextualité
Crisis Regulation in Global Capitalism
Ex-voto de réification
Please Oppose Warmonger, Execution and Torture Supporting Bush Operative Brett Kavanaugh
Paraphysique d'exploitation occultation
Ryan Zinke Is Charging Taxpayers For A Trophy Hunters' Council
More Breaking News...