I arrived early (around 12:30). I was being accompanied by Berkeley activist Stephen Dunifer, one of the pioneers of the micro-radio movement. he was basically here to take a breather from his northern Cal organizing so he could come down here to sit and watch me organize in southern Cal! (go to indymedia.org for one of the best uncensored and free news sites out there).
anyway, I had dropped him off so I could go find a parking place. when I got to the fed building, there was nobody there! then....all of a sudden, there they were about 60-70 Bushites started arriving in droves and all together (walking from the same direction)! obviously bussed in. my first thought was that our people had fallen for the dis-information campaign and false polls posted on the list asking us if we should change the demo to Sunday! I thought "where is everybody"? the Bushites descended upon the southwest corner and occupied it en masse.
eventually our crew started pouring in (yeah yeah, just like liberals to be fashionably late) and I found myself immediately in the position of having to play traffic cop and directing people to occupy the other 3 corners. I could see a few Bushites were beginning to cross the street to the northwest corner. I tried to reason with some of our people who didn't understand at first, that it was imperative we didn't mix the two sides because basically the media (and passing onlookers) really only see mass and not the message. if they see a bunch of us there with predominantly non-partisan signs mixed in with very pro-Bush anti-Gore signs....our message gets lost. also I foresaw actual physical violence ensuing between the two sides. you could cut the tension with a knife.
the word got out that these people had been outside Fox news earlier and obviously had come together to the fed building. for the rest of the afternoon, it was a battle of wills between us and them. many of them were abusive, spouting the usual right wing reactionary dribble and calling us "baby killers". there was a report from one of our women that a guy with a huge American flag had "accidentally" dropped it on her back and she had a huge lump where it had fallen. he was laughing though, right in her face. she reported him to the police. the local ABC news affiliate showed up and approached me for an interview with "we hear you're the ringleader of this, can we interview you"? oh man! I told them, no, I was not the "ringleader", that I was just one of many but that yes, I was one of the LA organizers. I told them that "demonstrations like this are happening right now in over 140 cities, I want you to know that". they asked me who I voted for. I told them that wasn't important, that I was just an outraged American citizen. well, typical of the black and white corporate news media....they couldn't pin me down with a Gore or Bush graphic under my name so they didn't use my interview. I did however tell them that I represented Trust the People, a national movement created online. went right over their heads.
at exactly 3 PM....the Bushites didn't just trickle out....they left all at once! it was like "rent-a-crowd". somebody suggested they might have been bussed in from Republican enclave Orange county and that they might have been paid! someone else came up with the possibility that they were staying true to form and they left because of the football game (typical). I have heard they were NRA and a group called the "Daughters of Freedom" or something similar.
we did have a smaller crowd yesterday than last week and I have a theory for that. apathy in the light of the reverse psychology tactics used by the Bush campaign yesterday timed just right to coincide with our nationwide demos. it's called "reverse spin" or offering the information before someone has a chance to ask. the Gore campaign has been really cool not to accuse the Bush people of doing exactly what they accused us of doing....ballot fraud, preventing people's ballots from being tallied or obstructing the votes entirely. Gore's people have allowed the process to unfurl naturally...they know the power of the internet and that the truth will be known and quickly too. the Bush people had to resort to doing this and it's so obvious to most of us but then some of us may not be so politically savvy and may have been discouraged by the news reports. and of course, the corporate media coverage continues to slant towards Bush's favor.
has anyone heard about the 1100 or so Israeli absentee ballots that have apparently not reached their destination? tit for tat?
this is the only the beginning folks. keep ever vigilant.
in solidarity....Jamie in LA.