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by Anna ....IMC collective
Sunday, Jun. 29, 2003 at 8:32 AM
Although he would have, no doubt, prefered to slink into town, collect his millions and slink out again, the city showed up in all it's diversity and creativity to speak it's mind.
“BUSH: YOU LIED YOU’RE FIRED! …. Words written on the lovely pink banner furled from an upper window of the Century Plaza hotel window Friday evening. And although the Secret Service was on it within 5 minutes, suited anti-heroes appearing on the balcony, not to rescue the pink clad lovelies of “Code Pink”, but to banish them and their work from the many eyes below, the deed was done. So as thousands more arrived, digital images of the banner unfurling and the women being hustled away were shared, and so the word passes.
And yes they came. Even though Bush and his entourage virtually slunk into town to hold the invitation only $2,000.00 a plate fundraiser in Los Angeles, one of many in what is being heralded as the biggest campaign fundraiser ever, the many vigilant citizens of our City of the Angels arrived to greet him. They came from all over the city; brown and white faced youths packed into old cars joined older more seasoned radicals as they cruised through adjacent Beverly Hills searching for legal parking. And they arrived on the Avenue of the Stars, more diverse than ever; demonstrating how successful the work to bring ALL the people of this city together has been.
Drummers, dancers, booksellers, union workers, organizers, and people from all walks of life once again joined to create the instant villages we are learning to build; gatherings to tell the current administration what we think of it’s policies, and to show the rest of the world we are in solidarity with their struggles for justice against the same administration. Creative banners snaked their way through the chanting, sign bearing crowd, and people cheered at their passing; celebrating the creative energy expended in their creation. Even the police, while a large presence, seemed for the most part relaxed, sometimes even smiling and chatting with participants.
This is a far cry from images I remember from my childhood; dark photos on the L.A Free Press cover of the anti-Vietnam rally against Johnson in the “60’s”; bloody faces and baton wielding cops right here in front of the Century Plaza hotel. But everybody seems to understand the rules now, and with the exception of one incident where a gang of cops jumped into the crowd to mysteriously nab someone, things were almost eerily peaceful. Maybe too peaceful. Is this a tactic … don’t create any news and no information will leak out to the general public? There are questions.
And interesting weirdities; demonstrators wielding video cameras and bullhorns; straining against the barrier created by the yellow ribbon stretched along the middle of the street, staring at the elite on the other side. And there they were; standing along the front of the hotel, huddled together in their expensive finery, Bush supporters, people who can afford a $2,000.00 a plate dinner, gawking back at the display of dissent as would visitors to the zoo. What were they thinking? Were they shocked? Were they afraid? Were some of them maybe just a little bit in agreement with the diverse crowd? Were they angry, or curious? There are questions.
And there is more to this than a simple gathering of the tribes; among the speeches and the sense of festival there is discussion; did we fail to stop the war, or are we engaged in an ongoing battle? Are we on the right path? Is this the way to create change, or do we need new tactics? How should we organize now? Will simply voting in a new administration be enough or do we need to break the whole system down and start from scratch? How can we save the planet and create global social justice? Do we need to change our lifestyle or can we continue on the way we are? Can we do it peacefully as it’s being done in Venezuela and Brazil or will it take violence? How do we get the word out to wake up the sleeping un and mis-informed? What are the answers? There are questions.
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