We had a server outage, and we're rebuilding the site. Some of the site features won't work. Thank you for your patience.
imc indymedia

Los Angeles Indymedia : Activist News

white themeblack themered themetheme help
About Us Contact Us Calendar Publish RSS
latest news
best of news




A-Infos Radio

Indymedia On Air

Dope-X-Resistance-LA List


IMC Network:

Original Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: ambazonia canarias estrecho / madiaq kenya nigeria south africa canada: hamilton london, ontario maritimes montreal ontario ottawa quebec thunder bay vancouver victoria windsor winnipeg east asia: burma jakarta japan korea manila qc europe: abruzzo alacant andorra antwerpen armenia athens austria barcelona belarus belgium belgrade bristol brussels bulgaria calabria croatia cyprus emilia-romagna estrecho / madiaq euskal herria galiza germany grenoble hungary ireland istanbul italy la plana liege liguria lille linksunten lombardia london madrid malta marseille nantes napoli netherlands nice northern england norway oost-vlaanderen paris/Île-de-france patras piemonte poland portugal roma romania russia saint-petersburg scotland sverige switzerland thessaloniki torun toscana toulouse ukraine united kingdom valencia latin america: argentina bolivia chiapas chile chile sur cmi brasil colombia ecuador mexico peru puerto rico qollasuyu rosario santiago tijuana uruguay valparaiso venezuela venezuela oceania: adelaide aotearoa brisbane burma darwin jakarta manila melbourne perth qc sydney south asia: india mumbai united states: arizona arkansas asheville atlanta austin baltimore big muddy binghamton boston buffalo charlottesville chicago cleveland colorado columbus dc hawaii houston hudson mohawk kansas city la madison maine miami michigan milwaukee minneapolis/st. paul new hampshire new jersey new mexico new orleans north carolina north texas nyc oklahoma philadelphia pittsburgh portland richmond rochester rogue valley saint louis san diego san francisco san francisco bay area santa barbara santa cruz, ca sarasota seattle tampa bay tennessee urbana-champaign vermont western mass worcester west asia: armenia beirut israel palestine process: fbi/legal updates mailing lists process & imc docs tech volunteer projects: print radio satellite tv video regions: oceania united states topics: biotech

Surviving Cities

www.indymedia.org africa: canada: quebec east asia: japan europe: athens barcelona belgium bristol brussels cyprus germany grenoble ireland istanbul lille linksunten nantes netherlands norway portugal united kingdom latin america: argentina cmi brasil rosario oceania: aotearoa united states: austin big muddy binghamton boston chicago columbus la michigan nyc portland rochester saint louis san diego san francisco bay area santa cruz, ca tennessee urbana-champaign worcester west asia: palestine process: fbi/legal updates process & imc docs projects: radio satellite tv
printable version - js reader version - view hidden posts - tags and related articles

FREE SPEECH: a circus of unintended consequences

by Auntie Racist Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010 at 5:59 AM

A story about a racial confrontation in a small town.

Back in '94 or '95, somewhere in there, the city of Union Point, Georgia experienced a racial crisis. Union Point is a small, remote little city just off the Oconee woods. They had experienced a rapid increase in crime. The crimes included shoplifting, so a number of merchants had expelled the criminals from their stores. It so happened all the expelled criminals were black.

Enter the NAACP. The presence of the NAACP annoyed the klan. The situation intensified. The NAACP planned a protest march. Federal mediators coaxed an agreement out of the antagonists. The NAACP decided to hold the march anyway, and call it a victory march. There were rumors that the klan would show up.

I drove up to Union Point from Manchester to write a story for my underground paper. I dressed for the day in black shoes, black trousers, black silk shirt and a black ribbon secured by an antique gold button as a tie. I wanted to be recognizable as I passed and repassed people on the street, so someone could stop me if they had something new to tell me.

Early in the day, before the events began. I sat in my car near the store fronts, listening to music on my head phones, recording notes from my clippings and research, and composing a list of questions for use during the day. A police officer approached and said I was parked on the parade route and would have to move. Then he got in his car and very quickly moved to a block and a half away across an empty lot and sat watching me move. I was told later they thought my beat up old Nova was a car bomb.

The streets were full. The NAACP was there. The Nation of Islam was there. Merchants and town folk lined the streets. No klan robes were visible but the sentiments were present. I was told to go back to Atlanta to my lesbian friends. I talked to them all. I even talked to the guy who called me a lesbian, after his wife told him to be nice. And as I talked, the scene was watchfully surveyed by an army of police, flac-jacketed anti-terrorist agents and GBI snipers up on the roof tops.

I brought with me 10 or 15 copies of a booklet I had put together, with tractor feed paper and a hand made cover, all prettied up and stapled neatly. It contained some stories I had written previously about marches and protests and rallies. Because I was not as well known as, say, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, I planned to give out my booklets as I made my way around town so people would have an idea what sorts of things I wrote about. Then, when I passed by again with my black clothes and gold button, they might have things to tell me.

My booklets were snapped up. The people I gave them to were quickly surrounded by little knots of friends reading over their shoulders. When they finished reading the booklets were handed off to someone else and another little knot of over-the-shoulder readers would form.

I write from a rather operational standpoint. How many people, what groups, were there enough toilets, were the planned events entertaining, was the traffic well managed. A bit of a play by play rundown of the affairs..

There was press coverage aplenty on the coming events. Anything beyond the announcements of time and place consisted of righteous editorializing on this side and that. Everybody had the opportunity to make a passionate, moral stand, and just about everybody did so. The townfolk were up to here with moralizing. In this tiny little town, where nothing like this had ever happened before … not EVER … what everyone really wanted to know was WHAT IS GOING TO HAPPEN? Because I was the only one providing any such information, I got to be a star that day.

Late in the day, when all the scheduled events were over, I was sitting in the grass on the very

empty lot where the police officer had parked to watch me move my car. I was reviewing my notes for the day and jotting down bits of commentary in the margins. A gray haired gentleman in a big 70's model car drove up and approached me, a handful of papers ruffling in the breeze.

He said he had gone to the hall where congresswoman Cynthia McKinney was speaking. She had come to town to make a speech, hoping to use her influence to bring calm to the city. He prepared some notes to take to her to tell her what the real cause of the problems in Union Point were about. But after he heard her speaking, he changed his mind. He said I know you are a writer. I hope you will publish this. If you give any of it to the police, don't give it to any federal people. They won't do anything.

He got in his car and backed down the street for two blocks before he turned around and drove away, so I couldn't see his tag.

According to the papers, the real cause of the problems in Union Point was drugs. The upsurge in crime was the direct result of an increase in drug business in town. He gave names, addresses and details. All carefully hand written on a pile of 8 ½ x 11 writing paper.

I took notes on the contents for my own use and gave the papers to the GBI. From that day to this, I have heard of nothing else terribly eventful in Union Point.

Now I am a writer. Obviously I am a great believer and defender of free speech. But sometimes our speech gets disembodied, becomes separated from the rest of our functions as Americans. We get into these terrible orgies of free speech that do nothing but feed our own righteousness by consuming the lives and struggles of real and ordinary people. If you can't put some elbow grease into your free speech, then shut up.

Report this post as:
Share on: Twitter, Facebook, Google+

add your comments

Listed below are the 10 latest comments of 1 posted about this article.
These comments are anonymously submitted by the website visitors.
this is gossip, and nothing more Man from U.N.C.L.E. Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2010 at 6:14 AM
© 2000-2018 Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Unless otherwise stated by the author, all content is free for non-commercial reuse, reprint, and rebroadcast, on the net and elsewhere. Opinions are those of the contributors and are not necessarily endorsed by the Los Angeles Independent Media Center. Running sf-active v0.9.4 Disclaimer | Privacy