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Chicago '68 in N.Y.?
by repost
Wednesday Jun 23rd, 2004 10:50 PM
Chicago '68 in N.Y.?
by Joel Stonington

AUTHORITIES AND protesters are on a collision course aimed at the
Republican National Convention in New York City this summer. Fifteen
groups have applied for marches or rallies of over 10,000 people and
one group, United for Peace and Justice, has applied for a rally of
250,000. No permits have been granted. Spokesman for United for Peace
and Justice, Bill Dobbs, called the refusal to grant the permit "an
effort to derail the whole protest." With the immense number of
possible issues to protest under the rubric "No to the Bush Agenda,"
thousands of people working on disparate areas of activism -- the
environment, social justice, education, foreign policy, health care,
fiscal responsibility, etc. -- will be in the streets whether or not
they have a permit.

The police are gearing up, with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly
estimating a $76 million price tag for security. Protesters, however,
are worried about violence and arrests by the police. As student
organizer at New York University, Max Uhlenbeck, put it, "I'm sure
there will be horror stories." -

With 15,000 members of the press expected to be on hand for the
Convention it is likely that much attention will be outside Madison
Square Garden and on the streets instead.

At the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago, police lines
advanced through protesters, shot tear gas, and clubbed students. The
violence was splashed across the front page of every major paper. Some
say the Convention doomed the chances of Democratic candidate Hubert
Humphrey. Will New York in 2004 define Generation X in a similar way?

History, from the last four years at least, suggests that New York may
well resemble Chicago. The refusal of permits and massive build-up of
security measures points toward a pattern of suppressing dissent,
exemplified by the 2000 Republican Convention in Philadelphia and the
protests at the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) talks in
Florida last November.

In Philadelphia, over 400 people were arrested, including well-known
organizers walking down the street, random bystanders, and a
mass-arrest of political puppet makers in a warehouse. Only a
minuscule number of those arrested were convicted and no one was
sentenced to jail time. A Philadelphia Daily News editorial following
the last trial of a protester called the mass arrests, "very
disturbing for anyone who thinks the 4th, 5th, 8th, and 14th
amendments to the Constitution ought to mean something in the city
where they were written."

Similarly, protests at the FTAA talks last November saw the use of
unrestrained violence by police. For instance, members of the
Miami-Dade County's Independent Review Panel of police actions said,
in a draft report released a few weeks ago, "Civil rights were
trampled and the socio-political values we hold dear we undermined."

The FTAA is now known for giving birth to the "Miami Model," a method
where authorities use force -- rubber bullets, tear gas, etc. -- and
the arrest of legal protesters to silence dissent. -

In New York, orders to use the Miami Model may be coming from the
highest source: the Bush administration. The main clue to this is
Ashcroft's most recent terror alert. Numerous news organizations
openly questioned why he released information that had already been
revealed months earlier. One possibility is that Ashcroft may have
used the terror alert for the political purpose of chilling dissenting
opinions. Evidence lies in the fact that Ashcroft only named three
specific events for possible terror acts: Georgia's G-8 summit,
Boston's Democratic Convention in July, and New York's Republican
Convention in August. These are also the three biggest national
protests planned this summer.

Robert Ross, a Miami Activist Defense and National Lawyer's Guild
Attorney involved in lawsuits filed this year accusing the city of
Miami, Homeland Defense Secretary Ridge, U.S. Attorney General John
Ashcroft, and others for abridgment of civil rights, said, " have no
doubt that, in Boston and New York, they are going to utilize tactics
used in Miami." Or, as Uhlenbeck put it, "There will be plenty of
violence from the police."
Listed below are the latest comments about this post.
These comments are submitted anonymously by website visitors.
nyccpFriday Jun 25th, 2004 10:06 AM
"There will be plenty of violence from the police."been there, done thatThursday Jun 24th, 2004 10:33 PM
68 in chicagoOzzyTThursday Jun 24th, 2004 9:31 PM

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