[OPE-L:8472] Re: Re: Socialism and War

From: Howard Engelskirchen (hengels@zoom-dsl.com)
Date: Sun Feb 16 2003 - 04:17:22 EST

I marched in the New York City demo from 59 and Lexington.  When we got to
2nd Avenue (with tens and tens of thousands of protesters) we were turned
uptown away from the rally site.  We were directed over to First Avenue on
61st.  Everything was cool (and cold!) and the spirits of the demonstrators
were great.  They were people of tremondous diversity and good will.  When
we turned down First Avenue we were herded literally! into pens, I suppose
they're called first amendment (ie free speech) pens, and contained by heavy
metal barricades waist high an entire block long with a single file exit at
either end.  I have no estimate how many people these pens held, but it was
thousands.  The news reports were they went on for 20 blocks.  I don't know
what people did in the pens.  We left and went in the only direction open to
us, back to Second.  They were not letting people up this street unless they
were residents who showed ID.  Eventually they cleared the street.  All the
streets from 40th to at least 61 were barricaded in this way.  This was true
not only between First and Second but also between Second and Third.  We
joined people still trying to enter the march on Second Avenue (where we had
already been).  People got fed up walking away from the demonstration and
turned around.  Then they got fed up being squeezed onto the sidewalk and
took over the street.  This was at 59th Street.  It shut down the 59th
Street bridge  for a while.  There is a great irony here because what New
York does is parades, and one of the grandest, the Marathon, comes down off
the 59th Street Bridge and turns up First Avenue.  But not today.  As we
began to walk south toward the rally site, in control of the street, an
arrest was made.  As far as I can tell this was arbitrary.  If the person
arrested had done anything he had done it well before I was in the area.
People tried to prevent the arrest.  This broke up the solidarity of the
march and drove a wedge between the vanguard, those surrounding the arrest,
and again those further back.  We began  moving again but were now
separated.  Then horses were brought in to clear the streets.  At the
intersection of 53d and Second they (the horses) were driven into people
already braced against cars with nowhere to go.  Then they wanted to arrest
a guy who broke away into the crowd.  The horses chased at a gallop without
regard for safety onto the sidewalk wall to wall with demonstrators with
nowhere to go.  There were similar skirmishes all over the area, including
on the same block at Third Avenue.  Many arrests were made.  Times Square
was shut down for a time with many arrests.  I did not see this but have it
on report.  I was present at a sitdown with arrests that stopped traffic for
a good long time on Fifth Avenue just south of the Public Library.
Democracy was policed today and good.  Preemptive war is illegal in
international law (the most important acquisition of the 20th century in
international matters is the prohibition on wars of aggresstion), but that's
okay; demonstrations are legal under the first amendment to the
constitution, but they're prohibited.  Senator Byrd reported on the floor of
the US Senate that over 50% of the population of Iraq is children under 15.
The US plans a war against children.  300 to 400 Cruise Missles on the first
two days.  Against a majority population of children.  And Bush talks of


----- Original Message -----
From: "gerald_a_levy" <gerald_a_levy@msn.com>
To: <ope-l@galaxy.csuchico.edu>
Sent: Saturday, February 15, 2003 6:07 PM
Subject: [OPE-L:8471] Re: Socialism and War

> Paul C and Paul B: thanks for the reports on the anti-war
> demonstrations in Glasgow and London respectively.
> In New York City there was a  *huge* demonstration
> on First Avenue on the East side not far from the United
> Nations building.   A march had been banned and there
> was only a permit for a rally.  The City put up (quite literally)
> other roadblocks to the demonstration as well and this
> caused groups to rally at many other nearby locations from
> 14th Street to well above 59th Street.  The radio reported that
> demonstrators filled 20 blocks. It was very difficult indeed to join the
> main body of demonstrators as there were police barricades that
> prevented people from getting within an avenue of the main site.
> Buses with demonstrators were told that they wouldn't be allowed
> into Manhattan.  Even subway stops nearest to the demonstration
> were closed down.
> Despite this, I would estimate that there were *at least* a half million
> demonstrators.  Someone from the stage estimated the crowd at
> 2 million. The demonstrators who shivered in the freezing weather
> were of all ages.  Some traveled a great distance -- I talked to some
> who traveled from Northern Michigan. I  arrived early with the intention
> of  joining the trade union contingent that was supposed to meet at 59th
> Street but couldn't find them and instead marched with a 15-year-old
> squatter friend of mine (who I've known since she was 8) and four
> of her high school friends.  I'm sure that there were hundreds of people
> I knew at the demo but she is the only one I actually saw -- a good but
> subjective indication of the size of the demo.   An inspiring and
> encouraging event -- made so not by the speeches but by the sheer
> mass of humanity and energy.
> Solidarity, Jerry

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