Archive for protest

The Tax Day March in NYC

Posted in CULTURE & POLITICS, Protests with tags , , , , on April 16, 2017 by travsd

This year Tax Day fell on Easter Eve, and the timing was fortuitous; the Resistance was in need of some renewal and regeneration. After attending constant protests in the first two months of this year, sometimes several a week, I am startled to notice just now that I hadn’t been to one in nearly two months. But the Tax Marches had been in the works from the beginning — 45’s refusal to show his returns is a major sticking point, and has been, long since before the election. This one isn’t even a political issue, a left vs. right thing. It’s honest citizens vs. an extremely sketchy job applicant who managed to fast talk his way into the most powerful office in the world.

There were 150 protest events all over the country yesterday. I’m told 45,000 people came to the one in New York, and I’m here to tell you that this wasn’t some hippie lefty “radical” thing; I found myself surrounded by families, old people, veterans. Average Americans who are outraged that this man has hidden the amount and sources of his income. There can be no legitimate reason for his secrecy.

It started with a rally at Bryant Park, featuring speakers Sarah Silverman, City Comptroller Scott Stringer, Public Advocate Letitia James, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and  Congressman Hakeen Jeffries.

The crowd at Bryant Park

At this point I became vaguely aware of movement out of the park and realized that the rally was turning into a march. I looked across the street and was startled to see that many more thousands of people had amassed for that component.

Here’s where I joined the march. My phone was running out of juice so I only got a few snaps from within the actual march. People were chanting, “We want a leader, not a tax cheater!”, “We wanna know! Who You Owe!”, “Liar, Traitor, Tax Evader!” The march moved up Sixth Ave — we shouted appropriately nasty thing as we passed the News Corp. Building, home of Fox News, and the climax was the Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue, where people pointed and wagged their fingers yelling, “Shame!”. Most cathartic.

(Not My) President Day in NYC

Posted in CULTURE & POLITICS, Protests with tags , , , , on February 20, 2017 by travsd

There’s only one way to spend Presidents Day in the age of Drumpf — that’s by rejecting the present office holder utterly and vociferously, and refusing to include him in any honors extended to his august precedessors.  Accordingly, tens of thousands of protesters gathered on Central Park West and Columbus Circle to make their point outside Trump Tower. Your correspondent was among them.

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I wore the swell shirt you see above, created by my old friend Matt Cohen. Now I know for certain that I am one of the 65,844,954 who voted for HRC. I am less certain that I one of the actual ones represented in the difference between her total number of popular votes and Trump’s puny, pathetic lesser total. Still, this handsome article was the appropriate shirt for today’s outing, and if you want one of your own you can get it here.

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Minutes after arriving I looked back and all these people had filled in behind me.

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I do not endorse siccing a dog on Donald Trump. However I would be delighted to watch one tear apart his effigy.

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These are the folks ahead of me in the march. We entered Central Park West at 68th Street, and worked our way south toward Trump Tower

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Trump Tower within sight

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At this stage I left the enclosure, thinking I’d never make it all the way up to the main demonstration, which was a block south at the Columbus Circle corner of Central Park, across the street from Trump Tower.

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At this stage I had actually left the official demonstration. Notice the difference?

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This gave me great joy. Departing protesters showed their disrespect for our pretend President by depositing their protest litter in front of the sign advertising his architectural phallus substitute

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When I turned the corner I learned to my great happiness, that there was easy access to the main demonstration from the Columbus Circle side. (Which no one back at the main march knew — we were all instructed to enter at W. 68th). At any rate, I zipped over for a few minutes to see what I could see, and yell at a Trump building for a few minutes.

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These were the only bona fide anarchists I saw the whole time. Most of the folks I saw at the rally looked like families, senior citizens, students, young couples, and the like. At any rate, I imagine this sign far exceeds the radicalism of 99% of the people there. Presidents can be plenty infuriating, but most of us are quite fond of our Constitutional system. In fact, one of our major problems with the present President is the contempt he shows for that system.

Look! The protest followed me home!

Look! The protest followed me home!

Today, I Am a Muslim Too (Pix from Today’s Rally)

Posted in CULTURE & POLITICS, Protests with tags , , , , on February 19, 2017 by travsd

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Today was the “Day of Remembrance”, the 75th anniversary of the day FDR signed an executive order that resulted in the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans during WWII. I’m thinking it was no coincidence that this day was selected for the solidarity rally in NYC called “Today I Am a Muslim Too”. Trump’s Muslim ban and the greater anti-Muslim hysteria by him and his followers is a completely parallel phenomenon: an entire American minority group being punished, unconstitutionally and prejudiciously, for…nothing really. For being who they are rather than anything they, as individuals, did.

The location of the event seemed significant, too, to me, anyway. For it was held in Times Square, the site of a failed bombing attempt in 2010 by a Pakistani-American named Faisal Shahzad. It’s a point of pride with us New Yorkers to remain true to our mission as the Gateway to America, in spite of all the tests. We are the ones on the front lines (domestically, anyway) in the War on Terror. We are the ones who have been hit, repeatedly and hard (and sometimes ineptly) by actual terrorist attacks. Yet it’s y’all out in East Bumfuck who are the ones who are losing your shit, giving into fear, relinquishing everything America stands for in the name of “security”. Ain’t no Muslims coming to blow up your gas station, Gomer! Although you might want to keep a real good eye on your meth-head cousin in the cargo pants who’s heading for the mall right now. Here in New York we have the Statue of Liberty to keep us honest, and no one’s going to make us out a liar. All are welcome here. One Pakistani guy tried to bomb Times Square. So what? I’ve probably crossed paths with 1,000 other Pakistanis in my time here. And you know what? They DIDN’T!  Not punishing people and depriving them of their rights based on who they are is America 101!

Around 10,000 people came out to the event today, which was organized by Russell Simmons, Imam Shamsi Ali, Rabbi Marc Schneier, Daisy Khan, Linda Sarsour, and others. It was launched by a performance of the National Anthem, and followed by multi-denominational prayers (Christian and Jewish in addition to Muslim), and — as this was a religious solidarity event — I saw lots and lots of church groups. Children and old people. Veterans. Know what I mean? SEE THE PHOTOS BELOW. So when the orange schmuck in the White House and all his Cro-Magnon followers go on about how an event like this “unpatriotic” and it’s a bunch of violent jihadis who want to destroy America, don’t listen to them. Better yet, respond in New York-ese: tell them go to fuck themselves.

The speakers platform was on the other side of this flag. The event was on the other side. I only got there about 15 minutes after the announced start time, and I had to stand so far back I couldn't hear half of the speakers.

The speakers platform was on the other side of this flag. The event was on the other side. I only got there about 15 minutes after the announced start time, and I had to stand so far back I couldn’t hear half of the speakers.

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This is looking behind me, to the north. When I got there, no one was behind me. Ten minutes later I looked back and all these were there.

 

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This one was touching; hard to read because the sunlight is shining through: “I love my Muslim Family and Friends”.

 

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I couldnt get far enough back to get the Ms on either side! The girls were spelling out M-U-S-L-I-M, of course

I couldnt get far enough back to get the Ms on either side! The girls were spelling out M-U-S-L-I-M, of course

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Boy, was this guy in the wrong place

Boy, was this guy in the wrong place

 

My friend Gabriele Schafer was also there. Her pix better capture the scale of it, I think:

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Onward! Tomorrow is Not My Presidents Day and another huge protest planned outside Trump Tower.

Today’s General Strike Solidarity Rally in NYC

Posted in CULTURE & POLITICS, Protests with tags , , , on February 17, 2017 by travsd

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Theoretically today was a day of a general strike, which normally means a day when no one works or buys anything or conducts any business, but looking around the busy city I got the feeling there was precious little inactivity. But there was a rally at Washington Square Park with a couple thousand people. Wearing my critic’s hat, the event felt like a bit of a missed opportunity, particularly in the wake of the President’s deranged press conference yesterday and the thousand scandals bouncing around out there. The main problem was the lack of a decent P.A. Some guys spoke into a weak bullhorn but no one could hear them and they gave up…which translated into a lack of an organized, focused program.  It was less galvanizing than such events can often be. When some people started chanting “This is what Democracy looks like!” I found myself saying, “You got THAT right!”

But it wasn’t a waste of time, by any means — people rallied and chanted and talked and bonded. Appropriately we gathered near the statue of the great Italian freedom fighter Giuseppe Garbaldi: 

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My old pal the public historian Kathleen Hulser was there! I've learned a lot from this lady. It was kind of perfect running her next to the statue of Garibaldi.

My old pal the public historian Kathleen Hulser was there! I’ve learned a lot from this lady. It was kind of perfect running into her next to the statue of Garibaldi.

 

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It’s hard to make the fluorescent yellow writing out, but this flag has the verbatim language Trump used when he did his off-camera pussy brag

 

Protest merch salesmen. I'll lay dollars to donuts that NYC has a higher percentage of these guys at its rallies than other cities do.

Protest merch salesmen. I’ll lay dollars to donuts that NYC has a higher percentage of these guys at its rallies than other cities do.

Across the street from the park I came across this bus. At first I thought there’d be trouble from pro-Trump people…but it turned out to be some kind of satirical art project, which the details below made clear:

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This Is What Democracy Sounds Like

Posted in CULTURE & POLITICS, Protests with tags , , , on February 5, 2017 by travsd

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In addition to its long history as a traditional gathering spot for protest, New York’s Washington Square Park has an association with (often movement related) folk music just as long. Today’s “This Is What Democracy Sounds Like” gathering (a community singalong for freedom) looked to be just the sort of thing I would really love, but I’m still nursin’ my footsore feets. Luckily friends Noah Diamond and Amanda Sisk of Nero Fiddled and a certain Marx project (but not that one) were able to attend and were generous enough to share their photo impressions for those who don’t follow them on social media. Thanks, guys!

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New Yorkers, Please Show Your Support at This Tonight!

Posted in BROOKLYN, CULTURE & POLITICS, PLUGS, Protests with tags , , , , on February 2, 2017 by travsd

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What the F**k, Chuck?

Posted in BROOKLYN, CULTURE & POLITICS, Protests with tags , , , , on January 31, 2017 by travsd

I feared for attendance at tonight’s planned “What the F**k, Chuck?” rally at Grand Army Plaza, as Senator Schumer has now vowed to take a hard line and promised to block Trump’s remaining appointments (thus sapping the ostensible reason for the rally), and also it snowed and got a lot colder here in New York. But don’t underestimate the impatience of Brooklyn with the accommodating, flaccid postures Schumer’s taken a lot of the time thus far. Over 5,000 people turned out tonight to send him the message that we expect him to behave like a true opposition leader, or he can expect a serious fight in the next Democratic primary for his Senate seat. After a rally in the Plaza, we marched around the corner and made a big, festive stink outside his apartment building, Brooklyn style.

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At this point we started to march out of the Plaza

At this point we started to march out of the Plaza

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Here we'd turned onto Prospect Park West

Here we’d turned onto Prospect Park West

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Looking back towards the Plaza

Looking back towards the Plaza

 

What this photo fails to capture is that the box was being worn on a woman's head

What this photo fails to capture is that the box was being worn on a woman’s head like a hat

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The Hungry March Band  looking particularly pagan and hellish from their perch in Prospect Park -- they were playing "Which Side Are You On, Chuck?"

The Hungry March Band looking particularly pagan and hellish from their perch in Prospect Park — they were playing “Which Side Are You On, Chuck?”

Here's where I left, I'd been out for two hours and my fingers were too cold to work the phone any more. As you can see, the crowd stretches about three city blocks, all the way back to the arch. People were still arriving as I left

Here’s where I left. I’d been out for two hours and my fingers were too cold to work the phone any more. As you can see, the crowd stretches about three city blocks, all the way back to the arch. People were still arriving as I left

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