Archive for rally

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.


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.






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




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






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












Trump Tower within sight


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.



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


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


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.




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


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.







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.








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






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


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:



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


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: 














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.



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:





New Yorkers, Please Show Your Support at This Tonight!

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


Last Night’s Rally in Support of Muslims and Immigrants

Posted in CULTURE & POLITICS, ME, Protests with tags , , , , , , , on January 26, 2017 by travsd


Trump’s Executive Orders authorizing a travel ban on Muslims from certain countries and initiating the building of the wall on the Mexican border, prompted an emergency rally at Washington Square Park last night organized by CAIR-NY (the Council on American Islamic Relations). There were a few hundred folks already gathering when I arrived at the beginning, so I managed to get near the front. By the time I had to leave for an appointment midway through the program, thousands were behind me, filling the park.

You’ll find increasing coverage of such events on Travalanche for two reasons: 1) I believe in fighting the threatened oppression on every front and in every forum; and 2) from a more distanced perspective, I have always been highly interested in meta-theatrical cultural activity like parades, pageants and protests as well as the behavior of crowds and audiences. Protest assembly is a cultural practice, which incorporates folk art and even high art, and in practically every discipline: the visual arts, movement and dance, often puppetry, music, theatre, and of course speech and rhetoric. I have sometimes even attended protests with which I did not necessarily agree in order to observe (e.g., I went to anti-globalization marches in the ’90s, though I generally approve of free trade). And last night, while I did attend to wholeheartedly support Muslim-Americans, refugees, and the rights of the undocumented, I do not necessarily politically align myself with, say, the people from the “Revolutionary Workers Movement” who were in front of me, other than in the specific purpose for which we gathered that night. This all goes to day that, while I hope you share my anti-authoritarianism and my concern for our targeted fellow Americans, posts like the present one are not nearly as outside the scope of our usual beat (theatre and vaudeville) as they superficially seem, for they are both politics and theatre.


It was fitting, I felt, for us to meet at Washington Square Park last night, near the arch that bears the first President’s name. It was Washington who penned this beautiful letter in 1790 to the Jewish congregation in Newport, Rhode Island. Muslims, too, are “children of the stock of Abraham”, but Washington’s words apply across all faiths:

To the Hebrew Congregation in Newport Rhode Island. Gentlemen,

While I receive, with much satisfaction, your Address replete with expressions of affection and esteem; I rejoice in the opportunity of assuring you, that I shall always retain a grateful remembrance of the cordial welcome I experienced in my visit to Newport, from all classes of Citizens.

The reflection on the days of difficulty and danger which are past is rendered the more sweet, from a consciousness that they are succeeded by days of uncommon prosperity and security. If we have wisdom to make the best use of the advantages with which we are now favored, we cannot fail, under the just administration of a good Government, to become a great and happy people.

The Citizens of the United States of America have a right to applaud themselves for having given to mankind examples of an enlarged and liberal policy: a policy worthy of imitation. All possess alike liberty of conscience and immunities of citizenship. It is now no more that toleration is spoken of, as if it was by the indulgence of one class of people, that another enjoyed the exercise of their inherent national gifts. For happily the Government of the United States, which gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.

It would be inconsistent with the frankness of my character not to avow that I am pleased with your favorable opinion of my Administration, and fervent wishes for my felicity. May the children of the Stock of Abraham, who dwell in this land, continue to merit and enjoy the good will of the other Inhabitants; while every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. May the father of all mercies scatter light and not darkness in our paths, and make us all in our several vocations useful here, and in his own due time and way everlastingly happy.

G. Washington






The Anti-Trump Protests in NYC

Posted in CULTURE & POLITICS, ME, Protests with tags , , , , , , on November 12, 2016 by travsd

Well, we’ve done our best not to have a TOTAL blackout here on the blog, but it was hard, especially on Wednesday, when I pretty much wanted to just Get Off the Earth. I think within a day or so I might be ready to return to regular content streams. After all, if I don’t, the Trumptistas Will Already Have Won. But this morning I HAD to write just a regular old theatre feature for The Villager — I’m under deadline. It’s good discipline to do something you don’t feel like doing. And if I did it today, I guess I can do it tomorrow or Monday, barring the next unfathomable sucker punch to the American soul.

But another thing that put wind back in my sails was gathering with thousands of protesters the last couple of days, and it did my heart good: A) to hear so many people expressing such positive sentiments: “We’re with you!”, and B) It gives you courage to experience the numbers of people feeling just like you.

I took a few snaps.

Actually I did drop by the rather small gathering at Union Square on Thursday and met up with a friend. I think I’ll leave her name out, because there’s no time like the present to start growing more cautious. I went in the afternoon, and it was the opposite of heartening, just a small number of people and a large proportion of them cranks. But it was good to see my friend and get out a little.



A little inspiration. One of the speakers reminded me of the Gandhi statue tucked away nearby

But yesterday (Friday) I went to a march that started at Washington Square Park — much bigger, more exciting, more energizing. I got there sometime around 4. I love it when you can hear the voices before you see the crowd. When I arrived the group encompassed the area from under the arch all the way past the fountain.





At this stage, the already large gathering was joined by a nearly-as-large group of chanting marchers. Not sure where they came from — maybe Union Square. It was hard to get in a photo, a video would have been better.



At this point I walked over to Union Square to see if there was anything happening. There wasn’t, so I came back. I was bummed at first to see Washington Square now blocked off:


I could see the marchers across this gulf but couldn’t get to them. But then I walked west and saw that they were spilling into the street and marching, so I joined them there.



This one was taken as we marched up Sixth Ave, drawing near 14th Street. It was heartening to see all the cheers of onlookers as we passed. I saw only one dude with a “Make America Great” cap along the way. He seemed to be trying to “Make Himself Important” by pretending to direct traffic. Anyway, I had to peel off at around 23rd Street to get to an appointment.

The plan today is to meet at Union Square Park after noon and stage a march en masse up to Trump Tower. I’m a little worried folks won’t make it all the way there — so many opportunities for cops to round up, pen and arrest people along the way. Wouldn’t it have been better just to meet uptown? But the visibility of the journey is also good, and it can snowball. If it’s like yesterday, people will join us all along the way. Please come if you can. It’s important to get the message across that A) large numbers of people disapprove of Trump’s policies. Only a minority voted for him. Clinton won the popular vote and most people just sat on their hands and didn’t vote for anybody. He has no ACTUAL mandate for his heinous platform. and B) It’s important to let the frightened people — there are millions of them — know that their fellow citizens have their backs.

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