boston dnc - monday july 26th
today I go w/my friends to a dnc opening day party/rally/gathering in their neighborhood of Jamaica plain – the strategy of the dnc protest organizers is to have many smaller demonstrations & actions in individual neighborhoods rather than at the ‘protest pen’. besides the fact that the pen an outrageous affront to us, our liberties, & who the hell wants to be penned up to speak, I understand the city has decided to give very few permits to march. dennis kucinich is scheduled to speak, along w/other local folks, music is planned & spoken word, food and organizational tables as well. I set up a little codepink booth w/the progressive democrats who were gracious enuff to share their table w/me!
the park is very nice, not too big – we’re on a grassy knoll & the ‘stage’ is at the bottom of a slope allowing for folks to sit on the grass & get a great view too! about 200 people are here, reflecting the diversity of Jamaica plain. a giant spinal cord is also here – some artists have made a huge spine, about 40’ long, urging the democrats to get a spine!!! a small march is planned from the park to the house a few blocks away where the delegates from Tennessee are being housed. we have to march on the sidewalk – the police claim we will block too much traffic on the street – yet a police car follows the end of the marchers down the narrow boston streets successfully blocking traffic! as we approach the house we are all disappointed to hear the police have hustled the delegates off to safety, depriving them of a spinal boost! a helicopter appears overhead as one of the organizers informs us over a loud speaker that the delegates have left so we will follow the spine back to the park.
as we approach the park, we are stunned to see about 25 state police motorcycles lined up against the edge of the park, the officers standing at attention. across the street, pulled up on the sidewalks are many unmarked police cars and several boston city police cars. all of the sudden, there are almost more police than demonstrators. the march veers off over the t steps (the boston bart) and around the building to avoid confronting the police, and enters the park around another ‘unguarded’ corner. a group of us separate ourselves from the march to stand on the corner & loudly applaud the marchers.after everyone is back safely inside the park without incident, a few of us approach the police to ask them why they were here. one trooper, these were state troopers on motorcycles, glared at me & shouted ‘why are you here?’ I passed myself off as a jamaica plainer & said ‘this is my neighborhood, I’m at a neighborhood party’. he said he was here for the same reason. I asked him to join us & he said ‘why are you having a party’ & I said to promote democracy – of course he said he was too. I asked him how was he promoting democracy & he said he was here to protect people. I asked him if he was here to protect me? suddenly he refused to speak anymore. there were now 2 helicopters circling, along w/the multitude of police. we basically ignored them & continued staffing the tables as folks milled around – I talked w/lots of wimmin re:codepink & got a few to sign-up!
in retrospect, I think we (especially codepink) should begin speaking with police, making them real to us and us to them. as long as they can stand there, facing us down, they are too ‘other’, as we are to them. maybe we can come up w/a script (carol?), speaking points…?