7/10New York Demo: VICTORY!
Pro-democracy groups like Democrats.com, DemocracyMarch.org, and CLG have accomplished something that we have been trying to do since the election. Form a coalition with the other groups that have reason to be angry at Bush. Sure we are concentrating our anger on the fact that Bush stole the election and they are angry at different parts of the Bush agenda, but in order for our movement to remain viable and vital we must combine our issues. At DemocracyMarch.org, we see it this way: since Bush is illegitimate, the extremist conservative agenda that he is trying to force down people's throats is also illegitimate. Therefore issue oriented groups and our groups can join together and strengthen each other in a common cause: fighting Bush and the right- wing coup. So the fact that other issues besides the stolen election were covered in the midtown demo,. but that we were all united in a common message-- FIGHT BUSH -is something to be very proud of. At last count we had 18 co-sponsors, including Planned Parenthood, NOW-NYC, and the New York Sierra Club.
Of course it was easier to accomplish on a local level. But this shows it is possible and that it is only the beginning of process that could actually (I can dream, can't I.) unify the left. We were actually very close to getting some local Greens to formally endorse the demo, but they did publicize it and turn out some members.
This is very powerful, a unified left can more effectively stop the right wing from setting the agenda and encourage to Democrats to be more progressive, which would probably cause a lot of Greens to defect. But at this point we've got to respect their differences and not blame them for the election-which only causes dissension when we all need to unify against Bush and his henchmen.
As to those who had so many fears about how the media was going to portray this as being anti-Catholic, I and others who have been around the protest block a few times, knew these fears were overblown. What I kept trying to tell people is that the more our people were there, the more likely they would have a sound bite and therefore get our message out. So anyone who had fears about how it could have been portrayed, should have been working to get more of our people there, not less.
We were very lucky. Channel 11 gave Bob Fertik from Democrats.com a sound bite where he spoke about the stolen election. Channel 7 showed a woman with a "Thou shalt not Steal" sign while explaining that there are protesters that are "still" upset about the stolen election. Nothing in any of the coverage made the protesters seem disrespectful to Cardinal O'Connor or the Church. As I told people, the press is interested in "what the story is." After the selection of Bush, the press lost interest in the election controversy, but now the news is Americans-especially New Yorkers (and people in other progressive areas) don't like Bush. The fact that his approval ratings dropped in five recent polls makes this a story. The fact that Bush was soundly defeated in NY and has been avoiding coming here till now was a story and was played up in a big way by all the media-that's the story we fit into, not the honoring ceremony that was irrelevant to our demonstration. BTW, the protest was covered in an article on the front page of the New York Times in which they estimated the crowd at 500-and they always underestimate it, like marches in Washington that have 100,000 people but the NYTimes says 20,000. Well, you do the math.
Considering that Bush kept changing the date, we did not know esact details until a few days before, and some people were confused about the canceling of a related protest, we did an excellent job and should feel great that all our hard work under very difficult circumstances paid off.