Critical Mass Reportback

26 09 2004

Fred Askew has been taking dope photos of the nyc activist scene for quite awhile. He’s hip to what’s going down and keen on capturing the magic, needless to say he was there last friday to record September’s Mass.

The ride was a huge success given the level of intimidation and fear mongering the police were employing to try and keep people from participating. Riding one thousand strong we rode up Park avenue with a police escort of 20 or so new vespas, blocking traffic and generally facillitating the ride as they normally do, only this time they liked to think they were in “control.”

This notion was broken wide open when the front of the ride was in the heart of Times Square–on broadway passing 43rd street–just as a break-away group of a few hundred cruised from 43rd street to join us. The white shirt cop that had been trying to “control” the ride could only stare and shake his head in frustration. I took the opportunity to ask him “Who’s in control now!” He didn’t answer.

The Mass continued south on broadway until 36th street where a small amount of craziness ensued. I was with a break away group on 36th street and came very close to getting boxed-in (aka trapped). But my good buddy Timmy and i recognized what was happening and succesfylly made run for the corner. Minutes later other people escaped through a parking garage that opened onto 37th street. Eventually 9 people were arrested on 36th street, but were released in a few hours, some with their charges dropped. Regardless, the Mass continued for a good hour or two, cruising throughout donwtown.

The big story about 36th street was when people locked their bikes up and walked away the cops cut through their chains to take their bikes. So while only 9 were arrested, 40 bikes were confiscated. There is a great article from the NY Times about what happened. The NYPD is digging a bigger hole for themselves. The state is incredibly bull-headed.

bike_theft_1.jpg bike_theft_2.jpg

Still We Ride!

24 09 2004

During the RNC bike riding was pretty much criminalized, of the 1800 or so arrests almost 400 were cyclists…

For the cycling community in New York, the struggle continues on the eve of this month’s Critical Mass. Once again the police have made threats and the corporate media is covering it, so far including Newsday and The Daily News not to mention various TV news outlets.

Bike Riding is Not a Crime!


24 09 2004

It has proven more difficult than i thought, to put my own thoughts together concerning the RNC, let alone summarize here. The resistance around the RNC has dissipated, NYC activism has evolved for the better and many of us are moving forward.

Immediately after the RNC i felt humbled by the enormity of the “Machine” and its incredible strength, relative to my own. The general strategy of the state is to treat “protesters” as domestic terrorists. This is best exemplified by almost all articles equating global justice movement convergences as a gathering space for “violent anarchists.”

The press loves this propoganda and pumps-up the message, which succesfully plays the fear card to create political cover for the criminalization of dissent when the police shred the constitution in the process of clearing the streets.

Following the initial wave of sadness and frustration i have been able to be more up beat. These days, online resources abound for those interested in telling their own stories and writing their own history. I am doing my best to be a part of that record.

I have been able to meet many really amazing people in New York and other activists from across the country. Ultimately the RNC experience for me was about making human connections. These bonds continue to evolve and strengthen with time.

Following are a few worthwhile links:

Fred Askew always takes awesome photos.

This is a good article from NYC indymedia with various corporate media roundup of the coverage.

The Washington Post managed to write an accurate article weeks after the RNC was over, concerning the abuse of power.

going back to work

9 09 2004

I haven’t “worked” (to pay the rent) since mid August or so. Tomorrow i’ve got a 12 hour day of reality TV ahead of me. I feel pretty lucky in that i can take that much time off and still make ends meet.

But after watching many of my friends get pre-emptively arrested, held for more than 24 hours without arraignment and having the NY Times and other corporate media outlets blow the trumpets of the “Kelly Doctrine” as a tremendous success, returning to pump out more corporate propoganda stings in a different way.

I am still wondering how to summarize what happened. I am getting closer to a few solid conclusions.

For now a good resource for what really happened is being put together by our good old friends at Infoshop

Still Free!

4 09 2004

To all friends and family, i seem to have avoided arrest during the RNC resistance that is now drawing to a close. New friends and old are beginning to leave the city, our collective energy is dissipating and the future is uncertain. I am gathering my thoughts and will be posting an update soon.

I have found it is important to avoid corporate media’s analysis of what has happened. In addition to being biased, their conclusions are necessarily fractional and devoid of the thousands of personal experiences we all shared and created during the last month.

I am changed by all of this, but don’t nearily have the hindsight to draw larger conclusions. Now i am just struggling to adjust back to “‘normal” life.

More later…

jail support

2 09 2004

just came back from doing jail support, tired and worn out. there are still about 600 people in jail from yesterday’s actions. at this point they have all been there for more than 24 hours, which puts the justice system on legally shaky ground.

a lot of succesful actions took place yesterday, in addition to some fucked-up shit as well–i’ll post more about that later. right now i am concerned about friends in jail. the lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild have told us they are openly trying to keep the 600 from being released en-masse until after Bush gives his speach tomorrow night.

Incidentally, little George’s PR antics were disrupted late lastnight.

The City and the 9/11 legacy has been defended well by the resisitance.