& The July 25 Antiwar Demo in Boston
(A personal report by Nicholas Levis, July 27)
Several thousand people from around the world attended last weekend’s Boston Social Forum to promote cooperation and cross-pollination among social justice movements. I don’t believe there has been this kind of energy, urgency and enthusiasm tied to a global perspective for far-reaching change since the decline of the Sixties movements. More than ever, people know that it all fits together: ecology, local economics and global finance, social justice, minority rights, women’s rights, the need for democratization, putting an end to the new global feudalism, imperialism and perpetual war. Most impressive was the obvious vitality of a wildly diverse, growing and determined American opposition to Bush, which understands that unseating him is only the beginning.
There were more than 600 events scheduled along ten “tracks,” and although the average time block featured about 30 simultaneous meetings, every room I passed seemed to be packed. I can hardly report on the whole thing!
A contingent of 9/11 Truth activists visited the Boston Social Forum to promote our own activities. We found that 9/11 Truth has turned into a welcome cause among antiwar, peace and social justice activists. The vast majority are willing to listen, they no longer consider screwy the idea that intel elements inside and outside the U.S. government allowed the attacks or were complicit. Nearly everyone in the scene by now has seen the Deception Dollar and is at least aware of our theses. About a quarter of the people present seemed to be informed about 9/11 research. Fahrenheit 9/11 for its shortcomings has provided a welcome opening; for starters, everyone now understands the significance of Bush’s reading lesson at the elementary school. It disturbed me that so many people acknowledge 9/11 Truth but only as yet another “issue,” which is not the point. Horrible as the attacks were, 9/11 itself is not a major “issue.” Its relevance today is as a catalyst for mobilizing and unifying all single “issues” towards ending the covert-power system that underlies most of our problems in society. The main point about 9/11 is to challenge how reality has been defined for us.
We handed 9/11 Truth packages (including copies of The New Pearl Harbor) to actor Danny Glover, major rap DJ Davey D, Daniel Ellsberg, Dennis Kucinich and many others. There was a lively 9/11 Truth session with Ellsberg. At a simultaneous, packed session on urban strategies, Davey D made a point of mentioning the latest song by Jadakiss, which includes the line, “Why did Bush knock down the towers?” and of promoting the free-download Paris song, “What Would You Do,” which argues that 9/11 was an inside job.
After Kucinich delivered an impassioned appeal to begin preparing for peace rather than for war, I popped the 9/11 question before the 600 people attending his speech. Allow me to recount my question fully, for those who want to try something like this themselves: “On an almost weekly basis, the ‘Department of Terrifying the Homeland’ issues warnings that the Next 9/11 is coming, and in recent weeks they have raised the prospect that a new attack may cause the election to be postponed. There may be real terrorists but the ‘War on Terrorism’ has nothing to do with stopping them. It is a scam designed to frighten Americans into false consensus behind repressive policies. Meanwhile, millions of people think 9/11 itself was a scam.” (At that, about one-third of the crowd interrupted to applaud.) “They think the dirty tricks used by covert operators on the world during the last 60 years were applied to the United States itself, to create the pretext for war. The case against the official story has been summarized ably in this book, The New Pearl Harbor” – I held up the book – “which I wish to give to you right now. Isn’t it about time a politician addressed these concerns, which are shared by millions of citizens in this nation and around the world?”
As I handed him the book and a packet of 9/11 Truth endorsements – the cameras were rolling – Kucinich began his response by distinguishing between 9/11 as event and 9/11 as metaphor. He focused mainly on the metaphor, saying it has been wrongly used to justify war and repression, and to generate fear. He returned to the event as one worthy of examination, but for the first time seemed uncertain what to say. He acknowledged that there are questions, and said these should be dealt with in town meetings across the nation, where people can bring their ideas and submit them to discussion – where, for example, the 9/11 Commission Report could be considered alongside “this book” (The New Pearl Harbor). Some people think “they (the administration) knew about the attacks and allowed them to happen” but Kucinich says he does not agree. There were brief calls as someone yelled out, “It was an inside job!” He also said that the election would under no circumstances be postponed, and that raising this issue merely showed how irresponsible and anti-democratic the present administration is. Kucinich conceded that these matter need to be examined, but soon found his way back into an inspiring set-piece about replacing the power of war with the power of love.
At any rate, Dennis cannot claim he is unaware of the 9/11 Truth movement.
As for the antiwar demo Sunday at the Boston Commons, the turnout was low (about 2,000-3,000) and personally I think this is due to exhaustion with the ANSWER approach. Their scream-from-the-podium rhetoric takes an accusatory, simplistic approach, with little to offer to convince mainstream America. Sometimes I think 100,000 suburbanites at a demo is ANSWER’s nightmare scenario. Since the next war is not yet on the horizon, and “nothing happened” recently (the massacres in Iraq and Palestine continue, of course), it’s little surprise people prefer to concentrate on the election, for better or worse.
The biggest action was at all the booths along the fairway. Thousands passed through there and the 9/11 table did brisk business. People snapped up our signs and Deception Dollars willingly. We didn’t have them on poles, or we would have quadrupled the visual presence, since people are about four times as likely to take a sign when it is on a pole. However, several newspapers ran photos with the signs reading “Expose the 9/11 Cover-up” and “Fiscal Ruin… Endless War… Only 9/11 Truth Will Set US Free.”
Though I believe the permit was rejected (according to what I heard from the stage) the cops were low-key on the sidelines, no big barricades, and nothing much happened in the way of trouble. But trust the media to find a suitable molehill for magnification: One of the guys from the simultaneous anti-abortion actions around Boston set himself up along the fairway with a giant, graphic picture of a dismembered fetus. He got into a fight with a protester. The security expelled him. Cops arrived to escort him out of the park. (Later he came back and went unmolested.) While this was happening, a wolf-pack of literally 40-60 camera and microphone people swirled around anyone that appeared to be involved, rushing to and fro like a top. Half of them didn’t have a clue what it was about. Result? A picture in the NY Daily News showed the guy confronted by the protester, with the headline, “Protest Turns Violent.” (Long sigh.)