The Third International after Lenin

Friday, September 25, 2009

Товарищ Х on Pittsburgh G20 Protests & Marches

Товарищ Х, a local Cleveland comrade of mine, was able to attend the 9/20 demo in Pittsburgh. He initial notes after returning home are below. His Twitter posts on Pittsburgh and other issues related to building independent labor political action can be found at:

Товарищ Х - 9/20 at the G20

“The most stirring speeches came not from the the several labor leaders, not from the politician (who did, however, take Obama to task for his words to the G20 that belittled mass demonstrations), not from the clergy (though they too were militant more than they were sermonizing), but from workers in the thick of the fightback against, global exploitation (there was a clear sense of the need for global solidarity among workers to fight these conditions in many of the speeches), low pay, job loss and eviction.

“One of the speakers drew a comparison between this event and the early stages of the mass movement in Guadeloupe. I find this particularly apt. When Élie Domota spoke here in Cleveland recently, one of the union organizers in the crowd asked him how he had been able to organize a demonstration that brought one fourth of his country's population into a single mass demonstration. He said that they started from an event that had 5 speakers at the podium, with 2 in the chairs out front " and one of those was a cop." Our event seemed, very much, a later stage in this same process.

There was a clear will, through all of the proceedings, to bring Guadeloupe's party to our streets. Our folks will be back to the streets, in ever greater numbers, ever more militant, until we have the strength to overturn the unjust system that oppresses us.“Another activist remarked that while he thought this an impressive event, he had expected numbers approaching 3000 (we made the number of marchers, at the start, at something more than 200). I pointed out that our March for Jobs was a prelude to the general G20 protest which would be forming up over several days and would, most likely, peak on the 25th. He agreed that this was a more likely time to look for the large numbers that he hoped for.“There were cops everywhere with cameras, fancy rigs with telephoto lenses. Mostly they were content to photograph us from the streets that lined the route of the march, perhaps also from their helicopter that circled overhead. I turned my sign ["FREE TROY DAVIS/ FREE LEONARD PELTIER" on one side "FREE MUMIA ABU JAMAL" on the other] side-to-the-sky several times so they might get a better picture of it. One or two of the cops passed through our ranks, camera in hand, at the Tent City before the march, and at the square where we assembled at the end of the march. Clearly there is something more afoot than a sudden great surge in the number of photo enthusiasts in the local constabulary. [I recall that the same sort of photos were used to direct the home invasions, and roundup of protestors and journalists, at the DNC and RNC in the run up to the last two presidential elections.]

“The "combat ready battalion" from the national guard, assigned to Pittsburgh for the event, was not to be seen. Neither were the cops as heavily armed as the often are, in this city, when they are not cultivating their interest in the photographic arts.“I by the way lost it in an argument with a person that I believe to have been one of the ACLU stool pigeons assigned to the G20 protest. He drew me into a heated argument over the role of the ACLU before I noticed that he was recording our conversation with his cell phone. Several of our number had earlier filled out about 6 pages of a blue interview questionnaire, and I mentioned to two of them, with the interviewers still present, that the ACLU had published its plan to share such information with the Pittsburgh cops. Later, in the course of the march, some character proffered a couple of leaflets to Frances. I stowed these for her. He later returned and asked to have his leaflets back. After retrieving them from me he left again, then returned to chat me up on the ACLU. Pressed on my views, I launched into a tirade against the published ACLU plan to circulate among the workers at this event taking interviews that they proposed share with the Pittsburgh cops, suggesting that he not take my word for it but instead should check out their website, where I learned of the plan. He pressed on with "why would the ACLU want to do such a thing." I replied, "To fulfill their historic role. If there's a correct spelling of Quisling in American English, it's A-C-L-U. The organization was founded buy an Anarchist, a Communist and a Socialist, yet in the 50's, they refused to defend the Communists." It was quickly downhill from there, with him pointing out that the arrests that they might be enabling were not yet happening, to the point where I noticed his recording device, pushed him away on his last approach, and told him to go "interview" somebody else. With very little more provocation I would have decked the son-of-a-bitch. Reflecting back on this, I think what steamed me more than his provocative probing was the surreptitious recording in the context of all that police surveillance and of the ACLU program to aid that surveillance as best they might.”


Today Товарищ Х reports:

There is this grudging acknowledgement from the bourgeois media:

Massive 'Peoples' March' Touches Oakland, Downtown, North Side - Pittsburgh News Story - WTAE Pittsburgh