Protest

Tag Archives

Angela Davis’ Women’s March speech: ‘this countrys history cannot be deleted’

Read the full transcript of her powerful address made on Saturday in Washington DC

At a challenging moment in our history, let us remind ourselves that we the hundreds of thousands, the millions of women, trans people, men and youth who are here at the Womens March, we represent the powerful forces of change that are determined to prevent the dying cultures of racism, hetero-patriarchy from rising again.

We recognize that we are collective agents of history and that history cannot be deleted like web pages. We know that we gather this afternoon on indigenous land and we follow the lead of the first peoples who despite massive genocidal violence have never relinquished the struggle for land, water, culture, their people. We especially salute today the Standing Rock Sioux.

The freedom struggles of black people that have shaped the very nature of this countrys history cannot be deleted with the sweep of a hand. We cannot be made to forget that black lives do matter. This is a country anchored in slavery and colonialism, which means for better or for worse the very history of the United States is a history of immigration and enslavement. Spreading xenophobia, hurling accusations of murder and rape and building walls will not erase history.

No human being is illegal.

The struggle to save the planet, to stop climate change, to guarantee the accessibility of water from the lands of the Standing Rock Sioux, to Flint, Michigan, to the West Bank and Gaza. The struggle to save our flora and fauna, to save the air this is ground zero of the struggle for social justice.

This is a womens march and this womens march represents the promise of feminism as against the pernicious powers of state violence. An inclusive and intersectional feminism that calls upon all of us to join the resistance to racism, to Islamophobia, to antisemitism, to misogyny, to capitalist exploitation.

Yes, we salute the fight for 15. We dedicate ourselves to collective resistance.

Resistance to the billionaire mortgage profiteers and gentrifiers.

Resistance to the healthcare privateers.

Resistance to the attacks on Muslims and on immigrants.

Resistance to attacks on disabled people.

Resistance to state violence perpetrated by the police and through the prison-industrial complex.

Resistance to institutional and intimate gender violence, especially against trans women of color.

Womens rights are human rights all over the planet and that is why we say freedom and justice for Palestine. We celebrate the impending release of Chelsea Manning. And Oscar Lpez Rivera. But we also say free Leonard Peltier. Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. Free Assata Shakur.

Over the next months and years we will be called upon to intensify our demands for social justice to become more militant in our defense of vulnerable populations. Those who still defend the supremacy of white male hetero-patriarchy had better watch out.

The next 1,459 days of the Trump administration will be 1,459 days of resistance: resistance on the ground, resistance in the classrooms, resistance on the job, resistance in our art and in our music.

This is just the beginning and in the words of the inimitable Ella Baker: We who believe in freedom cannot rest until it comes. Thank you.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jan/22/angela-davis-womens-march-speech-countrys-history-cannot-be-deleted


Fight the power: documentaries to unleash the activist in you

Children in poverty, rape in the military, mass murderers at large Oscar-nominated director Lucy Walker picks 10 powerful documentaries to galvanise you into action

The documentaries praised on these pages are all ones that fired me up, galvanised me into action, but they should not be considered my top 10 favourites of all time because there is just too much work that has meant too much to me. There are films that have brought justice to individuals such as The Central Park Five (directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon) about five black and Latino teenagers wrongly convicted of raping of a white woman jogging in New York in 1989.

In this category, I would also mention The Jinx (directed by Andrew Jarecki) about the real estate heir Robert Durst, accused of murder and the subject of a manhunt; and The Thin Blue Line (directed by Errol Morris) about a man sentenced to death for a crime he didnt commit. Then there are films that are such titans that it seems a waste of time to consider them again here. That list would be topped by Davis Guggenheims An Inconvenient Truth, about Al Gores mission to get the planet to wake up to global warming.

The Up series (1964-present)

7
7 Up, Michael Apteds original 1964 documentary following a group of British children. Our most recent meeting with them was in 56 Up. Photograph: ITV

To care for your fellow creatures is to want them to be happy and prosper, to want to change what is causing them to suffer. To see director Michael Apteds series which has followed the lives of 14 British children since 1964, when they were seven is to be confronted by social inequality. You quickly realise the evil of imagining that life is played on a level field, and that individuals can be judged fairly, or at all.

Whats shocking is to see how much is already determined by the time someone has turned seven. A fairytale of social inequality, this ongoing series, so groundbreaking in format and ahead of its time in every way, offers the clearest look at contemporary Britain. To know the world, its joys and its sufferings, is to want to change it. And this series, like the best work in any medium, helps me to know the world.

The Gleaners & I (2000)

Agnes
Agns Vardas The Gleaners & I. Photograph: Zeitgeist/Alamy

This might not quite fit the galvanising notion, but Agns Vardas film is no less vital a work. And, personally, I respond more to being gently inspired than harangued. My activism comes from my love for the world: I am a film-maker not an activist. I trust the audience and want to respect them by giving them the space to create their own meaning, their own responses.

Varda travels the French countryside, as well as the city, to find and film various groups of gleaners as they hunt for food, knicknacks, and discarded items. Her film has me thinking, looking, experiencing gleaning, in fact. Varda notes that her work is another kind of gleaning, which is artistic gleaning. You pick ideas, you pick images, you pick emotions from other people, and then you make it into a film.

What I gleaned from this film helped me make my film Waste Land. Released in 2010, it focused on the lives of Rio de Janeiros rubbish-dump dwellers and inspired practical change throughout Brazil, as well as individual behaviour. When I think of what might flash before me on my deathbed, I hope it will be the impact of my film.

The Invisible War (2012) and The Hunting Ground (2015)

The
The personal possessions of one servicewoman featured in The Invisible War. Photograph: Cinedigm/Docurama Films

These films by the formidable team of director Kirby Dick and producer Amy Ziering dont just tell riveting stories they break those stories and follow them up, creating a massive impact and bringing positive change. The investigative reporting is as strong as the film-making, fearless and commanding.

The Invisible War lifted the lid on sexual assault in the US military. It featured interviews with veterans recounting their assaults and identified common themes, such as the lack of an impartial justice system and reprisals against survivors. The documentary has been praised for its influence on government policies aimed at reducing rape in the armed forces.

The Hunting Ground followed that up by transforming our understanding of sexual assault on college campuses by arguing that educational institutions are failing to deal with it adequately. Lady Gaga co-wrote the song Til It Happens to You for the film. It was nominated for an Oscar and she performed it at the 2016 Academy Awards, notably introduced by vice-president Joe Biden in a rare political moment for the event. With her on stage, survivors of sexual assault revealed parts of their bodies with things like Not your fault written on them. It may not have won a gold statue but, for most viewers, it won the Oscars outright for its emotional power.

The Farm: Angola, USA (1998)

Prisoners
Prisoners head out on farm labour duty at the state penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana. Photograph: Bill Haber/AP

Everything you need to know about human justice is here in this film, directed by Liz Garbus, Jonathan Stack and Wilbert Rideau. Set in Americas infamous maximum security prison in Angola, Louisiana, the film follows the lives of six inmates who tell their own stories of life, death and survival in a place few will ever leave. It still makes me cry not because of the cruelty of the legal system and its representatives, but because of the breathtaking grace of the so-called felons.

The Act of Killing (2012) and The Look of Silence (2014)

Lack
Lack of remorse The Act of Killing.

The first of Joshua Oppenheimers documentaries looks at the individuals who took part in the Indonesian mass killings of 196566. When Suharto overthrew Sukarno, the president of Indonesia, gangsters Anwar Congo and Adi Zulkadry took control of a powerful death squad and targeted communists. Anwar, who is said to have personally killed 1,000 people, recounts and re-enacts his killings for the cameras. What makes the film extraordinary is the lack of remorse, even the glee, as they put on costumes and cackle to recreate the crimes even as compatriots recall tortured relatives.

The Look of Silence, meanwhile, focuses on the story of one man whose brother was murdered and who confronts his killers. Again, none expresses sadness, though the daughter of one is evidently highly moved. Its with the second film that these works resolve and achieve masterpiece status in my mind.

Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Michael
Michael Moore in Bowling for Columbine. Photograph: Moviestore/Rex/Shutterstock

Ideally, I would actually include everything Michael Moore has ever done, up to and including 2015s Where to Invade Next, a sort of travelogue full of lovely inspirational stories about countries where things get done right. But Bowling for Columbine, about the 1999 high-school massacre, was Moores big breakthrough. Sometimes we need these bright lights on a dark night. We gather together and remember. Good things can be accomplished, lessons can be learned.

13th and I Am Not Your Negro (both 2016)

Two astounding new documentaries. The title of the first, by Ava DuVernay, refers to the 13th amendment to the constitution, which outlaws slavery in the US. The film progresses from that to the horrors of mass criminalisation and the prison industry.

The second, by Raoul Peck, is narrated by Samuel L Jackson and is based on an unfinished work by James Baldwin about civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.

These documentaries demand to be seen now. I dont even want to delay you by listing any more. Just stop reading and track them down right now. This is your call to action. Go!

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/02/documentaries-to-unleash-the-activist-in-you-lucy-walker


Fight the power: documentaries to unleash the activist in you

Children in poverty, rape in the military, mass murderers at large Oscar-nominated director Lucy Walker picks 10 powerful documentaries to galvanise you into action

The documentaries praised on these pages are all ones that fired me up, galvanised me into action, but they should not be considered my top 10 favourites of all time because there is just too much work that has meant too much to me. There are films that have brought justice to individuals such as The Central Park Five (directed by Ken Burns, Sarah Burns, David McMahon) about five black and Latino teenagers wrongly convicted of raping of a white woman jogging in New York in 1989.

In this category, I would also mention The Jinx (directed by Andrew Jarecki) about the real estate heir Robert Durst, accused of murder and the subject of a manhunt; and The Thin Blue Line (directed by Errol Morris) about a man sentenced to death for a crime he didnt commit. Then there are films that are such titans that it seems a waste of time to consider them again here. That list would be topped by Davis Guggenheims An Inconvenient Truth, about Al Gores mission to get the planet to wake up to global warming.

The Up series (1964-present)

7
7 Up, Michael Apteds original 1964 documentary following a group of British children. Our most recent meeting with them was in 56 Up. Photograph: ITV

To care for your fellow creatures is to want them to be happy and prosper, to want to change what is causing them to suffer. To see director Michael Apteds series which has followed the lives of 14 British children since 1964, when they were seven is to be confronted by social inequality. You quickly realise the evil of imagining that life is played on a level field, and that individuals can be judged fairly, or at all.

Whats shocking is to see how much is already determined by the time someone has turned seven. A fairytale of social inequality, this ongoing series, so groundbreaking in format and ahead of its time in every way, offers the clearest look at contemporary Britain. To know the world, its joys and its sufferings, is to want to change it. And this series, like the best work in any medium, helps me to know the world.

The Gleaners & I (2000)

Agnes
Agns Vardas The Gleaners & I. Photograph: Zeitgeist/Alamy

This might not quite fit the galvanising notion, but Agns Vardas film is no less vital a work. And, personally, I respond more to being gently inspired than harangued. My activism comes from my love for the world: I am a film-maker not an activist. I trust the audience and want to respect them by giving them the space to create their own meaning, their own responses.

Varda travels the French countryside, as well as the city, to find and film various groups of gleaners as they hunt for food, knicknacks, and discarded items. Her film has me thinking, looking, experiencing gleaning, in fact. Varda notes that her work is another kind of gleaning, which is artistic gleaning. You pick ideas, you pick images, you pick emotions from other people, and then you make it into a film.

What I gleaned from this film helped me make my film Waste Land. Released in 2010, it focused on the lives of Rio de Janeiros rubbish-dump dwellers and inspired practical change throughout Brazil, as well as individual behaviour. When I think of what might flash before me on my deathbed, I hope it will be the impact of my film.

The Invisible War (2012) and The Hunting Ground (2015)

The
The personal possessions of one servicewoman featured in The Invisible War. Photograph: Cinedigm/Docurama Films

These films by the formidable team of director Kirby Dick and producer Amy Ziering dont just tell riveting stories they break those stories and follow them up, creating a massive impact and bringing positive change. The investigative reporting is as strong as the film-making, fearless and commanding.

The Invisible War lifted the lid on sexual assault in the US military. It featured interviews with veterans recounting their assaults and identified common themes, such as the lack of an impartial justice system and reprisals against survivors. The documentary has been praised for its influence on government policies aimed at reducing rape in the armed forces.

The Hunting Ground followed that up by transforming our understanding of sexual assault on college campuses by arguing that educational institutions are failing to deal with it adequately. Lady Gaga co-wrote the song Til It Happens to You for the film. It was nominated for an Oscar and she performed it at the 2016 Academy Awards, notably introduced by vice-president Joe Biden in a rare political moment for the event. With her on stage, survivors of sexual assault revealed parts of their bodies with things like Not your fault written on them. It may not have won a gold statue but, for most viewers, it won the Oscars outright for its emotional power.

The Farm: Angola, USA (1998)

Prisoners
Prisoners head out on farm labour duty at the state penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana. Photograph: Bill Haber/AP

Everything you need to know about human justice is here in this film, directed by Liz Garbus, Jonathan Stack and Wilbert Rideau. Set in Americas infamous maximum security prison in Angola, Louisiana, the film follows the lives of six inmates who tell their own stories of life, death and survival in a place few will ever leave. It still makes me cry not because of the cruelty of the legal system and its representatives, but because of the breathtaking grace of the so-called felons.

The Act of Killing (2012) and The Look of Silence (2014)

Lack
Lack of remorse The Act of Killing.

The first of Joshua Oppenheimers documentaries looks at the individuals who took part in the Indonesian mass killings of 196566. When Suharto overthrew Sukarno, the president of Indonesia, gangsters Anwar Congo and Adi Zulkadry took control of a powerful death squad and targeted communists. Anwar, who is said to have personally killed 1,000 people, recounts and re-enacts his killings for the cameras. What makes the film extraordinary is the lack of remorse, even the glee, as they put on costumes and cackle to recreate the crimes even as compatriots recall tortured relatives.

The Look of Silence, meanwhile, focuses on the story of one man whose brother was murdered and who confronts his killers. Again, none expresses sadness, though the daughter of one is evidently highly moved. Its with the second film that these works resolve and achieve masterpiece status in my mind.

Bowling for Columbine (2002)

Michael
Michael Moore in Bowling for Columbine. Photograph: Moviestore/Rex/Shutterstock

Ideally, I would actually include everything Michael Moore has ever done, up to and including 2015s Where to Invade Next, a sort of travelogue full of lovely inspirational stories about countries where things get done right. But Bowling for Columbine, about the 1999 high-school massacre, was Moores big breakthrough. Sometimes we need these bright lights on a dark night. We gather together and remember. Good things can be accomplished, lessons can be learned.

13th and I Am Not Your Negro (both 2016)

Two astounding new documentaries. The title of the first, by Ava DuVernay, refers to the 13th amendment to the constitution, which outlaws slavery in the US. The film progresses from that to the horrors of mass criminalisation and the prison industry.

The second, by Raoul Peck, is narrated by Samuel L Jackson and is based on an unfinished work by James Baldwin about civil rights leaders Medgar Evers, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King.

These documentaries demand to be seen now. I dont even want to delay you by listing any more. Just stop reading and track them down right now. This is your call to action. Go!

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2017/jan/02/documentaries-to-unleash-the-activist-in-you-lucy-walker


Want to protest Trump’s inauguration? The government may not let you

Permit for Presidential Inauguration Committee grants space along parade route for pre-screened ticket buyers and activists are suing over free speech worries

If you want to protest Donald J Trumps inauguration from in front of the president-elects luxury hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue, you may have a tough time.

Thats because the US National Park Service guarantees space to a little-known organization called the Presidential Inauguration Committee,which reserves space along the inaugural parade route for a pre-screened group of ticket buyers.

Not very free speech, you say? Well, theres a group of protesters that agree with you.

For us, its a critical issue about whether the government will get to give the prime spot, the most visible locations on the inaugural [parade] route, to a private entity which is collecting donations from banks and multinational corporations, said Ben Becker, a New York City-based organizer for Answer (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism).

The PIC, run by a president-elects appointees, organizes, raises money and sells tickets. As it stands, the National Park Service has set aside three-quarters of Freedom Plaza for the PICs exclusive use, and the remaining quarter for media, meaning that none of the plaza is open to the public. Parts of Pennsylvania Avenue are also set aside for PIC exclusive use. A group of protesters sued the agency to allow protesters in these areas.

We think its essential that the courts not simply privatize Pennsylvania Avenue, so that the street is sanitized of all dissent, said Becker.

Because tickets to the PICs bleachers are not traditionally available to the public (though Obama made some available), protesters say the government is essentially supporting one-sided political speech, that of the incoming administration.

However, US district court judge Paul L Friedman ruled in favor of the National Park Service in January. Friedman ruled the inauguration parade is essentially government speech, meaning it is irrelevant whether the speech is one sided.

The US department of justice also argued the speech could not be one-sided, because the views of the incoming administration are completely unknown until the administration is in place.

The DoJ did not respond to a request for comment from the Guardian, but in filings argued that 84% of the parade route remains available for the public.

Answer is appealing that ruling, and hoping for a decision from appellate courts before 20 January 2017 inauguration day. Suing on the protesters behalf is Partnership for Civil Justice Fund, which started litigating the case in 2005, long before Trumps election.

Whats happening here is that the government is setting aside public space, traditional public fora, thats supposed to be available to the people for speech, for debate, for assembly, said Partnership for Civil Justice Fund attorney and co-founder Mara Verheyden-Hilliard. And theyre setting it aside for a private, partisan, political organization which is the Presidential Inaugural Committee.

Answers case against the National Park Service is actually the organizations second time litigating against space considerations for the PIC.

The National Park Service first attempted to set aside parts of Freedom Plaza and Pennsylvania Avenue for the PIC by accepting its permit ahead of other organizations. The park service told all public groups that it only accepted demonstration permits on a first come, first served basis, and only within 12 months of the inauguration.

But in practice the park service provided the PIC with permits in advance of a year.

Answer sued on the grounds that such preferential permitting was unconstitutional and they won but the National Park Service then wrote the PIC into its regulations, prompting further legal action.

Portions of Pennsylvania Avenue, National Historic Park and Sherman Park are designated for the exclusive use of the Presidential Inaugural Committee on Inaugural Day for: ticketed bleachers viewing and access areas, regulations say.

This time, the courts ruled against Answer.

This is an entity that raises tens of millions of dollars around the inauguration from deep-pocketed funders and supporters and lobbyists of the incoming administration, said Verheyden-Hilliard.

People want to speak out at this critical political moment, to say they are united in opposition to racism, to bigotry, to misogyny. And the government is actually pointing to areas up and down the parade route including, significantly, Freedom Plaza, whose dedicated purpose is for freedom of assembly, and the space in front of the Trump hotel.

Members of the committee include loyal Trump fundraisers, such as Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson and Los Angeles real estate investor Thomas R Barrack Jr.

The lawsuit seeks to allow protesters in front of the Trump International hotel and elsewhere along the roughly 12-block parade route along Pennsylvania Avenue.

Even if protesters win this round before inauguration day, they may face another challenge to protesting in front of the hotel: they might need Trumps permission.

The hotel, housed in a former federal mail-sorting facility, was leased to the billionaire by the US General Services Administration for his hotel. That means the plaza in front of the building (excepting the sidewalk) is now under the control of the Trump organization.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/17/trump-inauguration-protest-pennsylvania-avenue


‘Anarchy on Sunset Strip’: 50 years on from the ‘hippie riots’

In November 1966, the birthplace of the hippie movement was shaken by a confrontation that was an early salvo in the culture wars to come

Fifty years ago this week, a riot took place on Los Angeless famous Sunset Boulevard. Bemused reports appeared in the days that followed with headlines like Long Hair Nightmare: Juvenile Violence on Sunset Strip, and Anarchy on Sunset Strip. All of them speculating on why middle-class, mainly white, youths should riot on a street better known for elegant Hollywood nightspots. Although the street cuts through Los Angeles, from Figueroa Street to the Pacific Coast highway, the riot, AKA the hippie riots and the Sunset Strip Curfew Riots, occurred right in its heartland, in and around 8118 Sunset Blvd, just off Crescent Heights. The focal point was Pandoras Box, originally a jazz club but since 1962 an independent music venue and gathering place for long-haired and mini-skirted youths in search of music, recreational drugs and casual sex.

From the perspective of local bankers, restaurateurs and real estate moguls, the alcohol-free, purple and gold Pandoras Box, located on a mid-boulevard traffic island, had become a magnet for an unseemly, ie cash-strapped, possibly subversive, crowd. Business leaders railed against the newcomers, claiming they were causing late-night traffic congestion. Their answer: remove the island, widen the road, put in a three-way traffic signal and turn the locale into a high-rise business area. To facilitate their plan, local businesses pressed the city council to pass ordinances that would ban loitering, establish a 10pm curfew, and demolish the building once and for all.

For those who congregated in the area, their soundtrack consisting of Dylan, the Byrds, Frank Zappa, Buffalo Springfield, Love and the Doors, the curfew was nothing less than an infringement of their civil liberties and right to gather in public. This exacerbated by the fact that over the previous months police had arrested thousands of young hippie-types, most of them guilty of nothing more than hanging out on particular streets. Which is why on 12 November, the Fifth Estate coffee house, located a block from Pandoras Box, printed and passed out flyers that read, Protest Police Mistreatment of Youth on Sunset Blvd. No More Shackling of 14 and 15 year olds. Written by two teenagers, the flyers called for a peaceful protest that night in front of Pandoras Box. Local radio disc jockeys announced the event as well. That night about 3,000 teenagers showed up carrying signs with slogans like Cops Uncouth to Youth and Give Back Our Streets. Also in attendance was a smattering of hip Hollywood, such as Jack Nicholson, Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda.

sunset
The Sunset Strip curfew riot AKA the hippie riots, outside Pandoras Box. Photograph: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Faced with a multitude of protesters, the police realized enforcing the curfew might only make matters worse, and so tried to stay calm and out of the way. But when a scuffle broke out, the result of a minor road accident, 155 LAPD officers and 79 sheriffs deputies moved in with teargas and batons, turning what had been a relatively peaceful gathering into a something far uglier. Ordered to disperse, the crowd responded by hurling rocks and bottles at the police, smashing windows and overturning vehicles.

The areas pro-business county supervisor, Ernest Debs, called the youths misguided hoodlums. While Captain Charlie Crumly, commander of the LAPDs Hollywood division, insisted that leftwing groups and outside agitators had organized the protest, going on to say that there are over a thousand hoodlums living like bums in Hollywood, advocating such things as free love, legalized marijuana and abortion. No doubt such statements contributed to the sporadic disturbances that continued on the Strip over the next few months.

Dissatisfied with coverage in the local press and use of the term riot to describe events on the Strip, the Byrds manager and Elektra record producer, Jim Dickson, teamed up with the Beatles and Beach Boys press officer, Derek Taylor. With support from the Woolworth heir Lance Reventlow and Gilligans Island actor Jim Denver, they formed Community Action for Facts and Freedom (CAFF), which, among other things, organized a benefit concert to raise bail money for those arrested and help pay for damaged property. Although the Strip was somehow able to maintain its status as an unofficial counterculture zone, a number of licenses were withdrawn and clubs closed. Later in the month the city council acquired Pandoras Box. It was the same month in which Ronald Reagan was elected governor, an propitious start to his rise to power. The following year saw the demolition of Pandoras Box. These days what was Pandoras Box is nothing more than a triangular concrete slab, while the sleazy appeal of the Strip has been replaced by corporate logos and pay-to-play venues.

American
American Graffiti. Photograph: Everett/REX/Rex Features

Looking back, one might say that the November riot was influenced by the infinitely more important Watts insurrection of a year earlier. However, it was probably closer in spirit to the wave of generational and predominantly white challenges to authority which, during the 1950s and 1960s, centered on the right to inhabit the street at night. These came from various quarters, like the cruising subculture, which, in that era of cheap gas and wide roads, took the form of driving down main thoroughfares, as in American Graffiti, and drag racing, as in Rebel Without a Cause. Challenges also came from that eras surfing subculture, whose young legions were set on garnering what freedom they could within relatively restrictive boundaries. For either, occasional confrontation was inevitable. Though the riots on the Strip couldnt compare to the 11 riots that took place in a six-month period in 1961, disturbances that stretched from Zuma Beach, where 25,000 teenagers showed up to pelt the police with sand-filled beer cans, to faraway Alhambra, Rosemead and Bell, prompting articles in the press to the effect that such confrontations must surely have been communist-inspired.

With curfews commonplace in many towns and cities, these disturbances were, whatever the instigating complaint, about who controls public space and the right to congregate in those spaces. At the same time, such events did much to politicize many of their participants, graduating as some would from adolescent disrespect for arbitrary authority to larger issues, such as protesting against the war in Vietnam and supporting jailed Black Panthers.

How important was the Sunset Strip riot? With business interests on one side, and peace and love advocates on the other, it was, if nothing else, an early salvo in the culture wars, a battle which continues to this day, with conservatives continuing to blame societys ills on what they perceive as the permissiveness of that era.

Perhaps the riots most lasting effect had to do with the music that came out of that event. At least when it comes to Buffalo Springfields For What Its Worth, now heard ad nauseam in beer adverts, movies, TV shows, plays and just about any film footage depicting a confrontation between police and demonstrators. But there were other, lesser known, songs, like the Standells ridiculous Riot On Sunset Strip, the hilariously sincere S.O.S. by Terry Randall, the equally fervent Open Up the Box Pandora by the Jigsaw Seen, the plaintive Scene of the Crime by Sounds Unreal, the bathetic Safe In My Garden by the Mamas and the Papas, and, arguably the most interesting of the lot, Frank Zappas Plastic People. There was also the kitsch B-movie, Riot on Sunset Strip, directed by Arthur Dreifuss (whose career went from directing Brendan Behans The Quare Fellow to exploitation mishaps like The Love-In and The Young Runaways), which includes footage of the riot, and, incredibly enough, was released within four months of the original disturbance.

Eventually, business interests would find a way to profit from the peace and love market, exploiting its music and fashion, while co-opting its language for political gain. Within a couple of years a street that had been a fairly benign, even innocent, meeting place had mutated into a mecca for dropouts, acid casualties, bikers, consumers of bad speed, exploitative entrepreneurs and sexual predators. Be that as it may, the Sunset Strip riot is best thought of as a statement regarding the right to congregate, part of a protest movement that continues to this very dayand includes such diverse sites as Stonewall, Zuccotti Park, Tahrir Square and the streets of Ferguson, Missouri. Maybe what was happening on Sunset Boulevard, as the song says, wasnt exactly clear, but it was certainly part of a process to own the night, reclaim the streets and say no to arbitrary authority.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/11/sunset-strip-riot-hippie-los-angeles


Trump Tower becomes focus for protesters and partisans of New York

The Republican president-elects base, a hitherto unremarkable building in midtown Manhattan, is now subject to tight security and a no-fly zone

Perhaps no other building has shot from irrelevance to epicenter as quickly as Trump Tower in midtown Manhattan.

Following Donald J Trumps shock of a winning campaign, the home of the president-elect has drawn to its doorstep the full presidential protection apparatus, as well as both sides of a deeply divided nation.

Hes a male chauvinist, a fucking rapist! yelled a woman, streaming the experience to the world on her phone. Fuck Trump!

Scuse me! There are kids here, another woman yelled, looking harried as she pushed through the crowd with a stroller, a tiny hand grasping hers.

A circus of protesters, supporters, tourists, gawkers and New Yorkers just trying to get where they were going formed in front of Trumps home by the end of the week. Pedestrian traffic rivaled Times Square, as police arbitrarily cordoned off corners. Press were kept in a pen.

A uniformed cop adjusting barricades remarked: This building was never important until just a couple days ago.

The gray-glassed skyscraper on 56th Street and 5th Avenue was, on Monday, just a tower of steel built atop Gucci and Tiffany & Company stores. By Wednesday, it became the site of protests and pleas, rancor and adulation. The stink of a bitter campaign lingered over the building.

Trump eat shit! yelled one passerby. Another yelled back, What about Bill Clinton? his phone raised above the crowd.

A man with a sign scribbled on a spiral-bound notebook yelled, Antisemitism is not OK! The man, from Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, said he came to protest about the way Jewish journalists were attacked, during the campaign. He asked to be identified by James G, because he feared retaliation. I guess I just feel vulnerable right now, James said. This is the first time Ive ever protested anything.

Others approached him and wondered aloud whether Trump would, quote the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, a fraudulent early 20th-century document used to justify antisemitism.

Hundreds
Hundreds protest near Trump Tower in Manhattan. Photograph: Nathanael/Rex/Shutterstock

Added security in front of the building made it look more like a fortress than the monument to luxury it was presumably meant to embody. The Federal Aviation Administration instituted a no-fly zone in the area. Residents of the buildings, at Trump Tower and along the street, were required to show ID to get past barriers, New York police officers and the US Secret Service.

New York area newspapers have reported that residents are considering moving from the tower.

These are wealthy people. They dont need this, and they cant take it any longer, an unnamed real estate broker told the New York Post. They no longer want to stay there. Some of them are already planning on moving out, and theyll decide later whether or not they want to sell.

Deliveries of soda, dry cleaning, stationery and catering were all eyeballed for authenticity before guards let them behind blockades.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/nov/11/trump-tower-protesters-new-york-security


Recent Tweets

Call Now Button