The U.S. vs. The People

The surprise is not that the NYPD spied on protestors in advance of the 2004 Republican National Convention, which was held, with “Democrat” Mayor Bloomberg’s full blessing and support, in Manhattan; most of the activist groups already suspected they were being monitored. What is shocking is that, all these years after Nixon tried to deport John Lennon for daring to protest the Vietnam war, the authorities still seem baffled by the very idea of social commentary. This from a cover story in Sunday’s New York Times:

A police report on an organization of artists called Bands Against Bush noted that the group was planning concerts on Oct. 11, 2003, in New York, Washington, Seattle, San Francisco and Boston. Between musical sets, the report said, there would be political speeches and videos.

“Activists are showing a well-organized network made up of anti-Bush sentiment; the mixing of music and political rhetoric indicates sophisticated organizing skills with a specific agenda,” said the report, dated Oct. 9, 2003. “Police departments in above listed areas have been contacted regarding this event.”

As those of us who date our involvement back to Rock Against Racism (if not necessarily back to the Free John Sinclair campaign) can testify, “the mix of music and political rhetoric” indicates nothing more sophisticated or organized than good intentions. And those usually flounder against the brick wall of reality. The fact that the NYPD felt compelled to spy on Bands Against Bush would therefore be purely pathetic if it were not also so damn funny. In a pathetic kind of way.

Previously at iJamming:
DVD Review: The U.S. Vs. John Lennon

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October 2021