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Props to Ben Ehrenreich on an excellent job reporting on the DNC demonstrations [“Rants and Reflections,” August 25–31]. Much applause to the Weekly for publishing an article that I consider to be one of the fairest and most just accounts of the demonstrations that I have yet to see in a major news source. And how refreshing it was to see that for once a newspaper journalist actually acknowledged the Independent Media Center. Thanks again for reporting responsibly (and passionately).
I am a Minneapolis resident who was in L.A. for the protests during the DNC. I marched, shouted in rallies and worked at the L.A. Independent Media Center. Naturally, I have been incensed at the slanted, inaccurate coverage of the protests appearing in most media. However, Ben Ehrenreich’s story “Rants and Reflections” is the single best coverage of the police presence and the activists that I have read in any mainstream source. So good, I am hesitant to call you “mainstream.” Thanks for the great work.
—Jeremy David Stolen
I simply want to say, as a former L.A. resident now living on the East Coast, and as an anarchist, thank you, Ben Ehrenreich, for doing your job as a journalist.
I desperately wanted to be with my comrades in L.A. but was unable to make it, so I remained glued to my computer reading la.indymedia.org and various mailing lists containing news about the protests. I have to say that if your article is not the best overview I’ve read about the de m on strations, it is certainly among the very best.
The point that Ben Ehrenreich’s “Rants and Reflections” article missed is that the protests failed because the protesters allowed the police to define the protest message. If the point of protest is to persuade the rest of us to take up a cause, then one must use tactics and strategy that arouse sympathy. Just think about it for a moment. Any person who chooses to get in the face of cops on the street, especially LAPD robocops, must obviously be either crazy or violent, hardly the sort of person the rest of us would want to rally around.
Compare the mannerisms of these protesters with the black protesters of the 1950s and ’60s marching with Martin Luther King Jr. Imagine today’s kids dressed up instead of dressed down, singing quiet songs instead of giving cops the finger, praying instead of delivering silly puppet shows, broadcasting a single message like “voter rights” or “boycotting buses” instead of their confusing “MumiaCorporateGreed AnimalRightsRampartsDeathPenaltyHomelessnessWelfareRights SweatshopsSaveWhalesTreesBlahBlahBlah . . .” message.
If the D2K (and R2K here in Philadelphia) protesters had provided a clear, dignified message, your cops and our Philly cops would have had nothing to do. All the police planning would have looked absolutely silly. Instead, the protesters in both our cities managed to make your Chief Parks and our Commissioner Timoney look like heroes — to the rest of us.
—Mr. Rosamond Kay
All of these articles I’ve read and people I’ve spoken to about Monday night’s events at the DNC like to attack the police and leave out several important facts. I’d like to provide a few. I was there — I saw it firsthand. The police tolerated about an hour of rock throwing, slingshot-fired metal pellets and handicapped-parking-sign throwing by a mob of so-called anarchists who did not demonstrate a capacity for common sense or level heads, much less clarity of purpose. When the police moved in to sweep out the people remaining — people who had plenty of time to go home but refused to leave, people who stayed for the sake of a confrontation with the cops and to photograph that confrontation — those poor, scared, confused, compassionate, lost people began to throw glass bottles at the mounted police. Glass bottles. At the horses. And then, when they were being swept away — those poor, lost, compassionate bottle throwers — they continued to defy the police.
Stupidity is scary. I too would fire rubber bullets at it.
At no point have I read an honest account of what went on Monday night. People are just out to support their agenda of criticizing the LAPD and suppressing the facts. The LAPD can be brutal — I know from firsthand experience — but they were cool cats at the convention, especially considering their fears and the potential for mass chaos.
Thank you for your coverage of the activists at the DNC. It is unfortunate that most of the corporate press did not address most of the important issues that were protested against. L.A. Weekly reports from Sarah Ferguson, John Seeley, Charles Rappleye and Ben Ehrenreich, however, were very insightful and powerful about the police-state mentality in the streets, and how most of the city and nation did not get the real story. Hopefully activists and unionists in Los Angeles will continue the coalition with the energized and radicalized young people who were in the streets of L.A. to unite with us for progressive issues. That is what the establishment is so afraid of.
Big Brother, Big Daddy, Whatever
In his recent commentary on Shishir Kurup’s An Antigone Story [“Cause Without a Rebel,” August 18–24], Steven Leigh Morris would have us believe that previous Antigone authors “Sophocles and [Jean] Anouilh [are] turning in their graves,” when the only person inspiring those authors to do so is Mr. Morris himself. Tragedy is not responsible for whether or not “progressives” have the ammo to battle “Big Brother,” nor is it designed to enliven political dissent. Mr. Morris is trying to trap Shishir Kurup’s wily and beautiful mode of storytelling in terms that an analyst of the Democratic National Convention could appreciate. Antigone — all of the Antigones — have so much more to say to us.
Rather than try to cram such a bountiful and numinous production into the box of What I Learned in Theater 100, any commentary should engage the breadth of the play. This production has so much to say about what’s been going on with all the conventions and protests, with the cynicism of youth and the cynicism of age, with the creeping power of corporations, with what each of us will do with the lives we have been given. Antigone lives, and more vibrantly than ever thanks to this latest incarnation.
—John J. Flynn
Back with a Vengeance
Greg Burk’s interview with Rob Halford [“What the Hell?,” August 18–24] was great. I had the fortune of seeing Halford twice on this most recent tour, and let me tell you, he’s back with a vengeance. It is always nice to see a person of considerable talent let down his guard and discuss things in an open and sincere manner. If you get a chance, thank Rob and his band for the superb shows.