This morning, New York City joined many other localities around the USA in mounting demonstrations in support of the Wisconsin workers. It was nothing like Madison, let me tell you.
As I noted in one of my reports from Madison last week:
A New Yorker couldn’t help but be struck by how there was no effort to keep people out of the Capitol—no metal detectors, no police lines, in fact only a handful of cops inside the building. Indeed, in New York City you can’t even get near City Hall any longer, much less just walk into the building. You’d have been cordoned off blocks away, where no one important would have to see or hear you.
The city lived up to this sad tradition. Here’s what City Hall looked like as the demo was going on—fenced in and nearly lifeless.
Down the street a bit, even City Hall Park itself—once the site of a vigorous protest culture before Giuliani shut everything down in the name of fighting terrorism—was empty.
The only area open to demonstrators was the sidewalks on either side of the triangular park, safely south of City Hall itself, along Broadway and Park Row.
The officially sanctioned demo pen was a fenced-in area along Broadway, mostly south of Murray St. Once the area was full, cops forbade any further entry.
When we arrived, gasbag and tax cheat Rep. Charlie Rangel was going on about taxing the rich—not mentioning the fact that Gov. Andrew Cuomo, a fellow Democrat, was blocking the extension of a surtax on high incomes in New York, against the wishes of about two-thirds of New Yorkers. When he was done, he was succeeded at the podium by New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who took some pot shots at Scott Walker and Chris Christie—who are odious, no doubt—but again, not a word about Cuomo, who prefers laying off teachers to extending an existing tax on the rich.
(Side note: the Working Families Party, which had once agitated for the extension of the Millionaire’s Tax in New York, seems to have gone quiet over the issue—nothing on their website on the issue for more than a year. Let’s hope this is a temporary aberration, and not a sign of their subordination to Cuomo’s agenda. A query is in to WFP director Dan Cantor.)
What an ossified political culture. Penned in, to listen to politicians spew bullshit. Very different from listening to people chanting “We will fight back” inside the Wisconsin state capitol.
A few of the signs. Here’s one for Camp Kinderland, an old, mostly Jewish, Commie children’s camp in the Berkshires. Among its more distinguished alumni: progressive educator Michael Klonsky, right-wing pundit Sol Stern, Nation associate publisher Peter Rothberg, and actress Marisa Tomei.
Heartwarming, but the place’s glory days are well behind it.
Yeah, the Koch’s are a horrorshow, but it’s not like they’re responsible for the right turn in the USA.
Curiously, unlike Madison, not a visible or audible word about Cairo.