Friday, April 29, 2011
Haters Drowned Out In Boston Common
By Steve Gillis
Published Apr 27, 2011 6:41 PM
Shock-troops for right-wing big business who call themselves the Tea Party held an April 15 “tax day” rally on Boston Common. They hoped to showcase their well-paid, rabid, local talk-show mouthpieces, Wisconsin’s former Republican governor. and also their support for a Democratic Party-sponsored bill in Massachusetts that would take away unions’ collective bargaining rights for health care and other benefits.
Rally organizers also passionately promoted tax cuts for the rich and spewed racist fury toward the Obama administration, while extolling a Jim Crow campaign to require picture identification at the polls. One of their presidential wannabes, the union-busting, social-service-slashing ex-governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, was the featured speaker.
But they got outflanked by the Women’s Fightback Network, Steelworkers Local 8751, and dozens of allies from the anti-war and social justice movements. These anti-fascist forces had gathered a block away at the crowded Park Street subway station, where they held a public speak-out against the racism, anti-union hostility, sexism and bigotry directed at lesbian, gay, bi, trans and queer people by the Tea Party, which is sponsored by the super-rich Koch brothers.
Just as the bigots’ rally was to begin, the anti-racists hoisted their banners and signs and silently marched into enemy territory.
The “tea partiers” looked stunned as they turned, lowered their hateful signs, split down the middle to make a path, and watched the counter-demonstration take over the front of their stage.
As the haters’ first speaker ran to the microphone, the opposing forces pulled out their own megaphones and launched into spirited chants of “Racist, sexist, anti-gay! Tea Party bigots, go away!” and “Union yes! Tea Party no!”
The bigots — numbering only a few hundred, compared to last year’s 5,000 assembled for Sarah Palin’s tirade — were furious. They lashed out with fists, elbows, spittle and violent, obscene invective. The progressive forces took minor casualties but held their ground for two hours, blocking the stage view with their banners and signs, and blasting out working-class truth while constantly interrupting the right-wing’s program.
As noted by many local television reports, at one point the bigots’ emcee pleaded with the protesters to leave, claiming, “All we want to do is pray.” They never did pray, and he never got his wish, which was drowned out by unionists, women, youth, anti-war and immigrant rights voices demanding “Money for jobs, Not for war!”
The Pawlenty campaign had to resort to images from out of state because only resistance was visible in Boston.