Hang a Black Ribbon, Raise a Clenched Fist

Inauguration Protest: Washington, D.C., and New York City

It's Bush's party and you can cry if you want to. Or you can crash it. True to the left's polymorphic ethos, there are plenty of ways to rain on the president's parade, from anarchists hoping to reprise their egg-throwing assault on his limo in 2001 to more liberal-minded folk who are calling on people to simply "Turn Your Back on Bush" in silent indignation. Not to be confused with "Turn Your Cheeks on Bush," a/k/a "Critical Ass," an open call to moon Bush's motorcade as it whips by.

But how do you get a spot on Pennsylvania Avenue without getting ambushed by Secret Service or squeezed out by the Freepers? Those unreconstructed Marxists of ANSWER have secured a set of bleachers to compete with the $125-a-seat viewing stands for Bush fans, and they're still suing for more access. Currently ANSWER holds a permit for the largest protest spot en route—John Marshall Plaza at 4th and Pennsylvania—so many groups are heading there.

Among them is a group called 10,000 Jesuses, which is urging folks to spurn Bush in savior drag. There's also an anti-inaugural rally in Malcolm X Park, and there are several mock funeral processions to mourn the "death of democracy," if not common sense. One morbid activist has even designed a wound sticker to call attention to all those maimed in Bush's war of choice. Perfect for sporting at the mass die-in called by the D.C. Anti-War Network (DAWN) to take place opposite the White House. "Bring fake blood, broken baby dolls, and flowers," urges an e-mail adviso.

Or slap a wound on your shoulder as you navigate street closings in the Capital with D.C. Critical Mass. For those who prefer their satire dry with a twist, Billionaires for Bush will be auctioning the Social Security trust fund and the Arctic Wildlife Refuge. Not to be outdone by Republican extravaganzas, they're also hosting their own "re-coronation" ball. If that's not enough to drown out your tears, there's a punk bash with Anti-Flag, an anti-inaugural Town Hall, and a "Noise Against Facism" blowout featuring Sonic Youth's Thurton Moore and Kim Gordon and other loud acts. See Counter-Inaugural.org for a complete list of D.C. actions and after-parties.

For New Yorkers who want to boo Bush but don't want to get on the bus, there are options. Peaceniks will vigil outside the United Nations, Pax Christi will read off the names of those killed in Iraq opposite St. Patrick's Cathedral, and Women in Black will mourn in Union Square. Another group is hosting an anti-Bush skate at Rockefeller Center. If that doesn't vent your spleen, join the primal scream during rush hour in Times Square.

Or just do nothing. A national campaign called Not One Damn Dime! is asking people opposed to Bush and the war in Iraq to show their collective spending power by not buying anything for 24 hours. You could also ditch work with Black-Thursday.com, skip school with the National Student Walkout, or wear black with BlackThursday.org, which shouldn't be hard for most New Yorkers.

But in NYC, it seems, most folks would rather get drunk than rage. There are several anti-inaugural parties to lift your spirits—including a ritual egg toss at a mock presidential limo in Williamsburg for those who couldn't get their freak on in D.C. There are also some thought-provoking assemblies for those who want to talk about how we survive the next four years.

D.C. Events

  • Critical Mass
    Thursday, 7:30 to 10:30 a.m.
    Union Station (50 Massachusetts Avenue NE), around the statue of Christopher Columbus
    A spirited three-hour ride through downtown D.C.
    There will be a second Critical Mass at 4 p.m. to buzz the inaugural balls and parties.

  • Rise Against Bush, Shine for a Peaceful Tomorrow
    Thursday at 9 a.m.
    Malcolm X Park, 16th and Euclid streets NW
    Sponsored by United for Peace and Justice and the D.C. Anti-War Network, this permit-holding event features a rally with Democracy Now radio host Amy Goodman, Stan Goff of Military Families Speak Out, Media Benjamin of Code Pink, Michael Ratner of the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Green Party candidate David Cobb, followed by a march at 11 a.m. to McPherson Square (15th and I streets), where other groups are converging.

  • DAWN Non-Violent Die-In
    Thursday at 11 a.m.
    Malcolm X Park, 16th and Euclid streets NW
    March to the intersection of H and 16th streets, one block from the White House. Bring names of those killed in Iraq and Afghanistan and flowers.

  • Women's March and Funeral Procession
    Thursday, 9 to 11 a.m.
    Dupont Circle. March to McPherson Square, 15th and I streets
    "Accompanied by a New Orleans–style jazz band, diverse protest groups mourn the loss of American freedoms."

  • One Thousand Coffins
    Thursday at 11:15 a.m.
    Malcolm X Park, 16th and Euclid streets NW; march toward the White House
    "An alliance of military families, vets, Muslims, Christians, and Jews will parade over 1,000 coffins in ceremonial formation—in outrage at the combined loss of more than 100,000 lives in the brutal and bloody war in Iraq. Pallbearers needed."
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