SANTA MONICA—While the “Blue Dog Coalition” of conservative Democrats held a fundraiser soaked in corporate dollars on the Santa Monica Pier, an upstart group of demonstrators threw their own beach party on the sand below to kick off Al Gore’s big week in L.A.
“We’ll name the criminals,” said Margaret Prescod of the D2KLA network, a lead organizer of this week’s protests, pointing a finger at the tented pier. “Some of the people who are standing right up there are the grand thieves among the multinationals.” From a stage set up on the beach, she called for the end of a “government that has been privatized with the people’s money” but without their consent.
“The Democrats have so sold out,” said Medea Benjamin, Green Party candidate in California for Senate and founding director of Global Exchange. “We wouldn’t be caught dead with NRA money. But they take money from the NRA. They mouth pablum and hypocritical statements to throw people off. At least with the Republicans we already know they’re in bed with assholes.”
Poets and hip-hop performers entertained the mostly under-35 crowd, but some of the biggest cheers came when Doris Haddock, a/k/a Granny D., took the stage. Haddock, 90, walked from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., in January and February of 1999 to garner support for campaign finance reform. “Right now they are up there (on the pier) selling our elections,” she shouted. “Vote with your hearts and let the chips fall where they may. The future must be our concern, not any one election. The only wasted vote is a vote not cast.”