The day of direct action protest started in front of the New York Public Library, while a chic party out back supplied its own security guards and [click4pic] rental equipment. On the main steps, the [click4pic] police cleared the area; the public library was, after all, “private property.”
This perhaps set the tone for the day, even as the protestors showed their will to dissent and the cops showed their muscles. Language and law competed to see who could roll most in the mud, and Herald Square took its turn as microcosm [click4pic]: confusion, aggravation, and abashed soft paralysis vied for the role of prime affect.
Demonstrators and passersby found themselves bound together in the morass of bureaucratic control (one detects an allegory brewing…) as the officers went about their strategy of cordoning off every corner, making pro tem holding cells [click4pic] without the niceties of arrests. Meanwhile, numbers of protestors dropped and locked arms, and were swiftly arrested. The flow of officers into the area, red lights pulsing, continued like a hemorrhage in reverse until well after dark; some activists determined the route by which delegates advanced on the convention hall, strategically blocking traffic to inquire, “Are you children fighting, are your children dying?”
The delegates were strategic themselves; strategically late, that is. It may have been, as one protester/union member called the Garden, “an unfree zone where the bread’n’circus is taking place.” Nonetheless, during the roll call to see if the sitting president could earn the nomination the old-fashioned way, the floor was [click4pic] filled with empty seats; political junkie or not, nothing deadeneth the spirit quite like hearing Utah’s spokesmodel expound on the virtues of his fine Tabernacle Choir before casting his handful of votes into the whirlwind.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 31, 2004