Jewish World Review July 6, 2004 / 17 Tamuz, 5764

Zev Chafets

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If Mayor Mike wants W to win, he should unleash the protesters on GOP's big show


http://www.jewishworldreview.com | The mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, came to the Republican Party the same way Madonna has come to mystical Judaism - late in life and with a discernible lack of piety.


As a result, some cynics question Bloomberg's party loyalty. He now has a chance to lay those doubts to rest.


If the mayor really wants four more years of Dubya, he'll quit playing games with the leaders of United For Peace and Justice and give them a license to commit street politics during the Republican convention in late August.


City Hall has handed out permits to other, smaller protests. But United for Peace and Justice intends to be the big show. It plans to rally 250,000 anti-warriors in Central Park and march them past Madison Square Garden.


Citing concerns about security, traffic and lawn care, the mayor is suggesting a different assembly point: a closed-down segment of the West Side Highway. That's as far off Broadway as you can get without falling into the Hudson.


But Bloomberg shouldn't be trying to push the demonstrators into Jersey. On the contrary, he should welcome them to midtown, at prime time.


Why? The answer is right there on the United for Peace and Justice Web site, which contains a roster of groups that "share our goals" for the impending demonstrations.


These include some well-known pillars of the Democratic progressive establishment - the National Council of Churches, the National Organization for Women, Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition and MoveOn. The participation of such mainstreamers inevitably links the Democratic Party to United for Peace and Justice and to the hundreds of groups on its list of sponsors.


The lineup includes the Al-Awda, Palestine Right to Return Coalition, Connecticut chapter. The Anti-Capitalist Convergence. The Anti-Imperialist News Service. The Communist Party U.S.A. and, separately, the Communist Party branches of New York, Maryland and central Indiana (who knew?).

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Want more? The Chicago Committee to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal. The Chicago Cuba Committee. House of the Goddess Center for Pagan Wombyn. The International Socialist Organization. The International Solidarity Movement. No Blood for Oil. Pakistan FATA Peace Forum. Psychoanalysts for Peace and Justice. Queer to the Left. The Raelian Religion. The Ruckus Society. Socialist Action, Socialist Alternative and the Socialist Party U.S.A.


Also, Students Against Testing (I'm not making this up), the Young Communist League U.S.A., Youth Crime Watch of the Gambia and the School of Journalism of the University of Texas.


The Peace and Justice people swear on a stack of Weathermen pamphlets that they don't intend to reenact Chicago 1968. If they are fibbing, the Democrats are sunk. Americans don't much care for political street violence, and they expect the major parties to control their supporters. When the parties don't, they pay. After the '68 convention riot, law-and-order parties got almost 60% percent of the vote.


Even if the Texas student journalists, Gambian crime fighters, Connecticut Hamas-niks, Raelians and Young Communists do nothing more than skip merrily down Eighth Avenue calling for the overthrow of American imperialism and the Bush junta, John Kerry's got a problem. GOP ads are already calling the Democrats "wild-eyed." That perception won't be lessened by radical street theater, especially if it stars some of the party's icons.


In fact, this is the stuff of Republican dreams. If Mayor Bloomberg truly wants a Bush victory, he'll welcome the United for Peace and Justice people to the city as if they were Shriners, put them up in Central Park, hand out little bottles of mineral water - and make sure the nation's TV cameras have easy access to every minute of the Days of Rage, 2004.

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JWR contributor Zev Chafets is a columnist for The New York Daily News. Comment by clicking here.

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