New York City’s financial center is still burning. As the rescue workers dig up the ruins buried embers reignite. The pall of smoke trickling from lower Manhattan is a constant reminder of the carnage and devastation NYC is just beginning to cope with. Rescue workers tell grim tales of body parts and charred remains. The papers posted all over town with “missing” written above their picture are getting worn and sadly ironic in the firm conviction that there is no one left to save. Except the rest of us perhaps.
The larger activist community in New York has sprung into action. A call went out and the meeting mobilizing for the Washington, DC IMF / World Bank protest was immediately transformed into a 150 person coalition to fight the drive toward war and the inevitable racist backlash. Four days later we met again and there were over 300. The coalition includes anti-globalization folks plus Vieques support, anti-prisons groups, Palestinian support, anarchists, older peace activists, and downtown students, many just arrived in NYC. While another huge coalition of old left and labor groups is arguing in midtown, the downtown coalition has done a candle light vigil against war and the racist backlash and the nations first major march from Union Square to the Times Square army recruiting station. The police tried to box us in but the five thousand person strong march proved too slippery and eventually took Times Square. Seven were arrested for standing on the sidewalk with the help of police from NJ, PA, OH, upstate NY, and the national guard. A motley invasion of our city has taken place.
New Yorkers are acting in a very new way. People are talking to each other, sometimes reaching out for support, sometimes arguing. Union Square has transformed itself spontaneously into a people’s free space. It began the night of the tragedy with people gathering at the edge of the police state zone around pieces of paper that individuals had taped to the ground with markers everywhere moving and expressing the torrent of feelings, most calling for mourning and for peace. A humble arab artist made a statue of a candle. Open dialogue circles erupted spontaneously and continue. There is a debate going on and people are not waiting to be spoon fed their dose. This happened here and we need to work this shit out. The scene is like a happening or a free state with people sharing food and music and a rare retreat for the NYPD. A chant of war was overpowered by Unity. The space is jammed with mini memorials to lost loved ones, flowers, candles, written texts. Sadly it is becoming a attraction for religious fanatics and tourists as well but the space is constantly transforming and fascinating.
You notice in the city that those closest to the blast zone felt it the most. They are the ones having the hardest time shaking off the tremors. We are just beginning to heal. Understand first and foremost that there were poor working people of color hit hard. Undocumented workers killed will probably never be identified. As the stock market opened and the financial dust storm kicked back into a nose dive, people all over the city still cannot get their welfare and workfare checks or food stamps. It’s not hard to see where the city’s priorities lie. And Adolph Giuliani has been transformed from lame duck wasted furniture to international hero and is in charge of $20 billion in rehab. I wonder what his priorities will be in distributing the cash. The NYPD moral and recruitment were at an all time low. They were backed into a corner. Years of terror swept away. Thousands of New Yorkers showed up to volunteer and were turned away day after day. We have been invaded and martial law continues in the financial district. What is the value of the 11 tons of gold buried under tons of smoldering rubble? As the world bank is forced into limbo and the protests go on in DC against a racists war machine we need to take a breath and reevaluate the anti-corporate globalization movement. It is a time to expand our scope and talk directly to the terror of bombing and sanctions as part of a larger call for global justice. The blood soaked billions are backed by guns in the hands of our puppet dictator’s minions as well as domestic police. Prison and drug war policy are our own domestic terror to keep a nation enslaved. Both Columbia and Afghanistan have been major tools in drug production. Where the US intervenes drug production flourishes.
The world will never be the same. And an increasingly militant movement has been pushed off of center stage by military terror. We were the warning that this was coming. We were screaming for this nation to wake up to its burden. Now we face the backlash against civil liberties at home. The “war on terrorism” will be a combination of the war on drugs and the Vietnam war: sustained, bloody persecution at home and across the sea. When will it end? As soon as we make it end, because they are creating a endless cycle of blood lust we must stop.
There are funeral services all over town. When people point down town you know what they mean. This horror. Now we get a taste. Sickening. A rescue worker showed me the blood on his gloves and described the stench. Terror breeds terror. This is the intent of right wing fundamentalists pushed to the brink and lashing out. Our right wing and theirs, working in unison. We need to bring this to a halt. No more innocents can die.
Love from NYC, for a world without the terror of states.