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Jewish World Review August 27, 2004 / 10 Elul, 5764

Tom Purcell

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When the anti-order and organization crowd ... gets organized | Protesters are planning to take over New York City during the Republican Convention, and it's all George Bush's fault.

There are angry people among us, you see, and they are planning to descend on New York City by the thousands to protest George Bush for everything that is wrong with the world, including bad haircuts and bee stings.

Some of the protesters have legitimate thoughts to share — we absolutely should discuss and debate war, for instance — and it is a reflection of our great land to see folks freely voicing their opinions, or engaging in orderly civil disobedience, without worrying about getting shot.

But the others? Well, a lot of them have different ideas. They're going to do everything they can to disrupt the convention and make Republicans' lives, as one organizer put it, as miserable as possible.

For starters, they're trying to get Broadway actors to call in sick so that Republican delegations won't get to enjoy the shows. They'll cut their hair and dress like Republicans so they can pretend to be volunteers and give bad information and directions to delegates. One Web site provides a recipe for chocolate tofu meringue pie to be used to "pie" Republicans.

The more radical protesters have more radical ideas. According to the New York Daily News, 50 of America's leading anarchists are planning to show. One anarchist is "advocating shutting down the Brooklyn Bridge and hurling bricks followed by Molotov cocktails through the windows of military recruiting stations."

Those wacky anarchists! They believe in the absence of order and organization, and yet order and organization are required for them to shut down bridges and blow things up.

Thanks to the Internet, the protesters are more organized than ever before. One Web site,, has served as a central clearinghouse through which more than 100 protest organizations have been able to synchronize.

The CounterConvention people claim to represent one million voices that are furious, for starters, that the Republicans will exploit New York City for political gain. They are promising one big unified "no" to President Bush with the hopes of shoving him out of office.

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A "call to action" section on their Web site lists events that various protest groups are promoting. One is called Poor People's Economic Human Rights Campaign. Their goal is to have lots of poor people march through New York City to "stop the war at home." I guess it's Bush's fault that everyone, including the poor, are paying lower taxes.

Another call to action involves the declaration of Immigrant-Workers Unity Day, whatever that is. If immigrants are angry with Bush, they ought to reconsider. With the hopes of winning the immigrant vote, no president has treated illegal immigrants more nicely.

And then there is the Madison Square Garden convergence on the 31st. All protesters are called on to create "free speech" zones, where they can express their outrage and create the "kind of world we want to see through music and free food and dancing and debate."

I'll bet it turns out to be an interesting world, too. Heaven only knows what will happen when a save-the-fish activist catches and anarchist eating a tuna sandwich, or a tree hugger sees an anti-capitalist handing out anti-corporation posters.

In any event, next week in New York City, protesters of every stripe will be out en masse trying to clog up the works and disrupt the convention, because, they believe, Bush and the Republicans are the root of all their problems.

I hope they keep their heads about them and protest in a peaceful manner this time. I hope the million voices, even the nutty ones, aren't drowned out by the unruly ones that want to kick in windows and lob Molotov cocktails. Because what our country needs now more than ever are fewer idiotic accusations and more thoughtful, adult discussions about a number of important issues.

Although I know some Kerry supporters who claim to have evidence that Bush is behind bad haircuts and bee stings.

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© 2004 Tom Purcell