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by Patrick Patterson, New York correspondent.  [Sept. 4, 2004]



[]  But while many protesters came to enjoy the event, others raised serious issues. 

The war in Iraq was on many minds. One man wore a photo of his son, who he explained was a Reservist in Iraq. He wants his son back home.






Then there was the "march of the 1,000 coffins," representing the American war dead in Iraq (which is closing in on 1,000).

The fear of government crackdown was on many minds leading up to the protest. Rumors had it that agent provocateurs might instigate violence to offer the police an excuse to crack down.

One man's sign warned protesters against such government moles. But another man was proud to call himself a "crazed anarchist."


* Communist Presence


While most protesters were certainly not Communists, there was a surprisingly large, visible, and active Communist presence at the protest. Every few blocks up Seventh Avenue were rows of stacks of newspapers from one competing Marxist group or other.

Papers given to the Investigator include the Militant (Socialist Workers Party), People's Weekly World (Communist Party, USA), Workers World (Workers World Party), Challenge (Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party), and Revolutionary Worker (Revolutionary Communist Party).

Vampire Nation

It is unlikely Klansmen or Nazis against Bush would have been welcomed at the protest. But no one appeared visibly upset by the Communist presence. Perhaps the reds were simply shrugged off as irrelevant?

Even so, while many patriotic non-Communists (libertarians, conservatives, and liberals) oppose Bush's war policies, all seemed to lack the money and organization of the Communists.

That Communists have so much money is curious. One wonders: Who are the deep pockets funding them?

In addition to their freebie papers, red flag cadres also peppered the crowd.

Yet however well organized, the Communists themselves were victims of GOP street theater.  One man carried a sign (to no one's dismay). But the website turns out to be pro-Bush.


* GOP Defenders


Conservatives, whether for war or peace, still have much to learn about protest etiquette. A group of Protest Warriors assembled on 35th Street to support the GOP, yet at a quick glance their signs seemed to support progressive causes. One had to read the fine print to get the real message.

The Investigator asked two Protest Warriors if they were Freepers (members of Free Republic known to harass the Left), but neither had ever heard of Free Republic.

An anti-GOP protester quipped, "I didn't think anyone could oppose peace, but I guess I was wrong."



* Christian Presence


No mass gathering is complete without someone there to remind everyone that Jesus saves. One apolitical group along the protest line did just that.


But in case anyone wondered about Jesus' politics, another group came to answer the question: What would Jesus do?



* Police Presence


An extensive police presence lined the protest route. One protester took advantage of it by spreading agitprop among the cops.

Moving up Seventh Avenue, protesters reached Madison Square Garden -- site of the GOP convention -- which was surrounded by police.

Pointing at the convention site, protesters chanted:

"Show me what hypocrisy looks like!

That is what hypocrisy looks like!"



Manhattan Sharks



A huge Fox News sign loomed just north of Madison Square Garden, drawing many boos and catcalls from protesters.

Shortly after 3 pm, one or more protesters set a fire below the Fox News sign.

Protesters then had to wait at 34th and Seventh while firemen doused the flames.

A later news report said that 16 protesters had been arrested in the fire incident.

But for all the fun, protesting is messy and tiring work.  Protesters often sat in the street as the march was held up for one reason or another. By the end of the day, they were tired -- but it was a good kind of tired. And they went home feeling warmth and satisfaction after a hard -- but fun-filled day -- of opposing the GOP Convention.



Copyright 2004 by


Patrick Patterson lives in New York. He has previously covered the events at Ground Zero, the 2003 Peace Protest, and post-9/11 security in New York. His experiences as a Los Angeles based paparazzi are revealed in Hollywood Witches.


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