Threatening to shut down the city, the People's Strike of the
Anti-Capitalist Convergence Alliance stormed into this capital city last
week -- and went directly to jail without passing Go.
Perhaps a fifth of the promised 20,000 demonstrators turned up,
and by Friday afternoon 649 were in the custody of Police Chief Ramsey,
charged with failing to get off the street. Raged 42-year-old Eric Laursen
of New York: "These streets are our streets. We don't need permission to be
in the street and send a message."
Replied Ramsey: "They made it clear the last five months they
were going to try to shut down this city down, they were going to try to
cause property damage through some kind of point system. We're not going to
let them do that in our city."
Mark Goldstone of the National Lawyers Guild whined that he was
unable to talk to arrestees who, on release, griped about the food, water
and bathroom facilities at Chez Ramsey.
Said the chief: "It's jail. It's not a resort, so people can't
expect to be treated the same way they would if they checked in at the
Hilton." If the chief keeps this up, he may soon be mayor.
Some 300 activists trooped to Georgetown with signs reading
"Stop Gap's Sweatshops," then trivialized their cause by stripping to
thongs, bras and underpants to protest Gap's alleged exploitation of Third
Saturday, a cardboard Trojan Horse being moved to the World Bank
building got snagged on a tree branch and lost its head. "Kind of symbolic
of the protests," said Chief Ramsey.
The strike was intended to shut down the city and disrupt the
annual meeting of the IMF and World Bank. It was a total bust. Some workers
simply stayed home, and others found traffic less congested than normal, as
Ramsey's cops outnumbered and swarmed the demonstrators everywhere they
The People's Strike may rank as the biggest flop in 40 years of
mass demonstrations. Like their fathers before them, these infantile
leftists seem never to learn how self-defeating their antics have become.
Many Americans might support a write-off of poor-country debts
owed to the IMF and World Bank, in return for a shutdown of these socialist
institutions that regularly loot Middle America to subsidize corrupt and
even criminal Third World regimes and their foolish bankers
But all the disrupters accomplished was to call attention to
their smug, self-righteous, obnoxious selves. And if this is the caliber of
the demonstrators coming here on October 26 to protest a preemptive war on
Iraq, President Bush can launch with impunity. As Reuters reports,
bystanders who faced tangled commutes to their offices or had long-planned
Washington sightseeing trips disrupted had little sympathy for the
"There's a fine line between democracy and stupidity. Especially
in this climate after 9-11," said Carol Tyler of San Mateo, Calif. "You
really have to err on the conservative side."
Consider how the Left has emasculated itself in recent years.
In December 1999, 50,000 folks, most of them union workers and
family members, came to Seattle to protest NAFTA and GATT at the big meeting
of the World Trade Organization. Backing them were populists of Left and
Right. But as workers made their case with marches, speeches and interviews,
1,000 anarchists rioted for days. Eating up all the airtime, they left the
nation and world with the impression that all anti-globalists are vandals
and wackos. This weekend's gathering on D.C. streets served to harden the
For 40 years, the pattern has repeated itself. When the
civil-rights marches of the 1960s gave way to Black Power rants and riots
from Watts to Washington, the white backlash began. And when the antiwar
marches of the Vietnam era degenerated into violence in Washington in 1969,
1970 and 1971, Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew channeled America's disgust at
the antics of the overprivileged, while working-class kids were fighting in
rice paddies, into the greatest landslide in American history.
Nixon's New Majority that gave Republicans five victories in six
presidential elections between 1968 and 1988 (including three landslides)
was grounded in the Silent Majority's revulsion at Black Power and Ivy
League militants who assumed their cause entitled them to trash other
people's property and break our laws.
President Bush may be today at 70 percent today, but America is
listening to the dissenters who oppose this coming war. Disorders on Oct.
26, however, will play into the War Party's hand and may give GOP the Senate
a week later.
If the Democrats don't condemn the weekend antics of the
infantile Left, they may suffer the same fate they did in the Nixon-Reagan