Friday, August 10, 2012

ARCHIVES: In order to Preserve Our Democracy, We Believe Florida's Electors Should be Challenged, 1/1/2001

Story from the indymedia newswire. Checkout independent media coverage of politics, protest, and life at:, This message was sent to you by: Harel Barzilai, Comments:
Article by: Louis Posner,, Monday 01 Jan 2001
Summary: In order to preserve our Democracy, we believe Florida's Electors should be challenged in 2001.
Article: On January 6 at 1 pm, Congress will meet in Joint Session to count the Electoral College votes.
Electors have been challenged twice in our history - 1877 and 1969.

In order to preserve our Democracy, we believe Florida\'s Electors should be challenged in 2001. We may not win, but we believe it is essential to make the effort for the following reasons:

1. A massive political crime was committed - the Presidency of the United States was stolen. For the sake of history, the record needs to show that members of Congress were willing to stand up and denounce the crime.

2. We also need the record to show that a lot of Members of Congress - perhaps even a majority - were willing to allow the Presidency to be stolen. In 2 years, we can use this vote against these Members.

3. We need to turn the Democratic Congressional minority into a fighting opposition party. If they fight this historic and just battle, they will find it infinitely easier to fight all of the battles to come - starting with the nomination of John Ashcroft, and eventually all of the substantive battles on the issues we care about.

It only takes 1 Senator and 1 Representative to file a challenge. After that, the Senate and House must debate the challenge for 2 hours and then vote. have lined up several Representatives who are willing to file the challenge. They expect to have a Senator by Tuesday. have organized all of the information - including a letter to Congress - at the

Voter March is making an urgent appeal to all of our supporters to visit the site and show support for this important project!

Thanks so much for your help!!!

Louis Posner, Esq.


5/19: FIVE THOUSAND PROTEST Bogus-President BUSH In DC, 34 posts by 17 authors in alt.politics.democrats.d

5/20/01, VOTERMARCH.ORG, VOTER MARCH TO RESTORE DEMOCRACY and VOTER RIGHTS, Saturday, May 19 2001 http://VOTERMARCH.ORG/May19/May19rr.html

Five thousand who believe democracy is worth the struggle rallied and marched from Lafayette Park, facing the White House, to the West Capitol steps in Washington on Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 19, 2001.

The Voter Rights March to Restore Democracy - East Coast sponsored by and co-sponsored by over 50 different pro-democracy groups, gathered activists from as far as Connecticut, Florida, Illinois and of course, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey and Delaware.

Organized by Louis Posner, a New York attorney and leader of the group of volunteers, Voter Rights March produced the successful Anti-Inauguration Rally, and, via an internet call, created this Rally and its West coast twin that contemporaneously took place in San Francisco.

Led by an American flag, the March--peppered by protest banners ranging from the satirical through the clever to almost reverent statements of Democracy--moved past the Justice Dept. and the Supreme Court on its way to the West Capitol steps.

At the Court it was met by the Delaware Valley, Pennsylvania contingent. It had bussed in to first protest against the five who had sullied the Court by ignoring the law and the will of the voters and by appointing the Governor of Texas to sit in the White House.

Forming a round rosy single-file picket line in front of the Court building, the 50 Southeast Pennsylvanians chanted and raised their banners until they were met by and joined the March on its way to the Capitol.

Posner led off the speakers at the Capitol. Hundreds of tourists who had come just to visit the building stood and listened to electrifying statements of the meaning of Democracy.

Frequently applauding the speakers they heard what our "public servants" who we elected and pay to occupy the Building are failing to do.

Other well known progressive leaders speaking included Robert Borosage, Washington labor movement veteran and Co-founder of the Campaign for America's Future; Ted Glick, National Coordinator of the Independent Progressive Politics Network; Ronnie Dugger, Founder of the Alliance for Democracy, Michael Rectenwald, Founder and Chair of Citizens for Legitimate Government;. Phil Berg, the attorney who filed the Florida class action to overturn the Presidential Election, and the Rev. Sekou, on behalf of the Democracy Summer Coalition (NAACP, IPS, IPPN, Coalition on Black Civic Participation, Global Exchange, etc.)

Tears were brought to the eyes of many participants with the appearance of a group of WW2 veterans. Ranging in age from 76 to 92 they came from as far as Texarkanna, Texas to remind us, on this Armed Forces Day, that 14 million young Americans had fought, and many died, to protect what the Supreme Court, the amoral Florida and Texas twin governors and the Republican Party are destroying.

The day was just a day. But it was a rejuvenating and inspiring day:

* A day in which we promised to refer to the occupant in the White House by his only legitimate elected title, "Governor"

* A day in which we promised to continue the struggle for progressive causes.

* And a day in which we promised to work to elect a President of the United States at the end of this four- year hiatus.

---=Hal Rosenthal

The next action comes in the voting booth, beginning 2002.

Then comes 2004, when the boil on the butt of DEMOCRACY is finally excised and sent back to Texas.

If he isn't impeached before then .




Saturday, July 14, 2012

Voter March Supports Greg Palast's Billionaires & Ballot Bandits

Billionaires & Ballot Bandits – Greg Palast Investigates the Election Games

Investigative reporter Greg Palast, who busted the story of the purge of Black voters in Florida in 2000, is coming out with Billionaires & Ballot Bandits – Election Games 2012 – The Comic Book and voter guide.

Greg Palast -Billionaires and Ballot Bandits

Billionaires and Ballot Bandits - RFK Jr: "The Four Billion Dollar Election"

Tuesday, June 19, 2012




Antonin Scalia, one of the five ultra-conservative U.S. Supreme Court Judges who stopped the legal hand count of votes in Florida in Election 2000, appeared at Hofstra University in Hempstead, Long Island, NY on Sunday, September 9th. To add insult to injury, Scalia was the keynote speaker and was honored at this Hofstra Law School Ethics Conference.

There were hundreds of protestors just outside the Conference, including a contingent from Voter March New York that came up by Charter bus. Inside the Conference, Voter March Chairman Louis Posner, Esq. introduced himself as a New York attorney and asked Scalia "Your Honor, you have discussed the ethics of lawyers, while little or nothing has been said about the ethics of Judges. There has been much controversy over your decision in Bush v. Gore including accusations that you acted unethically. Could you please respond to these accusations?" Justice Scalia responded "Yes, I didn't" in a smug and cavalier manner. Posner then responded "No further questions" to remind Scalia that he should be on trial for his crimes. Chris Acosta, Voter March National Steering Committee, never made it to the question and answer session as he was ejected from the Conference for exercising his First Amendment rights when he exclaimed "Ethics - Ha, Ha, Ha."

The protests and Acosta's encounter with Scalia were mentioned in News Day:

Question of Ethics for Scalia Election ruling sparks protest at Hofstra talk
September 10, 2001

Outside, nearly 100 people yesterday protested the appearance of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia at a conference at Hofstra University, saying the justice helped President George W. Bush "steal" last November's election.

But inside, he was warmly received by legal scholars and attorneys who came to hear him, and he later received a standing ovation.

Inviting Scalia to discuss judicial ethics is "like asking Idi Amin to talk about human rights," said Nancy Solomon, 44, of Roslyn.

But Hofstra officials defended Scalia, saying he has ccumulated an impressive record on the bench and has led a rilliant career.

"Someone who carefully looks at his career ... would find he's a highly principled judge," said David Yellen, dean of Hofstra University School of Law. He called the protest "severely misguided."

Scalia did not directly address the protesters during his 40-minute keynote speech. The protesters said Scalia let his conservative ideology dictate his support of the high court's majority opinion that stopped the presidential vote recount in Florida and effectively handed the presidency to Bush.

A heckler in the audience, Christopher Acosta, 50, of Manhattan, was asked to leave by Hofstra authorities after emitting several loud ha, ha, ha's in response to comments by Scalia. After one of the outbursts, Scalia stopped speaking. Staring at Acosta he said, "there is a lawyer joke right there." The audience broke out in laughter.

Scalia did not discuss in depth the court's vote on the November election in the close contest between Bush and former vice president Al Gore, saying it would be "inappropriate."

But generally, Scalia defended the court's decision to end the recounts, and said critics were divided on the issue depending on political persuasion.

In other areas, he argued that imposing a mandatory attorney ethics code could be problematic, but he said ethics are a critical part of the profession.

He also said too many lawyers work absurdly long hours, short-changing their responsibilities as parents, community leaders and members of churches and synagogues.

Lawyers, he said, have gotten the idea that if they're not working long hours seven days a week they're "not really big-time ... that's just silly."

Copyright © 2001, Newsday, Inc.

PETITION: Petition to the Dean of Hofstra Law School protesting Scalia at its Ethics Conference was personally delivered to Dean Yellin by Lou Posner at the Ethics Conference, along with over 700 signatures.

Jacob Appelbaum Speaks at Occupy Wall Street Forum on Security Research

Jacob Appelbaum, an independent computer security researcher, currently employed by the University of Washington, speaks at a forum on security research sponsored by Occupy Wall Street.

Jacob Appelbaum argues the measures included in the proposed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) would essentially legalize military surveillance of U.S. citizens. He is a developer and advocate for the Tor Project, a network enabling its users to communicate anonymously on the internet.

Live unedited video footage from April 26, 2012 from 56 Walker Street in Tribeca, New York.

Jacob Appelbaum Speaks at Occupy Wall Street on Security Research, Part 1 of 3

Jacob Appelbaum Speaks at Occupy Wall Street on Security Research, Part 2 of 3

Jacob Appelbaum Speaks at Occupy Wall Street on Security Research, Part 3 of 3

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Screening of Academy Award-Nominated Documentary Film on Radical Environmental Group on Sat. Feb. 25

"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front"
Nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Film (2012)

Saturday, February 25, 2011, @ 7:00 p.m.
Epifaneo Collective
56 Walker Street, Tribeca, Manhattan 10013
(1 block below Canal St. between Broadway & Church Street)

See the Trailer for the film on YouTube at:

“IF a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” tells the remarkable story of the rise and fall of this ELF cell, by focusing on the transformation and radicalization of one of its members. And along the way it asks hard questions about environmentalism, activism, and the way we define terrorism. Drawing from striking archival footage — much of it never before seen — of dramatic arsons, and intimate interviews with ELF members and the prosecutor, “If a Tree Falls” explores the tumultuous period from 1995 until 2001 when environmentalists were clashing with timber companies and law enforcement.

Director/Producer Marshall Curry in the New York Times, Jan. 24, says: “It’s been amazing to me how much overlap there is between the unfolding story of the OWS movement and the story of the environmental movement in the 90s. This summer, when the film was first released, it was a historical film, but suddenly the issues it deals with are urgent and on the front pages of newspapers every day.”

A Q&A and discusion will follow the film.

Hollywood Reporter, FEINBERG FORECAST: Scott's Final Projections for the 84th Academy Awards, Feb. 19, 2012, Prediction for BEST DOCUMENTARY FILM (FEATURE): 1. If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front: "This wide-open race ... will go to Marshall Curry’s polished, even-handed look at “eco-terrorism,” a subject of the same social scope and significance as most previous winners."

Voter March blog, Academy Award for Best Documentary: Our Pick: If A Tree Falls,, Feb. 19, 2012, "Time Magazine chose "The Protester" as Time Person of The Year. We believe that this year's winner of Best Documentary will be the film that has as its central focus, The Protester...These environmental protesters, like many of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, are pepper sprayed while they are engaging in nonviolent direct actions. Similar to how law enforcement destroyed the Occupy Wall Street encampments, we see how the Park Rangers destroyed the barricades and tents of the environmental protesters who were tree sitters protecting the ancient forests in Oregon... "If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front" is our choice and prediction for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for 2012, because it is a social justice film that documents the lessons of history, as we grapple with the current developments of The Protester."

A donation of $5 is suggested.

Epifaneo Collective is affiliated with I.N.N. World Report, a not-for-profit alternative media organization. For over 10 years, we have been supporting the activist community through broadcasts, film screenings, speaker events, and special events.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Academy Award for Best Documentary: Our Pick: If A Tree Falls

Time Magazine chose "The Protester" as Time Person of The Year. A historical perspective of the protester was given, up to the more current developments in Egypt and Tunisia, to the Indignados in Spain to the Occupy Wall Street movement that spread from New York City to every city in the United States and throughout the world.

We believe that this year's winner of Best Documentary will be the film that has as its central focus, The Protester: "If A Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front," by Director Marshall Curry and Co-Director, Sam Cullman.

The title "IF A Tree Falls" has a double meaning. On the one hand, we see the pictures of beautiful trees from ancient forests being cut down by lumber companies. On the other hand, we also see how environmental protesters experience the adage "if a tree falls in the woods and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

These environmental protesters, like many of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, are pepper sprayed while they are engaging in nonviolent direct actions. Similar to how law enforcement destroyed the Occupy Wall Street encampments, we see how the Park Rangers destroyed the barricades and tents of the environmental protesters who were tree sitters protecting the ancient forests in Oregon.

We see how the protester's despair and disillusionment with their nonviolent direct action lead to the Earth Liberation Front, a radical splinter group from Earth First. The film depicts the human side of the protesters as they evolve from idealistic environmentalists to skilled arsonists causing millions of dollars of property damage. We are reminded of the aphorism "One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.”

At the same time, the film achieves its purpose as a well balanced documentary by giving equal time to the viewpoints of the owners of the lumber companies who were targeted by the environmental activists, as well as law enforcement who vigorously pursued the arsonists. We gained firsthand insight into the methods that law enforcement uses to turn criminals into informants and to coerce plea deals.

Finally, we see how the environmental protesters are branded "Eco-terrorists" and subjected to enhanced prison sentences. While they undeniably committed criminal acts of arson and tremendous property damage, we are left wondering whether these protesters are really "terrorists."

"If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front" is our choice and prediction for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for 2012, because it is a social justice film that documents the lessons of history, as we grapple with the current developments of The Protester.

Monday, November 7, 2011

16 Protestors Arrested in Front of Goldman Sachs New York Headquarters

Occupy Wall Street - Police Arrests of Protestors in Front of Goldman Sachs Headquarters

Occupy Wall Street at Liberty Plaza on Nov. 3, 2011.
Unedited, live film of march from Liberty Square to Goldman Sachs headquarters in Manhattan
Police arrests of 16 protesters including Reverend Billy Talen and author Chris Edges.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Occupy Wall Street Delivers Indictment to Goldman Sachs and Police Arrest 16 Peaceful Protesters

Occupy Wall Street at Liberty Plaza on Nov. 3, 2011.
Unedited, live film of march from Liberty Square to Goldman Sachs headquarters at 200 West Street in Manhattan.
Professor Cornel West joins the protesters from Liberty Square.
The protesters were chanting "banks got bailed out and we got sold out."
The crowd then read the Indictment against Goldman Sachs for looting billions of dollars from the American people:
"Goldman Sachs is found by the People's Hearing on November 3, 2011 to be guilty of felony crimes of violating the securities laws, perjury before a Senate Commission, looting of $78 billion dollars of taxpayer money, and caused irreparable financial harm and deep distress to millions of American People.
At the People's Hearing, Goldman Sachs must return the $78 billion they took from the American taxpayers.
Its senior officials, including its CEO Lloyd Blankfein who it elected, must receive prison time for fraud and burglary.
The Senior Executive of Goldman Sachs must be barred forever from the world of investment banking.
Goldman Sachs must also be prohibited and barred from commodities speculation, from fraudulent manipulation of financial markets, from lying to investors and financial regulators, and must be barred from using its company funds to manipulate the political process for lobbying to influence legislation.
We the People, since no governmental authority from the judiciary to the Congress, is willing to seek justice will march today to the doors of Goldman Sachs, and as part of our verdict, demand the immediate return of the $78 billion dollars that was looted without consent from the U.S. Treasury.
And once this money is turned over to us, we will, we will, we will, return it to the American people."
A crowd of about 16 people, including the Reverend Billy Talen and author Chris Hedges, then sat down in front of the entrance to the Goldman Sachs headquarters under threat of arrest.

Monday, October 24, 2011

ARCHIVES: No Blood For - Voter March Affiliate

Voter March organized the first protest against the pending Iraq War on September 12, 2002 at the United Nations in NYC, and formed affiliate No Blood for

In October 2002, No Blood for helped organize bus tours to Washington, DC to protest the pending War in Iraq.  No Blood for was very active during the height of the Antiwar movement from October 2002 to 2005.

See archives from No Blood for on Oct. 19, 2002:


 is an affiliate of Voter March that fully supports
the peace and anti-war movements and is adamantly opposed to
the unelected, illegitimate, unmandated President Bush and his 
Administration's plans to wage unilateral war against Iraq.
The initial National Steering Committee members are:

Louis Posner, New York metro -  

Jonathan Inskeep, Washington DC metro
Jamie Murray, West Coast

BUSES from Grand Central Station, New York City:
Buses for the National March at Washington DC are leaving from 

East 42nd Street, between Third Avenue and Lexington Avenue 
(near Grand Central Station). Buses are departing at 6:00 AM sharp,
so please arrive at least 15 minutes early for boarding and ticketing.
Bring drinks and snack food with you as we will not stop on the way.
Buses are Deluxe Coaches with bathrooms, recliner seats and movies.
The buses are scheduled to arrive in Washington DC by 11:00 AM
and will depart from Wash DC at 5:00 PM sharp and will arrive
back in New York City (same location) at 10:00 PM.
Tickets are not refundable, but may be exchanged, i.e. you may sell or
transfer the tickets to another person, but you must provide us with the
name of the person you sold or transferred the tickets to. 
All tickets are "electronic tickets" which are your PayPal receipts or 
receipt by email confirmation. If you do not have an email address,
please provide a fax number. There are a limited number of bus 
tickets, and tickets are expected to sell out.
Round trip bus tickets are $32.00 each. There is also a suggested tip
of $2 to $3 per person for the bus driver. Group discounts are available
for purchases of 15 or more tickets,

See Archives from No Blood for on Feb. 19, 2003

We support the pro-peace and anti-war movement and are adamantly opposed to the illegitimate Bush Administration's plans to wage unilateral war against Iraq to increase economic, political and military influence over the Middle East and its oil resources.    

                                                              To The Victors, Go the Oil.  Credit:  Winston Smith  
Click on Protests Calendar for the latest info. on the Feb. 15th and 16th major anti-war protests in New York City, San Francisco and around the globe. is an affiliate of Voter March
For "No Blood For Oil," the anti-authoritarian coalition of New York-based activists
(not related to Voter March, click on

10 Million Join World Protest, Rallies From Africa to Antarctica, People Prepare to March for Peace, Common Dreams, February 13, 2003, by John Vidal
Up to 10 million people on five continents are expected to demonstrate against the probable war in Iraq on Saturday, in some of the largest peace marches ever known.  link

The President Must Have Congressional War Resolution Before Starting War, by Jesse Jackson, Jr., Congressman, February 13, 2003.
Congressman Jesse L. Jackson, Jr., today said "U.S. soldiers, parents of U.S. soldiers, and other congressional colleagues filed a lawsuit in a Boston Federal Court arguing that, according to the U.S. Constitution, President George W. Bush only has the authority to go to war in Iraq if Congress passes an official declaration of war - and Congress has not passed such a declaration. Congress cannot willingly or voluntarily relinquish its constitutional authority and responsibility in this critical area."  link

Reckless Administration May Reap Disastrous Consequences 
by US Senator Robert Byrd
Senate Floor Speech - Wednesday, February 12, 2003 

To contemplate war is to think about the most horrible of human experiences. On this February day, as this nation stands at the brink of battle, every American on some level must be contemplating the horrors of war.
Yet, this Chamber is, for the most part, silent -- ominously, dreadfully silent. There is no debate, no discussion, no attempt to lay out for the nation the pros and cons of this particular war. There is nothing.   more 

ChickenHawks  Humor and animation
Nothin' from Nothin'  Humor and animation
The Dirty  Humor and animation
Make Your Own Bush Speech    UK.  Humor, animation and audio.
Bush's Oil War on Iraq  -   Democracy Means You.  Humor and animation.
Why We Must Invade Iraq,  Mark Fiore, Humor and animation.  

Sunday, January 30, 2011

ARCHIVES: Inauguration Protests in Wash., DC, Jan 21, 2001, Largest Since Nixon

Published on Sunday, January 21, 2001 in the Philadelphia Inquirer
Inauguration Protests Largest Since Nixon in 1973, Common Dreams, by Angela Couloumbis

WASHINGTON - Thousands of activists from across the country marched down the rain-slick streets of the capital yesterday, waving signs, chanting slogans, and maneuvering for spots at key inaugural ceremonies for a chance to denounce President Bush.

Organizers of permitted demonstrations along the inaugural parade route said more than 20,000 protesters had gathered in downtown Washington for mostly orderly rallies; police declined to give crowd estimates.

Hail to the Thief
Demonstrators protest against the election results as the inaugural parade passes by Freedom Plaza in Washington, January 20, 2001. Thousands of demonstrators booed the inauguration of President George W. Bush which took place amid the tightest security measures ever. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The protests were the largest for an inauguration since that of Richard Nixon in 1973 during the Vietnam War. Those drew about 60,000.

By late afternoon, police had arrested about a dozen protesters, charging most with disorderly conduct or other misdemeanors. One was charged with assault with a deadly weapon after slashing tires and trying to assault an officer, police said.

Some protesters said they were clubbed by police, but police denied the allegations. A few officers were hurt after protesters threw bottles at them, but none of the injuries required hospitalization, Deputy Police Chief Terry Gainer said.

Protesters clashed briefly with police at a few flash points, while Bush remained inside his car for most of the parade up a soggy, cold Pennsylvania Avenue. The motorcade sped up as it reached some protests, causing Secret Service agents to break into a run alongside the vehicles. At one point, police stopped the motorcade for five minutes because of the protests.

A couple of protesters threw bottles before Bush's limousine arrived, and one hurled an egg that landed near the new Cadillac, which featured puncture-proof tires and six-inch-thick bulletproof glass.

The President left the car to walk only after he reached a secure zone near the White House that held inauguration ticket-holders.

For the most part, activists called yesterday's protests a success, saying they had managed to get their message across despite some of the most stringent security measures taken by police at a presidential inauguration. More than 10,000 officers from 16 law-enforcement agencies, including the Secret Service, the U.S. Park Police, and the District of Columbia's police force lined the streets beginning at dawn.

"Bush may be president, but I know that when he goes to sit in the Oval Office for the first time, he's going to look out the window, and see and hear us," said Bob Rogers, a founder and organizer of yesterday's Voter March, a nonpartisan group protesting voter disenfranchisement and championing reforms to the Electoral College.

"I don't want to personalize this," Rogers said of Bush. "I'm not going to scream 'Hail to the thief,' as others may do. But I will say, 'Respect the presidency,' because during this election, it was not respected."

Others were not so diplomatic. At Freedom Plaza, a protest space along the parade route at 14th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, thousands of protesters held up signs calling Bush such epithets as "thief" and "pig." When Bush's motorcade passed, they booed and jeered and yelled obscenities. Some held up middle fingers.

And before the motorcade sped by, some activists upset over the lines at security checkpoints turned toward Bush's supporters in bleachers about 20 feet away, yelling "shame," and "ignorance is bliss," and making obscene gestures.

"It bothers me a little bit that they're screaming at us," said David Yiu, a Bush supporter from New York City who had a bleacher seat at Freedom Plaza. "I believe that everyone has the right to express a point of view. But you can express your point of view by calling your senator or your congressman. This is America. If you don't like something, you can change it."

Laura Brightman of Brooklyn, N.Y., did not share that sentiment.

Brightman, who joined about 2,000 people for a "Shadow Convention" led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, said the legal wrangling that followed the election proved that any honest attempt at change would be quashed by politics.

"We were sold out," she said, as others around her chanted, "No justice, no peace." "And when we tried to get justice [from the Supreme Court] we were sold again. The election was stolen."

At the Supreme Court building, Rudy Arredondo of Takoma Park, Md., put it this way: "Bush is a Supreme Court appointee. In my eyes, and in my children's eyes, he will never be a legitimate president."

Hundreds of Bush supporters had gathered earlier at the building to sing "God Bless America."

"Bush is a legitimate president," said Kevin Conner of the National Patriots March, a pro-Bush group that wanted to provide a counterpoint to yesterday's protests. "We want to send that message loud and clear. We are not going to sit by and fume and get mad when we read stories about left-wing radicals. We are going to stand up to it and be active."

Though the Christian Defense Coalition rallied for Bush along Pennsylvania Avenue yesterday, Conner's group of about 300 people was in the minority.

Cheri Honkala, director of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, a Philadelphia advocacy group, traveled to Washington to march to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to protest what she said were injustices against the poor. Although her group did not have a permit to march, their action was successful and her group's message was heard, she said.

"People will go back to their states and continue to be homeless, but they feel rejuvenated," Honkala said, adding that her group had set up a tent made out of American flags and blankets in front of the Health and Human Services Department. "Being here today was very important for them."


The protests were the largest since those during Nixon's 1973 Inauguration at the height of the Vietnam War.  Those protests drew about 60,000;  organizers of the Bush protests anticipated 20,000.

Though protesters had many disparate causes, most said they were motivated by the Florida election controversy.

 Bob Rogers, one of the organizers of the "Voter March" said the fact that Bush captured the White House even though Al Gore won the popular vote by 500,000 guarantied busloads of demonstrators.

 "These are moderate, working people, motivated by anger, embarrassment, that kind of sentiment," he said.  "They are wondering, "we put a man on the moon, why can't we count the vote?'"


Read more at:

Thousands Take to Street to Protest, Daily News, Bowling Green, AP, Jan. 2001 

Inauguration Protests Largest Since Nixon, The Victoria Advocate, January 21, 2001 

Thousands Take to Street in Protest of Inauguration, The Southeast Missourian, January 21, 2001

Gore Returns to Private Life, The Tuscaloosa News, AP, January 21, 2001

Saturday, December 18, 2010

ARCHIVES: Press Release on Voter March Grassroots Group, April 15, 2001

Louis Posner, Esq.   
New York Headquarters

Bob Rogers             Wash DC Metro
Anne Keith  Media – East Coast


The Internet’s Fastest Growing Grassroots Group 
New York, NY-- Voter March, a grassroots group formed in the response to the debacle of the 2000 election has logged over one million hits to its Website (  Part of the growing Pro-Democracy movement, Voter March has built an online community of activist members. There are more than 60 state and local chapters of Voter March, many of which are several hundred strong.  Membership in Voter March email lists and egroups is currently over 10,000 individuals, with more people joining every day.  Linked to thousands of websites throughout the Internet, Voter March is the fastest-growing grassroots group in the country.

Voter March is the organization that staged the very successful Inaugural Day Voter March in DC’s Dupont Circle on January 20 of this year and is the organizer of the Voter Rights March to Restore Democracy planned for May 19, 2001 in Washington D.C. and San Francisco. Information about both events can be found at the Voter March website, and for the West Coast at

An Internet-based advocacy group founded in November of 2000, Voter March is not funded or controlled by any other organization. Voter March organizers are all volunteers, donating their time and skills to the cause.  The Voter March platform calls for critically needed voting and electoral reforms.  The chairman and founder is Louis Posner, a New York City attorney listed in "Who's Who in America."  Robert Rogers of Virginia, a retired aviation test pilot, is Vice Chairman and a founding member.

ARCHIVES: Press Release for Voter Rights March, May 19, 2001

Louis Posner, Esq.   
New York Headquarters

Bob Rogers             Wash DC Metro
Anne Keith  Media – East Coast


Grassroots Group to Demand Voting Reform at Bi-Coastal Event
New York, NY and San Francisco, CA -- On Saturday, May 19, 2001, individuals from coast to coast will gather for the Voter Rights March to Restore Democracy.  There will be an East Coast march/rally in Washington, DC and a West Coast in San Francisco, California. The DC event will be held at the West Capitol steps and adjacent area of the National Mall including First to Third Streets from 12:00 noon to 5:30 pm (ET).  At 12:00 noon there will be a circular march past from the West Capital steps past the U.S. Supreme Court, followed by speakers and entertainers at 1:00 pm.  West Coast marchers will gather at Justin Hermann Plaza at 10am and march to the Civic Center Plaza for a rally from noon until 4:00pm (PT).  The purpose of the march is to demand critically needed voting reforms, to call for a full investigation of the irregularities in the 2000 election, and to protest the illegitimate President's service to the right wing agenda during his first 120 days in office.  Political commentators will share the stage with prominent activists and entertainers voicing their outrage over the latest presidential election.  The event is sponsored by Voter March, a grassroots group formed in the response to the debacle of the last presidential election. Part of the growing Pro-Democracy movement, Voter March is an entirely volunteer organization that staged the very successful Inaugural Day Voter March in DC’s Dupont Circle on January 20 of this year.   Information about both events can be found at the Voter March website, 
     “We expect the crowd on May 19 to be as diverse as the one at the inaugural protest—male, female, old, young, gay, straight, black, white-- many of them ‘first-time’ protesters,” says Voter March Chairman Louis Posner.  “The indignation over the Supreme Court's highly partisan decisions is wide-spread and cuts across all social lines.  Voter March continues to grow as more and more people commit to ensuring that the rights of voters can never again be trampled on.” 
     As with the January protest, there will be bus convoys to the DC event from New York, Philadelphia, Houston, Cincinnati, Minneapolis and many other cities.  The San Francisco event will have large groups traveling from Los Angeles, San Diego, Seattle, Phoenix, Nevada and many other Western cities. 
     As part of the May 19 events, Voter March will present a platform calling for a Voters' Bill of Rights that includes: 
1)      Strict enforcement and extension of the Voting Rights Act, to prevent the disenfranchisement of voters, and full investigation and prosecution of offenders; 
2)      User- friendly voting, requiring funding to replace old and unreliable machines to ensure that every vote is counted fairly and accurately;
3)      Establishment of real campaign finance reform and restrict the use of "soft" money campaign contributions;
4)      Abolishment of the Electoral College and its replacement with a majority rule election, or substantial reform of the electoral system to allow for proportional representation;
5)      Increasing voter participation in elections by eliminating bureaucratic hurdles, registering citizens to vote and reducing the voter apathy that results in half of the eligible population not voting. 
     The Voter Rights March will also be protesting Bush's right wing agenda that is drastically turning back gains in environmental protection, separation of church and state, world peace initiatives and other civil rights and social issues. 
     An internet-based grassroots advocacy group founded in November of 2000, Voter March is not funded or controlled by any other organization. Voter March organizers are all volunteers.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

ARCHIVES: M19 - A Report from the Voter Rights March

M19 - A Report from the Voter Rights March, Democratic Underground
May 22, 2001
by William Rivers Pitt

"You can't stop a rooster from crowing once the sun is up, and the sun done come up." - Old folk saying
The train jarred to a stop in the station as a wet dawn peeled across the sky above Washington, D.C. I rose groggily from the cramped, lotus-like ball I had been trying to sleep in for the last ten hours, gathered up my bag, and walked into the cavernous emptiness of Union Station. My head was thumping sickly as I collected my wits; in order to ensure a quiet night of rest, I had medicated myself with several beers and a healthy dollop of Captain Morgan's Spiced Rum. Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.

When I had first boarded the train at 8:30 pm in Boston the night before, I had figured on a long, lonely trip down to D.C. I had not been five minutes in my seat, however, when I heard a snatch of conversation from the seats in front of me: "...saw the VoterMarch website a few weeks ago, and knew I had to come."

I lurched over the headrest and introduced myself. Here were Laura and Adam, taking the same journey for the same reasons as I was. Laura, in fact, had been in Washington for the inauguration with the 30,000 other protesters who had been so assiduously ignored by the media. Laura and Adam were perfectly normal people. They were not pierced, purple-haired anarchists. Adam worked for Sun Microsystems, and Laura was out from Colorado on a tech-work contract that would keep her in Boston a year. They both could have passed for accountants in any city in America. This was, I felt, a very good sign. I reasoned that it would be harder for the media to ignore a protest driven by ordinary citizens.

Laura, Adam and I wandered into the bowels of Union Station on the morning of May 19th in search of a cup of coffee. This proved to be a hard nut to make. The place was deserted, all food shops closed. We finally found a barbecue joint run by an early-rising Korean family, and as we sipped their potent brew, we talked about why we were here.

The Voter Rights March to Restore Democracy had several specific purposes behind its inception: to bring attention to the fact that the November election was a catastrophe and that election reform is a moral American imperative, to point out that some 180,000 votes have yet to be recounted in Florida despite a requirement for same inked into the books of the Sunshine State's laws, to cast a glaring light upon the scurrilous actions taken by the United States Supreme Court on December 13, 2000, to shout as loudly as possible that George W. Bush is not President because he was selected and not elected, and lastly to remind all who would listen that Albert Gore, Jr. is the rightful President of the United States for good or ill.

This is a long laundry list of grievances, but underneath it all is a motivation that harkens back to the days before the voting reform laws passed in 1964. At the bottom, the Voter Rights March was about protecting the basic American right to vote, and about ensuring that all the votes which are cast are counted fairly and equally. If this seems like a reactionary and foolish platform, bear in mind that by the end of this day, May 19th, I would meet a dozen people from Florida who believed their votes had not been counted. The hurt and anger in their eyes was fresh and electric; after 157 days they had not "gotten over it," and were I to make a bet, I would confidently put money on the idea that they never, ever would.

I have participated in many protests in the last ten years. In 1991 I was marching against the Gulf War, shouting with swollen throat into the face of an 80% approval rating for that ill-conceived massacre. I marched against General Electric with those who were getting screwed by that company's pension fund, which is swollen with millions of dollars earned by everyday workers who see little of it after 30 years of service. I marched to protest the execution of Gary Graham on the eve of the 2000 election.

This gathering in Washington on May 19th, however, was something else entirely. The other protests I had participated in had been focused on a specific, narrow grievance - a war, a company, the death penalty. This march was focused upon the fact that a basic and fundamental American right had been abrogated, and because of this, a man had been installed in the White House who had not won the election. Nothing like this had ever happened in all of American history, and the fact that ordinary American citizens were compelled to come to Washington, D.C. from as far away as Alaska, California and Minnesota on May 19th in defense of the simple right to vote exposes the degree of rage that lingers in the electorate.

Laura, Adam and I came out of Union Station at 7:30 am and headed for Lafayette Park under a sky heavy with rain. We walked down Pennsylvania Avenue, passing the building holding the Department of Labor, whose steps were laden with homeless men huddled against the wet. We passed the Federal Courthouse, and I mentioned that the last time I had come to this city, in 1998, the front of that building had been crowded with reporters covering some aspect of the Clinton trials. We passed the headquarters for the FBI, housed in a building owned by Reverend Moon, and I wondered aloud how many more boxes of undisclosed McVeigh documents were still hidden behind those walls. Behind us, the Capitol dome loomed above the street. We would be seeing it again soon enough, when the March arrived at the western steps.

When we finally arrived in front of the White House, my heart sank. There were a few early-bird high school groups, and the anti-nuclear protest station that had been in place since 1981 squatted eternally in the Park, but beyond that I counted a meager collection of six Voter March participants. Most of them were 'Fringe Folk,' members of a group that had created a clearinghouse for protest announcements at I would later be informed that the definition of 'Fringe' according to these people was defined by Bush, who claimed that the only people who opposed him were "on the fringe."

I made myself busy for the next couple of hours as the Park began to fill with protesters. I introduced myself to Democratic activists from Kansas, Pennsylvania and Arizona. I helped construct a sound stage where speeches would be delivered around noon. I snapped pictures of signs and banners that began to wave in the swelling crowd. Somewhere along the way I lost track of Adam and Laura, though I occasionally spotted them in the crowd.

I must have spoken to 50 people before 10:00 am, and I was impressed by the amount of information they possessed. This crew was not a bunch of young reactionaries simply looking for a reason to shout. The median age of the gathering was about 40, and they all knew exactly why they were there.

I would start a sentence about ChoicePoint, and they would finish my sentence with specified statistics on exactly how many Florida voters had been blown off the rolls before the election. I would say, "The Bush energy policy." and eight people would turn to finish my thought, using phrases like "money laundering" and "campaign contributor payoffs." I felt like I was sitting in my living room conversing with 100 manifestations of my own brain. I have never been quite so comfortable in the company of strangers. Even my 'Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas' t-shirt drew compliments, proving to me that these people had read the right books.
The speeches began around 11:30 am. By this time the crowd numbered in the hundreds, and more buses were arriving each minute. We heard from Lou Posner, one of the central organizers of the march, who looked like a blue-suited roadie for Crosby, Stills & Nash, but had the eyes of an assassin with his mark in the gunsight. We heard from Bob Kuntz of, who declared his candidacy for the governorship of Florida and delineated all the reasons why Jeb Bush had to go. We heard from a woman who had been an observer during the recount, and she bore witness to the mob action and calumny that motivated this march.

Soon enough, the moment arrived. The signs and banners were hoisted, and the crowd formed into a long column as we began our march to the Capitol steps. I took a spot at the vanguard, just behind the main Voters Rights March banner and next to an elderly group bearing a loud sign that read, "WWII Veterans Against Bush." An older woman with a bullhorn became the chant leader; she looked and sounded like a union organizer with many marches under her belt. In front of us all, a man bore a huge American flag, and another man made sure that none of us marched in front of it. The flag was to be first.

As we passed the White House I found my voice, and raised a bull-throated roar that quoted the title of the column I wrote back in December: "Not my President! Not my President! Not my President!" As I howled, I pointed a fist at the residence, where the usurper lived in illegitimate splendor. The chant was picked up by those around me, and as we passed the Treasury building it was being shouted by everyone in the march. I paused to look at the mass of people behind me. I am no good at counting crowds, but it seemed clear that the six who began the morning had swelled into the thousands. Traffic stopped around us as our police escort led us slowly towards the Capitol. Many of the drivers we had slowed with our procession beeped and waved, drawing a cheer from the marchers.

Some of the chants heard on the street:
"Gore got more!"
"We'll move on when he moves out!"
"Cocaine conservative!" (another one of mine)
"George was AWOL!" (shouted whenever we saw people in uniform)
"Jail to the thief!" "Investigate the fraud!"
"Where's the Washington Post?!"
"Never forgive, never forget!" (me again)
"Count all the votes!"
"This is democracy!"
"Shame on the court!"

The march passed the Department of Justice, where we paused and shouted for an investigation of the Florida vote. We circled the Supreme Court and heaped vitriol upon those who had broken faith with the American people by selecting a President before the votes were counted. Every step of the way we were photographed by tourists, some of whom were gape-mouthed at the fact that there were still people angry about the election. Not one person, however, gave us the finger or shouted us down, a testament to the hope that America knows full well that all is not right with its election process.

We arrived at the steps of the Capitol around 2:00 pm sweaty, sore-voiced, but not nearly finished. Lou Posner addressed the crowd again, warming us up for the speakers to come. Among the crowd was a lone figure in a brown cowboy hat, a pot bellied man with a mustache and sweat-stains growing under his armpits. He held aloft a Bush/Cheney sign and tried to shout down the speakers, but was himself shouted down by the marchers around him. After a little while he disappeared. Before us, the Capitol was festooned with more tourists, many of whom clapped and cheered as the speakers berated the Democrats in Congress for failing to call for investigations into the election. Once this Bush supporter was gone, we were alone among the faithful, unmolested by any GOP supporters.

Darting through the crowd was a cameraman for CNN, and the march organizers did their best to give him clear shots of the crowd and the signs they carried. I wondered to myself if the images he was capturing would ever find their way onto a news broadcast. I had my doubts.

After a number of speakers got the crowd's juices flowing, a man in his 60s walked slowly to the microphone and began speaking in a quiet voice. His name was Ronnie Duggar, founder of The Alliance for Democracy, and he had spoken at Dupont Circle during the inauguration protests in January. As he spoke, the crowd hushed, for surely there was power in his diminutive frame. I had a mini tape recorder with me, and I held it aloft to record his speech. I cannot begin to give you the electricity his words gave the crowd with these simple, typed sentences. But I would be remiss if I did not share them with you, for they were the best I have yet heard. They burned. Here are some slices of his most notable comments, re-created to the best of my abilities from my tape recorder:

"After the secret, four-month Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, a matron of that city approached Benjamin Franklin afterwards, and asked what they had produced. 'A republic, if you can keep it,' Franklin said. Well, we haven't kept it. We've lost it. George W. Bush and his lawyers, led by the crafty James Baker III and five members of the Supreme Court, who invented a Constitutional right for the occasion, have usurped from the people the right to choose the President of the United States. The judges overthrew the government by selecting the President themselves, 5-4, rather than let events take their constitutional course."
"When Governor Bush was sworn in by Chief Justice Renquist of the court that had stolen it for him, the government itself was seized in a judicial and presidential coup de'tat."
"Congress and the presidency had already been de-legitimized across the past 20 years by the triumph of uncontrolled campaign finance corruption over the common good. Now, in Bush v. Gore, the Supreme Court de-legitimized itself and the court system arrayed below it. This is no longer a respectable government, because we've lost the only three branches of government we've got. We've lost our entire government to a corporate oligarchy that now governs us without our permission."
"The only basis for democratic legitimacy is the consent of the governed. The presidency has been seized, therefore the government has been seized. What does it mean to realize that your government is illegitimate? What does it mean? What do we do? We have lost the very authority of law for our everyday lives. What Bush damaged when he accepted the presidency was much more than our politics, much more than our democratic self-esteem. He made a mockery of our most fundamental agreement to respect and obey the law the government passes, to co-operate with the government, because it is ours."

"We will label these four years of Bush illegitimacy as the Lawless Years, the tyranny in American history, the Tyrannical Interlude. We trust that George II will not be succeeded by George III, throwing us right back to where we were in 1775, because we are men and women and students on fire with controlled anger and we refuse to consent!" 

Mr. Duggar went on in this vein for some time, his voice quivering with rage as he lashed the crowd with his words. The cheering swelled to a roar as he called upon us never to name Bush president. Call him Governor among friends and family, at the bar or at work, Duggar asked, and in this daily act of dissent spread the word that the fight is not over, will never be over, until the man not duly elected is cast from the White House like so much refuse. Duggar called for the organization of a multi-faceted group, based upon the framework of the old Rainbow Coalition, whose cause will be the re-invigoration of democracy and the reformation of American voting rights.

Duggar concluded his remarks quietly with a solemn invocation: "When we're ready, we'll start things up again as the new American Democracy, the new American Revolution, democracy and justice at last more nearly realized among us. And then we can whisper to each other, and to ourselves, 'Yes...the new American Democracy.'"
The speeches and music went on into the afternoon. I worked my way through the crowds, meeting, networking, getting and giving information. As the sun got lower in the sky I felt the quakings of exhaustion in my legs, and shouldered my pack to leave. As I made my way back to Union Station, I considered everything I had seen and heard.

I was reminded of an interview I had seen on television once. A musician was talking about the first Velvet Underground album ever released. The album sold only about 2,000 copies, this musician said, but everyone who bought it went out and started a band. I think this Voter Rights March will have the same effect.
We did not shut down Washington, D.C., and I doubt our number rose above 3,000 people. But each and every person who came, those from New Jersey, California, Alaska, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Florida, Oregon, New York, Virginia, Kansas, Colorado and Arizona to name a few, will all return home knowing they are not alone. They will become active within their sphere, and if we come back together in a year, our numbers will have certainly grown. Big storms gather around small particles, and there were thunderclouds on the brow of all present on May 19th.

This is only the beginning. I awoke at 12:17am that night to the voice of the conductor announcing the train's arrival in Boston. I had covered some 1,200 miles in just over 24 hours, and my body was at the end of its reserves. I gathered my stuff and reeled into the street to find a taxi.

A 50 year old cabbie who looked like some strange hybrid between Elvis and Johnny Cash let me sit in the front seat. He asked where I was coming from, and I told him D.C. He asked what I was doing there. I feared becoming engaged in an argument about politics in my weakened state, and chose only to tell him I had attended "some protest thing."

He turned his head sharply towards me. "I hope you was protesting Bush," he said. "That bastard is bad news."

Comments? Contact the author at


Sunday, November 21, 2010

ARCHIVES: `Rent-a-Mobs' Descend on D.C. (January 20, 2001)

`Rent-a-Mobs' Descend on D.C

Insight on the News, Feb 12, 2001 by James D. Harder

The throngs of demonstrators at Bush inaugural events were not just students or young adults, but seasoned professionals who make protesting their full-time jobs.

While the U.S. Secret Service was setting up sniper posts and checkpoints along Pennsylvania Avenue, Teresa Gutierrez was making posters and arranging housing for the waves of protesters expected to sweep over Washington to harass the inauguration of George W. Bush. Gutierrez, a 50-year-old from New York City, came to Washington two weeks early to help get things ready for well-orchestrated protests.
Today's demonstrators aren't just students and twenty somethings flying by the seats of their pants. Many are seasoned professionals who are part of a fine-tuned, technologically savvy protest machine that is backed by labor unions and individual financial sponsors.

Gutierrez has been a staff member with the New York-based International Action Center (IAC) since its inception in 1992. Coming to Washington early gave her the opportunity to arrange housing, poster-painting venues, bus parking and other necessities for the tens of thousands of protesters who were being recruited to give Bush a black eye. The IAC has had so much practice organizing protests this year that critics have begun calling it "Rent-a-Mob." Two political conventions last summer, and high-profile protests in Prague and Washington state, have helped create a highly professional organization.

And, for Gutierrez, the inauguration was an opportunity to vent what she admits is hatred. "Being originally from Texas, I hate Bush," Gutierrez says, citing his policies on the death penalty and gays and lesbians. "He's not likely to be concerned about most of the stuff the IAC is concerned with," she tells Insight. She admits it is too soon to know what Bush will do as president but, like many of the protesters, she's already made up her mind. "The inauguration protests are not going to be the end of this struggle. January 20 is just the beginning of the fight against the Bush administration."

The IAC had been hard at work setting up 50 organizing sites across the country. Sarah Sloan, an IAC staff organizer, tells Insight that some unions in New York City subsidized bus charters so that low-wage workers could travel to the demonstrations -- including Local 1199 of the National Union of Health Care Workers, the biggest union in the city. "They're subsidizing their members to go on our buses," says Sloan, who added that other unions around the nation had set up similar programs. "There are 450 groups who have endorsed our call to action," Sloan adds.

But not all the protesters who came out on Inauguration Day were in the nation's capital to rain on Bush's parade. Loud Citizen is a Web-based creation of computer programmer Kevin Conner, who in November organized rallies in 300 cities to protest Democratic Party resistance to the Florida election returns favoring Bush. Conner led a "Patriot's March" on Jan. 20. Billed as a rally, not a protest, the marchers convened on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court to hear addresses by David Horowitz, the best-selling author and director of the Los Angeles-based Center for Popular Culture; Isabel Lyman, author of The Homeschooling Revolution; the Rev. Jesse Peterson, a radio talk-show host; and Chuck Muth, president of C-Four Communications.

The Christian Defense Coalition, founded by the Rev. Pat Mahoney, also held an Inauguration Day rally, urging Bush to rescind executive orders favorable to abortion that had been signed by President Clinton almost immediately after taking power from Bush pere.

But conservatives were a relatively small part of the street theatrics. The overwhelming number of signs and banners displayed by protesters and demonstrators at the inaugural ceremonies resembled those seen during the left-wing demonstrations at the Republican and Democratic nominating conventions last summer, protesting everything from the death penalty to environmentalism. However, there was no question the issues that brought out most of the protesters were spun directly from the wheel of Democratic Party politics.
"Initially we came together because we wanted them to count every vote. We felt that people had been disenfranchised down in Florida," says Teresa Ward, a spokeswoman for Democracy March. Like many other protesters, Ward and her group are pushing for campaign-finance reform and complaining about the Electoral College. They also share another characteristic with other protest groups that converged on Washington -- the claim that they sprang full blown from the brow of the Internet.

With political parties, special interests and labor unions spending large sums to organize and communicate over the Internet, it is not surprising that it has become the principal tool for strategic communication and mobilization of protest activism. Ideas are presented in affinity chat rooms until there are enough activists to start an email list. Soon a Webpage appears and the organization is under way. Voter March also claims to have been formed in this way. Lou Posner, a founding member of the group, tells Insight it arose spontaneously on the Web a week after Election Day.

"We were formed as a grass-roots organization in response to election irregularities and problems," says Posner. Voter March played a key role in organizing the main protest rally on Inauguration Day, acting as an umbrella organization for hundreds of smaller groups from across the country. They started at 10 a.m. with a rally at Dupont Circle in Northwest Washington before heading through the city on a three-mile march. Posner claimed his group is more mainstream than many of the others in his penumbra, but assured in the days leading up to the inauguration that marchers would be peaceful. "We're taking a pretty strong position that everything we're going to do is going to be legal and lawful," Posner told Insight.

With more than a dozen law-enforcement agencies committed to maintaining security, the authorities weren't taking any chances. For the first time the inauguration was designated a "national special security event," putting the Secret Service in overall charge. Serving under it for the inauguration were the U.S. Capitol Police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the U.S. Park Police, the Supreme Court Police, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, the Washington Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), and extra forces from Maryland and Virginia.

"We'll have officers in the field and along the parade route, and we've also asked for anywhere from 1,200 to 1,400 officers from other jurisdictions to join us on the parade route," said Sgt. Joseph Gentile, director of public-relations for the MPD. The MPD force was the flagship organization heading into the inauguration, with all of its 3,600 officers on duty.

The Secret Service and other law-enforcement agencies used mountain bikes to keep tabs on the protesters. According to Shaughn Roettele, a mechanic with Revolution Cycle, a Washington bike shop, the most popular police bikes are made by Trek. He and several other mechanics at the shop were busy putting together an order of 15 of the $2,000 bikes for the Secret Service three days before the inauguration. Bikes have been an increasingly popular mode of transportation for law-enforcement agencies and have proved effective in keeping ahead of protesters. Saturday's parade route saw most of the law-enforcement agencies using the two-wheeled machines to cruise the parade route.

Not to be caught off guard by the crowds, the police didn't limit their efforts only to personnel and transportation. To the disappointment of tourists, about five miles of chain-link fencing six-feet high was erected near the Lincoln Memorial for the opening ceremonies and on large portions of The Mall. In a bold move that confirmed the security presence, people were required to pass through security checkpoints to attend the inaugural parade along Pennsylvania Avenue -- yet another sign of the intense security that blanketed the Capitol over the weekend. The Smithsonian and the Archives-Navy Memorial subway stops, both with entrances on The Mall, were shut down for the first time during an inauguration.

In many respects the scene was reminiscent of the police state that gripped Los Angeles during the Democratic National Convention last August. The Los Angeles Police Department also erected chain-link fencing outside the convention center and had a force there that was seen, felt and heard (see "Insight Staffer Shot at L.A. Riot Scene," Sept. 11, 2000). The increased security in the nation's capital was in part a response to protests during the last two years in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Washington, Prague and Seattle. According to MPD Executive Assistant Chief Terrance W. Gainer, there was one officer every 6 to 8 feet along the parade route, as opposed to one officer every 10 to 16 feet, as has been customary for inaugurations. Not that it deterred the protesters. They made sure their message was heard loud and clear.
"The rubric of security will not be falsely used to prevent demonstrating," declared Brian Becker, codirector for the IAC. To make that point as strongly as possible, the IAC filed a lawsuit at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia only four days before the inauguration. The emergency motion for a preliminary injunction challenged the unprecedented number of checkpoints used, the vagueness of the description of materials allowed to be carried by protesters and various permit restrictions.

"We don't want to be teargassed or create a war zone but, as George Bush proceeds up Pennsylvania Avenue and as the eyes of the world focus on this, the world will see there is a very divided United States," Becker declared.

While the police executed a well-organized plan for keeping the city safe, the protesters worked to maximize their impact. The presence of the Rev. Al Sharpton, the cause-addicted preacher from New York City, drew attention to the alleged disenfranchisement of black voters, a Democratic Party wedge issue. While Bush was taking the oath of office, Sharpton was taking an oath to uphold the Voting Rights Act and to work to federalize voting standards across the country. As Bush gave a brief inaugural address, Sharpton launched a stem-winder for what he dubbed a "shadow inauguration" at Stanton Park on Capitol Hill. Other protests included African-Americans recruited in the city for a "Day of Outrage," protesting an alleged "illegitimate" president, and the Gore Majority and Oral Majority, protesting what they muled was a stolen election.

The Justice Action Movement (JAM) assured Insight it had a large number of demonstrators out protesting everything from labor rights to environmentalism. But Adam Eidinger, a spokesman for the group, said the inauguration protests focused primarily on a package of electoral reforms called the Voters' Bill of Rights.
JAM was another group started two months ago as a coalition front. Many of the professional protesters who do the world circuit are looking for methods of protest that will allow them to avoid getting arrested. Eidinger claims JAM has taken on that project. Maybe -- but according to the Washington City Paper he currently is facing trial on 11 misdemeanor counts -- including criminal conspiracy, mischief and possession of the implements of a crime stemming from an arrest while on route to anti-GOP protests during the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia last summer. If convicted, he could face as many as five years in prison.

This sort of thing may help explain why groups such as Voter March made such an effort to distance themselves from the more experienced troupes of protesters. "Our group does not represent the `professional' protesters that you saw at the World Trade Organization [and] World Bank [meetings] and Republican convention," Posner tells Insight.

Several other groups also made a point of striking out on their own, including the National Organization for Women. They staged a demonstration outside the Senate earlier in the week to protest the nomination of former Missouri senator John Ashcroft for U.S. attorney general, and sent members out along the inaugural-parade route to defend abortion.

The AFL-CIO, whose headquarters is on 16th Street in Northwest Washington near the White House reviewing stand, decided to limit its protesting to Florida, according to public-affairs officer Rich Greer. "Our views were pretty clear when the polls closed up through the final Supreme Court decision," Greer tells Insight.
A half-dozen groups received National Park Service permits to protest along the 13-block section of Pennsylvania Avenue through which George W. Bush traveled from the U.S. Capitol to the White House. Permits also were granted for rallies at such prominent Washington landmarks as McPherson Square, The Ellipse, Dupont Circle and near the Supreme Court. In fact, no inauguration has attracted so much protest since 1973, when Richard Nixon was sworn for his second term after a crushing electoral victory over Vietnam War protest candidate George McGovern. An estimated 60,000 showed up on that occasion to march against the war and give McGovern a last hurrah.

Thirty-six days of election chaos proved to be enough to reorganize a "protest left" for a showdown in Washington. With one more spotlighted demonstration under their belts, organizations such as the IAC have expanded their e-mail databases, recruited new enthusiasts and, if they were lucky, found new financial sponsors to help carry them through the coming year.

Ted Hayes contributed to this article.

ARCHIVES: NYC Park Asks $12,500 from Louis Posner of Voter March for Park Use

Message #7362 
This is outlandish and I think political.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Louis Posner"
To: "Ethan Lercher"
Sent: Friday, June 01, 2001
Subject: [progressivealert] Voter March Permit Application
for Bryant Park

To:  Ethan Lercher
    Events Department
    Bryant Park Restoration Corporation
    New York, NY

Our original permit application letter was submitted on
February 14, 2001 for Saturday, August 4, 2001 at Bryant Park.  Today, for the
first time, you have advised me that aside from the limitations on time and
date and level of noise, that you now require a fee of $5,000 for use of a
public park and an additional $7,500 as a deposit for possible damages.
Please note that we have held events at Dag Hammerskjold Plaza in New York City,
at Lafayette Park, Dupont Circle, the Ellipse and the West Capitol Steps
in Washington, DC and Justin Hermann Plaza and the Civic Center in San
Francisco, and that at most we were required to pay nominal permit application
fees.  We have never been required to tender a deposit for possible
damages, nor have our supporters ever damaged any public property.

We do not intend on withdrawing our permit application at
this time.  However, the prohibitive costs associated with this proposed
event at Bryant Park will cause us to consider other options.

Louis Posner, Esq.
National Chair
Voter March