ST. PAUL — More than 280 people were arrested Monday only a few blocks from the peace march I participated in on the street surrounding the Republican National Convention.
Code Pink had baby boomers waving paper mache doves on the march. Other groups chanted half-assed, anti-war slogans, with banners backing up their statements, but there were no signs of civil unrest.
Brigades of riot cops lined the streets, looking you in the eye because they knew they were the most outrageous people present. They wore baseball catcher shin pads and chest pads, football shoulder pads, with helmets, visors. They carried wooden clubs and teargas at the ready.
At the time, the most I knew about the arrests was the inconvenience it later provided me.
At the Take Back Labor Day music show on Harriett Island, the scene was like an offshore experience from the from the black-bandana-wearing rioters took on the regular-clothed cops.
I watched the show — where Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine was the most poignant anti-war, socialist speaker/performer — in a semi-buzzed, casual summer daze.
On our walk back from the show, a closed bridge prolonged our walk another mile. (Damn that inconvenience.)
A friend’s sister was disappointed in the show because of its ignorant/bliss feel — mainly from performers Atmosphere and Mos Def.
Knowing what I know now about 280-plus arrests, I have to agree. I wasn’t going to join that aggressive throng of protesters, but I wish I would have witnessed it. I wish I would have spoken with the passionate, the anarchists. Seen their message, passion.
Without experiencing, reading about it made it a lonely, detached story. As a result, it felt as relevant as the current protests in Thailand.
(Editor’s note: The Tank is back full-time after a prolonged summer break. Summer provided plenty of Seagrams, Camel Lights, relaxing and sunshine, but like the seasons, the Tank will now resume its crisp, current, cutting agenda-based feel.)