Me to Demonstrate
will you be at noon on Sunday Aug. 29?
I will be in New York City, joining what is expected to be
a massive march and rally to protest George W.’s war in Iraq
and other arrogant administration policies. As the Republican
Party’s convention prepares to open in Madison Square Garden,
a crowd will gather on Seventh Avenue. I hope you will be
I have decided to join this protest because I am getting increasingly
concerned about the effects of George W’s international and
domestic policies. I am also concerned about the weight of
my vote come Nov. 2. That’s why I’m planning to vote with
my feet as well as a ballot.
With casualties mounting in Iraq, economic disaster engulfing
more households at home, the national debt freefalling into
the abyss, and George W. sacrificing more civil rights and
protections for the environment, I feel a growing sense of
duty to join this demonstration. The fundamental precepts
of democracy seem to be under assault. I hope that the size
and diversity of the protest gathering on Aug. 29 will be
a reflection of the broad domestic opposition to the misguided
policies of George W.’s regime.
So, I plan to gather with hundreds of thousands of others
who will amass between 14th Street and 23rd Street from Sixth
to Eighth Avenues in Manhattan starting at 10 AM on Aug. 29.
The march will begin its slow trek up Seventh Avenue at noon.
It will pass by Madison Square Garden, where George W.’s Republican
posse will be busy blowing up balloons and making preparations
for their four-day stay. The path of the march will then turn
west on 34th Street and head over to the West Side Highway
where it will turn south and move toward the rally site which
will stretch north from Chambers Street.
Attempts to hold the rally in Central Park were denied by
New York City Mayor Bloomberg, despite a history of huge gatherings
there in the past. While my initial sense was that this was
unfair, I realized that perhaps Bloomberg and his officials
expect a massive turnout far greater than the 250,000 in the
permit requests. They may be expecting a crowd larger than
the million-plus who showed up for the nuclear disarmament
rally held in the park back in 1982. I hope they are right.
To get to the march and rally you have a number of transportation
options from the Capital Region. The best deal is being offered
by a local coalition of groups with seats on their buses going
for $25 round trip. Check at the Honest Weight Food Co-op
(484 Central Ave.) or Shades of Green restaurant (187 Lark
St.) for tickets, or call the local coalition’s bus line at
449-8631. Financial assistance is available upon inquiry.
Buses will be leaving from the intersection of Madison and
Eagle Streets (just east of the Empire State Plaza) in Albany.
Free parking will be available in the state parking lot also
at this intersection. Bus riders should arrive at the pickup
point at 6:30 AM. The buses will return at around 9:30 PM.
According to bus organizer Cheryl Bellus, ordering tickets
by Aug. 23 will help ensure enough buses are reserved.
If you decide to drive, be sure to fill as many seats as you
can in your vehicle. If you have seats available, you can
drop by the bus pick-up location where last minute car pooling
will be organized for any overflow that cannot be accommodated
by the buses. Be sure to check on traffic restrictions that
may be in effect in the city. You may want to consider picking
up a Metro North train out of Poughkeepsie or further south
to avoid driving in the big city.
If you go by train from the Capital District, Amtrak brings
you into Penn Station beneath Madison Square Garden. There
are no special rates or “Peace Trains” running. When you get
out of the station, just head south on Seventh Avenue to reach
the march assembly area.
The name of the march/rally is “The World Says No to the Bush
Agenda.” As of this writing, speakers and performers at the
rally site have not been announced. To find out the latest
information about Aug. 29 you can check out the United for
Peace and Justice Web site (www.united forpeace.org). This
is the coalition organizing the event. You can find a lot
of useful information at their Web site including a map of
the route, an activist tool kit (if you wish to become more
involved in getting people there), downloadable leaflets,
housing information, news articles related to the demonstration,
a link to their Iraq Occupation Watch and links to other groups
and events involved in demonstrations during the rest of the
To prepare for the day in NYC, be sure to keep an eye on weather
forecasts so you can dress accordingly. Good shoes for hiking
on miles of pavement are a must. You should also consider
bringing food and water to cover your needs for the day. I
plan to bring along a small backpack to carry such necessities
and store clothing. Cell phones may be useful for connecting
with others during the event. A piece of paper and a pen will
also be useful for writing down important information that
emerges during the day. A small battery-operated radio may
allow you to tune in to the rally from a distance. Be sure
to pack a peaceful attitude.
I hope a lot of Capital Region residents head for the city
on Aug. 29 to make this protest a gathering that reflects
the broad community of concern that opposes the reckless acts
of George W. and his regime. The simple act of marching together
in peaceful protests has been shown to be an important means
to bring about social change. Don’t miss this historic opportunity
to help turn things around.
See you on Seventh Avenue!