Unity and Solidarity Rally, New York, 9.11.2010
by John McMahon
Earlier today, I attended the Unity and Solidarity Rally/Emergency Mobilization Against Racism and Anti-Islamic Bigotry in Lower Manhattan, primarily as a participant but also to provide some photographs of the event for the Progressive Voice. A few brief, admittedly poorly-formed, thoughts:
- Many of the speakers focused on the need for solidarity from all who have been subjected to racism, whether it Muslims, blacks, Chicanos, or any other group. This was reflected in the variety of the speakers, the organizations participating in the rally (see the full list by scrolling down here), and to some extent the demonstrators themselves.
- Another common theme was that this solidarity necessarily included labor movements. Many speakers articulated how racism, US imperialism, and economic inequality are not separate issues but must be opposed by a common movement.
- The diversity of political/issue groups and parties there actually was impressive. A variety of different Muslim organizations, Immigrant rights groups, communist organizations, Palestinian activists, trade unionists, civil liberties organizations, Jewish activists, antiwar organizations, socialist parties, and the Raging Grannies were only a few of the ‘identifiable groups’ there today. This is not to say that all these groups intermingled and interacted; except on the speakers’ platform, they were with a few exceptions in their own ‘section,’ amongst themselves.
- There were probably a couple thousand people there (this is admittedly just a guess - I was at the front and never saw ‘the end’). Edit: this AP story gives the number as 2,000.
- A few counter-protesters showed up, although I’m sure most of them were at the hate-fest a few blocks away.
- One of the more amusing parts of the rally was the continuous stream of double-decker buses, complete with curious tourists, many of whom decided to document the exotic event they saw.
- The march route around Lower Manhattan took us further away from Ground Zero and from the hate-fest (we began a few blocks away, at the corner of Park Pl and Broadway).
- While the block of Park Place at which Park51 will hopefully be built was cordoned off by the NYPD (see below), I did walk by the doors of the New York Dolls Gentleman’s Club that apparently is less desecrating to ‘hallowed ground’ then an Islamic Cultural Center.
For more photos from the rally and march, see the rest of the post…