Tuesday, September 18, 2007

The Clintons' 1996 Chicago Democratic National Convention Revisited--Part 5

(The following article first appeared in the September 25, 1996 issue of Downtown/Aquarian)

After the rally moderator noted that women from the Women’s Action Coalition “played a strong role in organizing” the protest, the demonstrators began to march down Milwaukee Avenue towards the 1996 Democratic National Convention, chanting “No Justice! No Peace! No Racist Police!” At Wilcott and Lake Streets at around 7:45 p.m., a line of police, some on foot and some on horses, blocked the protest from marching any further. For a few moments, the crowd was shoved by the police on horses, about a quarter-mile from the convention hall. Then another van of police containing 10 cops drove up to reinforce the Chicago police blockade of the crowd.

For awhile, the protesters chanted “Freedom! Freedom!” But, when it began to get dark, the number of the demonstrators confronting the police blockade began to decrease. And the Chicago cops seemed to be waiting until only a few of the demonstrators were around to arrest Dellinger and a few others who were engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience on the street. So Dellinger and the other folks who had planned to get arrested on Tuesday night decided to end their sit-in prior to being arrested. The next day, however, Dellinger and his comrades were arrested for engaging in civil disobedience at Chicago’s Federal Building.

Foreign journalists apparently have an easier time in gaining access to U.S. politicians like the Clintons than do U.S. political dissidents. At the Heartland CafĂ© in the Rogers Park section of Chicago’s North Side on Wednesday, Aug. 28 [1996], Downtown/Aquarian asked the Washington bureau chief of the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, Yoichi Funabishi, whether foreign journalists have an easy time gaining access to the White House?

“I think that the White House, in terms of accessibility, provides the best service for the foreign correspondent,” said Funabishi.

Asked by Downtown/Aquarian whether Japanese political parties have the kind of security perimeter the Democrats set up in Chicago when they have conventions in Japan, the Tokyo newspaper’s correspondent replied:

“Well, actually, the conventions for the political parties in Japan is not a big thing and not as exciting as the Republicans and the Democrats’ conventions here. There are not so many political reporters coming there at all. I cannot think of any of my friends, foreign correspondents, ever covering Japanese political party conventions.

“Japanese party political conventions are choreographed, scripted, for the sake of unity, for control. So it’s not news. Here there is more interest in the protest, in the platform planks, and so forth. Because that’s where the drama is all about. When it comes to the policy-making.”

Downtown/Aquarian then asked Funabishi why most people in the United States don’t generally realize that one of the major political parties in Japan is more pacifist than the Democratic Party?

“Well, I think the Cold War being here with us for more than 40 years. And all types of relations were a hostage to the nuclear shadow game. So there was a strong, I think, political gag on the exposure of the actual suffering the nuclear bomb caused in Hiroshima and Nagasaki. And it’s still there. For instance, take the example of the cancellation of the exhibit in the Smithsonian Institution [in 1995], which was decided after the objections of the right-wing.

“So the administration still is constrained and prevented from revealing the true picture of that suffering and the ordeal caused by the nuclear bomb to the public. Because there is a fear among the Establishment-type of people, particularly the military establishment. They’re afraid that exposure of the suffering caused by the nuclear bomb would lead the public to more strongly demand the demilitarization of nuclear weapons and nuclear systems. That’s my interpretation.”

Coincidentally, questioning the Clintons’ failure to demilitarize nuclear weapons and dramatically cut the Pentagon’s defense budget during their first White House term was impossible, under the system of “Democratic Fascism” which was practiced to block protest marches in Chicago during the Clintons’ 1996 Democratic National Convention.
(end of article)

(Downtown/Aquarian 9/25/96)

Next: More People Imprisoned Under Clintons Than Under Reagan