Current mood: amused, cynical
Recently, I wrote an article about the recent public-employee-union protests against government spending cuts, labelling them the “Mad Dog 20/20 Party.” So far the Wisconsin protests have been the most striking example of this sort of behavior. Well, on Wednesday, 2 March 2011, the Mad Dog 20/20 Party came to Albuquerque.
So that morning, I went down to the intersection of 5th and Lead SW, as specified in the posting copied above. I arrived at 11:00 AM, figuring that there would be lots of people there, as with the 2009 and 2010 Tea Party rallies in Albuquerque. Wrong – the intersection was deserted, so I killed 45 minutes with a fruit cocktail (non-alcoholic) and iced tea at the Cafe Green, while reading this month’s issue of Analog Science Fiction and Fact.
At 11:46 AM, I left the Cafe Green and went outside. The Cafe Green is on the northwest corner of the intersection. On the southwest corner of that same intersection is Albuquerque’s Social Security Administration building, complete with concrete buffers along the curb to stop any potential Timothy McVeigh copycats from parking too close. At around this time, the Mad Dog Partiers started arriving in ones and twos (mostly just ones at this point). By 11:53 AM, there were all of 17 people in attendance. One guy in a light blue shirt and dark brown tie spent a good bit of time on the cell phone, one hand holding his sign, the other holding the phone to his ear.
At 11:58 AM, some guy wearing a tan shirt with the SSA logo on the front came up to me and asked “Who are you?” He identified himself as a “retired SSA employee” after I told him that I’m a freelance writer (true – unless someone wants to give me money for this? Hint, hint – I’ll be happy with Federal Reserve Notes). He asked me if I wanted any “facts and figures,” I told him “No,” and he told me to “make it good.” Ha Ha Ha.
I should point out that although the Craigslist post called for a counter-protest, complete with signs, I was the ONLY person present there who was so inclined – thus I stayed on the north side of Lead Avenue and didn’t raise any stink – there was ONE of me, about 80-100 of the Mad Doggers by 12:15 PM, and well, the union crowd has been known to be physically aggressive at times.
There were a few signs for the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE), the New Mexico Federation of Labor (NMFL), and one or two from the Communications Workers of America (CWA). I didn’t see any signs from Carter Bundy’s AFSCME, nor any other unions that have local affiliates in Albuquerque.
On several occasions, vehicles painted in the colors of the “Federal Protective Service”, operated by the Heimatschutzministerium der Vereinigten Staaten, passed by on what appeared to be routine patrols. Funny how they didn’t seem to mind me (or anyone else) taking pictures and making video recordings of the marchers – they’ve established a bit of a reputation for arresting people for doing just that, and being rather obnoxious about it, to boot.
Or maybe such photography didn’t constitute a “security threat,” however they make that determination (outside of whatever’s convenient for the U.S. Attorney’s Office?) – there was a guy with a professional-grade camcorder and matching tripod who set up his gear for several minutes, and went about his business unmolested. Or maybe this demonstration had the under-the-table support of the GSA and FPS supervisors?
By 12:09 PM, there were about 60 people in attendance. Some of those driving through honked their horns. Around this time, the guy with the camcorder went over to them, chatted a bit, got some close-up shots, that sort of thing. My first guess is that he was from one of the local TV stations, but don’t they usually show up with a vehicle painted with the station’s name and logo on the side? Yet nothing has shown up on the web about this event, aside from this short PR piece from the AFGE.
At 12:11 PM, some of the gathered started singing “Solidarity Forever.” [YAWN] Again, no visible counter-protest was evident – I was it where those supporting limited government and fiscal responsibility were concerned.
- R U 1 OF THE 80 MILLION WE SERVE
No, I’m one of the 230 million who get ripped off to pay for this racket.
Hey, toots, how about YOU get your hands off MY check for a change?
- Keep us working!
What were these people supposed to be doing besides standing outside this building holding signs? Did this have the support, overt or under-the-table, of their supervisors? If they did, does this constitute tax-supported activity?
At 12:20 PM, two teen-aged skateboarders were passing through the Cafe Green’s parking lot and were accosted by the Mad Dog Partiers. The kids responded with “Get the fuck outta the way.” So there IS hope for the up-and-coming generation, after all.
At this time, they started chanting, “Workers – united – will never be divided,” a few times, before splitting up into groups and going around the SSA building. [YAWN]. Was lunch time over? I left at 12:23 PM, as another round of chanting was dying out.
- Were these people off or on the clock while conducting this picket?
- Why weren’t the roving FPS patrols harassing and arresting myself and the guy with the camcorder? After all, the event was in front of a federal building.
- Did this event have any kind of official support? Did they use premises of the SSA building to organize it?
- Did they have the proper permit from the City of Albuquerque? Back on 17 July 2009, Albuquerque Police Department chased the Tea Party away from the curb outside Tom Udall’s office on 3rd and Central for “not having the proper permit.”
- Since it seems that this event didn’t merit any media coverage, nor any coverage amongst the local unions on their sites, what was the point of it all?
Union thug at Atlanta moveon rally 2-26-2011
MoveOn.org Protester Teamster attacks Tea Party member 2-26-2011 at Sacramento Capitol
Madison police detain union operative who tried to destroy Tea Party sound system
Upholding the Law: Photography Rights are Routinely Ignored
Photographer and Civil Liberties Group Sue Department of Homeland Security
Google search: SSA protest Albuquerque
Google search: “SSA protest Albuquerque”
Google search: “SSA protest”
- Reposted –