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Preparing for Thursday's day of dissent

by Camille Dodero

Wednesday, July 28, 2004 Ė "Donít trust the corporate media," warns Brianís T-shirt. Brianís a core member of the Bl(A)ck Tea Society, an anti-authoritarian group resisting the DNC, and this is the second time this week the radical activists have opened their Copley Square Convergence Center to the press. And Brian, whoís welcoming press right now by the third-floor entranceway, wants to make certain nosy reporters know where heís coming from.

"Nice shirt," says Mothra, a 21-year-old film student originally from Taunton. "I think I saw Channel 4 and Fox 25 out there."

"We should have eggs handy to throw at the Fox 25 people," says Brian matter-of-factly.

Brianís kidding Ė sort of. The Bl(A)ck Tea Society doesnít like Fox 25, they say, because the local news station painted them like domestic terrorists a few months ago. And for the last year, the coalition of anarchists, socialists, communists, Greens, and progressives has insisted that itís "explicitly nonviolent." So far during the DNC, thatís been true. A Monday-afternoon march ended without incident; yesterdayís open-air market on Boston Common saw no arrests. Pot rallies send more people to the clink.

But tomorrow is a huge day for the Bl(A)ck Tea Society. Tomorrow, a BTS-permitted "No Blood for Oil" march tramples through the streets. Tomorrow, Critical Mass happens, an early-morning spectacle in which a cyclist throng takes back the streets from the oil-guzzling, exhaust-spilling cars. (More than likely, there will be arrests -- BTS members say Critical Masses usually incur arrests.) Tomorrow is also the Day of Action, the date BTS selected months ago to encourage small groups of likeminded radicals to demonstrate their DNC dissension through "decentralized action."

No oneís sure what exactly decentralized action means. It could be rambunctious puppet shows, guerrilla-style knitting circles, choreographed jaywalking episodes, or sidewalk games of pick-up sticks. "We wanted to do something different that allows people to express themselves however they want to express themselves," explained BTS member Tania Vamont last Saturday to a MIT lecture hall of journalists. "So if people want to do street theater, or someone wants to have a picket, or someone wants to pick up trash, or connect with some folks in the community -- people decide in their own groups to express themselves however they would like, whether itís resisting the DNC or working with a local community group."

Of course, it seems unlikely that protesters will be out in force tomorrow picking up trash. "Well, if I'm calling from a jail cell Ė " says one bandanna-clad organizer to a comrade before remembering the untrustworthy media are here and lowers his voice.


Issue Date: July 28, 2004
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