So many are working so hard to ensure that the Republicans obtain a cacophonous New York experience [for their convention]. The antiwar, anti-Bush folks at United for Peace and Justice want to obtain a permit to march 250,000 people past Madison Square Garden -- home to the Republican convention -- and up to Central Park for a vast rally on the Sunday before the convention [August 29, 2004].
City parks officials have so far denied the permit, arguing that too many feet could cause irreparable harm to the grass.
A group known as the "hacktivists" vows to unleash a fury on the Republican convention Web site. Another one, Shadowprotest.org, encourages New Yorkers to volunteer to serve as goodwill ambassadors -- but not show up to work. "I don't need to reach every New Yorker," said David Lynn, the organizer of Shadowprotest.org. "I just need to find a couple thousand malcontents."
Firefighter and police unions will rally to protest their city contract offers. Anarchist bikers plot random street swarms. The Missile Dick Chicks want a permit, as do the Trotskyites and Billionaires for Bush, which wants to hold a benefit for corporate welfare.
The Yippie Party applied for a camping permit for 20,000 people in a Lower East Side park. To sweeten the request, it offered to provide cops and National Guard soldiers -- should they show up -- with free massages, bongo serenades and medical marijuana.
The Yippies leader (a relative term, that) acknowledged that the probability of obtaining such a permit was very low.
"We were denied in four days. We think that's a record," said John Penley, a Yippie elder. "Now we plan to open a welcome center staffed by punksters and anarchists and squatters. We just want to help out."
Civil libertarians note that more than 20 groups have applied for march and rally permits, and the city has not approved one. The New York Civil Liberties Union filed more than 300 complaints against the city for its treatment of demonstrators at a march just before the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Since then, police have several times denied requests for high-visibility rallies.
Oddly enough, both the supposedly-lefty New York Times and the determinedly-righty New York Post agree that dissent is more important than a healthy lawn, which puts them at odds with America's increasingly suburban NIMBY-pambyism.
After all that New Yorkers have been through since 9-11-01, and after all the war crimes that have been carried out in their names, they don't need no stinking permit to make their voices heard. With their unbelievable resourcefulness and fuck-you-too spirit, New Yorkers will once again prove that they live in the greatest city in the world.