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Broke the Koch Brothers' Takeover of America
Recovered History / May 1, 2012
By Mark Ames

The New York Times, 1971: “Traffic disrupters, your time is through!”

Today’s May Day protests are the first May Day protests on such a large scale “in memory.” Not that Americans have a memory to speak of. Here’s something to  jar that memory loose: Newspaper clippings of the big May Day protest in Washington DC back in 1971, when federal troops and police herded 7,000 protestors into an open-air stadium prison.

What happened was, tens of thousands of antiwar protestors planned to shut DC down on May Day 1971. So in response, tens of thousands of federal troops–including the 82nd Airborne–were called in DC to teach the longhairs a lesson they wouldn’t forget. It wasn’t even a battle; it was a “rout,” as one newspaper triumphantly called it: Over 7,000 hippies herded into an open-air prison next to RFK stadium, turning the Washington Redskins practice field into a temporary concentration camp.

What was at stake for the police state? The media all agreed that there was no choice: Protesters were “disrupting traffic”:

…So they frog-marched the filthy longhair Commie bastards by the thousands, to teach them never to disrupt traffic again…

Hey, it was right around the time that the loss in Vietnam was sinking in. The Establishment figured they’d take their victories any way they could, and celebrate them shamelessly.

Thanks to the brave reporting by the New York Times, Americans were shown a photograph of an enemy-saboteur at work–some scared looking fool letting the air out of someone’s car tire–to let the Silent Majority know what was at stake here:

The subsequent triumphalism was embarrassing even by American triumphalist standards. Here’s the AP reporting below what victory looked like: “As the rush hour began, traffic flowed smoothly…The demonstrators conceded police and military forces had prevailed.”

Keep this all in mind, Occupy protestors. It’s been this bad and worse before. They will go further than you can possibly imagine–and the media will lie and cover the oligarchy’s backside every step of the way. It’s a class war of attrition, so be prepared for the long haul.


Mark Ames is the author of Going Postal: Rage, Murder and Rebellion from Reagan’s Workplaces to Clinton’s Columbine.

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Add your own

  • 1. scott davis  |  May 1st, 2012 at 11:56 am

    A message for Mark. I was hoping — but wait, is this the site where hopes become reality? Guess not.

  • 2. Trolletariat  |  May 1st, 2012 at 12:00 pm

    Yes, I’m a provocateur troll and I say: passive resistance didn’t work then, either. Yeah man! Let’s get some fake C4 from an FBI informant and blow some shit up, stick it to the man, man!

  • 3. Trolletariat  |  May 1st, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Lol mark ames outs himself as big bourgie liberal. Why don’t you go write some articles for Rolling Stone now??

  • 4. treason  |  May 1st, 2012 at 3:21 pm

    Yeah plus ça change, Americans are helpless victims of their state. The best they can do is assemble in public and serve as proxy propaganda enemies that the state can defeat. When the outside world steps in, then you get somewhere. Back then it was UNGA Res. 3314 (XXIX), complete with explicit thermonuclear warnings, teed up for a Security Council showdown with the USSR, and the USG knuckled under no problem. This time, what’s it going to take? Some combination of Rome Statute Article 8 bis, R2P pillar II, and Security Council reform? State overreach wouldn’t seem so intractable if Americans could tear themselves away from electoral theater and let the outside world show em how it’s done.

  • 5. Zhu Bajie  |  May 1st, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Happy May Day, Ex-holes! It’s a 3-day holiday, here in China!

  • 6. RedBastardGod  |  May 1st, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    I could count the number of real hippies I knew on one hand. The rest of them were poseurs.

  • 7. TD  |  May 1st, 2012 at 4:37 pm

    I wish some of these internet badasses would just shut up and go raid an armory, or something. It’s almost like they are actually not badasses at all! That dude in Saint’s Row raided an armory so why can’t you? Posers!!

  • 8. Fissile  |  May 1st, 2012 at 5:32 pm

    Yeah, Americans radicals just can’t seem to get it together these days, but there were a few promising developments today. Someone, or some group, sent envelops filled with white powder to NYC’s mayor Bloomberg, a number of Wells Fargo bank branches, the WSJ, and Fux News. Tuned out to be talc……this time.

  • 9. Mouser  |  May 1st, 2012 at 5:38 pm

    John Brown also raided an armory.

    The result is typically what happens when you replace logic with emotion.

    But, keep on keeping on, while the reality is the majority could give two shiats about your marches and riots.

    Other than to snigger at the pictures of your bloody heads.

    Happy May Day, Comrades.

  • 10. Anarchy Pony  |  May 1st, 2012 at 5:39 pm

    Mark, disrupting traffic disrupts commerce, disrupting commerce disrupts the corporate bottom line, therefore; fuck them hippies! Call in the national guard!

  • 11. Phil  |  May 1st, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    “Army Secretary says…Vietnamization making progress.”

  • 12. Whyawannaknow  |  May 1st, 2012 at 8:55 pm

    Maybe you could recover some May Day related history from a little further back- And with a body count. For next Friday, how ’bout covering the Haymarket police riot?

    It makes a nice object lesson in what happens when protestors lose discipline and someone tries to use violence against armed cops.

  • 13. DeeboCools  |  May 1st, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Recovered History and Recovered Present: The Examiner in D.C. tonight used the exact same language as the “Spokane Daily Chronicle” in 1971: an attempt to “Snarl Traffic.”

  • 14. DeeboCools  |  May 1st, 2012 at 9:33 pm

    Modern Day Snarling:

  • 15. Malia Hates Her Dad  |  May 1st, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    Happy Loyalty Day!

  • 16. Urda  |  May 1st, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    Given how fucked up some of America’s allies were at the time,including the Shah,I am really not surprised that the US used such strong-arm tactics.

    It is a good think so few of America’s truly autocratic allies survived the cold war or the Arab Spring for that matter.

    When foreign dictators are better treated then American citizens and are allowed to spread their ideas,there will always be nasty repercussions here.

  • 17. TD  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 1:09 am

    @9. Mouser

    The majority didn’t give two shits about the American Revolution, either.

    Besides, TV sucks now. American Idol is even going through the motions. Don’t you want to punish the plutocracy for getting stingy with the bread and circuses!?

    Also, here’s something to think about. Every day that we languish in political purgatory the Chinese get stronger. Been keeping up with those Mandarin lessons, Mouser? Probably a good idea if you think people are never going to nut up and start pushing.

  • 18. gabriel san blogman  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 5:49 pm

    My memory serves to remind me that the immigrant rights movement revived May Day in recent years.

    Lest we forget!

  • 19. super390  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    Well gee, 1971 American media, thanks for letting me know what the capitalist oligarchy is really afraid of: Disrupting traffic! Like there aren’t a million nonviolent ways to do that with currently available technology. Drop fake money out of a “crashed” truck and see what happens.

  • 20. rehmat1  |  May 2nd, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    @3: Mark freely admits that he’s a bourge; see the Exile book, page 193, bottom right. Liberal not so much, at least publicly.

    @Hairy Bear: ;-D

  • 21. Zhu Bajie  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 7:21 am

    Best way to disrupt traffic: have a flat or a collision during rush hour! Especially on a bridge!

  • 22. Zhu Bajie  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 7:24 am

    @17 TD, if you learn a world language like Mandarin or Spanish or French, that gives you more places to flee, when the born-agains start smiting the heathen, for preventing the Rapture!

  • 23. buthead  |  May 3rd, 2012 at 10:43 pm

    i disrupted the traffic of feces in your mothers bowel with my cock

  • 24. Michael  |  May 4th, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    I like the ‘Vietnamization making progress’ in the last newspaper photo above. Nothing changes.

  • 25. Petkov  |  May 6th, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    It’s extremely easy to write articles like that, I bet Amer wrote this while sitting on the toilet.
    But he doesn’t over ANy practical suggestions as to what should be done to effectively fight against the system. Untill he begins to do that I will just consider him yet another article writing know it all.

  • 26. Nazidethpig  |  May 6th, 2012 at 10:34 pm

    We should round up the trolls first. Having a set of balls should be mandatory before being given a license to surf.

  • 27. WE  |  May 9th, 2012 at 11:24 am

    What the fuck Ames, OMON was cracking heads this week and Russia is just starting to get interesting again after years of Sushi bar stagnation and you don’t even post a link in the god-damned What you should know section? Seriously, you’re going to let these other fucking bastards write about what is happening here? Look, that Adam Curtis article you posted was just about the best thing I’ve ever read on Russia, but fuck if we don’t need The Exiled back in this place. Miriam Elder wrote a 10 page opus about her fucking dry cleaner and I swear to fuck I just about cried tears of blood. These hacks are multiplying since you left and now there is no one to set the story straight. A god damned shame I say, a god damned shame.

  • 28. Agu Dabi  |  June 17th, 2012 at 7:19 am

    There was also May Day 1981 in D.C. 600,000* people gathered at the Lincoln Memorial and marched to the Pentagon to protest Reagan’s military budget and belligerence against Central America. An attempt was made to encircle the Pentagon but people were blocked by Unification Church counter-demonstrators. [*500,000 according to official D.C.police estimate, 70,000 according to CBS evening news where Cronkite only showed clips from early dawn arrivals – none from the main march.]

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