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(en) US, Vermillion, South Dakota, Dont Just [not] Vote Demo

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>, stan-A-riseup.net@ainfos.ca
Date Thu, 4 Nov 2004 07:46:13 +0100 (CET)

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For eight hours on Election Tuesday, voters at the polls in Vermillion, South Dakota,
were confronted by a spontaneous radical demonstration that “Voting is not enough.”
At noon, two demonstrators, members of the local direct-action activist
group Community for Peace and Justice, arrived at Vermillion’s main voting
station, with banners that read “If we want to end war, who do we vote
for?” and “Voting against him isn’t enough-Jail Bush!” Within an hour,
more than twenty others joined. As the numbers grew, duct tape, spray
paint, and other materials were shoplifted for sign-making. Voters exited
the polls and picked up “Don’t Just Vote!” signs. A volleyball net was
erected to hold more banners, and both sides of the street were lined with
signs. Passers-by were encouraged to add their own opinions to the wall of
protest, and their messages ranged from the liberal (“We beat Bush once,
we’ll do it again!”) to the revolutionary (“Choose your Master,” “It’s not
just Bush, It’s the System”), with the bizarre thrown in (“Bush hates the
Red Sox,” “Eat more Bush”).

As temperatures fell in the afternoon to near freezing, numbers stayed
strong. More banners were made and posted just barely outside the 100-ft
“No Campaigning Zone.” A large black sign proclaimed “It doesn’t matter
who you vote for-we can not be governed!” Anarchist flags went up and a
“Liberated Zone” was formed.

The goal of some protesters was simply to encourage the public to question
the current nature of the voting system. Others demonstrated because no
candidate represented them on issues. Many were there because they were
fed up with the system as a whole.

One policewoman arrived and ordered the demonstrators to stay off the
nearby school’s property-where the volleyball net wall of protest stood. A
few of the protesters went to the school’s principal to inquire what the
problem was. The principal turned out to support the demo and let the wall
of protest stand-meaning the cop had made up the complaint.

Public response to the demo was typical. Many showed support, others
disgust. Some contributed to the communal food pile. One woman arrived
near the demo’s end with cases of hot chocolate and bags of leftover
Halloween candy.

As night fell and the polls closed, the protesters dwindled in numbers,
but the Liberated Zone remained. At least fifty people participated in the
demo overall, and some stayed for the full eight hours.

The demonstrators here did more than vote on Election Day. In the end
(this being written one day later), the votes they cast meant little. The
demonstration, however, was powerful.

Now that Bush has been re-elected, we can be sure that the next four years
will be among the bloodiest and most violent this nation has ever seen.
Bush’s goals and tactics have been constrained by hopes for a second
term-he has nothing to loose now. The activists in Vermillion hope that as
domestic repression and foreign conflict increases, new bonds of
solidarity will be formed amongst communities of resistance.

Dakota Activist Musician Network

Great Plains Anarchist Network

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