Sarah Palin at Boston tea party (Photo by Michael Carl)
“Screaming white men.”
“Violent Sarah-Palin-inspired haters.”
Those are just a few of the labels used to describe participants in yesterday’s tea-party rally in Boston headlined by Palin, according to an account from a union leader and protest organizer posted on a socialist website.
Steve Gillis, vice president of the Steelworkers Local 8751, recounted his participation in an anti-tea-party protest that interrupted Palin’s speech yesterday.
He described his protest group of mostly Haitian-origin union workers as “anti-racists,” fighting “the racist forces” and “corporate-sponsored tea party.”
“Overcoming their hesitation, the anti-racists got out the bullhorns and took the racist forces on politically,” wrote Gillis in an account published on the socialist Workers World website.
“Within minutes, passersby were stopping to say, ‘Right on!’ Some asked for signs and joined us for awhile. The red-faced white guys with signs reading something about ‘Tread on me’ gradually took off, muttering profanities,” he wrote.
Gillis claimed his protest group largely “stayed on the sidelines in silent protest, perhaps fearing the increasingly agitated and violent reactions of the Sarah-Palin-inspired haters.”
Gillis, however, described interrupting what he called Palin’s “vicious anti-immigrant speech” by having protesters yell, “Racist, sexist, anti-gay, Palin Tea Party go away!”
He claimed his group fended off “punches, kicks, body blocks and other violence.”
Continued Gillis: “Not 20 yards from the stage, completely surrounded by and face-to-face with screaming, violent Tea Partiers, the anti-racists were able to keep their formation moving and message blaring, with the people’s union security fending off the blows and pushing forward, until the bigots erupted with whistles and unison booing.
“Palin appeared dumbfounded, standing there for the longest time speechless and wide-eyed in front of the corporate media, perhaps gazing over the horizon to see Russia,” he wrote.
Gillis hailed his anti-tea-party protest as “a step forward for people ready to fight the capitalist system’s tricks, diversions and violent organizational maneuvers to maintain its dominance over the vast majority of the world’s working and oppressed peoples.”
Yesterday’s Boston rally took place on the eve of the tea party’s tax-day protests in Washington, D.C. The event was part of a 20-day, 47-city bus tour.
With additional research by Brenda J. Elliott