Wednesday, April 15, 2009

The Chicago "Tea Party" Tax Protest

I attended the Chicago Tea Party today, held amidst the complex of federal buildings in the central Loop, and it appeared to be a big success. My unschooled guess at turnout was about 2,500 to 3,000, but later I heard John Tillman of the Illinois Policy Institute (one of the speakers at the rally) state that the Chicago Police Dept. estimate is 4,000. At least one other area rally that I know of was scheduled for the suburbs. The enthusiastic crowd was very orderly with a fair sprinkling of kids, senior citizens, and eclectic characters. There were a few costumes of one sort or another. Signs, flags, and banners were plentiful, mostly homemade looking. I especially enjoyed the pirate theme – very topical. I walked around the entire perimeter and saw no counter-protesters. There were about 25-30 police present, looking relaxed and friendly – a high-risk crowd this was not. One criticism I have is that the speakers could not be seen by most of the crowd (I later saw that speakers had a very low platform on which to stand) and as such there was not a clear focal point for many people. Another is that most speakers did not use the microphone properly and were not heard well. The rally really could have used a community organizer to help with these technical matters, which is no doubt a part of their training – I think it’s Rallies, Protests, and Crowd Incitement 101.

John M Greco

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