Saturday, October 03, 2009

Cleve in Canada; 100K at March?
Straight Media Coverage

The big ego behind the October 11 march on Washington, Cleve Jones, must have taken care of every detail for his upcoming political action because he was off in Canada this week lecturing about AIDS. From today's Leader Post article:
While progress has been made in the treatment of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), American AIDS activist Cleve Jones warns society mustn’t be complacent particularly when it comes to prevention education.

Jones, co-founder of the San Francisco AIDS Foundation in 1983 and founder of the Names Project AIDS Memorial Quilt, was in Regina on Friday speaking at the Aids Programs South Saskatchewan conference. [...]
The October 11 event isn't mentioned at all in the article, which may be because of space limitations or other editorial reasons. I'm sure Cleve would have taken the time to promote his march. Must be nice to have all march matters settled, one week before it happens, and be able to head north for a speaking engagement on AIDS.

Back in DC, the Blade spoke with march spokesperson Phil Siegel who tosses out a six-figure number for the crowd that might show up:
Siegel said early estimates are that 100,000 people could join the march, but “there’s absolutely no way to tell” how many people will show Oct. 11.
That estimate is very much in line with what David Mixner predicted on his blog back in June:
President Obama and the Congress need to know that we will not and cannot wait any longer. Join tens of thousands of others the Lincoln Memorial on October 11, 2009.
I'm sticking with my earlier prediction that Cleve's march will attract no more than 10,000 people. I just don't see enough true grassroots organizing and mobilization happening to make me believe there will be a massive throng for gay rights in DC next weekend.

Down in Dallas, one of the march organizers has rescinded the assistance he was providing to a local activist to be at the event, and it's touched off a robust debate on the Instant Tea blog of the Dallas Voice, which is the only site covering this development:
National Equality March executive committee member Mark Reed, a successful Dallas business owner, says he’s given away about 12 airline vouchers so that others from the local LGBT community can attend the event Oct. 10 and 11 in Washington, D.C. One of those airline vouchers had gone to Blake Wilkinson, founder of Queer LiberAction. But according to e-mails I received today from both Reed and Wilkinson, Reed has canceled Wilkinson’s voucher over comments critical of the march that were posted on QL’s Web site.
What exactly were those critical comments?:
“By targeting congressional districts and lobbying Congress in an effort to win legal equality, the organizers’ strategy looks suspiciously like a drive to elect and re-elect Democrats in the 2010 bi-elections, rather than make uncompromising demands on this President and his Congress.”
Sounds like damn boring and basic criticism; nothing worth getting all bent out of shape over. And how did the businessman explain his cancellation to the activist?:
“I am canceling your free ticket to Washington and informing you in time so you can still make affordable plans.

“Although I was tempted to wait [until] one day before the march, that is not my style … and [would be] fostered out of anger that unlike you, I have learned how to control.”
The battle between these two men has led to 42 comments, a larger-than-usual number, to be posted at the Instant Tea blog. So much for the march bringing diverse parts of the gay community together to work in unite for equality.

Finally, have you noticed there hasn't been much mainstream media coverage of Cleve's march? A Google news search turned up a good number of hits for gay blogs and gay papers, some college and socialist publications, but the closest things to mainstream press article would be a post at the Atlantic Online by Shauna Miller and a NY Times story, in the theater section because of the "Hair" connection, both of which appeared this week.

Of course, the mainstream media could all be waiting for the estimated 100,000 gays and allies to appear on the streets of the nation's capital before they write or broadcast significant political stories on the march. We'll see if the march garners any straight media coverage this week and what kind of stories appear after the march. I'll be shocked if Cleve and crew get decent coverage.


Anonymous said...

It's been a "you're on your own" attitude where I am regarding the march.

The usual elitist cliques here are keeping to themselves, so that should tell you alot about the integrity of the march itself.

Dean Van de Motter said...

I strongly agree with you, Mr. Petrelis. I live in Chelsea--the gayest neighborhood in New York City. And I have heard absolutely no interest in this march expressed by anybody. It just doesn't come up in conversation.

When Cleve Jones came to New York City recently, he spoke to the Stonewall Democratic Club. He received an enthusiastic endorsement from them. That shouldn't be surprising. He had already cut a deal with them to give their candidate, Christine Quinn, a prime speaking gig at the march. Politics as usual. But Cleve Jones is naive if he thinks people will be influenced by a few endorsements from a handful of ward-healing political clubs.

Charles Merrill said...

Organizer Marxist Sherry Wolf in North Carolina has this to say in a socialist rag in Asheville, N.C.. Teamnster Gays mixing cement comment.
Why would Miller and Citigroup sponsor this socialist gathering? The LGBT community has members that validate the free enterprise system. Our wealthiest used their innovative ideas in the computer industry to become very rich. Few are members of the Teamsters Union. Being a blue collar worker is out of character for most LGBT'S. We excel in the arts, out of the box thinking that produces new invention. Alan Turing is a good example, not to mention the LGBT's literature.