BEWARE THE MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: Granny Peace Brigade Planksters take to the streets and run into a corporate buzz-saw.
While we Grannies are deeply troubled by the loss of journalistic integrity, we still have hopes that this once proud profession can be restored to former glory and we’re always more than happy to lend a helping hand to our friends in the Fourth Estate. We think you all do try to resist the pulls and pressures of your corporate masters at NBC/MSNBC — specifically those folks from General Electric. In fact, we had our own confrontation with some representatives from your parent company today and knowing how busy you all are out in Denver, we wanted to fill you in.
This morning at 10AM the Granny Peace Brigade, with assistance from our dear friend, legendary civil rights & civil liberties lawyer, Norman Siegel, and members of the Raging Grannies, Grandmothers Against the War and Veterans Against the War, rallied at the Military Recruitment Center at Times Square to hold a press conference and then walk our ‘peace planks’ to the NYC headquarters of the Democratic National Convention.
It is our intention to keep a program for peace and smart, effective diplomacy on the front political burner and today is one of many actions we will be staging in the weeks leading up to the election.
The Times Square Recruitment Center is the birthplace of the Granny Peace Brigade, so we have a certain proprietary interest in what happens here. Imagine our delight when we arrived this morning to find a built-in crowd — the place was crawling with youngsters in red polo shirts, passing out promotional materials. Brightly colored laundry was strung high above Times Square and looming in front of the recruitment center were two huge inflated red cubes that we were informed were meant to replicate a new generation of GE “Profile” appliances — in this case, a clothes washer and dryer.
As we started to assemble on the north portion of the area for our own action, we started to get some fishy looks from some of the ‘suits’ in charge of the GE event.
We are not going to dignify the conduct of these corporate representatives with exact quotes. Suffice to say they were unpleasant and in a couple of instances abusive. In the eyes of these people, it appears that commerce trumps the right to peaceful assembly. A little constitutional awareness and sensitivity training might be something GE might want to incorporate into their employee training. While the NYPD officers at the scene found no reason to curtail our action, the GE reps were thoroughly outraged. Someone needs to explain the concept of ‘public space’ to these people. As we marched off with our banners, planks and signs, a few of the reps went out of their way to make our exit less than smooth, and a couple of them engaged in some rather unpleasant verbiage. Strong opinions and criticism is something we grannies are used to, however it doesn’t often come wrapped in a corporate logo.
But speaking of logos — part of the corporate swag getting passed out today were big red tote bags with the familiar GE monogram and the legend: “fuhgeddaboudit”. After we finished up at DNC headquarters, we took a look at the stuff in the bottom of the bag. We found some free samples and a pamphlet describing the new appliances that GE is promoting so heavily. It seems this handsome laundry room pair has been manufactured to Energy Star standards – certainly a good thing – however, the other distinguishing innovation is that the new GE ‘Profile’ washer can store up to six months worth of laundry detergent. Now that’s something that should truly enhance the quality of life for generations to come. And for this convenience, the price tag is a mere $3466! We grannies would like to remind GE that the very best way to reduce our carbon footprint is to reduce what we buy. $3466 for a washer/dryer duo? Like it says on the tote bag, FUHGEDDABOUTIT!
– Frans Sears
– photos Eva-Lee Baird