Avatar No. 13
Nov. 24-Dec. 7, 1967, p.4

Today, quite a day, November 16 in Boston...

Today, quite a day, November 16 in Boston and a wild scene over The Resistance rally in Post Office Square. There were four hundred or so at the service at the Old West Church at 11:30 AM, a church where the Rev. Jonathan Mayhew preached freedom twenty years before the American Revolution. It was a bright day, chilly, but the sunshine made up for last night's snow storm and monstrous traffic tie-up. The service was disrupted soon after it started by the Polish Freedom Fighter (Inc.). Joe, as he's affectionately known, started shouting out his tired old slogans in the ante-room of the church, so a couple of Resistance people hustled him out and — unfortunately, he fell all the way down the front steps. Unhurt, he tried to get back in a few minutes later. Ejected again, he suddenly got some support from ten or fifteen construction workers standing outside. The hostile construction people charged the church, grabbed Harold Hector, knocked him down, kicked him and beat him, while the Associate Minister of the church, Mr. Albert, tried to fight them off. It was futile, there were too many, the cops showed and Harold was left bloody. Harold's a nigger — it must have been a good time for them to vent all their hatreds. Inside, reporters crowded around him, just the kind of stuff they love. He finally had to stop answering questions, it was just too much. The side of his head was covered with blood from the gash over his ear. I sat beside him. Mr. Albert brought him a glass of water, and Neil Robertson stood in front of us, his eyes on Harold and the blood. We were all shaking Neil was crying, crying beautifully, Harold seemed less upset by the blood than by the violence, the sudden outrush of ugly emotion that had attacked him on the steps. The blows and kicks were one thing — but the tears in our eyes were a reaction to the walled-up ugliness of the men outside. We all could really feel it. A couple plainclothesmen helped Harold over to Mass. General Hospital next door. He was released a couple of hours later, he's all right.

There were about sixty new Resisters today, fifty or so turned in cards, seven or eight burned them. Jack Mendelsohn, of the Arlington Street Church, Rev William Zeigler of Old West Church, Rabbi M. David Weiss, Father Lawrence Rosini, Rev. Harold Fray, Jr. and several other clergymen took part in the service. The service was perhaps less impressive than the first at the Arlington Street Church October 16, but the spirit and the commitment was there, even more than last time.

The march to Post Office Square began about 12:45, just after the service. The entrance and the streets along the parade route were lined with hostile people; some sweet lady hit me with a snowball after I asked the guy next to her if I could march with his little American flag. I finally had to buy one. (There should be a law that says only draft resisters can display the flag anymore, hell, we're the only Americans left.) As we approached the Square, I could see that there were a lot of people already there, several hundred I guess, and I got the feeling somehow that they weren't with us. From what I heard later, I guess the crowd waiting must have been about half and half, with us and against us. The sound system wasn't doing too well as the delegation tried to turn the cards in to the Assistant Attorney General. Speeches went on anyway, Lenny Heller of the Berkeley Resistance and Howard Zinn, Professor at BU managed to speak. All of it good stuff. Zinn said we were just standing for the principles that America has always claimed to stand for. Word came back from Neil Robertson that the cards had been refused, as we had expected they would be, and that all the cards were left on a table for the FBI to dig through. Zinn finished his beautiful speech and we split back, generally toward the church again. Spontaneous chants came out of the crowd. There was a lot of spirit in us. From a tall building going up where old Scollay Square used to stand, people we couldn't see were heaving snowballs at us from 'way high up on the building. It was pretty hairy, a lot of people crowded together and big ice balls being heaved from the building, smacking on the pavement, hitting cartops and, fortunately, no one in the crowd. They say that a BB dropped from the top of the Empire State Building will penetrate eight inches into a man's skull. Snowballs from that height were definitely dangerous weapons.

What did they say about us, all those people who watched? The Polish Freedom Fighter called us cowards and bums, some fat guy in a grey coat called us queers and cocksuckers, people screamed at us to get a haircut, but only Howard Zinn told it like it really was. We are the New American Revolution, created again in Boston. Who were those people yelling at us? I don't know where to put them, but I do know this — we are the Americans.

Wayne Hansen