Working Clash

Union jacked: Regarding the anonymous article “Poor Protesters” (Backwash, July 14): As much as we were glad to see Nadia Pflaum at the march, this article sucks. I would not consider myself, or many of my peers present, to be a “union representative,” an “aging hippie” or an “anarchist.”

The rally was important in bringing young activists and union members and reps together for growth in the movement. The union representative that spoke at the rally could teach you a lot about your 40-hour workweek.

Lindsey Walker

Kansas City, Missouri

March madness: You say that we were a group of “young anarchists” and “aging hippies,” and you also acknowledged the unionists (without saying which union they represented). I noticed a few older anarchists and maybe one or two younger hippies, so I suppose you just looked at the crowd and stereotyped them. By the way, the union reps were both AFL-CIO as well as members of our local SEIU union, but I guess that wasn’t important enough to mention or find out.

The man you say advocated jihad was doing nothing of the sort; rather, he advocated that we join with the real freedom fighters of the Middle East in order to build a true worldwide freedom movement. Additionally, the G8 solidarity event was anarchist-organized, so anyone was free to speak.

You then go on to ask whether or not the police needed to “validate” our march by arresting us. All we can say is that no one at the march felt the need for that sort of “validation.” As far as we are aware, the police gave no advance warning, other than attacking someone on a bike. The police then proceeded to mace us after we had already complied with their “orders.” It seems crude that the Pitch advocate that demonstrators go along with police attempts to curb their free speech.

KC Anarchist Action

Kansas City, Missouri

Stop Signs

Nothing to sneeze at: Regarding Tony Ortega’s Kansas City Strip (July 7, about Stan Willcutt’s DUI stop): I think I’ll avoid going through Kansas City, Missouri, on my vacation. I don’t drink or take drugs, but it sure sounds like “witch trial”-type days in your neck of the woods!

A story that needed to be told, though. Excellent article.

Marilyn Hogle

Saranac Lake, New York

Editor’s note: Vacationers allergic to dubious arrest should avoid Lee’s Summit (where Willcutt was picked up), not Kansas City, Missouri.

Flag Down

Slow burn: Regarding Gina Kaufmann’s SeeSaw of July 14: I wonder if the movers and shakers in the local art scene aren’t trying too hard to be knocked off their feet? Jay Norton did what he intended to do very well; I bought two paintings myself. Maybe next time, Jay, you should do it with macaroni and cheese.

Thanks, Gina — good or bad, the art reviews are needed.

Tom Deatherage

Art pimp, The Late Show

Kansas City, Missouri

Red, white and boooo: I think it is every American’s God-given right to burn the flag if they so choose, but I personally find it to be extremely disrespectful and in bad taste to burn the flag — the same flag that is draped over the coffins of our brave soldiers that made the ultimate sacrifice; the same flag that is folded and given to the widows of fallen police officers and firefighters all across the country, for that matter.

I find Jay Norton’s artwork to be clever, but that is all. Clever in the way people compare blood to oil, or clever in the way Bush is spelled B-U-[Swastika]-H. And it is in being clever that tricks people into thinking Jay Norton is an artist. But when you take away the stars and stripes or anything in his paintings that has meaning to someone, all that is left is a pre-emptive Pepsi ad.

Jay Norton, if you like burning things, try going to a foreign country and burn their flag. Preferably a Third World country, like China or North Korea.

You know, on second thought, you’d better just stick to the good old red, white and blue. For your sake, it’s much safer and, well … freer.

Justin L. Rangel

Kansas City, Kansas