Internet organizing triggered tea party rallies Wednesday in as many as 500 cities. Here are scenes from San Francisco's.
Tax Day rally, San Francisco
In the last few years, Internet organizing has led to self-directed flash mobs that gather to engage in pillow fights or dance to the "Sound of Music" soundtrack. On Wednesday, April 15, it led to tax day rallies--also known as tea party rallies--appearing spontaneously in as many as 500 cities, without any central organizing body. Instapundit blogger Glenn Reynolds says: "Though critics will probably try to write the tea parties off as partisan publicity stunts, they're really a post-partisan expression of outrage."
At an Internet-organized rally in front of U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office in the San Francisco federal building, hundreds of protesters denounce Wall Street bailouts, the federal income tax, and members of Congress of both major parties they accuse of being out of touch with the rest of the country. A hay bale came with this sign: "Hay! We Got Our Bale Out! Got Yours?"
Agnes Bernstein, who grew up in Poland under socialist rule, warned that the United States has begun following the same path--unless it retreats from the pro-bailout, pro-nationalization direction that Washington is following.
Agnes Bernstein, who grew up in Poland under socialist rule, told CNET News in an interview after her speech: "The government is growing too big. And I grew up in socialism and I've seen it. And this is reminding me more and more of what Poland used to be. I was fortunate to see the transfer from socialism to a free-market economy in Poland and I'm very sad to see that the opposite is happening here."
The San Francisco rally was nonpartisan: it attracted Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians, Greens, and independents who are opposed to higher taxes and more government bailouts. The front of one protester's sign said "Voting Republican = More Taxes & Debt." The other side said the same thing about Democrats.