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Monday, October 14, 2002
Hey, Hey, CVS! How much floss did you sell today?
The New York Times has a revealing little anecdote about some professional protesters in New York:
WE shouldn't picket until 6 o'clock," Toby Heilbrunn said Thursday afternoon, cutting short the daily demonstration at the locally loathed CVS drugstore. "We should conserve our energy for tonight."

That night would bring a rally in nearby Kingston against an invasion of Iraq. The threat of war is creating cause congestion for the truly committed. "You don't know which way you're going," Ms. Heilbrunn said. "You run from picketing CVS to the antiwar rally."
Yes, it's such a difficult life. And you risk the ultimate protester faux pas: forgetting which rally you're at. I mean, what if you accidentally show up at the anti-war rally with your "No Justice, No Peace" sign?
Local activists' recent success at stopping a proposed town garage on park property pales against the antiwar task. And who has time to fight the proposed expansion of the local Tibetan monastery? "It's the bigness," one activist explained. Certainly not the Buddhismness.
Maybe they can ask the Taliban for some assistance; I hear they have experience dealing with big Buddhist shrines.
Opposition to CVS grew here, as elsewhere in the region, because the drugstore chain bought the lease of a Grand Union that closed when the chain went bankrupt. It was the only supermarket in a town that already had a chain drugstore. There have been daily protests since CVS opened its store two weeks ago.

OTHERS see a larger issue. A Bard College social studies professor, Joel Kovel, said the building looked much better than it did when Grand Union was there, but he called the CVS a local metastasis of the cancer of "relentless expansion of capitalism."
You mean he's not an economics professor? I'm shocked.
Looking at the CVS on Thursday, he said, derisively, "All this plastic." He hit on a connection between the Iraq invasion (driven by the thirst for oil, he said) and CVS. "If you did a survey of all the products in CVS," he said, "I bet 98 percent of them are petroleum derivatives." Yuck. Even the toothpaste?
And he's not a chemistry professor either? (Actually, in case you were wondering, he's the Alger Hiss Professor of Social Studies at Bard. I'm not making it up. Really.)
John Wonderling, a music producer, headed home in frustration. The CVS was open, the war looking ever more certain. Not a winning season for activists. "The powers that be are the ones pulling all the strings," he said. "You've got to keep going, and eventually us gentler people maybe will be heard."
Hey, John -- we've heard you. We just think you're annoying and stupid. And as an official representative of The Powers That Be, let me tell you that your name is now on The List.

It's the Life Cereal school of modern politics: like Mikey, they hate everything. Hey -- maybe if we told these 60s era-wannabes that Wal-Mart was based in Baghdad, they'd eagerly embrace a bombing campaign.

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