Carol Brouillet And Chicago

(Gold9472: I was thrilled to finally have the chance to meet her. She is an amazing woman.)

June 6, 2006 (Election Day)

I survived the trip to Chicago, and the Primary is being held today in California.

I never fully recovered from being sick, and Chicago was a physical ordeal for me. I arrived on Thursday night, late for the "dinner meeting" for organizers. (I hadn't eaten the whole day). It was great to meet folks for the first time, and after the meeting we went to dinner at the hotel restaurant and the table grew from seating 10 to thirty people, as more people came to join us, including Alex Jones and the Loose Change guys with their camera crews in hand.

Gary Franchi was so thrilled to see Jones and the Loose Change guys, but I dragged him away to help me with a flyer that we could pass out on Friday to alert people to the rally. Because the email to sign up to be in the Participant's Directory was sent out only 30 minutes before I caught the plane, I also included a form on the flip side of our flyer, so we could get them to all the people registering for the conference.

On Friday, I got up super early and persuaded Kevin Barrett to take me to Kinko's to make copies that we could pass out at breakfast and throughout the day. An Italian film crew showed up and wanted to film the office, and so we set up banners, signs, etc... and I also tried to get some visuals and materials for the press conference and the press packets.

The Press Conference was packed to overflowing. At 2:15, I got inside and announced the group was leaving for the rally/march in downtown Chicago. The police had come and organized an escort to help us across the street. We distributed signs, banners, song-sheets, handouts, lots of Deception Dollars, and had a good 100-200 people come with us. We sang and chanted along the way. The bottleneck was getting through the turnstile at the train station (a shame they wouldn't allow us through as a group).

It was an easy walk to Daley Plaza. Alex Jones had arrived ahead of us and had a blowhorn. I tried to pass him our mike and rig up a better sound system, but I think he preferred the blowhorn. Luckily Daley Plaza was rather large and could handle a couple small rallies, so we had a couple sound systems going at the same time, but I did have other speakers and Alex wasn't exactly sharing his system. Ralph Shoenman, Janette MacKinlay, Joyce Lynn also had a chance to speak, before we set off for the ABC studios.

Joel Lewis and guitar had come all the way up from Florida, and Andrew had come from Canada, both sang, as we marched. I had never been to downtown Chicago before and the route took us over a river through a nice section of downtown, it was a beautiful day and fun to be there with so many activists. However the blowhorns were rather dominating, and I'm afraid that they did more fearmongering than rallying and winning over the public. There wasn't much that I could do about that except pass on the mike when i thought we could squeeze in an intelligible word edgewise and allow the chants and songs to be heard along the way. Les Jamieson spoke at NBC.

The police provided a very friendly escort- and helped us en masse to cross the streets.

We wrapped it up around five o'clock and headed back towards the hotel.

I was so exhausted when we got back, that I just went to bed and missed the whole evening program.

Saturday morning, I was supposed to open the plenary. I had worked so hard on my speech/powerpoint presentation that I wanted to be sure that the tech side went smoothly. Unfortunately, it wasn't up and running. I only got to try out the computer ten minutes before I was supposed to begin and the screen wasn't hooked up to the computer until well into my time. The plenary was only 30 minutes long, and we couldn't delay anything with our incredibly packed schedule, so I did the best I could, followed by David Kubiak, and then we started adding walls for the day's break-out sections.

My workshop was on the Eight Stages of Social Movements, the Effective/Ineffective Roles Acitivists can play, Where we are now... (I wasn't totally prepared, just because I have been so busy these past few weeks.) I had started a powerpoint presentation, but hadn't written out a formal presentation- besides workshops should be participatory and not lectures. There were about ten people initially so, I tried to get everyone into a circle and introduce themselves. I was very impressed by wealth of experience, knowledge, diversity of everyone who had come. So we had a lively dialogue before I plunged into covering the gist of the material, and did the best I could before we ran out of time, fortunately I had handouts, and the book for those who wanted to go into greater depth.

The biggest problem with the conference was that there were so many people and so much going on that it was totally impossible to hear everyone/do everything/meet everyone. I especially wanted to go to all the film premieres, to decide which ones were worth organizing big theatrical screenings of, and to meet the filmmakers- since film is one of the most powerful tools we have to reaching the public. Usually the films were shown during mealtimes- which meant that I was usually hungry/starving/and tired...

Also Northern California 9-11 Truth Alliance had shipped and carried a ton of handouts/tabling materials and we needed to table them. I had hoped that between the eight of us- we could divide the time and that we could also share tabling with the filmmakers who made "Who Killed John O'Neil?" However, Hummux and Ken were always busy with tech stuff. Diane never showed up. Janette didn't want to table. Only Becky, Bob and I could table and many times, we couldn't. So we had to stash the materials under the table. My case of 100 Behind Every Terrorist- There is a Bush didn't arrive in time, so I couldn't give away as many copies as I would have liked to.

I finally got to meet people that I had only known via phone and email. I only had time for a hug and word with old friends- like Barrie and Webster. Tabling, I met new folks from all over the country, but I missed a lot of the presentations. I stayed up way too late on Saturday night to hear Annie, the whistleblower and the Democracy Burlesque act.

Sunday morning, I had to be up early to make sure that we would be able to show Who Killed John O'Neil? and I still had technological difficulties. We started on time, but had sound and no image for the first 5- 10 minutes. More people drifted into the room during the screening, and I think having the film shown and available at the conference was worth missing Senator Boxer's press conference- I think it is a powerful, brilliant film and should be screened widely.

Following the screening was the Movies Panel, and there were so many filmmakers, offering tips and advice, and suggesting ways we could all collaborate.

I managed to get a quick lunch with Andrew, who had produced an amazing wonderful 9-11 rock opera which also needs to get out, and we need to develope some sort of strategy for that.

That afternoon, we had our marathon political panel with all the 9-11 Truth candidates in combination with the political strategy workshop from 1:20 to 4:20. I must say, I tried to do the best I could, but I felt really ill- like passing out, throwing up during the 3 hour panel. Poor Brian Bogart had worked really hard on a 15 minute speech that he hoped to deliver at some point. We never let him get through the whole speech, but stopped him and began challenging him on it. (me especially) I tried to apologize to him later. In general I agree with him on most of his analyses, but I felt too ill and was rubbed the wrong way, by a couple of things he said which struck me as being completely off.

I must have looked as awful as I felt, because several times people would come up to me, looking concerned and offered to bring me water, juice, which I desperately needed and revived me. I did appreciate how people did look after and help one another, despite the occaisional difference of opinion, I think we all did respect one another and the work that everyone was doing.

I went to the closing plenary and stuck in my two cents- to distribute the left over signs from the rally, get everyone to add their info to the participant's directory and to articulate the Goals of Stage Four- Take Off (which is where we are now, according to Bill Moyer's- Doing Demcracy MAP of Social Movements) which are the broader goals that will bring us to the next level-(Success). Those goals are-

  • to create a new nationwide grassroots-based social movement (one reason for the Directory of Participants- so we cn communicate directly, rather than go through a bureaucracy)
  • to put the powerholders' actual policies and practices in the public spotlight and on society's agenda of important issues;
  • to create a public platform from which the movement can educate the general public:
  • to create public dissonance on the issue by constantly presenting people with two contradictory views of reality -- that of the movement and that of the powerholders;
  • to win the sympathies and the opinions of a majority of the public; and
  • to become recognized as the legitimate opposition.

Bob Bowman gave a rousing closing speech. I hope he wins his congressional bid!

Because we were running late, it wasn't clear when the evening program was going to start. We had a great comic, the "Ayatollah of Comedy," Azhar Usman, considered by many the world's leading Muslim stand-up comic who had come to perform. Despite some gaffs, reorganizing the AV, for the film showing to follow, Azhar put on a great show. I am hoping that I can get him to do a benefit out here sometime, maybe with one of the film premieres.

I was so hungry and exhausted that I just barely managed to get food, figure out when my plane was leaving, pack, and didn't get to say good-bye or swap/give away all the stuff that we had brought for the things which I had hoped to get. I also had a terrible headache and didn't sleep well or very long, since I had to be up at 6:30 am for a 8:29 a.m. flight.

It was heartening to see the article that appeared in the New York Times 500 Conspiracy Buffs Meet to Seek the Truth of 9/11 and my banner in the lead photo.

I'm sure much good will come out of the conference. I did also finally meet Dave Slesinger, who wants to do civil disobediance when Stone's World Trade Center flick comes out. I think it is a good idea and want to help do something locally and organize a coordinated national campaign. The 'illegal" act would be to flyer on the forbidden space of shopping malls where all those suburban cinemas are located. Anyone want to participate?- let me know! Carol

Janice called me just now and she is getting more calls from NBC, ABC, and CBS, who are following the New York Times lead and interested in the story of the conference and the 9-11 truth movement. We are definitely in the Take-off Stage and the next several months should find us in the spotlight.