Originally, Communists For Kerry was meant to be a grassroots answer to the well-funded left-wing troupe Billionaires For Bush, but we quickly surpassed that benchmark.
The “Billionaires” largely capitalized on the tricks invented by the Bolshevik agitprop theater almost a century ago: promote ideological divisiveness and class envy by dehumanizing “greedy capitalist pigs” and glorifying a poor man’s hatred of the rich. Just like their Bolshevik predecessors, these modern-day American entertainers reinforced and legitimized the Marxist idea of an irreconcilable class struggle, and educated “the unwashed masses” about the only politically correct and Party-approved way of life.
The lamest thing about the “Billionaires” was the fact that the actual crony-capitalism billionaires headed by George Soros were throwing away millions of dollars in an effort to defeat Bush, and some of that war-chest money had likely trickled down to this embarrassing caricature of free-market capitalism.
Despite the uneven playing field, Communists For Kerry turned out funnier, more effective, and with a larger following. Our task was also more challenging: we mocked liberal snobs while surrounded by them. The snobs were not amused. Some of the “intellectually superior” elitists, however, were gullible enough to take us at face value. They approached our table to cheer us up and shake our hands. Upon hearing our foreign accents, they welcomed us as some sort of Red Dawn-style “liberators.” Mission accomplished.
At one point, two DNC workers stopped by to thank us for our support of John Kerry. They thought we were totally cool and left with the conviction that both communism and Kerry were good for “the people.” Says Jason:
They were quite happy to see us. I told them we needed to make sure all people stand together to defeat the imperialist Bush regime. The young lady said to me: “That’s so great, it’s nice to see so many diverse groups out here today supporting our candidate.” I then asked them if we could take a picture for our scrapbook and they gladly participated.
A more typical reaction, of course, was foaming at the mouth, followed by flying spittle and foul language. At the same time, Billionaires For Bush were exclusively preaching to the choir inside New York’s gigantic liberal echo chamber.
But when it mattered, we beat the “Billionaires” on all counts — in wit, guts, nerve, web traffic, and link popularity. Nearing Election Day our website approached ten thousand daily visitors — an impressive gain for a start-up with no budget. The media coverage was mostly negative, but frequent. From various American towns people sent us pictures of their own CFK-like masquerade. By then we had hundreds of online members and thousands of fans around the world. We inspired a spin-off group in Australia, where a similarly divided election was happening at the same time. Even at political rallies in France there were infiltrators in Communists For Kerry shirts.
Our number on Union Square also grew: during the last “revolution” our group consisted of at least thirty men and women. They were a diverse bunch of individuals of different ages, incomes, races, immigration status, and sexual preferences. What united them was the satisfaction of mocking leftist radicals by impersonating them. Not all were in character. There was, for example, one gay singer with an in-your-face handwritten sign on his shirt that read, “Fags for Bush.”
We didn’t limit ourselves to Union Square. When the Dan Rather controversy broke out, we staged a “takeover” of the CBS headquarters in Manhattan, establishing the “freedom zone” and posting a sign that read, “You are leaving the American sector.” At another time we staged an absurdly grotesque protest at the Fox News street-side studio on Sixth Avenue.
The high point of our theatrics was the infiltration of the large anti-Bush demonstration and protest rally during the Republican National Convention in New York on August 29, 2004. Dressed in ridiculous costumes and carrying Communists For Kerry signs, a dozen of us walked through a thousands-strong leftist crowd, from 37th Street along Seventh Ave and past Madison Square Garden.
Jason led the way. A former Marine dressed up as Che Guevara with a big cigar, a megaphone, and a deadpan look on his face, he heralded hilariously absurd slogans:
We must end the two Americas! First North, then South! And then we will all move to France! (See full report here — and pay attention to the puzzled looks of the leftist protesters around us.)
Working the crowd in Che costume was not all Jason did. There probably would be no Communists For Kerry if it weren’t for Jason’s planning and organizing. I mostly did the web-related work: graphics, writing, photographs, and web formatting. Others had their duties too, yet Jason was the leader. He was the kind of leader anyone would want to have as a boss: open, funny, generous, determined, and easy to work with.