Crashing the Boston "D" Parties: A look inside the "liberal" void

-by Matt Pascarella

This piece was originally written during the Democratic Convention (July 2004).

(Boston) The revolutionary fervor and spirit of dissent, the crux of perhaps America's greatest historical event, the Boston Tea Party, seems an elusive memory in this city. As I drive into the city from the airport, my cab driver, from Haiti, tells me of the current presidential campaign, "Kerry is going to have to work hard - real hard."

Instead of rolling up my sleeves and heading down to the Fleet Center I decided check out some parties. From clambakes, carnivals and barbeques, Boston, during the Democratic Convention, is like a frat-boy's ultimate wet dream. You could literally party all week long, day in and day out, and not feel so bad about it because you could hit up a panel here or there and pretend like you had contributed to the political process.

As convention-goers tear across town from party to party, they casually check their voice-mail and PDAs for the next gathering of the politico savvy crowds. As I stand outside of the oldest restaurant in America, The Union Oyster House, I hear a woman ask, "Where's the late night party tonight?" Her friend in a black gown replies, "I think Verizon is having one tonight - AT&T; had that one last night."

I'm not sure why, but when I was a bit younger and perhaps much more na´ve, I would have been in shock to hear that a phone company would sponsor a political gathering. Now I just walk away with my AT&T; stuffed-donkey and thank them for the free drinks.

Upon approaching the venues situated in the heart of historic Boston, you can see the flashes of the media storm blend with the disported spotlights and the lush red carpets leading to the entrenched doorways of exclusive clubs. What you didn't see on E-the true Democratic story: Star Jones not being allowed into the GQ party until one of my friends practically wrestles with a state-cop, a secret service drone, and the restaurant host, screaming them into a stupor.

But I'm no good at getting hyped up over these so-called exclusive social gatherings. John Kerry's daughter, Vanessa, was talking to me for a minute or two and I just walked away because the music was too loud and she wasn't making much sense.

I think it is safe to say that these gatherings carry an astute aura, which is felt somewhere in between the conversational hum, the fine wine, and the classy attire. It is a sense ecologically familiar to, and perhaps a prerequisite of, gatherings of the liberal elite: An almost inherent appraisal of nobility and righteousness due to efforts of politicizing what they consider "progressive values." Yet the staggering reality of their efforts seems to merely be an uncanny ability to parlay anti-bush sentiment into a commendable unifying mechanism.

Using the "anybody but Bush" algorithm to fuel the pro-Kerry sentiment should not be cherished with excessive regard and celebrated with blatant debauchery - especially in respect to building and sustaining a true progressive momentum. To merely dislike, hate, or despise Bush and to organize around such combative instincts is by no means progressive.

Woven into the nightly parties, is a celebratory mood concerning all the work that has been done to bring people of all walks of life together to oust Bush. However, there is a feeling of void that creeps in once one glances around the room: the crowds are as white as the fine linen cloths hiding beneath the delicate hour 'dourves tables. The so-called "revolution" is being fought by mostly white men in expensive suits drinking bottles of champagne that cost twice the amount of my rent.

Many activists have repeatedly told me they know Kerry won't necessarily value their own agendas and that he has a bit of treachery attached to his resume, but they're censoring this in order to, "Just get rid of Bush."

If Kerry's undeniable base, a myriad of liberal groups, wants to do something to demand effective social, economic, and political reformation, then such groups should be demanding that Kerry will value such ideals as president.

What I really learned from crashing the D-Parties was simply that creating the idea of Kerry as president and what such a presidency may entail is no easy task because when the core issues are broken down he is not that much different than Bush. But the problem for me is that our so-called allies, our progressive groups, have undermined their own potential and have strayed far from the values they say they uphold. Merely mentioning this to anyone sets off a firefight armed with the bullet points from a pro-Kerry brochure. But that's not what this is really about. The spirit of dissent lashing out against aristocratic rule has not only completely vanished as a core value of the so-called progressives, as they become more and more infiltrated with the elite politicos, but such attitudes of superiority have taken these groups hostage. I'm sure the British Admiral, Montague, would be proud while Samuel Adams and Lendall Pitts roll in their graves.

Matthew Pascarella is a research associate, writer and producer for Investigative Journalist Greg Palast ( and is also Deputy Director of La Lutta New Media Collective ( in NYC.

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