Freedom of expression has little meaning if it is not fully exercised. Without meaning, it is, well, meaningless.
Robert Lederman has always made clear in words exactly why he has taken the positions he has taken.
His essays exemplify the exercise of free speech.
injusticebusters salute him and ask those seeking redress for injustices to approach their work with thought and intelligence.
As elected officials have cut back resources for education in the liberal arts and, indeed, in general, we have been living through an anti-intellectual backlash.
The Internet provides those who were fortunate enough to be taught to read an opportunity to read the work of thoughtful activist/advocates for social change. Ther following essays by Lederman would be as good a place as any to start.
[A little background about MOMA, Rockefeller, Mike Bloomberg, the First Precinct and street artists]
NYC officials always claim the reason they have spent so much time, money and effort to get rid of street artists has something to do with sidewalk congestion and public safety. From the beginning of our struggle in 1993 the A.R.T.I.S.T. group's literature has depicted them as having a completely different agenda.
We believe that the City's effort is focused on eliminating street artists specifically because we have full First Amendment freedom and are not subservient to corporate interests or the so-called official art world, a politically-compromised arts community whose survival is based on government and corporate welfare.
Most street artists are preoccupied with the immediate issue of their vending spot, sales and whether the NYPD will harass them or not but there is a lot more to this issue than those concerns. Once you understand that you are seen as a huge threat by the people who actually run NYC: the BID's (Business Improvement Districts), the Central Park Conservancy and David Rockefeller, you will feel empowered to fight even harder for your rights.
Those who think the official art world supports street artists are unfamiliar with the real history of this issue.
MOMA (The Museum of Modern Art) is one of our biggest enemies. They fully supported City Council Member Kathryn Freed and Mayor Rudy Giuliani efforts to get us off the streets as letters from the museum director to Freed and their petition to Giuliani's Street Vendor Review Panel prove. Before SoHo became well-known, Fifty-Third Street was the Mecca of NYC street art. MOMA's fake art gift shop on 53rd Street believes they lose tens of millions in sales to street artists each year.
Before we filed our successful appeal in 1995 in the first street artist case [Lederman et al v City of NY/Bery et al v City of NY] I picketed MOMA for a week straight and hand delivered a leaflet to every single employee titled, "Why Doesn't MOMA Care about Street Artists Being Arrested?" Glen Lowry, MOMA's director had refused to issue a simple one sentence statement on our behalf and the NYPD routinely told me MOMA was asking them to arrest artists. As a result of the internal controversy the leaflet generated among the museum staff, MOMA begrudgingly joined in filing an amicus brief on our behalf.
The Whitney Museum also refused to issue any statement on our behalf. I distributed a similar leaflet at the 1995 Whitney Biennial after which the Whitney also relented and joined in the amicus brief with MOMA.
The Guggenheim was also very much against street artists and refused to join in the amicus brief. The Metropolitan Museum of Art initially agreed to sign the amicus brief then asked that their name be removed at the last minute. Our second lawsuit, Lederman et al v Giuliani, focused on the area in front of the Met. SoHo's Prince Street, where the Guggenheim Museum had their annex, was restricted to street artists in 2000 largely as a result of the Guggenheim's years of unjustified complaints to the police about us. That will eventually become grounds for another lawsuit.
MOMA is owned by David Rockefeller and was founded by his mother Abby Aldrich Rockefeller. David Rockefeller's bank, JP Morgan-Chase, also finances the Manhattan Institute, a CIA front with direct ties to racism, eugenics and Nazi Germany from which both Rudy Giuliani and GW Bush proudly claim to get all their ideas [see https://web.archive.org/web/20030201181237/http://baltech.org/lederman/ for detailed mainstream media evidence on this subject].
To give you an idea of how David Rockefeller manipulates things to confuse anyone who tries to understand his position consider this. As explained above, in 1995 Rockefeller's MOMA filed an amicus brief in support of street artists' First Amendment rights. At the exact same time The Alliance for Downtown NY BID, another David Rockefeller front, joined with the SoHo Alliance and three midtown BIDs to file an amicus brief in the same lawsuit against street artists having First Amendment rights.
One brief said visual art was not worthy of being considered expression, the other defended it as the height of expression. The idea is to support opposite sides against the middle so as to keep one's true position unknown and to be able to claim you took whatever position the person you are speaking to wants to hear.
Here's an excerpt from the 30 page brief signed in 1995 by The Alliance For Downtown NY, The Fifth Avenue Association, The Madison Ave. BID, The Grand Central Partnership and The SoHo Alliance: "The sale of artwork does not involve communication of thoughts or ideas....the dangers of allowing visual art full First Amendment protection...An artists' freedom of expression is not compromised by regulating his ability to merchandise his artwork...the sale of paintings and other artwork does not reach this high level of expression (guaranteeing First Amendment protection)..." Note that the area of NYC which these groups control is home to 95% of the City's art galleries and art museums.
The Alliance for Downtown NY was founded by so-called art patron David Rockefeller to enhance his Chase Bank building and was the City's first BID. It dominates the NYPD's First Precinct and the first City Council district which includes SoHo, as documented by years of articles in the NY Times and elsewhere. The reason the First Precinct is always far more preoccupied with harassing legal street artists than the areas' hundreds of illegal unlicensed vendors is this hidden connection between the local police, David Rockefeller and SoHo's City Council representative.
Complaints from the SoHo Alliance are a cover story to obscure the real source of the complaints against street artists. The First Precinct admits they know most of those SoHo Alliance complaints are false and are called in by the same handful of people. Then why would they spend so much time and so many resources responding to phony complaints? The SoHo Alliance is what is called a useful idiot.
David Rockefeller wants us all off the street and SoHo's new City Council representative Alan Gerson cannot do much to help us even if he wanted to. Gerson's district includes the entire area controlled by Rockefeller's Alliance for Downtown NY BID including Wall Street, the WTC area, City Hall and Battery Park. That BID has more power and money that most countries let alone most U.S. cities or States.
What Alan Gerson will most likely come to us with as his "plan to help street artists" will be a recycled idea from the previous Council Member to make us submit to a certification committee. Then we will be under the same selective screening process as in galleries and museums - exactly the opposite of what we have now under the full protection of the First Amendment as applied to a public forum.
All of this will be presented as "advancing culture, protecting the arts and preserving the unique nature of SoHo". Artists will be told they will no longer have so much competition for space from vendors or so much police harassment. Street artists who have a minimal understanding of the background to this struggle will think someone is doing them a favor instead of trying to eliminate us all. Eventually if allowed to proceed, the whole plan will be very clear but then it will be too late.
Like MOMA's "help" City Council Member for SoHo Alan Gerson's "help" will always be part of a plan to take away our rights, even if he personally likes street artists and believes in our having First Amendment protection. Gerson may seem like a decent guy but he cannot oppose these people and have a political future. His involvement in planning the unprecedented attack on street artists in SoHo on 4/5/2002 involving the use of garbage trucks signaled what is to come.
Actually, we already have the fullest protection possible under U.S. law, the First Amendment. No City Council Member, Mayor or other elected official could possibly give you better protection than that. Just remember what those on the right often use as their motto, the price of freedom is eternal vigilance. It's true for us all.
If you think the police harass artists now, be assured they have worse things in mind. Privatizing the NYPD is one of David Rockefeller's hopes for the future. The Alliance for Downtown NY paid millions of dollars to have their private BID police work out of the same facility as many First Precinct cops.
No wonder BID police, who are nothing more than minimum wage unarmed security guards, act like they are the real police. Most BID security in NYC is run by high-ranking former NYPD officials, many of who were formerly members of the NYPD Peddler Task Force, created in the 1980's to go after street artists in the Fifth Avenue Association's midtown BID. See: "Wall St. Plans to Pay for a New Police Substation There" N.Y. Times 2/16/98 and "Precinct to House Private, City Cops" Daily News 2/16/98
Here's an excerpt from a Giuliani press release on this: Archives of the Mayor's Press Office FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Date: Tuesday, March 16, 1999 Release #094-99 Contact: Colleen Roche/Curt Ritter (212) 788-2958 MAYOR GIULIANI AND POLICE COMMISSIONER SAFIR PRESIDE OVER CEREMONY FOR NYPD DOWNTOWN CENTER "New Downtown Manhattan Police Facility Will House Officers From Three Separate NYPD Units. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and New York City Police Commissioner Howard Safir today joined Alliance for Downtown New York Chairman Robert Douglas in announcing the opening of the new police facility in Lower Manhattan. The new site, known as The NYPD Downtown Center, will house officers from the Scooter Task force, the Citywide Homeless Outreach Unit and the Movie and T.V. Unit...The new facility will provide much needed space for a police force that has expanded by 45.5% since 1998. In addition to the officers from the three NYPD units, the site will also be the new headquarters for the Downtown Alliance security force...Police Commissioner Safir said, "The NYPD is proud to have played a part in restoring New York City by achieving historic low levels of crime. It's important that the police and the private sector work together for the betterment of all concerned, and today's grand opening is a fine example of how effective these partnerships can be."...The Alliance for Downtown New York, Inc. manages the Downtown Lower Manhattan Business Improvement District."
A lot of street artists imagined we'd get better treatment from the new Mayor, Mike Bloomberg. Unfortunately Mike Bloomberg's "independence" is as much of a media-created fantasy as Giuliani's was. He's just another Rockefeller stooge. His Bloomberg News managed to avoid covering eight years of news on our lawsuits and demonstrations which were covered in detail by every other NYC media outlet.
Jokes sometimes reveal more than any serious comment. Bloomberg recently gave the world a hint of who he works for: Daily News 4/11/2002 Mayor Says Bloom Is on 1st 100 Days "As the mayor addressed the New York City Partnership, a group of business leaders to which his company, Bloomberg L.P., belongs, he seemed relaxed. At one point, he joked with audience member David Rockefeller that "everybody in this room is expecting you and I to balance the budget together."
The reason Giuliani had me arrested so many times was that for eight years I was exposing the Giuliani-David Rockefeller-CIA-Nazi connection. That's what all those Giuliani-as-Hitler paintings and signs were about and exactly why he took them so seriously, although he frequently pretended they were about the NYPD instead of about him. That's why he's in Federal court fighting a subpeona my lawyers recently served on him to appear for depositions about having me falsely arrested.
At the same time Giuliani was cutting funding to schools, cultural programs and the arts he was giving his mega-billionaire boss David Rockefeller hundreds of millions in tax dollars so MOMA could make a temporary move to Queens while renovating their 53rd Street location. See: Newsday 4/22/2002 Museum on the Move 4/22/2002
NY TIMES 4/24/98 MOMA to Get $65 Million for Expansion "Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani pledged Thursday that the city would contribute $65 million over the next three years to help pay for a major expansion project at the Museum of Modern Art...Facing its huge price tag, trustees from the museum's expansion committee, including David Rockefeller, the real estate developer Jerry Speyer and Donald Marron, the chairman of PaineWebber Inc., approached City Hall. Mr. Rockefeller, whose mother, Abby Aldrich Rockefeller, was a founder of the Modern, said the city money was "the financial cornerstone" of the expansion. Of the remaining $585 million the museum must raise, he said that about $200 million had been pledged by "the family and trustees." Then he quickly added a qualifier: "When I say family, I mean the museum family, not my family."
Rockefeller's Chase Bank was intimately tied to the Nazis before and throughout WWII as you can see by the evidence on my website. Rockefeller was 1/2 owner of IG Farben, the Nazi company that built Auschwitz and forty other Nazi slave labor death camps.
President Roosevelt intended to try Nelson Rockefeller as a war criminal after WWII, but he died in office. President Truman held congressional investigations of Rockefeller when Truman was a Senator and considered him a traitor. When Giuliani sprayed pesticide nerve gas on NYC from 1999-2001 - supposedly to fight West Nile Virus - he used chemicals that were developed at IG Farben. West Nile Virus was "discovered" by Rockefeller University scientists in Uganda in 1937. Rockefeller labs in NYC were experimenting with West Nile Virus for decades before the alleged 1999 "epidemic". Extensive evidence for everything claimed here is on my website. This Nazi influence is everywhere around us today.
"During the war, Rockefeller foreshadowed the anticommunist policies of the Cold War by cozying up to dictatorial regimes in Latin America. Niccolà Tucci, head of the State Department's Bureau of Latin American Research, resigned and asked Secretary of State Cordell Hull to abolish his bureau. "My bureau was supposed to undo the Nazi and fascist propaganda in South America and Rockefeller was inviting the worst fascists and Nazis to Washington." (Peter Collier and David Horowitz, The Rockefellers: An American Dynasty. Holt, Rine-hart & Winston, 1976, p. 236).
There is a lot of published material in books and on the Internet about MOMAs CIA roots. Most of it's early directors were CIA personnel and many early CIA officials were themselves former Nazis brought to the US after the war. For decades MOMA has fought in Federal court to keep art stolen from murdered Jews by the Nazis.
For a full history on MOMA's CIA connection see: THE CULTURAL COLD WAR: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, By Frances Stonor Saunders. For a very detailed history of the Rockefeller-CIA Nazi connection see The Secret War Against the Jews by former U.S. Dept. of Justice Nazi War Crimes investigator, John Loftus.
I know this may seem bizarre to my fellow artists who are unfamiliar with this history but MOMA and the early SoHo art dealers tied to MOMA had an agenda behind promoting abstract expressionism which had nothing to do with art. The reason for making abstract expressionism the "new" American art form was to sideline and eclipse the millions of artists who were using figurative painting to do political art which attacked powerful corporations, corrupt politicians and social injustice. Figurative art was often used to motivate people to join unions, hold protests and otherwise resist the growing police state.
The World Bank, IMF and related protests are about this exact same issue of corporate domination. The puppets and art you see in them are the kind of figurative art Rockefeller wanted to make unpopular and outdated. I like abstract art as much as the next artist but you can't rally people to a protest or inform them about government evils with a Jackson Pollack painting...and that's exactly why that kind of art was so aggressively promoted in schools and in the media by the CIA, MOMA and the early SoHo art dealers.
This effort to sanitize and de-politicize art began when David Rockefeller's brother, Nelson Rockefeller, destroyed Diego Rivera's famous mural in Rockefeller Center. The Rockefellers, like the Bushes, were avid supporters of Hitler. In Nazi Germany, Hitler was targeting artists who exposed the evils of the Nazi regime and of German society at the same time Rockefeller was destroying Rivera's mural.
My website is filled with verifiable documentation proving what these enemies of freedom have been up to for the past seventy years. The Bush families extensive Nazi connection is finally breaking into the mainstream media. Just last week both the NY Post and MSNBC had stories on it, which are included on my website.
Bloomberg was hand-picked by David Rockefeller to become mayor and has decades of close ties to him, so don't expect any better treatment from the new Mayor than we got from Giuliani. Crushing art in a garbage truck, their newest policy, gives a good idea of what they have in mind for street artists in 2002.
When you use your art to defend free speech you are illustrating the real essence of this issue. Even a little cardboard sign on your display, "Stop Harassing Artists" is a big threat to them and is conversely a very big means of defense for you. Don't be fooled by those who advise you not to show those signs. Those signs do more to stop the police from harassing you than any court ruling.
The mainstream "arts community" pretends that they care about free speech, but look closer. Virtually every instance in which they become involved in defending free speech is really about protecting government funding for art, not about artists' free speech. These art institutions get their money from our corrupt government and from the same exact corporations like Chase Bank, Exxon, Phillip Morris, Ford, Enron etc. which own our government and use art and culture as a cover for their massive crimes.
Any art they support usually is part of the government's Rockefeller-controlled agenda of destroying the family, religion and other institutions. The reason many Americans don't support free speech or art nowadays is exactly because of the kinds of art that these government programs funded.
Using the same Madison Avenue mind-control techniques used to sell us defective cars, illiterate Presidential candidates and toxic cigarettes they created a link in the public mind between free speech and depravity of every imaginable kind. I believe that was the plan all along, to support taxpayer funding for the most distasteful art imaginable as a means of getting a justifiably angered public to stop supporting free speech. I'm not suggesting that the artists who get this funding are a conscious part of the plan. They want the money, and no questions are asked or they don't get any. It's a classic deal with the devil.
No one was trying to stop these same artists from showing their work in a private gallery. It was always the public funding that sparked the controversy. These same "free speech" advocates never supported the rights of street artists and in many instances have been among our severest critics.
Independent street artists who use the public forum rather than tax dollars to communicate with the public are the real frontline in the war for free speech. Most street artists still have no idea of how important they are in this struggle. Getting rid of unlicensed vendors, which many street artists are now being encouraged to clamor for, will not help us one bit. We are and will remain the real target.
The key to fighting successfully against such powerful people is to EXPOSE them everyday in everyway and to never be co-opted by them. They hate to be exposed that's why you will almost never see David Rockefeller mentioned in the newspaper despite him being by far the most powerful person in the U.S. Make your work as political as possible. Feature these enemies of free expression in it. Set up your display where it will cause the most controversy, not just where you will make the most sales.
Quietly working with our opponents to get a few crumbs of benefit is exactly what they hope we will do. The latest effort to scare street artists off the streets - crushing our displays in a garbage truck - was no accident or misunderstanding by the First Precinct and the City Council Member. It's perfectly consistent with everything they have done in our regard for the past eight years. If anything, it may have been done to soften us up so that we will be more willing to agree to their new "plan". Expecting them to help us with this problem is like expecting the fox to protect the hen house.
In our current lawsuit, Lederman et al v Giuliani the Central Park Conservancy (CPC) is a named defendant. In a deposition given in 1998 the Parks Department legal counsel, Thomas Rozinski, admitted that the CPC had undisclosed representatives in meeting between Parks Department officials and me as early as 1995. When I and other artists were illegally arrested at the 65 day long 1998 Met Museum demo we were often put into NYPD vans with the CPC logo on them.
CPC is now headed by Rudy Giuliani's first wife and cousin, Regina Peruggi. I believe we should include Mike Bloomberg, David Rockefeller, the Downtown Alliance, the SoHo Alliance and the City Council member for SoHo as named defendants in our next lawsuit.
Don't let our enemies depict street artists as "art hawkers" "art hustlers" or any of the other derogatory terms they use in their attacks. Be even more resistant to them trying to include you in the "arts community". You are a street artist. You are not a welcome part of that community and are in fact anathema to it. By selling your own art you make art dealers, critics, curators and the like appear to be what they are: useless obstacles who keep the public and artists separate from each other.
When they talk about how your little art display set up for a few hours a week "congests" sidewalks, point to the thousands of concrete planters the BIDs installed all over NYC streets which seriously congest sidewalks 24 hours a day, seven days a week and which are a genuine safety issue. All over SoHo the same SoHo Alliance fools and art dealers who call the police all day claiming we obstructed their sidewalk are installing huge illegal planters in the same spots where they don't want street artists.
I noticed that the Grand Central BID recently attached sharp metal spikes to their planters to keep people from sitting on them. One such spiked concrete planter presents more danger to the public than all the sidewalk art displays in NYC combined.
It seems clear that no matter how many lawsuits we win the City will never stop harassing us. In a way that's a tribute to how important they think we are. Our independent political activism and your part in it remains essential in the struggle to protect street artists' First Amendment rights.
More than ever I can say I'm proud to be a NYC street artist. I hope that you are too.
From Encyclopedia Britannica.com "During the height of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency did a remarkable thing: It bankrolled the American avant-garde...The championing of American abstract expressionism represented one of the most dramatic campaigns, exemplified in the paintings of Jackson Pollock."
"Moma has even been outed as a front for the CIA in the 50s, when its international touring shows of American art were supposedly little more than Cold War propaganda exercises." UK Guardian unlimited 8/29/2000
From The Cultural Cold War by Frances Stonor Saunders, New Press [pg 132] "The fund raising arm of the Free Europe Committee [a CIA front] was The Crusade for Freedom for which a young actor named Ronald Reagan was a leading spokeman and publicist. The Crusade for Freedom was used to launder money to support a programme run by Bill Casey, the future CIA director [and founder of The Manhattan Institute], called the International Refugee Committee in New York [aka International Rescue Committee], which allegedly coordinated the exfiltration of Nazis from Germany to the United States where they were expected to assist the government in fighting Communism...[pg 142]...The Ford Foundation gave $500,000 to Bill Casey's International Rescue Committee and substantial grants to another CIA front, the World Assembly of Youth...the convergence between the Rockefeller billions and the U.S. government exceeded even that of the Ford Foundation ."
NY Post 4/16/2002 PAGE SIX By RICHARD JOHNSON with PAULA FROELICH and CHRIS Bush granddad's Nazi 'link' "...Dubya's granddad, Prescott Bush, managed the Union Banking Corp., whose portfolio included the Silesian American Corp. The article cites a 1942 newspaper story linking Bush to Nazi-funding German industrialist Fritz Thyssen. In 1943, Bush resigned from the bank and later chaired the National War Fund. Clamor claims that in 1951, Bush used the $1.5 million he made from UBC stock to set up his son, former President George Bush, in business. The next year, Prescott Bush won election as U.S. senator from Connecticut. He died of cancer in 1972. Best-selling author Kitty Kelley - who has done stinging bios on Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor - is said to be rehashing the charges in her upcoming tome about the Bush dynasty."
MSNBC and SLATE 4/17/2002 The Bush Family and the Jews "The charges against Sen. Prescott Bush, the grandfather of the current president, went beyond the disdain for Jews and discriminatory practices that were characteristic of New England WASP culture in his day. Prescott Bush was a director of a New York bank where rich Germans who supported the Nazis stashed millions in personal wealth. He was still a director at the bank, Union Banking Corp., when its assets were frozen under the Trading With the Enemy Act in 1941 - a fact that has provided endless fodder for leftists and conspiracy theorists since it came to light in the 1990s."
Giuliani Seeks Order of Protection 3/21/2002
The NYC Corporation Counsel (the 700 NYC lawyers who at taxpayer expense apparently still represent Mr. Giuliani despite him no longer being Mayor) has sought an order of protection from the Federal Court for Giuliani, his associates and his former administration officials to prevent them from being forced to give depositions in my ongoing Federal lawsuit, Lederman et al v Giuliani 98 CIV. 2024 (LMM).
I'd like to speak to you about the developments in this lawsuit, what these depositions are about and why Giuliani (who may be running for President) wants to avoid them.
In seeking a protective order the corporation counsel, Robin Binder, claimed in a letter to Federal Judge McKenna dated 3/20/2002 that there is no support for the allegation that Giuliani targeted me for arrest because of the thousands of portraits I painted of him as Hitler.
As you'll recall, those portraits were shown on every television network and in every newspaper numerous times over a period of years and the Mayor made hundreds of statements denouncing them (see selected quotes below). He ordered me arrested numerous times as a result of these paintings and the very real connection to fascism they exposed.
He also had hundreds of the original portraits confiscated by the NYPD. After more than 40 arrests I was never convicted on any of the varied charges which included inciting a riot, defacing property, resisting arresting, disorderly conduct, failure to comply and obstructing governmental administration.
While displaying these protest paintings outside City Hall, many of his associates and staff personally commented to me about the portraits.
Federal judge Lawrence M. McKenna ruled in favor of myself and the other street artists in this case on August 17, 2001 overturning the artist permit but discovery (depositions, turning over documents etc.) was delayed due to the WTC attack on 9/11.
In his ruling banning the City from enforcing the Parks Department artist permit, Judge McKenna stated:
"Lederman, having alleged that he was improperly arrested as a result of being "targeted" by the Giuliani Administration (Am. Compl. P 198), should have an opportunity to seek discovery on this matter."
Giuliani and numerous of his associates were served with subpoenas on 3/1/2002. For full details on this lawsuit see AND here
GIULIANI ON BEING PAINTED AS HITLER [Note: All of the portraits and text signs from the Diallo, Taxi, vendor, artist, community garden, homeless and other protests ("Adolf Giuliani", "Arrest Giuliani", "Impeach Giuliani", "Giuliani = Police State" etc.) which the former Mayor refers to in these quotes were painted by me. They can be viewed at my website.)
Newsweek 4/5/99 Rudy on the Record Question: "Are you personally stung by those signs at the demonstrations that say 'Adolf Giuliani'?" Mayor Giuliani: "Five years ago I might have cried over it. And now I just feel that this is a crazy exaggeration that we've allowed, and that our media coverage is selective... You cover Susan Sarandon. But [the police and the rest of the city] see the Adolf Hitler signs, the comparisons to the president of Yugoslavia. These [demonstrators] are getting arrested, some knowingly, some unknowingly, under that banner."
"Robert Lederman, 49, a street artist who has protested for years against Mayor Giuliani's policies, often arrives with dozens of placards caricaturing the mayor as Hitler, complete with the Fuhrer's mustache". -NY Times 4/8/2000 Demonstrators of Old Spread Their Message in a New Era of Protest
"I take a different view of someone comparing me to Adolf Hitler than when someone calls me a jerk." Mayor Giuliani, N.Y. Daily News 10/25/1998
"We'll say it simply: Just because people don't like Rudy Giuliani doesn't give them license to compare him to Adolf Hitler. The Hitler analogy is something that seems to amuse many people in this city. Cutesy stories have been written and published in the past week about an art installation on Madison Avenue called No York in which the mayor is depicted with a Hitler moustache. This image was first bandied about by an obnoxious twerp who claims to represent a group called A.R.T.I.S.T. - but which really ought to be called M.O.R.O.N. - who is outraged that the mayor attempted to enforce plainly written statutes regarding sidewalk clutter in front of the Metropolitan Museum. For this, the twerp (whose name we shall never again use because he deserves no more public mention) imagines that Rudy Giuliani deserves comparison with the personification of evil in this century...As the New York Times' gleeful seizure of the "bunker" story indicates, you don't have to be a cabbie, a vendor or a M.O.R.O.N. to issue forth such repulsive opinions. -NY Post Editorial 6/16/98
"I don't regard associations of my people that support me as fascists as a light matter ....But it's ultimately the results that matter."Giuliani -NY TIMES 6/24/98
"But the Mayor repeated his anger over signs and chants at the post-Diallo protests that liken him to Adolf Hitler. "The comparisons to Hitler, Adolf Hitler, and fascism have to stop, because they're sick, perverted, and they do affect some people," he said. "Invocations of Adolf Hitler are despicable no matter who it is. Nobody should participate in it, and nobody should do it." -NY Times Sunday March 28, 1999 "After Meeting Mayor Vows Major Changes for Police"
"The Mayor, for his part, sought to balance his remarks on the protests by expressing his sympathy for the Diallo family, his support for the Police Department and his anger at the personal attacks against him. He complained that several protesters held aloft signs that compared him to Adolf Hitler and the Police Department to the Ku Klux Klan. "As the Police Department has made substantial changes in the way in which it behaves, not only in the last month or two but over the last five years," Mayor Giuliani said, "I'd ask people to acknowledge that and then to make the similar kinds of changes in their behavior. Not stand with people who try to pretend that the Police Department is the KKK, not engage in general bashing of the Police Department, stop the invocations of Hitler and Nazism and fascism, all this exaggerated hate rhetoric. It has an impact." -NY Times 3/30/99 "Indictments of 4 Officers in the Diallo Killing Are Due Tuesday"
"The so-called artists who have been demonstrating outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art believe that their daubings and scratchings should be treated in the same way books are. Fair enough. But they also want an unlimited right to sell their product outside the Metropolitan Museum of Art, on a plaza that belongs to the Parks Department...when the Parks Department extended this reasonable system to the Metropolitan plaza earlier this year, a bunch of artist-activists who call themselves "Artists' Response to Illegal State Tactics" (yes, the acronym is ARTIST) went beserk. They held noisy demonstrations, displayed drawings of the mayor as Adolf Hitler, and made other ludicrous and offensive comparisons - including likening themselves to the democracy protesters in Tiananmen Square. Then they defied the permit system and were accordingly arrested". -NY POST 5/17/98 THE ARTIST HUSTLE
N.Y. Post 8/20/98 EDITORIAL FREE SPEECH - OR FREE EXHIBITION SPACE? "Thanks to Mayor Giuliani's quality-of-life program, New Yorkers no longer have to step over quite so many vagrants in order to enjoy the greenery of New York's parks or the aesthetic stimulation of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Unfortunately, thanks to Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Lucy Billings, they might now find themselves navigating their way around hordes of self-described "artists" who think it's appropriate to liken politicians they oppose to Hitler."
Newsday 2/11/95 Not a Loyal Nazi, Miller Quits Police Spokesman Job Saying he wouldn't be "a loyal Nazi," John Miller quit yesterday as Police Commissioner William Bratton's top spokesman, refusing to comply with what he said was Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's edict to purge his staff of loose-lipped cops."
"In reference to the protests outside Police Headquarters in Manhattan and the Bronx courthouse, the Mayor continued: "And it's about time to stop carrying signs pretending that they are racist. It's about time to stop carrying signs equating them to the K.K.K., and it's about time to stop invocations of Adolf Hitler about our Police Department." -4/1/99 New York Times "The Mayor: In Honoring an Officer, an Impassioned Plea"
"His voice choking with emotion and his fists clenched for emphasis, Mayor Giuliani yesterday demanded "respect and understanding" for his cops in the fiercest speech he has delivered since the killing of Amadou Diallo...Giuliani urged protesters to lay down their "racist signs" and begged New Yorkers to stop second-guessing the NYPD. "It's about time to stop carrying signs pretending police officers are racists," the mayor told 175 cheering cops. "It's about time to stop carrying signs equating them to the KKK. And it's about time to stop carrying signs that invoke Adolf Hitler about our police." As he stood at the red-brick stationhouse, Giuliani attacked police "bashers" as "the worst elements in society." -Daily News 4/1/99 "The Mayor Rails Vs. Cop Bashers"
"Former Mayor David Dinkins went on national television this week. In the context of Hillary Clinton's putative Senate campaign, he assessed his successor for NBC's Andrea Mitchell: "Some argue that [Mayor Giuliani] delivers services. I say, yes, but during World War II the trains ran on time in Italy and there was no street crime in Nazi Germany." Said Giuliani's office in response: "He's going to have to explain why he resorts to that kind of language. We certainly can't." -NY Post 7/9/99
"He also blasted the anti-cop and anti-mayor sentiment. "I think the negative part is that many of the signs ... are highly offensive and racist in nature ... There was a sign that had the New York Police Department shield with a Nazi swastika superimposed over it. There were signs using rather broadly the term racist and invocations to Hitler, to some of the things that are going on in the Balkans ..." Giuliani complained. -POST 4/16/99 -10,000 RALLY FOR 'JUSTICE'
"On his weekly WABC radio show, Giuliani blasted the demonstrators who marched across the Brooklyn Bridge carrying signs comparing him to Adolf Hitler, and the NYPD to the Ku Klux Klan. The mayor also blasted the media for not asking "how could people participate in a march like this, how could people speak to a group like this, that carried signs like that? "Unfortunately, no one is being held to account for joining in or associating with a march that had hate signs like that," Giuliani said."-NY Post 4/17/99 RUDY BLASTS DIALLO MARCHERS WHO COMPARED HIM TO HITLER
"Seeking out reporters as he left City Hall about 7:15 p.m., Giuliani suggested that the controversial advertisements depicting a black youth frightened by police officers, as well as signs comparing the mayor and the police force to Nazis, may have backfired. ...The peaceful, controlled nature of the event stood in marked contrast to the last rally of a similar size, when Giuliani -- who was not yet mayor -- joined about 10,000 police officers at City Hall to protest Dinkins' plans for the Civilian Complaint Review Board in 1992. That demonstration spun out of control, with officers damaging cars and storming the Brooklyn Bridge, and many protesters spewing profanity and racial epithets. NY Times 4/16/99-Diallo Rally Focuses on Call for Strong Oversight of Police
"During his radio show Friday, Mayor Giuliani concentrated not on the substance of the placards carried by the 10 march leaders, but on the slogans touted by many at the back of the pack. Citing a poster that showed a swastika across the insignia of the New York Police Department and others that compared the Mayor to Hitler and the department to the Ku Klux Klan, Giuliani invoked David Duke to denounce, again, the tone of the demonstrations. "Just consider for one moment if David Duke came to New York City, assembled 4,000, 5,000 or 10,000 people, whatever the number you want to say the march was, and in that march there were 10 people that had signs with hateful, racist and anti-Semitic language attached to it," the Mayor said." -NY Times April 17, 1999-"After the Protests Turning Slogans Into Substance."
5/9/98 Washington Post "An exhibit of the mayor's photographs opened today at a downtown Manhattan gallery, displaying 23 of his color and black-and-white pictures taken over the last two years. Panning the exhibit altogether were the sidewalk protesters, who are fighting a city requirement that they need permits to sell artwork in parks and in front of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Since his first day in office, Giuliani has been waging a war on artists and artists' rights," said painter and printmaker Robert Lederman. "He's doing this show purely to change his image, posing as an artist in the arts capital of the world."
Newsday (12-19-1999) A Thorn in the Mayor's Side Robert Lederman says he's been arrested 40 times because of his depictions of Giuliani By Merle English. STAFF WRITER "HE'S BEEN ARRESTED more than 40 times, and it's all Mayor Rudolph Giuliani's fault, complains Robert Lederman, a self-described street artist and activist who's made the mayor his target. Lederman takes great pleasure in painting portraits of Giuliani, depicting him as Satan or Hitler to protest his policies, most lately against the homeless...."
Speech Activist 2 Capitol Police 0 by Bill Miller, The Washington Post, March 20, 2000 "Last week's ruling was hailed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which took, up Lederman's cause as part of its campaign to preserve free, speech rights in public places. According to the ACLU, the Capitol historically has been one of Washington's most restrictive venues. The Capitol barred demonstrations on its grounds from 1882 until 1972, when that prohibition was struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case involving a Vietnam War protest...Lederman's quarrel with Capitol Police was fairly mild compared with his ongoing spat with New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani. He fought Giuliani in the courts over the right of artists to sell their works on the streets without a license. He won that battle, but his criticism of Giulani hasn't stopped, and Lederman frequently has been arrested at protests of the mayor's policies. He has painted portraits that depict Giulani as Hitler or Satan."
Also see: NY Times 8/11/2001 Judge Bans Permit Requirement for Art Vendors; NY Times 8/17/2001 End Draws Near for Mayor's Artful Adversary; NY Times 6/3/97 SoHo Street Artists Triumph as High Court Rebuffs City; Paint Misbehavin': An Art Attack, NY Post 7/6/98; Village Voice, 2/24/98 Chronic Offender; Jewish Week, 5/7/99 His Artwork Raises a Feuhrer; NY Post editorial, 6/16/98 Demonizing Rudy Giuliani; Newsday 12/19/99 A Thorn in the Mayor's Side; Washington Post, 3/20/2000 Speech Activist 2 Capitol Police 0; Penthouse 6/99 Advise and Dissent: Giuliani's War on Freedom
ROBERT LEDERMAN 201.777.0391