NEW YORK — Very visible and sometimes raucous political
protesting has traditionally been the activity of liberals. But
with an unusually long and cold election season nearing its
solstice, a newly formed conservative group, calling itself
ProtestWarriors, has decided to defy that tradition.
Brandishing provocative signs and letting loose confrontational
rhetoric, PW members – who are mostly college-aged, pro-Bush
activists – were ‘protesting the protesters’ from United for Peace
and Justice, who marched here yesterday against President Bush, as
PW member Daniel Kizziah put it.
Anticipating the kickoff of the GOP convention today in Madison
Square Garden, PW engagement, has positioned more than 200 of group
members along UPJ’s walking route, in an engagement it has titled
“Operation Liberty Rising.”
“Their monopoly on moral high-ground is over,” PW co-founder
Alan Lipton said, referring to the UPJ marchers. “They are
emotionally bankrupt, and they’re just trying to demonize
The group’s trademark has become its large, laminated signs
splashed with wry slogans such as “World workers party … the last
thing we actually do is work” and “Stop the vicious spread of
wealth creation! Vote green” and “let’s all be poor and miserable
But even as founders of PW liken themselves to proprietors of
truth on their website’s manifesto, some participating in the UPJ
march preferred the phrase “right-wing fascists.”
PW’s signs are “misleading, and they are misrepresenting
themselves as part of groups that are for peace and justice,” said
Aaron Benanav, a University of Chicago senior. “It’s total
And while Benanav and his companions felt it appropriate to
chant “right-wing fascists” at the Warriors sign-holders, others
preferred verbal altercation and purportedly even physical
Along with a guardrail that ran along length of the route,
police separated PW members from the marchers on the streets.
Kizziah alleged that marchers attacked a PW member and attempted
to destroy a sign. His remarks echoed language of one PW sign that
read, “Thank you NYPD for protecting us from the ‘peace’
“They’re not very peaceful for being peace protesters,” Kizziah
But not everyone in the crowd was outraged by PW’s presence.
Pointing to a sign that read, “Except for slavery, fascism,
Nazism and communism, war has never solved anything,” John Fleh, an
onlooker donning an “I don’t vote” T-shirt, said he found PW’s
signs clever and humorous.