The New York Model: Indymedia and the Text Message Jihad

NEW YORK - The guerrilla musicians from the Infernal Noise Brigade were tuning their instruments, preparing to lead an unannounced, unpermitted march from Union Square to Madison Square Garden. Independent journalists from the Indymedia Center were putting fresh cassettes in their video cameras. An activist was instructing people to line up two-by-two in a straight line because "that way the police don't have a legal right to stop us when we march." The cops were mulling about waiting for whatever would come. Then, Union Square started beeping with a symphony of cell phone text message alerts. It was like the activist version of that scene in the awful Tom Clancy movie "The Sum of All Fears" when the mobile phones of all of the CIA and White House honchos start ringing during a presidential dinner party. "From comms-dispatch," read the message. "Reports of police using orange mesh fencing to surround protesters at Herald Square. Riot cops moving in. Cameras, medics and legal observers needed."

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