Thursday, October 20, 2005


UP FRONT News October, 28, 2005
Published by Tom Weiss
Editorial Advisor: Willard Whittingham

“The paper that can’t be bought and can’t be sold.”
One of the more readily recognized, and increasingly notorious, people spending political time at the southern end of Union Square Park in Manhattan, (the main arena for a long running battle to liberate First Amendment activists from both police harassment, usually from the NYPD’s 13th precinct, and from neo-fascists Geoffrey and Jason Blank)
is a very strange nurse named Judy Cunningham. Indeed, Ms. Cunningham’s true identity is something of a subject in the gossip mill because of her disclosure that she used to be Judy Polarski but that she changed her name because she was afraid that the KKK, which, according to her, had some kind of particular grievance against Polish people, was coming after her.

All this becomes relevant because of Ms. Cunningham’s increasingly bizarre behavior in political situations. Quite recently, Ms. Cunningham, who sort of hovers over various Union Square activists to whom she is transiently attracted, wangled her way into a Fer- rer for Mayor event at York College in Jamaica, Queens. I had gotten an invitation as media to the public event and invited a fellow Union Square activist to attend. Ms. Cun- ningham almost gobbled up the event flier and showed up. Despite the fact that the event was specifically a campaign appearance by, aside from Fernando Ferrer, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and a host of other politicians and community leaders, where even some anarchists might agree it is not appropriate to distribute fliers involving personal griev- ances, Ms. Cunningham plopped herself on the floor in front of the seated guests in the York College auditorium and feverishly began distributing one of her multi-page tracts designed to show the universe that she is a singularly unique and major target for the Central Intelligence Agency. Indeed, the Carbondale, Ill.-raised Cunningham, who reports that she makes a solidly middle class earning from her work as a nurse in Westchester County, has, for the past four years, has been living in her small car because she is absolutely certain that every landlord in the universe will report her to the C.I.A. and have her evicted. I have been in her car twice and can only report that conditions inside conjure up images of post-Katrina New Orleans after the waters have receded.

Since I was in fact an event guest, having been invited by a high level Ferrer campaign official, I quietly and politely asked Ms. Cunningham to please discontinue distributing her fliers, unless a campaign or York College official says okay. At that point – no doubt sensing the CIA circling about her – she yelled out, “security, security!”, evidently in an attempt to have me arrested. I sort of beat her to the punch when, in order to avoid a scene, which would have been problematic, as Ferrer, Jackson, Sharpton, et. al. were just about to enter the room, I approached a York College security official and advised him of the situation. He immediately went over to Ms. Cunningham and, explaining that this was a campaign event, asked her not to hand out more fliers. When she began to whine, he asked her to come with him to a hallway adjacent to the auditorium. I could see her gesticulating in her penguin-like way, and returned to hear the politicians. At the post-rally press conference, a press official, who had witnessed some of Cunningham’s histrionics, thanked me rather profusely for having intervened. And Ms. Cunningham has since been running around begging people to listen to her claim that I tried to get her arrested and turned over to the C.I.A.
Indeed, Mr. Ferrer, not to speak of any public figure in politics, should be thankful for my having provided some protection from an individual, who, with her penguin walk and florid paranoia, is mistakenly laughed off by many. Ms. Cunningham has told me, as well as apparently a number of other people, that she is in possession of firearms, perhaps dating from her days as a nurse in the Viet Nam War military. She becomes very evasive when one asks if she carries any of her weapons. Indeed, with her propensity for produc- ing long rants, all of which contain some unavoidable political realities, mostly about George W. Bush (but, interestingly, avoiding any criticism of the de facto right wing war hawk Hillary Clinton) in combination with a pathological grandiosity-fueled paranoia, she reminds me of several other contemporary figures: Geoffrey Blank, Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., and Ted Kaczinski. A “weapon” of crass destruction.

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