When the GOP comes to Minnesota's Twin cities they can expect quite a greeting.
Applications for permits to protest and march (ah, freedom)have been put in, but city officials are dragging their feet. Isn't that always the case?
“We have a plan. It is a good plan. And we expect the city of St Paul to issue the requested permits,” said Marie Braun of the Twin Cites Peace Campaign-Focus on Iraq and Women Against Military Madness.
Last Saturday individuals and organizations gathered for what is likely to the be the first of many community meetings to make plans in response to the Republican National Convention (RNC), which will be hosted by St. Paul in September 2008.
The forum was co-hosted by Protest RNC 2008, a coalition of several local activist organizations, and the RNC Welcoming Committee, a group of Twin Cities-based anarchists and anti-authoritarians. Pulse of the Twin Cities reports representatives from several groups shared plans already underway. Marie Braun and Mick Kelly, of the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, announced plans for a massive antiwar march on the first day of the RNC, Sept. 1, 2008. They displayed a large map with the proposed march route highlighted. “This is going to be an absolutely huge rally and march around the Xcel Center,” said Braun. “We’re hoping for 50,000 to 100,000 people.” Kelly explained that over 30 groups have already signed on to the national call for the demonstration. “We’ll be hosting people from all over the country,” he said. “We envision a large, permitted march that people will feel comfortable bringing their families to.” The march is likely to include several feeder marches, including a poor people’s contingent organized by the Welfare Rights Committee.
Even before the public gathering Protest RNC 2008's web site cited Anh Pham, Anti-War Committee member and event organizer, who is quoted thus, "This community meeting will give us a chance to hear about all the plans that are underway, and build unity among the diverse forces involved. The Republican Convention will be a huge platform for promoting the war in Iraq, and along with the rest of the Republican Agenda. We have to stand up and speak out. Tens of thousands, maybe hundreds of thousands of people, will join in protests against the war and on many other issues, during the RNC. We are committed to standing together in this, uniting the many diverse voices, issues and tactics that will be used to answer the Republican Convention in 2008.”
Below you will find a Call to Action from the RNC Welcoming Committee, one of those zany little groupings you read about. The Welcoming Committee describes itself pretty clearly:
The RNC Welcoming Committee is an anarchist/anti-authoritarian organizing body formed to prepare for the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota. The RNC-WC, composed primarily of Twin Cities-based anarchists and anti-authoritarians, will function as an informational clearinghouse and organize a spokescouncil for RNC resistance. We will coordinate logistics (food, housing, transportation), and engage in education and outreach.
Without falling prey to the centralized, hierarchical tendencies that have dominated such convergences in the past, we hope that the RNC-WC will maintain a unified, anti-authoritarian presence at the 2008 RNC. Our numbers are huge, and it's time that our actions reflected that.
Following are our points of unity. We invite all individuals and groups committed to these ideas to participate in the Welcoming Committee.
Those who work with the RNC Welcoming Committee must agree to:
1. A rejection of Capitalism, Imperialism, and the State;
2. Resist the commodification of our shared and living Earth;
3. Organize on the principles of decentralization, autonomy, sustainability, and mutual aid.
4. Work to end all relationships of domination and subjugation, including but not limited to those rooted in patriarchy, race, class, and homophobia;
5. Oppose the police and prison-industrial complex, and maintain solidarity with all targets of state repression;
6. Directly confront systems of oppression, and respect the need for a diversity of tactics.
Though the RNC-WC is focused on a specific event, we hope that our work transcends the convention by contributing to the development of anti-authoritarian movements and mutual aid networks both locally and globally. We are no more opposed to the Republican Party than we are to the Democratic Party. Affiliations and labels aside, we invite all who share our vision to join us in resistance.
Tired of being asked about violence, broken glass and rocks,the Welcoming Committee comments,"As the Welcoming Committee, we refuse to condemn the defense of individuals, communities, and the Earth. Most violence comes from the state. When you come to our protest, look around: we won’t be the ones with nightsticks, guns, and Tasers."
I remember Chicago in 1968.
The following is taken from the Pulse of the Twin Cities.
RNC Welcoming Committee’s Call to Action
Tuesday 12 June @ 12:39:07
[This is the mission statement and call to action of the RNC Welcoming Committee, an anarchist/anti-authoritarian organizing body formed to prepare for the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul.]
Every four years, in two very lucky cities, big money gets thrown around while look-alikes from opposite ends of a closed circle step up to their podiums and spout nonsense. RNC. DNC. Whatever. The point is that once the conventions are over, once November is come and gone, once the inauguration is only an unpleasant memory, people across this stolen land find themselves in pretty much the same place as before: a bad one.
And we’d like to offer up a movement--some real, tangible change. Unfortunately, the reality is that we’re rundown at best, hopeless at worst, and though we see liberation shining off in the distance, we don’t know how to get there.
But we want justice, and we want freedom, for life everywhere. And we’re tired of spinning our wheels in this rut.
From Sept. 1 through 4, 2008, the Republican National Convention will be held in St. Paul, Minn. You can expect the usual: sign-holding, protest marches, rhythm-less chants, false raid scares at the convergence space.
But damned if the resistance stops there.
As residents of the Twin Cities, as anti-authoritarians and anarchists, we, the RNC Welcoming Committee invite folks from all over the country to show up and make something happen. Pull this movement out of its rut, or start something new. Let the up-tops know that we could give a shit about their suits, their speeches, their money. Bring your (A)-game, cause 2008 is ours.
We’re calling for:
1. Whatever skills you’ve got: medical, food-prep, legal, soapboxing, circus tricks. You name it, we wanna see it.
2. Intelligence gathering. Seriously.
3. Big numbers: your presence makes a difference, even if you aren’t doing anything but sending good vibes our way and bad vibes to the RNC.
4. Decentralized actions: both coordinated and independent; these cities are a playground, and you wouldn’t want to miss all the fun.
5. Surprises: Republicans, cops, starry-eyed youth- everyone likes a surprise.
These are the rules:
1. Know the area. Come early, come often. Or if you can’t do that, study up from home (Al Gore invented the internet for a reason).
2. Respect local communities, develop your knowledge of local background, and remember that, good or bad, the effects of your actions endure long after you’ve left town.
3. Strategize: Be smart. Be creative. Get a sense of what other organizing is going on.
4. Take initiative.
5. Keep your privilege in check. Recognize socialized systems of domination, and work to undermine them.
6. Respect. Respect. Respect. Where it’s due. But no capitulation, and do what you have to do.
7. Keep the bullshit to a minimum.
No vanguardism, no unnecessary infighting, no loose lips.