Second day at the RNC, even though the convention does not started until tomorrow.
August 31, 2008
1. No Bombs at Food Not Bombs
2. Saint Paul Police Wish List
3. I-Witness Video Raided
4. The return of Katrina
5. Legendary K.O.
6. Police Action Analysis
But in fact, most of tomorrow's Republican events are canceled due to Hurricane Gustav, which is barreling through the Southern states. The Republicans remember when, during Hurricane Katrina President Bush was seen playing a guitar leisurely, and are now on strict orders to get their act together and not be seen at the convention while the Southern coast is getting flooded and stormed. Most likely the Republicans will not be coming to St. Paul.
John McCain will probably be broadcasting his acceptance speech from New Orleans.
Apparently thousands of undocumented workers are stuck in New Orleans too, who are afraid of reporting to the authorities for the escape route.
The Republicans have been planning their theatrical showcase in St. Paul for over two years, but now that the Hurricane is coming for New Orleans again, all bets are off. Tomorrow's big story is going to be Gustav, not the RNC.
Sunday, August 31, 2008
As the police continue to raid and preemptively interfere with activists and the media who document police misconduct in St. Paul, the activists have started preemptively protesting.
The GOP press releases say that tomorrow's RNC events will be largely delayed. Due to the protests? Well, the protests were due to begin tomorrow morning as delegates arrive at the Xcel Center. But seeing as the SPPD have begun preemptively raiding houses and spaces and detained various people on the street, protests have already begun today.
The SPPD encircled a cluster of protest organizers who met at Loring Park to discuss tactics. They were cornered until NLG legal observers and the media arrived. Later, Wobblies planned on marching around The Mall of America in Minneapolis. The police refused to let them off the train, however. A diabetic who needed insulin was not allowed to get out either. A Veterans for Peace march was obstructed by police as well, and police intimidated organizers at Seeds for Peace's kitchen. Click here to view pictures of a permiculture bus (belonging to a non-violent environmentalist group) being impounded by the St. Paul PD.
After all this hard work on behalf of the police to prevent Americans from protesting on Monday morning, it appears Bush and Cheney will not attend the first day of the RNC. The GOP is giving credit to Hurricane Gustav for this delay, not the "violent anarchists" in the seedy city of St. Paul.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
"The convergence Space is open as of 2 PM today. The police ransacked the building Friday night, bursting in with guns drawn, throwing people to the ground, and breaking down doors inside the space. They took with them computers, boxes of protest literature, maps, cell phones, digital cameras, a video camera, the landlord’s pvc piping, and poster making supplies. The evidence receipts given contain no mention of feces or human waste, and the landlord can attest to the lack of sleeping mats on the premises. The Ramsey County Sheriff’s office then closed the building for a “fire code” violation. Fire code violations are also being used to close the houses of activists, with officials saying that if the doors on homes that they knocked down aren’t fixed by tonight they will board up the homes. Today, Saturday, the city council representative for the ward that the Convergence Space is in was able to contact the Department of Safety and Inspections who are the actual authorities to determine if there is a code violation. The director of the department came to the space and ascertained that there were no code violations to be found."
August 31, 2008
1. No Bombs at Food Not Bombs
2. Saint Paul Police Wish List
3. I-Witness Video Raided
4. The return of Katrina
5. Legendary K.O.
6. Police Action Analysis
I just arrived at Macalester College and am staying with SDS members here in a dorm. Police have been raiding lots of activist locations around the Twin Cities, claiming to have warrants and are also seizing media people who are known to support the activists. Ex.g. a New York crew (who we'd be working with) had all their equipment confiscated last week already in St. Paul, and a Democracy Now! journalist was also detained (apparently while a protester was swooped up by an unmarked police vehicle). Nonetheless, Scary stuff!! This city has turned into a militarized zone so that the Convention of Death can have a smooth ride and dazzle the world with its imperialist agenda, and we the opposition are all targets for trying to expose what this week's events stand for.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
The mood at the DNC protest has turned around completely from what it felt like the entire week.
At 11:00 AM this morning I received a text message from Olympia activists that the Convergence Center (where Recreate '68 and Unconventional Denver plan their actions) was being raided by riot police. Three people were arrested, one from the Tacoma Pitchpipe Infoshop, and the police confiscated painting supplies and banner material. It was a very low blow to the resistance here in Denver. Riot police surrounded the building, but failed to eventually come up with a warrant that would allow them to raid the building and make mass arrests.
But by 5:00 PM the general mood was entirely uplifted. After Rage Against the Machine, The Coup and Flobots and Jello Biafra performed at a concert hosting thousands, a march led by Iraq Veterans Against the War converged at the Pepsi Convention Center (where the Democrats are).
IVAW's plan was to either get inside the DNC or get Barack Obama to come out and negotiate with them. About 50 to 75 Iraq vets and thousands of supporters marched around the Pepsi building. Police brought out three big cranes and some armored trucks to shoot protesters from. Hundreds of people started masking up their faces and dipping rags in apple cider vinegar in case they were shot at. The IVAW members, at the front of the march, (some masked as well) were prepared to get across the police line if nobody from the DNC was going to negotiate with the thousands of people outside.
None of the civilian activists were going to do anything to engage the DNC or the riot police unless the Iraq vets did so first. The wave of supporters, standing behind the vets, were ready to absorb whatever was about to happen, whether a failure or success.
An hour went by standing at the gates. Riot police flanked the protest and were closing in from all sides. Just when it seemed the evening was going to end in tear gas and violent beatings, an IVAW negotiator came from the behind the police line and announced that Barack Obama had agreed to negotiate IVAW on their Iraq exit strategy and platform.
Everyone cheered. Hundreds of fists and peace signs went up in the air.
I wasn't sure whether this was a victory or not. I wasn't sure what to make of this. I still don't. But as the people kept shouting and cheering, it was clear that this was settling in as a victory for the anti-war movement.
I don't think many activists and protesters are used to feeling like they had been a part of something that feels victorious to them. We are not used to politicians meeting with us on our terms, nor on their terms. To be able to celebrate a victory that could just as easily have been a slugfest is something that was deeply desired for this movement.
Looking at this a bit pessimistically, however, the victory is that a politician who is supposed to represent the people agreed to talk to the people. He agreed to talk to the Left at a time when his party is clearly pandering further and further to the Right. This is bold on his part, but relatively unsatisfying to all of us. Obama will meet some time within the next few (hours? days?) with IVAW: that is what the victory was. It was the power of the people. The second part of the victory was the overall coordination and strategy of the protest, which is something we can all be proud of. Even though Obama's words and rhetoric may mean very little in the long run, it was evidence of organized, coordinated efforts on behalf of all the people there.
UPDATE: nothing seemed to come out of IVAW's "meeting" with Obama. IVAW members told me there was a short meeting with about 4 of 5 veterans and someone from the DNC. This was bullshit meeting, what is going to change from it? We need to stop listening to their bullshit rhetoric and their bullshit communications representatives. Fuck the Democrats!
Monday, August 25, 2008
This is our first episode of coverage while at the Democratic National Convention. It takes a lot of work to get a show like this lined up. Now we are completely tired out, I am totally sun-burned and there's a black bloc parade at 6pm. Resistance is fertile!
Rest of video - http://submedia.tv/stimulator/2008/08...
August 24, DNC Rebellion Coverage
1. Climate Camp UK
2. Larry Holmes
3. Ward Churchill
4. Fox News Smackdown
5. Dead Prez Live
6. Racist Denver Cops
7. Gitmo on the Platte
The Democratic National Convention has officially begun today, Monday the 25th of August.
My film crew and I drove to Denver from Seattle for 27 straight hours. On Friday night my hosts and hostesses watched the biggest hip hop show Denver had ever seen, featuring Dead Prez, Wu Tang Clan and others. The city is loading up with delegates, media, activists, anarchists, politicians, and employing thousands of others by extension. Many of the hip hop artists as well as the Flobots, Rage Against the Machine, Public Enemy, Michael Fronti and others are providing a free concert for the activist crowd tomorrow night.
The $50 million in Federal money which paid for the police presence here is most certainly going to waste. Friday night as I walked through the 16th St. Mall area, police quarantined 4 to 5 city blocks and called in a bomb squad to explode some cardboard boxes. This took about two and half precious hours of nightlife time. Meanwhile the citizens of Denver seem fairly angry that their city has become entirely militarized, where SUVs carrying a dozen riot cops who stand on the side of the vehicle are driving through the city on a regular basis, and Wackenhut private security guards (who work for Homeland Security's ICE branch) are wandering everywhere, questioning and staring at people.
Not all people of Denver are against the massive police presence. Yesterday I filmed as a march called "Reclaim the Streets" (to have a dance party in the streets of Denver) took over a number of intersections near the capitol building. The riot police pushed everyone off the street and arrested a couple of people. I spoke to a woman standing next to me about the police. She, like many others, assume that whatever the police decide to enforce is ipso facto the law. So if police decide to hit people with batons, then the protesters obviously deserved it, etc.
Reclaim the Streets is a nonviolent act of resistance, resisting the complacency of spectatorship and actually becoming involved in a counter-spectacle yourself. This is my theoretical interpretation, but I think it suffices. Most people, who live their lives in obedience to the controlling mechanisms of cultural norms in the media and the cultural superstructure, are more likely to stare at such a spectacle in disbelief and not participate.
At the same time it seems that many people would like to participate, but the police force is an intimidating factor. And the marchers themselves do sometimes move rather fast, which does not give spectators enough time to decide whether to jump in or not.
At any rate, the Spectacle has just begun and I will be talking more about tactics and posting videos soon.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
The mission of FOX News at the Democratic National Convention is to dismiss our protest as though we are kooks, crazies, "violent anarchists", etc. Make no mistake about it.
We say "FUCK FOX NEWS"!
That's what one of the radical group's 'security guards' said to a FOX News reporter who demanded an interview with Ward Churchill at a rally today on the Denver capitol steps. The reporter ran up to Churchill while another person was speaking at the podium and shouted "Why is America an imperialist country?? Mr. Churchill, why is America an imperialist country!!!"
Everybody turned their heads to the scene FOX News was creating, while a former Black Panther was trying to speak about gentrification.
The FOX propagandist said in his news brief that he was just asking "the hard questions". Of course, Churchill spent his entire speech talking about US imperialism, but the reporter insisted that he needed to have a 1-on-1 session with him and insisted that Ward explain imperialism to FOX viewers who probably have no idea what that even means. Churchill also was harassed by Bill O'Reilly a few years back as he explained what he meant by "Little Eichmanns" in his 2001 essay, "On the Justice of Roosting Chickens".
So naturally, Churchill said emphatically he didn't want to talk to FOX. And the security then told FOX to get lost. But the FOX reporter insisted that it was his "right" as a journalist to interview Ward Churchill, or whoever he wanted essentially. Since this is total fucking bullshit, a group of people surrounded the reporter and shouted "FUCK FOX NEWS!" until he left.
Exclusive clips recorded by my friend in the Pepperspray Film collective will be coming out soon. I'll post this video shortly.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
"I want you to know that today I'll be speaking from my heart, and as a true friend of Israel," Obama announced to a crowd of pro-Israel lobbyists after he sealed up his party's nomination. "[W]hen I visit with AIPAC, I am among friends, Good friends. Friends who share my strong commitment to make sure that the bond between the United States and Israel is unbreakable today, tomorrow, and forever." One of Obama's major platform points, curiously, is that he will reduce the influence of lobbyists in the White House.
Sadly, one of the least-reported (though most crucial) backdrops to the Global War on Terror is that the US support for the Israeli military machine is a driving force behind it. A close look at any of Al Qaeda's propaganda videos, such as the pre-9/11 State of the Ummah recruitment video, reveals that one of the primary concerns of pan-Arab socialists and fundamentalists is the US support for Israel in the Arab-Israeli Conflict, in which Israel is known as a profoundly inhuman, cynical, and deliberately cruel regime to the Palestinian people.
The historically unique US-Israeli alliance has been based on the perception that Israel is a “strategic asset” to the US, according the President Eisenhower, which fulfills US goals in the region through tacit alliance with the Arab facade in the Gulf and other regional protectors like the family dictatorships, while performing services to other allies elsewhere.
Though effectively an extension of the US military and economic interests, Israel is not entirely under the control of the US. That is why with each headline in the reading “Another Migrant Shot in the Head”, the United States feigns non-complicity. Israel's long train of human rights abuses, made available by Amnesty International here and here, and combined with heavy US military and economic support, is a no doubt a destructive partnership in which the United States is overwhelmingly complicit.
The ambiguity of the War on Terror and the US's far-reaching support for Israel's actions, combined with the ambiguity of the Obama campaign altogether, is also destructive. While Obama's mainstream supporters are fascinated with the “change” message, concerns raised abut why his policies are really any different from the other parties or other candidates is glossed over with that very same message of change and hope. In response, supporters in his campaign point to his “likeable enough” persona, which is aided by language co-opted from popular movements and struggles, to reassure us of its success and legitimacy.
At least one message is clear. Obama is simply not critical of the underlying paradigm which led the US into an ambiguous Global War on Terror. In his naiveté, he has accepted the basic and flawed assumptions passed down to him from administration hawks. If you do not support the War on Iraq, the Occupation on Palestine, wars of ambiguity & attrition, or the big hand of American global interventionism and coercion, then you do not support Barack Obama's foreign policy platform.
Also, Obama supports the death penalty, supports nuclear energy, supports coal energy, supports the Cuban embargo, and will not end the vast array of federal subsidies to corporations, including those to the oil and gas cartel. His talk of "change we can believe in" has struck a chord with many American people, this is true. This is actually a powerful testament to the increasing illegitimacy of the US political system, not the legitimacy of the Obama campaign. The campaign is an attempt to round off popular fervor and bring it back into the mythical “participation” of electoral politics.
Monday, August 18, 2008
In 1968 the protesters said they came to the Democratic National Convention to cause disruption. Those disruptions in the streets have had more of an impact on American culture than did the other issues involved at the convention itself, such as the seating of racially-mixed delegates, credential and platform battles, and even the Democratic Party's nomination of Hubert Humphrey as their candidate for president - who lost to Nixon's landslide victory.
Today disruption in the streets is happening everywhere. Most of these disruptions are in fact not even covered by the mainstream media. If you don't believe this, read a blog like "Bombs and Shields", which keeps track of anarchistic disruptions and similar events happening almost each day worldwide. Or read a similar blog "Social Rupture" which has been keeping more up to date with such activities. Direct action against the state is happening all around us, yet we are hardly aware of its pervasiveness. We have become immune to disruption.
Monday, August 11, 2008
Tom Hayden, shown narrating this video provided by Rocky Mountain News in Denver, CO, is a well-known activist from the 1960s student movement. Once a founding member of Students For a Democratic Society, Hayden is now a writer, journalist, former politician, and adjunct professor. But in 1968 he and hundreds of other activists participated in the protests around the '68 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He was arrested there as part of the Chicago Seven, a group of seven 'ring-leaders' charged with conspiracy to incite the riots.
As Hayden explains, what happened in Chicago in 1968 was not a violent protest, but rather a “police riot,” the term used by the Walker Commission, a body appointed by the Nixon administration to investigate the events surrounding the Chicago convention. That violence was made all the more shocking by the fact that it was often inflicted upon persons who had broken no law, disobeyed no order, made no threat. These included peaceful demonstrators, onlookers, and large numbers of residents who were simply passing through, or happened to live in the areas where confrontations were occurring. Reporters and photographers were singled out for assault, and their equipment deliberately damaged.
This year's Democratic National Convention, fifty years after 1968, shares several similarities with the '68 convention. A large number of what the mainstream press considers "would-be" Democratic voters, are fed-up with the politics of the Democratic Party. Just as during the Vietnam War, when a Democrat-controlled government continued to wage war on a country which posed little threat to the 'American way of life', so too the Democratic-controlled Congress today has done little to stop the occupation of a country which (at least in hindsight) posed little threat to America's national security. This is perhaps the biggest similarity. But there are others.
The Denver Police are preparing for major street confrontations with protesters, just as in 1968, stockpiling various crowd control weapons, such as a sound-emitter which incapacitates demonstrators. A half-dozen military helicopters were recently spotted flying low over the Denver skyline. The Army is conducting exercises in accordance with their training for the Global War on Terror, said an Army spokesperson. And the City of Denver was recently granted $50 million in Federal grant money for security alone at the convention.
Scholars and writers this year are particularly interested in the parallels between 2008 and 1968. A Time Magazine special edition was recently dedicated entirely to the events reported by Time Magazine during 1968. Nineteen Sixty Eight is the year on everyone's mind. But the notion that this year's Democratic National Convention will be just like or very similar to the 1968 convention is misleading. Those parallels can only be carried so far.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
"There's no veil of legitimacy over there," says Iraq vet Seth Manzel, referring to the ubiquitous corporate-style occupation of Iraq. Kellogg, Brown and Root (KBR), for those who might not know, is a former subsidiary of Halliburton and is contracted for most of the reconstruction in Iraq. It is a very profitable organization, consistently winning contracts with the US Federal Government to rebuild states since WWII. It is also the largest non-unionized construction company based in the US.
General Dynamics one of the largest military contractors for the Pentagon and also many foreign governments. It is also the contractor which builds the Stryker armored combat vehicles. Since many of its acquisitions were already unionized, some for a very long time, most of its labor to this day is still unionized.
The problem Seth points out is that, while America is trying to muster an image of strength and justice in the Iraq region, it can't do this with hired mercenaries and it can't do this with the long train of abuses against the people of that region. The outrageous military spending that fuels the occupation of Iraq is "just a symptom of a much larger problem," Seth says.
This footage was spliced together from what I had left over from the coffeehouse video. Seth served in Iraq with a Stryker Combat Team (SCT) two years ago. Afterward he joined the Seattle chapter of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). Seth and the other vets are currently working to bring a GI Coffeehouse to the Fort Lewis region.
"People sleep peaceably in their beds at night only because rough men stand ready to do violence on their behalf."
-- George Orwell
"Once we have a war there is only one thing to do. It must be won. For defeat brings worse things than any that can ever happen in war."
- Ernest Hemingway
"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself."
- John Stuart Mill
None of the quotes tell us anything about justice, or even the just causes of war. It only begs the question of why we fight wars. It is upsetting how so many militaristic-minded people in the United States can sidestep questions of justice and skip right to concerns about patriotism and allegiance. It is ironic too that patriotism alone is used as an argument for going to war, since patriotism, when disconnected from justice, is ambiguous.
Assume you are presented with these arguments from behind a veil of ignorance, so you don't know which country, state or king your allegiance is supposed to be for. If two states tell their subjects what Mill, Hemingway or Orwell said above, they would both go to war for the exact same arguments. This is what strikes me as ironic about all the quotes here. Anyone's enemies could say the exact same thing to 'their people'; all who are foolish enough to fall for it would be fighting each other without ever asking whether their side is justified in waging war in the first place. Most nationalists believe that of course our country is justified in fighting whomever we are fighting, so all they need is a bit of belligerent language to get them onto their feet. A world full of sentiments like these is hopeless.
More hyper-local journalism below. Sorry I have not had very much critical theory on my blog lately.
An enthusiastic group of Tacomans are working towards creating a Food Co-Op in Tacoma sometime within the next year. A Food Co-Op is basically a grocery store that is owned by the community and in accordance with that model, usually receives its groceries from local, organic farmers. Tacoma's Food Co-Op will be owned and run by paying members who have recognized “the need for an affordable urban grocery that provides organic, local, and natural food.”
The Co-Op organizers held a community event in People's Park in Tacoma's Hilltop Neighborhood last month to excite Tacoma and Pierce County residents about the idea. As of now, the Co-Op's membership costs $100 for a full year of local grocery shopping at prices that beat the chains like Safeway and Fred Meyers. As membership increases, however, the cost of membership is supposed to drop.
The location of the Co-Op is still undecided at this point. Since I have recently moved to the Stadium District and have noticed the lack of affordable and healthy grocery outlets in that area, I suspect the location of the Co-Op will be somewhere closer to Downtown or the Hilltop area. Most of the grocery outlets in these areas are small, overpriced and stocked typically with unhealthy foods. My neighbors all tell me they shop at the Proctor District Safeway, which is where I used to shop when I lived in the 6th Avenue “scene” district. I still shop at the Proctor Safeway even though I moved to an entirely different neighborhood. The Hilltop Safeway is mostly stocked with canned foods, surveillance cameras and candy.
One of the Tacoma Food Co-Op organizers, Adam Ydstie, is currently scoping out other Co-Ops like the one in Minneapolis, called The Wedge. This Co-Op has 13,600 members and is a sizeable 11,000 square feet. The money The Wedge makes, $20 million a year, goes “back into their community”.
“One of the things that stood out to me,” says Adam on the Tacoma Food Co-Op blog, “is that there is a common misconception that Food Co-Ops are non-profit. They are really just a different type of for profit. It takes a radical shift in understanding in a community.”
My friend Kendle Bjelland, a junior at UPS, and I are currently working on a documentary tentatively called A Guide to Eating Locally in Tacoma, which will highlight the development of the Tacoma Food Co-Op, as well as provide resources for people in Pierce County who would like to know where to get local, organic food. We are hoping that the Tacoma School District will adopt a similar model as the Olympia School District has, which has a healthy farm-to-school program that makes use of local organic farms. We are also suggesting the possibility of urban agriculture programs in the City of Tacoma.
Friday, August 08, 2008
Criminal trespassing in the 2nd degree is punishable in Washington State with up to 90 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. I entered a plea of "Not guilty" before the court today for the trespassing charge against me, which refers to what happened at the Port Militarization Resistance protests earlier this week. Although the City of Tacoma generously offered me 0 days in jail and a $300 fine had I plead "Guilty" to the charge, I decided this offer was not worth letting the issue slide by unnoticed. My pre-trial hearing will be September 9th.
Pierce County's ACLU chair, Colleen Waterhouse, was present at my hearing today and offered ACLU's legal counsel for my case. Washington's ACLU complaint intake manager, Eric Nygren, said it is very rare for the ACLU to be directly involved with criminal representation. Complaints heard by the ACLU are generally aided through legal research and expertise. At this point it is unclear how the ACLU will be involved with my case, though their counsel has been significantly helpful so far.
Tacoma Judge, Dennis Ball, ordered the release of Praxis Imago's Canon XL2 (the camera I use for nearly all the footage I have collected) at today's arraignment, though the camera is still effectively being held hostage in the court's property room. As it stands, the sergeant in command the night of my arrest has recently gone on vacation and failed to process the release form I turned in last Tuesday. An officer at the Tacoma Police Headquarters told me he might not return for another week and half. (I had planned to leave for the DNC on August 15th. I also will have to put the documentary A Guide to Eating Locally in Tacoma, produced by myself and Kendle Bjelland, on hold.)
Judge Ball agreed with my Defense Attorney, Alberto Germano, that the camera could not be considered 'evidence' in a misdemeanor case such as trespassing. The question before the court, said Germano, is whether the defendant was standing on private property at the time of his arrest. "It does not matter if Mr. La Sac was carrying a pen, a notepad, or a camera," he argued. "Only contraband, such as the possession of illegal drugs like marijuana" should be confiscated from the defendant in a trespassing case.
To this the Prosecuting Attorney, Keith Echterling, responded that the reason why the camera was placed into the property room in the first place was that the camera was "too big" to fit in the Pierce County Jail. He read this from an addendum police report. Echterling agreed that the camera ought to be released from the court's custody but added that he "didn't feel comfortable" about doing this immediately. Germano added to my credibility that I am a journalist covering the upcoming political conventions and needed the camera very soon. Judge Ball replied that he would sign the necessary documents needed to release the camera today, upon Germano's request, in order to sidestep all of the legal bureaucracy involved with obtaining property from the court.
The mini-DV tape which captured the PMR protest and interviews from Monday, August 4th, will be held by the court until further notice.
Independent journalist and professor of French literature at Pacific Lutheran University, Mark Jensen, was present at today's hearing. You can read his article about the arraignment on United for Peace and Justice Peirce County.
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Unconventional Denver, the Denver branch of Unconventional Action, a group of anarchists organizing against the Democratic National Convention, announced on Monday its offer to call off all protests during the convention if the city, federal government and the DNC agree to redirect the current $50 million earmarked for heightened security during the DNC and invest it in Denver communities. This money is being used to install surveillance cameras, flood Denver with hundreds of extra police officers and federal agents, and purchase new police weapons such as pepper ball rifles and tasers. Unconventional Denver believes these purchases will be used to suppress free speech and will have a lasting negative impact on the people of Denver.
"As anarchists, we feel the greatest problem with government is how its primary interest is to protect the profits of those in power, even when it comes at the expense of the general public," said Clayton Dewey, an organizer with Unconventional Denver. "Spending $50 million dollars on weaponry to attack people voicing their opinion and flooding the streets with riot police while schools close down, children go without health care and people lose their homes is exactly the problem with the corrupt two-party system we're opposing this August."
The group is giving the City of Denver, the federal government and the DNC a chance to prove them wrong. If $50 million dollars is spent on any items from a list of possible programs the group has compiled, they will call off all protests which include street parties, rallies, marches, protesting fundraisers and direct actions aimed at disrupting what they're calling an undemocratic party behind a wall of militarization.
According to research, compiled by nationalpriorities.org, $50 million dollars is enough money to provide 18,986 children with health care for a year. There are upwards of 160,000 children in metro Denver alone without health care coverage. $50 million dollars would also provide 88,495 homes with renewable electricity for one year or six new elementary schools for the Denver area. Any way you cut it, the money could be invested in real security for the future of the people of Denver instead of being used to suppress democracy, says Unconventional Denver.
"That's what we're working towards- a world where people's basic needs are met and those most affected by the issues at hand are the ones that have the most say," explains Kelli Refer of Unconventional Denver. "When you look at the DNC, you see that the opposite is true. Instead of our needs being met, our city is being militarized. And instead of the people who have the most at stake making decisions in the convention, it's the corporations and party-insiders living it up behind a wall of heavily armed police."
If the DNC Committee can prove them wrong, Unconventional Denver and hundreds of other anarchists will be elsewhere while the convention goes on. "If the city agrees to fund people's needs instead of corporate greed and suppressing dissent, I'll be spending my free time catching up on some books and being with my family," Dewey said. "But I have this sneaking suspicion the Democrats aren't going to go for it."
Unconventional Denver is the local organizing body of a national network of anarchists mobilizing in opposition to the DNC and the RNC. Other websites, including Recreate68.org and DNCdisruption08.org have worked cooperatively together to organize a week of events outside the convention.
FACTS: WHAT COULD $50 MILLION BUY FOR DENVER COMMUNITIES?
• 11,356 People with Health Care for One Year OR
• 88,495 Homes with Renewable Electricity for One Year OR
• 8,876 Scholarships for University Students for One Year OR
• 450 Affordable Housing Units OR
• 18,986 Children with Health Care for One Year OR
• 6,622 Head Start Places for Children for One Year OR
• 877 Elementary School Teachers for One Year OR
• 6 Elementary Schools
• 80,128 Free Lunches for Kids
• 2,423 Students With College Paid For
Wednesday, August 06, 2008
At the 2008 Democratic and Republican National Conventions I wrote press releases, created videos, and of course, posted stuff here. I traveled to both conventions with the PepperSpray film collective based in Seattle. We worked closely (until we were jailed) with the producer of subMedia.tv to create a 10-15 minute show each day about resistance to mainstream agendas which was aired on Free Speech TV (all of which are posted below). Our primary goal was to present leftism in general as a viable option in the face of spectacular coverage of the Republicans and Democrats by the mainstream media. Afterward we created a short documentary about the conventions called Ground Noise and Static. (We didn't have the time to perfect it; and it's certainly lacking in some areas.)
Our friends from the Glass Bead Collective from NYC stayed in St. Paul during the Republican National Convention for almost three months and created a very compelling documentary called Terrorizing Dissent. A lot of the action footage in Terrorizing Dissent from the first day was filmed by Yours Truly up until I was thrown in jail for two days (with pepper spray still on my face when I got out and a fat bruise on my leg). I was booked for "felony rioting", and another journalist from PepperSpray was arrested and jailed for "throwing feces" at officers (which never happened, it's police/media propaganda). Eight of the RNC protest organizers are, to this day, being charged with "conspiracy to riot in the furtherance of terrorism".
They need us we don't need them!
- "We Need to Get a Democrat in the White House", about false hope.
- B. Obama's Fateful Triangle, about Palestine and Obama's foreign policy.
- All That Disruption, about social unrest everywhere in the world.
- What Went Wrong in '68?, can we learn lessons from the 1968 DNC in Chicago?
- Anarchists Offer to Call of All DNC Protest Plans, about strategy.
- The corporations are in total control of your lives!, video about RATM, raids on activists, and Jeremy Scahill.
- Feels Like an "Anti-War" Victory, about the "successful" IVAW march.
- DNC Police Brutality, because they can do whatever they want.
- These Motherfuckers!, pigs reveal their real intentions.
- Turn off the radio, turn off that bullshit, Dead Prez, prisons for protesters, and radical speakers on Day 1.
- Ward Churchill and FOX News, FOX's obsession with Ward Churchill, and other radical people.
- Welcome to Denver, or, how to radicalize a sleeping city.
- Protester Beaten and Gagged Like Guantanamo Inmate, in the Ramsey County Jail.
- Police News Management, what really happened here.
- Rage Against the Republicans, police policy towards Rage Against the Machine.
- Dispatch #3, police fucking with our journalism again.
- Police Raid and Detainment of I-Witness Journalists, journalists as prime targets by the FBI and the police department.
- Dispatch #2, anarchists take over the streets of St. Paul!
- Preemption as a Tactic, and Hurricane Gustav, will the first day of the convention happen?
- Dispatch #0 - Emergency RNC update, police raid activist homes and stop us from protesting.
POST DNC/RNC entries, articles and videos
- Professionals Say We're Propagandists, professional journalists condemn our reporting and pose with the cops as their friends.
- Journalism is not a Crime, they say, but it IS a crime obviously!
- "We Must Win the War on Terror", because activists are terrorists, you know.
- The Right to Assemble, ACLU and Convention "Federalization", how and why conventions became the focus of political outrage.
- Once Behind Bars, Now Behind the Lens, With His Freedom at Risk, about a photo-journalist I met in jail.
- What Freedom of the Press?, wake up! there is no freedom of the press.