The GOP is bringing their national convention to Saint Paul next year.
The local, regional and (I have to presume) national left is planning on being here in force.
It’s going to be an interesting 18 months.
Let’s pick up where we left off last Thursday.
A couple of bits of housekeeping, first.
The subject? Protest!
As a couple of commenters obliquely pointed out last week, the temptation to rhetorically overstep is almost overwhelming.
As I noted, the Saint Paul City Council has officially welcomed protesters. I gave significance to the fact that they haven’t mentioned anything about protesters who come to town with an aim toward disruption – and a commenter correctly noted that in fact legislators’ resolutions should be presumed to refer to activities that are within the laws that they make and that their government is charged with enforcing.
True, and a good point.
Another commenter said something to the effect of “he’s just setting up a strawman”. That’s not true in and of itself – I’m not trying to negate either the legitimate, law-abiding protesters’ points or right to speak with the activities of their less-legitimate pals.
Merely pointing out something the mainstream media in this town, I suspect, will bend over backwards to avoid reporting; while the fringe left is complaining about nonexistent plans to stifle their free speech, some of them would seem to be intent on no good.
Looks like they hope to maintain a looser structure so as to escape notice by the authoritarians, and are confident that their numbers are strong.
…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.
Well anarkiddies, our numbers are also strong, and we look forward to welcoming you next fall. Keep daddy’s number on speed dial — that unfortunate authority figure is the one you’ll be crying to for bail. This is going to be fun to watch.
It’s a “MySpace” site. Big whoop?
Maybe, maybe not. You be the judge. Here’s the “Welcoming Committee’s” agenda:
Those who work with the RNC Welcoming Committee must agree to:
1. A rejection of Capitalism, Imperialism, and the State; [Whatever]
2. Resist the commodification of our shared and living Earth; [Kumbaya]
3. Organize on the principles of decentralization, autonomy, sustainability, and mutual aid. [Kind of like a bunch of terrorist cells. OK, that was a low blow.]
4. Work to end all relationships of domination and subjugation, including but not limited to those rooted in patriarchy, race, class, and homophobia; [Unless they're Israelis, but again, whatever]
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. [Hm. "Diverse" tactics? Let's come back to that later.]
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.
So they wanna protest.
Cool. See y’all on the street. I’ll be interested in checking out those “diverse” tactics.
Waving signs and walking around dressed in papier-mache puppets? Go for it.
Threats, violence and intimidation?
Jeff Kouba – he of stronger stomach than I – apparently reads the MN Daily.
Maybe it was all the wine my buddy salvaged from some trash containers after a high-class tasting party, and then served up at his own festive blow-out gathering of assorted radicals on Friday night, but I’m really starting to have hope.
Yes, I’m starting to believe certain vague, visionary plans to throw our Republican friends a street party in St. Paul in 2008 are really, truly going to happen.
Look away, you fun-loving Republicans, we’re planning a big surprise party for little ol’ you during your special convention in 2008.
Aw! You shouldn’t have! I love surprise parties!
Hopefully, it will be more fun than the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
Oh, but now my mellow is harshed. I don’t like violence!
And to be perfectly clear, either does the “writer” of the MNDaily op-ed, John Hoff – as long has he’s potentially on the wrong end of it, as in this editorial, where he frets about the crummy neighborhood around his stop on the Ventura trolley. So we know he’s not a diagnosable sociopath, since he doesn’t like potential violence aimed at him, anyway.
Yup, we know you Republicans are still jealous about all the attention Democrats enjoyed in Chicago back in the days of the hippies, but just think: 40 years, my pinstriped, conservative friends.
Oooh! An ambiguous warning!
Of course, there’s nothing ambiguous about the gutlessness of people like “John Hoff”:
Nobody in this column except me has a real name, of course, and even I have been known to become “John Hoffman,” in homage to Abbie Hoffman of the Chicago 7.
You know – Abbie Hoffman, upper-class yippie turned condo-pink cause celebre, who went “underground” for a decade after being busted for dealing coke? The person over whom Pete Townsend earned everlasting credit for clubbing with a guitar at Woodstock?
The person who served as the model, in many ways, for today’s pampered, privileged, tax-funded hothouse “radicals”?
Anyway, the article continues:
We talked about gas masks. I mentioned how difficult it was, during the Battle of Seattle, to procure a gas mask at the last minute. But it isn’t enough to merely possess a gas mask, oh no. I know from my time in the army that gas-mask training is essential, so you will trust your equipment even when you’re exhausted from running, fighting for breath, and it’s tough to suck air through the filters.
Wow. Gas mask training. Sounds dramatic!
Stella told me activists have been planning and coordinating for a few months, traveling to the Twin Cities and quietly familiarizing themselves with routes and landmarks. A meeting between a major group of “anti-authoritarians” and a large liberal Christian organization was scheduled to take place … um, well, no sense mentioning the day or the location.
Of course not! Because acting like it’s a big secret certainly buffs up that self-serving sense of drama that being an arrested adolescent requires.
Which is, perhaps, what we should write this next bit off to (emphasis added):
Will enough people come to the street demonstrations in 2008? Will it be a gas? Will demonstrators have enough sense to focus on a target of opportunity outside the main security perimeter, like a luxury hotel where delegates will be staying with their laptops and revealing documents, instead of going up against massive security surrounding the convention center? It would be good to apply the hard-earned lessons of Seattle in 1999.
Yeah, I know. John Hoff and his alleged friends are a bunch of hyperdramatic arrested adolescents; for this little flock of state-supported (over half of a U of M student’s costs are paid by the taxpayer before they even see a tuition figure) dilettantes, the drama is the point; sneaking about with secret names and big plans is validation for people who’ve adopted the whole “change the world now” mission in life. I’ve known the type over the years – even interviewed a bunch of them on my old KSTP talk show (kids from the “Backroom Anarchist Center”); talking about recreating the fabled riots of the mystic past is for them what NASCAR and sports-talk radio are for blue-collar guys – a time-killer, a substitute for doing something useful.
Hoff’s piece appears in the Minnesota Daily – a semi-independent body and not an official voice of the U of M, by any means (if I recall correctly, they are partially funded by student activity fees, although I’m not entirely sure of the extent), but certainly no underground publication.
Question: If it were a Republican student advocating stalking pro-abortion activists (for that is exactly what Hoff is advocating; “Will demonstrators … focus on a target of opportunity…like a luxury hotel where delegates will be staying with their laptops and revealing documents” which has nothing to do with protesting the administration and everything to do with harassing people who are, in turn, exercising their own rights to free speech and assembly!), what would the university’s reaction have been?
Relax. I’m not especially exercised about little John Hoff’s fantasy life. Talk is cheap. And it doesn’t impugn the vast majority of protesters, who, wrong as they are in my opinion, don’t intend to do anything stupid.
I just want to make sure that the rights of those of us who dissent from this city’s political mainstream – and those who come to this city – will get the same consideration. The mainstream media has been reticent to cover the abuses of the anti-war, anti-Republican protesters.
If that’s a do-it-yourself job, that’s fine; it’s what we conservative bloggers do best.
But someone’s gotta do it.