As of today over 400 people have been arrested including professionals of the media, nuns, and war veterans. That seems to be an obscene number of arrests for a largely peaceful group of protesters.
Here is an awesome eye witness account from a non-partisan member of the contracted media and his account of the goings on of the actions and attitudes of law enforcement. Click Here!
Basically the main reason for today's post was to speak about the gravity of what's going on and my position concerning it all. Another long one, but I think a lot needs to be said.
Why Protest the RNC at all?
If the GOP wants to sit around and stroke each others wieners all week so what? Why waste time and resources we could be using more constructively to protest about how much we disagree with republican policies?
Protesting the convention wasn't all about the republicans. It was about protesting a war that's costing tax payers trillions of dollars and thousands of innocent lives, it was about protesting an administration that shows a flagrant disregard for the wishes of it's people, it was about protesting the people who put policies in place that answer to big corporations instead of the needs of their people. It was about exercising our rights as participants in a democracy to voice our grievances. Lastly it was about showing solidarity with the other people of this country who don't want to see money and lives wasted on the quest for cheap oil and big money.
Direct Action/Peaceful Protest vs Violence/Property Damage
Disappointingly but not surprisingly their was a lack of coverage of these historic protests on major (ie corporate owned) media outlets. Why is that? Nearly 30,000 people from all over the country came to march against the war. Everyone in Minnesota knows what is happening, but no one else in the country really does. That in itself is a problem.
The little coverage that is taking place is narrow minded and one sided. Many of the articles don't focus on the 30,000 people of all groups, ages, and nationalities converging on an issue, but the literal handful of "anarchists" that caused property damage.
Which leads me to expand upon the idea of acceptable protest actions that is well augmented by a quotation from well known civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jr.
"We who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive."We have a duty as freedom loving Americans to check our government and speak up in a way that can be heard when we are unhappy with how things are going. When our government doesn't listen we must get creative. Unfortunately some people get angry instead. Am I angry that police tried to silence my voice at the protest hell yeah! You should be too. Did I want to break a window or two? Hell yeah. But I didn't because as angry as I was/am I knew that it would only lead to more problems. Some people have been trying to make their voices heard for a long time to no avail. Those people are frustrated and use property damage as an outlet to get their voices heard.
While I subscribe to creative direct action (blocking intersections, sitting in front of buses, banner drops etc.) as most protesters some people choose to act in a way that will call more attention to their cause. The Black Bloc anarchists that were responsible for the minor damage in St. Paul do not wholly represent the definition of anarchism or the definition of direct action. While I understand their actions to be statements of anger towards the current state of our government it is frustrating that their violent acts are the only instances that are being covered in major media.
The participants of the protests this week are a diverse, well-coordinated, de-centralized group of people working together peacfully to voice their opinions about a war the American people never wanted, but will be paying for, for a very long time. The actions of the police not only from Minnesota, but various towns (they were outsourced) and agencies, brought to light the a vast discrepancy in protocol and how they actually behave on the job.
Even if no one reads this blog, I think it is my duty to publicly condemn the actions of our country's policymakers and law enforcement for treating the voices of their people with violence and disrespect. I would like to publicly congratulate all the groups (far too many to name) for standing up in the face of oppression for what you believe to be the best thing for the country and the people living in it and fighting abroad.
P.S. Here's another silly article written in May about the FBI trying to find moles in"preparation for the RNC." Ha ha, all that money (acccording to CNN the twin cities received 100 million dollars of tax payer money for the convention) intel and we still managed to shut down the streets!
If we desire respect for the law, we must first make the law respectable.
~Louis D. Brandeis