April 13, 2008

Anti-Republican National Convention "Blockade" Strategy Manifesto Revealed

"Anything from a lockdown, to a pile of gathered materials, to a yoga bloc in an intersection, to a good, old-fashioned traffic jam . . . Stopping the convention won’t stop the election, but it throws a big fuckin’ wrench in the GOP’s PR machine, and they need that machine to survive"--RNC Welcoming Committee

An "explanation" from the fine moonbats at the RNC Welcoming Committee who plan to "blockade" Republican delegates in the Twin Cities:
The geography of the 2008 RNC lends itself quite readily to a blockading strategy- unlike conventions of past years, this one is being held in a city without the capacity to sustain it alone. St. Paul is not big enough. Thus, convention-related events are happening all over the Twin Cities metro area, bringing Minneapolis into the fold. And between Minneapolis and St. Paul, there are still not enough hotel rooms to house the thousands of conventioneers who’ll be descending on our cities for four days. So, delegates, media, staff and extras will be housed throughout St. Paul, Minneapolis and the surrounding suburbs, requiring that they all be transported to and from their hotels en masse (mostly on several hundred city buses contracted specifically for that purpose). Thanks to the mighty Mississippi, they’ll mostly have to be funneled across a small number of bridges, and thanks to the car culture we live in, they’ll only have a limited number of entrances to downtown St. Paul from which to choose. Few conventions have presented such clear transportation vulnerabilities, and we would be foolish to pass up the opportunities those vulnerabilities present. The 2008 RNC is begging to be blockaded.

Blockading is something that we as anarchists have put a lot of energy into over the past couple decades, meaning we have a lot of experience and technical know-how to apply to this sort of situation, and have a chance to share those skills with all kinds of folks just getting into things. It’s a strategically prudent choice to identify the skills- like blockading- that we have, and to use them where they’re most fitting. Our movement definitely suffers for being small and stretched-thin, and doing that is simply a more efficient use of our energy. This is an especially positive thing when you take into account that organizing mass mobilizations has historically been quite a drain on our radical communities. Simply put, the blockading strategy takes less from our movement by utilizing a skill we’ve already put lots of energy into developing.

Calling for “blockades” sets a radical tone for the day without dictating the forms of resistance that people engage in. Anything from a lockdown, to a pile of gathered materials, to a yoga bloc in an intersection, to a good, old-fashioned traffic jam, helps create the desired effect, and the more diverse the actions, the less likely the cops will be prepared to deal with them all. Last summer’s G8 protest in Germany created a change in the landscape of our organizing. Dissent! and Block G8 were able to mobilize huge amounts of people because of the open and participatory manner in which it was organized. The blockading strategy provides ways for large numbers of people who would likely be excluded from other strategies to plug in, through such things as public blockades- large, effective, accessible actions that meet people closer to their comfort level and provide clear avenues of participation for folks who aren’t experienced or aren’t already a part of strong militant networks.
And simultaneously, there is ample room for small affinity groups with the capacity to plan and execute their own actions to do so. But, breaking with the recent trend in mobilization planning of calling for a “day of decentralized direct actions” and strategizing no further, the pReNC framework creates a way for all of these actions to complement each other, resulting in an output greater than the sum of its parts.

Not everyone is into blockading, and that’s cool, but a lot of other tactics- the more mobile and offensive sorts, for example- are hard to do well in a space where large numbers of cops have easy access to any sites of potential interest and there’s little else going on to hold their attention. Successful execution of the blockading strategy, however, will actually create spaces more conducive to “other tactics” than we’d otherwise see.

The most “direct” way to oppose a dog-and-pony show is just to stop it. It’s worth recognizing that the RNC is a symbolic event- we all know who the nominee is, and the convention is just a chance for his party to gather and toast themselves at our expense. Stopping the convention won’t stop the election, but it throws a big fuckin’ wrench in the GOP’s PR machine, and they need that machine to survive.
Denver doesn't have the kind of "choke points" that would enable moonbats to attempt to blockade the DNC, not that reality ever stopped them before . . .

The Recreate '68/Unconventional Action folks will, however, be targeting individual delegates on their way from the hotels to the Pepsi Center.

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