Michigan RNC Consulta Report Back

On August 2, radicals from Michigan and Ohio gathered in Grand Rapids, Michigan to further plan, coordinate, and discuss the upcoming protests against the Republican National Convention (RNC).

What follows is a brief report back from the Grand Rapids faction of Unconventional Michigan…

PLANNING

At this stage in the game, planning is not as far along as what folks in Grand Rapids were hoping for before the consulta. While people remained very committed to going to the RNC and acting within Sector 5 (claimed by the Midwest Cluster), groups were not developed enough to discuss claiming a specific portion of the sector or coordinating between affinity groups. Despite this, the consulta included a review of maps, particulars of Sector 5, and a brainstorming of possible locations for strategic actions. Groups and individuals in attendance were strongly urged to contact the Midwest Cluster, Bash Back!, or the Snowswarm folks to plug into those actions and to facilitate greater coordination and to maximize the effectiveness of the blockades.

We also want to include a gentle reminder to folks planning to the attend the RNC protests to pick an action and connect with a group organizing in a specific sector. There are many to chose from, but time is running short.

MESSAGING

There was an interesting discussion about messaging and how radicals can use the RNC to advance our politics. While we were clearly not ready to come to consensus on an Unconventional Michigan message, the discussion was worthwhile and at some points inspiring as we shared our reasons for working towards shutting down the RNC. Many folks shared thoughts about the lack of legitimacy of the so-called “representative democracy,” the need for urgent action, and the hope that the RNC organizing will continue to inspire an upswing in radical organizing.

AFTER THE RNC

Some of the more productive discussions of the day centered on discussions about where we–as radicals in the Michigan area and beyond–go after the RNC. With two months before the elections, there will be ample time and opportunity for continued outreach around the failings of representative democracy and electoral politics. Moreover, with so much energy being focused on the RNC, we hope to see this energy shift onto other projects.

Among the specific ideas discussed at the consulta is the possibility of a meet-up in the Twin Cities (for the third or fourth day of the RNC) to assess both how the blockading went, how the organizing as a whole went, and where we as radicals can go from there. This idea is still being developed, but people from Unconventional Michigan are actively pursuing it. Second, there was considerable interest in a regional (Ohio, Michigan, etc) gathering to facilitate greater networking in the region–especially in terms of bringing out folks that may not have been interested in the anti-RNC organizing. The exact date is still being planned, but it will be in October in Toledo.

Love and Rage,

The Grand Rapids Faction of Unconventional Michigan
https://uamichigan.wordpress.com

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Convergence Center Opening

We have a convergence center!  It’s a beautiful building close to downtown St. Paul. This will be a space for people to gather during, before, and after the RNC.  There will be computers, limited bag storage, bikes, food and more. We are opening on Saturday, August 16th with an open house for our allies and people from the neighborhood.  There will be games, face painting and other fun entertainment.

The convergence center is also a space for workshops, spokescoucils, sector meetings and other events.  We would like to encourage people to use the space! If you want to schedule a workshop, event, meeting, etc. please email convergencecenter@riseup.net with your needs and we will work with you to schedule it.

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Eat First! Then Smash the State

Seeds of Peace, Sisters’ Camelot, and Minneapolis Food Not Bombs–with the help of friendly volunteers–will be providing two nutritious meals a day beginning a few days before the RNC and continuing through the convention and a few days into its aftermath. You can help us by working in the kitchen: chopping vegetables, delivering and serving food, washing dishes, etc. Additionally, we can use donations of bulk food and money. Because of the large amount of food we will be preparing, however, we can only use relatively large quantities of bulk items (e.g., 25-100, not 5, pounds of rice). Some of the basic bulk items we will need are:

cases of soy and/or rice milk
25-50 lb. bags of potatoes
25-50 lb. bags of onions
1-5 gallon jugs of oil
1-5 gallon jugs of cooking vinegar
soy sauce
tons and tons of garlic
tea and coffee
25-50 lb. bags of pinto, black, red, and garbanzo beans
tofu and tempeh
sugar
25-50 lb. bags of rice
25-50 lb. bags of flour
25-50 lb. bags of oats
25-50 lb. bags of quinoa, polenta, lentils, and split peas
cases of fresh fruit and vegetables

If you are interested in volunteering and/or donating food, email us at seedsofpeace@riseup.net or call us at 208-220-2133 or 208-240-3253.

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MayDay! Tin Can Comms Collective Needs Your help!

Over the past few months comms experts, programmers, hackers, activists, pirate radioistas and others have been working on creating a comprehensive communications network infrastructure for the Anti-RNC mobilization in Minneapolis.  We are nearly completed with our work but to finish we need your urgent help. We wish to be able to provide a variety of communication systems to as many participants of the protests as possible to achieve this goal we need some more equipment. Below is a list of the basics we need in order to provide you information on the days of actions.

For more information on how the comms system will work    visit our website

http://www.tincancollective.org

Users will need a cell phone (we HIGHLY recommend a prepaid phone without the users name attached to it; we are suggesting virgin, boost, or at&t as carriers) capable of receiving sms txt messages.

Here’s What we Need:

* Money (you can donate via Paypal on http://www.nornc.org. Be sure to earmark the money for Tin Can Comms Collective )
* Blackberries, sidekicks, other mobile devices with qwerty keyboards
* Computers and related equipment
* Digital trunking police scanners (such as radioshack’s pro96 or pro 2096)
* Related equipment

If you have any of this equipment you want to donate or lend us please contact
us at: rnccomms@yahoo.com

or just send us some goodies to:

RNC Welcoming Committee
P.O. Box 4514
St. Paul, MN 55104

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Mid-Atlantic Cluster Takes Sector 3

Mid-Atlantic cluster is psyched to announce that we will be working in Sector 3 in solidarity with the RNC Welcoming Committee’s call to disrupt the Republican National Convention!

In a time when this country is focusing on the rhetoric of “change” we believe that as anarchists, anti-authoritarians, and radicals, the electoral spectacle must not pass without a voice speaking up LOUD for REAL FUNDAMENTAL CHANGE.  The fundamental structures of oppression in our culture must be addressed, not just the face of the administration (a superficial placation). Our aim is not to confront the Republicans alone, but the entirety of the electoral system.  Amidst this celebration of the top down politics of alienation and disempowerment, we will be there to say “hell nah!  Our politics are the politics of cooperation, community, respect for each other, our animal friends, and our planet.  These are the politics of the future.”

The blockade strategy is going to be most effective if all of the ground in St. Paul is covered. With three entrances to the Xcel center, Sector 3 is crucial ground. We have by no means excluded the probability that there are other Affinity Groups and Clusters organizing from the Mid-Atlantic and we would love to take this opportunity to meet, network and organize with each other.  We’d also like to invite clusters of any variety, from any locality who are interested in autonomous coordinated direct action to join us in Sector 3 to show the world the power we have when working non-hierarchically to accomplish our goals.

If you are part of a group or cluster looking to join the blockade strategy in sector 3, please e-mail (non sensitive info only please!) ua.midatlantic@gmail.com, so we can begin to organize, coordinate, and make friends.

We are also calling for a Mid-Atlantic spokescouncil on August 17th at 2pm in Baltimore, MD at a location to be announced.

Let’s reclaim space, blockade the city, and open up anyone who’s watching to the possibility that whole other worlds are possible!  RNC, we’ve got you surrounded motherfuckers!

http://midatlanticua.wordpress.com/

Sector Three: Southwest riverside section. Includes Eastbound Shepard Rd., and many parking ramps and lots, back allies, and parks. Primarily residential, with lower-income area starting as you head West from Irvine Park.

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Midwest Snowswarm to Bury RNC, St. Paul Sector 5

On Labor Day, 2008, as the republican horde descends on St. Paul and their sweating souls push the heat to unbearable levels, the renegade reindeer squadron has announced plans to seed the burning clean-coal clouds ™ above Sector 5 with cold and fluffy justice. What follows below will be the greatest snowswarm in Midwestern h’story.

Calling all abominable snow-people, snow angels, wolfriders, garden gnomes, errant polar bears, woolly mammoths, seals with clubs, and other snow-identified beings: Your time is now. Join the snowswarm in sector 5! Put the freeze on the republocratic agenda! Defend winter before they take it away forever!

***
RNC Delegates: Foul Weather Warning in Sector 5
A MIDWEST SNOWSWARM IS INEVITABLE
***

The advance of our frolicking swarm will be quick and joyous–lasting only long enough to blockade the convention and return I-94 to the earth as a gentle warning to the ecocidal I-69 profiteers who are plowing over homes, farms, and native habitats in Southern Indiana as we speak.

Twin City drivers should respect the wildlife and expect ice hazards. Not the Postville, Iowa, ethnic-cleansing, union-busting, family-splitting, roundups of immigrant workers into corporate concentration camps-type of ICE. Think black ice on cold asphalt waiting for the next occupation convoy to roll through. That’s how we do ice.

As for the cold and fluffy justice dropping from the sky, we know it may be inconvenient, but the snowswarm guarantees that our snowbanks will not foreclose on your home, rob your family, bankroll nazis, or redline your neighborhood. Bring a sled, hop on, and join the fun.

NOTE: to those who mean to invade the snow globe and undermine our good work, GET OUT’ THE POTLUCK! We will turn back your raids and swarm your hog colonies wherever they spawn, be it South Dakota or Minnesota.

See you in the snowswarm with A Midwest Cluster and the Bash Back Pink & Blue Bloc in Sector 5.

Signed,

The Abominable Snow-People
From the Midwest, young and restless.
on the matrix: snowswarm [at] riseup [dat] net

###

The snowswarm is a direct-action contingent welcoming those who agree with the following…

<1> Commitment to the Swarm, Sieze, and Stay (3S) strategy to blockade the xcel center and crash the republican national convention.
i. Move into/around Downtown St. Paul via swarms of varying sizes, from multiple directions, and with diverse tactical intentions.
ii. Seize space through both hard (e.g., lockboxes) and soft (e.g., congestion), fixed and mobile, blockading methods.
iii. Stay engaged with the situation in downtown St. Paul as long as necessary. Regroup. Reinforce.

<2> Solidarity with the RNC Welcoming Committee’s points of unity: (nornc.org)
i. A rejection of Capitalism, Imperialism, and the State;
ii. Resist the commodification of our shared and living Earth;
iii. Organize on the principles of decentralization, autonomy, sustainability, and mutual aid;
iv. Work to end all relationships of domination and subjugation, including but not limited to those rooted in patriarchy, race, class, and homophobia;
v. Oppose the police and prison-industrial complex, and maintain solidarity with all targets of state repression;
vi. Directly confront systems of oppression, and respect the need for a diversity of tactics.

<3> Solidarity with Bash Back and the Pink & Blue Block (our friendly neighbors in Sector 5 — bashbacknews.wordpress.com)
BashBack Points of Unity:

i. Fight for liberation. Nothing more, nothing less. State recognition in the form of oppressive institutions such as marriage and militarism are not steps toward liberation but rather towards heteronormative assimilation.
ii. A rejection of Capitalism, Imperialism, and all forms of State power.
iii. Actively oppose oppression both in and out of the “movement.” All oppressive behavior is not to be tolerated.
iv. Respect a diversity of tactics in the struggle for liberation. Do not solely condemn an action on the grounds that the State deems it to be illegal.

<4> Commitment to following the “St. Paul Principles” of solidarity in action
i. Our solidarity will be based on respect for a diversity of tactics and the plans of other groups.
ii. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of time or space.
iii. Any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.
iv. We oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance, infiltration, disruption and violence. We agree not to assist law enforcement actions against activists and others.

###

BE PART OF THE SNOWSWARM

1. Be sure that you understand and agree with the above conditions of participation.
2. Form an affinity group with snow-people you trust, repeat step #1 with the crew.
3. Prepare* to be mobile and creative (think 3S). Wear white and/or do your own thang with the Midwestern snowswarm theme.
4. Create an email account for your group and contact snowswarm [at] riseup [dat] net to announce your intention to participate and get on the list for updates.
5. Watch the sky for reindeer.

* nornc.org has all the maps and intel a wolfrider could dream of. Get on their announcement list while you’re at it.

WHEN? WHERE?

September 1, 2008. Sector 5. St. Paul, MN. More details will be forthcoming. Plan on visiting the Convergence Center the morning of Sept. 1 for mobilizing details.

###

The snowswarm guarantees that our snowbanks will not foreclose on your home, rob your family, bankroll nazis, or redline your neighborhood.

###

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Indymedia at the RNC: Update and Callout for Help

Help movement media cover the RNC in Minneapolis-St.Paul! With the RNC a month away and the propaganda machine of electoral politics shifting into high gear, a strong independent media infrastructure will be critical to a successfully crashed convention. But we at TC-IMC are running on a skeleton crew, and we need your help. Read on to see what’s in the works and what we need.

If you’re a media activist coming to the Twin Cities, or if you’re local and want to plug in, get in touch: IMCatRNC@gmail.com.

***

With the RNC in the Twin Cities less than a month away, the propaganda machine of electoral politics is shifting into high gear. For months, corporate media in the Twin Cities has been trying to divide activists into “good” and “bad” and and to justify the ridiculous police rhetoric about possible violence on the part of activists. If past conventions are any indication, we know that independent media will be critical for the defeat of disinformation, and that thousands will look first to the Indymedia network for the first updates straight from the street and the passionate telling of the truth from the Twin Cities.

We of Twin Cities Indymedia have been starting to get questions from around the country about what’s up regarding Indymedia at the RNC. Unfortunately, right now the Twin Cities Indymedia collective has a core of only four people, all of whom are also involved in multiple other radical projects in Minneapolis and St. Paul. This means that in order to pull this off, and to become a sustainable resource for the local radical community well beyond the spectacle of the RNC, we are going to need help both from locals and from Indymedia activists nationwide.

First, here’s what we’ve been working on:

–This summer, we launched TC-IMC 2.0, replacing a klunky, spam-overridden, 20th-century relic of an interface with a smooth, (mostly) spam-annihilating one! We’re busy promoting the site and creating a comprehensive calendar of RNC-week actions and events, which with luck will be live soon.

–Plans are in the works for an IMC dispatch phone line, a hotline to which activists can call in updates from the street, feeding an up-to-the-minute ticker on the IMC homepage, beginning with Critical Mass on A29 and running all through convention week.

–We’re also scheming to provide multiple decentralized IMC infopoints around the Twin Cities with computers and breaking news bulletin boards – at the St. Paul Convergence Space, Macalester College in St. Paul, Arise! Books in Minneapolis, and elsewhere.

Now, here’s what we need:

Specifically, TC Indymedia needs:
–People who can take shifts staffing the dispatch number and the infopoints, and pass out cards en masses with that information
–Trusted IMC activists to help with editorial admin and tech support – especially if/when the site crashes
–Donations (either temporary or long-term) of good quality, internet-ready computers and printers
–Tech help – calling all proud anarcho-geeks! We’ve got a wishlist, but if you’ve got a great idea for the site during the RNC, let’s get started now.

More generally, we ask friends to autonomously do the following at will:

–Come to St. Paul and Minneapolis early (for housing, contact us or visit http://www.nornc.org/stay), armed and ready with cameras, videocameras, audio recorders, paper and pencils
–Publish your original reporting, interviews, photos, updates, and other content to tc.indymedia.org
–Steal and republish as much content from tc.indymedia.org as possible, and decentralize the flow of information!

About those moving pictures

Many folks have asked us about video in particular. Video footage could play a more important role at the RNC than at any other recent event in the U.S.

Twin Cities activists in particular have recently been schooled in the importance of video; after the police riot at the Critical Mass before the pReNC spokescouncil one year ago, it was great video footage that helped prove riders innocent of politically-motivated charges and the police to be liars – and shabby liars at that! The NLG is busy training videographers to be legal observers, and we also know of several documentarians who will be producing films during convention week.

Additionally, we’re in touch with a video collective spearheaded by, among others, Franklin Lopez of submedia.TV. The collective has secured a space in downtown St. Paul less than 7 blocks from the Xcel Energy Center, with multiple rooms of high-speed pipelines and video editing software and equipment, and has access to another video editing space almost “a stone’s throw away” (to use the insurrectionary phrase of SPPD commander Matt Bostrom) from the Xcel!

Here’s the basic plan of attack for videographers:

1. While letting the cops know they’re being watched worldwide, and activists know they’re being heard worldwide, capture some radicool footage.
2. Edit your video. Although anyone taking part in actions should assume they’re being caught on tape by the police or by St. Paul’s new security cameras, it’s nonetheless a BAD IDEA to post footage of your comrades engaging in high-risk activity when they could be identified. Use common sense.
3. Upload your video to blip.TV. blip.TV is considerably less evil than, say, youtube, and it has cool features like being able to….
4. …Tag your video with NORNC, which enables anyone to subscribe to an RSS feed of all “NORNC” video.
5. Then embed your video on tc.indymedia.org. If it’s particularly compelling, write an article that links to it, and we’ll compile the most relevant videos on the front page.

Finally

If you live in the Twin Cities: consider becoming a part of TC-IMC, both for the RNC and beyond!

Minnesota is a hotbed of alternative and independent media, but Indymedia’s strength is as a decentralized resource for and by activists. Instead of relying on sources outside the movement, activists can turn to Indymedia for up-to-the-minute action updates, be it in the city council chambers, at the jail, or in the streets. And open publishing means that your local IMC is what YOU make of it. If you’re local and interested in working with us for the RNC and beyond, get in touch and get plugged in with other people who know that media is simply one tool in the toolbox of radical change.

A few days before the convention, we’ll have a check-in in St. Paul for both local and visiting media activists to figure out shifts and responsibilities, put faces to names, get the info you need, and make sure all systems are go! Email us for more details and with any and all of your questions, ideas and dreams: IMCatRNC@gmail.com.

With dreams of conventions (not servers!) crashed,
Until next time,

the crew at Twin Cities Indymedia
http://www.tc.indymedia.org

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