Unconventional Michigan Consulta Report-Back

On Saturday June 14th, about thirty Radicals from across Michigan and the general Midwest came together to discuss plans for the upcoming RNC protests. Participants came from Lansing, Grand Rapids, Detroit, Toledo, and Cleveland with backgrounds ranging from newly interested organizers to veterans of Seattle and the anti- globalization movement. For many, the Consulta provided a good point for launching discussions on the RNC and movement building in general.

The Consulta began with an overview of the RNC mobilization through discussions of street-safety, legal strategies, alternative media, and direct action. The discussion then shifted towards logistics of housing and getting to and from the Twin Cities in one piece. At the end of the day, we focused on networking after the RNC, and issues and criticism that we would like addressed. It is our hope that UA chapters, the RNC Welcoming Committee and other radicals consider our concerns in organizing against the RNC.

From the get go, it was clear that many people were interested in the RNC protests and are facilitating a serous attempt to shut the convention down locally and regionally. While the long day and the amount of information provided was certainly exhausting, people were excited that the Consulta happened and about the networking and concrete ideas that came out of it. Beyond the RNC, many radicals look forward to activist groups and organizations that have come and continue to emerge out of the mobilization. It was also realized that despite the 7 hours of demanding conversation, we still have tons to think about and that a future Michigan-wide event will be necessary.

Networking: What already exist in Michigan: Out of the RNC, UA Michigan has come together. Besides shutting down the RNC, we hope this group will allow us to plan fundraisers, facilitate communication, and organize events between Michigan radicals after the Convention.

Future events: We would like to host Spokes Council to focus specifically on RNC logistics and fundraising events. This event will occur sometime in mid August, so keep an eye out. In addition, we hope to send a delegate of our group to the Twin Cities’ July 12 UA Consulta.

Post RNC connect: It was stressed by many that after the RNC we need to analyze the mobilization, what went well, what didn’t, were we go from here, and how the network goes forward. We need to be accountable, make sure that our relationships don’t die and let other UA groups know of our process and encourage them to do the same.

What’s Missing (Here are some concerns we have with RNC organizing thus far):

Through the Consulta, we came upon several concerns regarding our organizing, and the organizing of others that we think will benefit the mobilization if addressed now, and not after September 1st.

• The Broader discussion: With the RNC build-up, there has been a lack of bridge-building/ networking that doesn’t focus exclusively on tactics and protest strategy. We feel that considering the efforts that are going into the RNC mobilizing we can do a better job to provide longer-term analysis and opportunities for movement building. Following the day(s) of action in September, we would like to see a deeper political discussion and analysis that includes tactics but isn’t solely focused on them. As radicals we also need to identify local issues (such as housing an immigration) and what collectively organizing around them might look like.

• Communication Outside the Anarchist Community: While we understand we are outside observers and our understanding of internal dynamics in the Twin Cities might be limited, we are wondering about how much outreach has been done to groups outside of the anarchist milieu–both in the Twin Cities and nationally. With the large number of folks that will likely be involved in the September 1st Protest RNC march; an important opportunity for radicalization has been given to us. We would like to see efforts aimed at engaging those folks and presenting a radical perspective at that march.

• Lack of Messaging: While there has been one newspaper released (and another is on the way) we feel that given the proximity of elections and the American public’s interest in politics, we need to better express our radical criticisms of representative democracy and our beliefs to the public.

• Networking: Through speaking tours and consultas an impressive amount of energy has been put into the RNC mobilization. However, besides the odd report back, we have little idea what the different UA groups and other organizations mobilizing around the RNC are doing, how we can help, and what their thoughts and concerns of the mobilizations are. We feel that more communication between radical groups organizing around the RNC would benefit everyone.

The Consulta provided an opportunity for organizers in Michigan to plan for the RNC as well as a space to network within the radical community. It illustrated several issues that, if addressed, would benefit the mobilization.

See you in September!

In Struggle,
– Unconventional Michigan – https://uamichigan.wordpress.com

* Unconventional Michigan is currently made up of individuals from across Michigan involved in a variety of projects including ACTIVATE (Grand Rapids SDS) and Mediamouse.org. We’re a part of the larger Unconventional Action network organizing resistance to the political conventions.


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