Blockade the RNC: Sector 1 “How To Guide” Released – An invitation to help blockade Sector 1 at the RNC

On September 1 thousands of activists will set out in a coordinated effort to shutdown the Republican National Convention. The RNC Welcoming Committee (RNC-WC) has divided downtown St. Paul into seven sectors in which the swarm, seize, stay strategy of blockades will be actualized. Groups are being asked to adopt a sector and/or to adopt a specific intersection in one of the sectors. Pittsburgh Organizing Group has adopted Sector 1 under the theme of “direct action for direct democracy.” This means we’re taking responsibility to serve as a contact point for information and coordination for the Sector. As a group we will also blockade the intersection at 7th and Wall Streets that day.

We are asking you to participate in blockading Sector 1, as the success of the actions will depend on the active and involved participation and coordination of a multitude of groups. This “how to guide” aims to provide information on how individuals and groups (of varying sizes and tactical inclinations) can plug into the organizing and participate. We believe transparency and accountability engenders trust and so we hope, through regular updates and an inclusive organizing process, to maximize turnout and effectiveness.

We are hoping the sector will include both publicly and non-publicly announced blockades, all of which will be coordinated and communicating for maximum effectiveness and in a spirit of mutual respect and solidarity.

How individuals, affinity groups, and organizations can participate within Sector 1

Adopt an intersection: This means your group is assuming responsibility for blockading the intersection and coordinating with others in the sector. Your group could have a particular theme and a public call, it could just publicly state its intention, or it could be a non-publicly announced plan. Note: Small groups that feel they have the interest but not the current capacity to take on an entire intersection are highly encouraged to start dialoguing with us about possibilities. We can link up small groups with similar and/or complimentary visions to be in touch with one another. Whether you have an intersection in mind, want to discuss possibilities, or just have general questions of how this would look and what it might entail, we encourage you to get in touch.

Join us at 7th and Wall: Small affinity groups that don’t feel they have the capacity to blockade an entire intersection are also invited to participate in POG’s blockade of 7th and Wall. While POG is organizing the framework for this particular intersection we are aiming for an inclusive organizing process that incorporates other affinity groups. For out of town groups this will likely mean a representative of your group would serve as an information conduit and be more closely integrated into the planning process.

Action support and individual participation: If you’re an individual who wants to help make sure an intersection holds, taking part in an action’s support role would be a great way to plug in. A small blockade with well-organized support is likely to last a lot longer, a lot more comfortably, than a much larger blockade with no support. Sector 1 is looking for medics, scouts, legal observers/people to document events, people willing to ferry around larger amounts of food and water, and people willing to go to blockades under threat or attack to help hold the line. Any individual interested in these types of roles should contact us as we can arrange for you to be paired with the most suitable group/intersection.

What the blockades will look and other issues

Tactics: It is not our role to determine for you what will work best. As a general principle, however, actions should a) be consistent with the announced strategy b) be pragmatic in prioritizing holding the space over other considerations as intersections will depend on other intersections’ integrity c) not needlessly endanger or take away the decision-making agency of other intersections that have announced plans.

Dress: Don’t forget to dress for success. Check the weather and consider what will mesh well with your tactical choices. Multiple layers, light and breathable, protective, etc.

Protection from police violence: Is there a risk of police violence? Yes. The steps you take to protect yourself are of course up to you and will likely vary depending on what your plan is. We do strongly recommend that at the least participants come prepared with eye protection (shatter-proof, non-fogging, non foam, swim goggles would do the trick) and something to cover your mouth.

Inter-sector communication: A mobilization-wide communication system is in the works. We see this as critical to the success of the actions but also feel we’re going to need a way for intersections in Sector 1 to communicate, which is something TBD.

Messaging: Your actions on Sept. 1 will speak loudly! Of that there is no doubt. Blockades are notoriously hard to ignore, but who will determine what your actions say? We’re not talking here about the perennial question of the efficacy of working with the corporate media so much as we are about urging people to see that an event in which we are looking to seize space opens up possibilities for talking about ourselves and our long term aspirations in ways we’re not accustomed to. Untold numbers of people will likely be seeing pictures, videos, interviews, etc, from the ground that show militant actions in progress, so how can seize this moment to reach the disenfranchised? The cynical? The workers scrapping by? The union members looking for more freedom over their lives? How can we show the commonality of our actions with other struggles in our home towns and around the world? Sector 1 was adopted as “direct action for direct democracy” and it is our hope that groups will find a way to incorporate this broad theme somewhere into their messaging.

Intra-sector coordination, before the convergence and in the Twin Cities

As more groups sign on to Sector 1 we will work to quickly broaden communication between participants. On Sept. 1, Sector 1 must be able to actualize and succeed with or without any one group. We see our role therefore as serving as an initial contact to plug groups into the framework, linking groups up, and helping to set up other sector logistics.

As more participants arrive in the Twin Cities coordination and discussion will shift to that locale. We are currently looking at facilitating, in conjunction with the RNC-WC, a Sector 1 spokes-council of participating groups on Saturday, August 30 and Sunday, August 31.

What’s next:

In the next fews updates we will release more information on an initial meeting point for the sector on September 1, an assessment of where planning for the sector is at, and any additional sector calls.

In short we believe in the movement and we believe in you. In these historic times we must rise to the occasion and create something amazing. We encourage you to talk it over with those you work with and get back to us at rnc@organizepittsburgh.org with any questions, concerns, comments, thoughts, plans, schemes that make sense to be discussed over Email or endorsements you might have.

For our full call to action see http://www.organizepittsburgh.org/rnc
For more info on the overall RNC organizing see http://www.nornc.org

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