Next week, an estimated 250,000 people will “descend,” as its organizers hyperbolically term it, into New York City to protest the Republican National Convention. The Glorious Revolutionary Federation of Fortune 500 Killers has minimal interest in the convention protest and wishes to outline its reasoning below.
First, New York City will be the equivalent of a police state during the Republican National Convention. The NYPD, police forces from other cities, and illegally placed military police more or less have all areas covered and will dispose of any meaningful protest promptly and violently. Therefore, we see the protests against the Republican National Convention as nothing more than a self-congratulating exercise in dramaturgy without much surprise or shock to “the enemy” -- the whole raison d'etre behind creative disruption and civil disobedience. In fact, rather than urge protestors to creatively attack the convention in unplanned and spontaneous ways, the imbecilic organizers have instead been spending excessive amounts of money and time filing permits, and then filing appeals for denied permits. What self-respecting protestors, we ask, request permission to protest?
Some have argued that our view represents defeatism and capitulation to the growing jackboot police state in this country. On the contrary, an effective protest against what the Republican (and Democratic) National Conventions represent could have been mounted with some more thought. But the anti-RNC protestors have been beyond idiotic in their planning. Much planning and debate over anti-RNC actions has been conducted over an OPEN E-MAIL LIST almost certainly surveilled by law enforcement. Only the most moronic of soldiers hand the enemy their battle plans before marching into war.
The so-called organizers of the anti-RNC protests have poured much wasted energy into their events without much thought of what happens after the convention and how any momentum from the protest might be sustained over a long period or at least through Election Day. Successful social movements are victorious because of small day-to-day actions that keep the ruling class on their toes and scared -- not one huge ejaculatory wad of political self-congratulation for one Republican National Convention. Such small but PERSISTENT day-to-day actions, chronicled in excellent recent books on the “Mississippi organizing tradition” by John Dittmer and Charles Payne, were the foundations of the modern Civil Rights Movement. And they are utterly missing from this wave of protests.
After the “successful” anti-war marches a year ago, is the notion of perpetual war or the doctrine of pre-emptive war looked at with revulsion by those in political power? The policies of Kerry and Bush seem to say No. After the “successful” march for women's choice in Spring, is abortion under any less threat? No. Incidentally, at that march, many Democratic apologists took the stage to extol how great things were in the Clinton Administration, even though abortions were as inaccessible to women in the overwhelming majority of US counties back then as now. These events are attracting massive attendance, yet so few results.
The RNC protest reinforces “Anybody But Bush” ideology and is excessively personality-centered on Mister Bush. This perpetuates a reverse “Great Man” reading of history and fails to focus on the long-standing systematic and structural characteristics – our permanent war economy, our bloated military spending, our steadily rising (since the 1970s) economic inequality -- that allow terrible policies and decisions to be made. Bush is a putrid SYMPTOM of a sick military-industrial SYSTEM that has existed since World War II, not the CAUSE of that sickness. If Bush is gone, the sick SYSTEM remains.
Protestors seem to believe that another 1999 Seattle WTO protest -- a genuinely successful protest that scared the ruling class and took them by complete surprise -- will occur. They employ the same (by now boring) tactics over and over again.
The Federation says it is time for the freakshow puppeteering and morbidly celebratory nature of these protests to end. Civilians are dying in Iraq, you idiots. This is not time to goof off and have “fun”. You are not changing the world by dressing up in a coat, hat, and clown-makeup while acting like an annoying weirdo for the sake of it.
The quality of the anti-RNC activities appears to be of abominable intellectual caliber. Back in the early 1960s, groups like the Student Non-Violent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) coupled their direct action with thoughtful and incisive writing, such as their famous pamphlet that documented health care inequality for black Mississippians with rigorously researched data. Here is a sampling, however, of what you shall see from today's pale non-imitation:
“The Neo-cons are coming. Get ur freak on at the... (NEO-CON)ey Island Block Party and Fashion Show, Havemeyer Street, Williamsburg, Between Metropolitan Ave and Hope Street”
“A night of political cabaret, activist tabling and all-outrave is how the East Village and Lower East Side will welcome the Republican National Convention to New York.”
As one astute observer puts it, there exists a big chasm between a protest and a party draped in trite political veneer.
Reading such, one literally cannot do anything but stare at the screen in nauseous awe for a few seconds.
The Federation wonders what might have happened had these protestors organized around substantive issues of actual day-to-day social meaning to the poor and non-white populations who are conspicuously absent from most of these protests and “nights of political cabaret,” “(NEO-CON)ey Island Block Parties and Fashion Shows,” and “all-out raves.” Smaller but persistent protests around the country at poorly managed county hospitals and private insurance companies might actually force the issue of national health program onto a more prominent stage. Using issues like health care as a lens, protestors could have mounted broader criticisms of the system that breeds such ills. What is needed are practical campaigns centered around such issues, and furthermore, solidarity among such issue-based campaigns so that people understand how segregated and poor housing is connected to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which in turn is connected to our abhorrent drug policies.
But puppets, and poetry “slams” -- slam! -- and clown makeup, and the same old banalities since 1999 reign instead.
The Glorious Revolutionary Federation of Fortune 500 Killers is an anti-capitalist, anti-racist student insurgent group based at Columbia University. For more information, contact email@example.com.
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