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RNC Welcoming Committee July Update
Our apologies to all who have been trying to keep up with our busy RNC-filled lives while we’ve been running behind on our newsletter. There are a lot of things that have happened already this summer and more to come. As the clock continues to tick down to September 1st, here are some items for your perusal as you carefully articulate your plans to get dangerous:
*Convergence Space Update
*Upcoming Summer Events
*Tour Report backs
*Action Report backs
*Friendly Reminder: Don’t Talk to Cops!
*Ways for you to get involved
Online housing board now available:
RNC-WC radio show available for download:
Adopt a Sector:
The purpose of dividing Downtown St. Paul into sectors is to decentralize coordination of blockades on Day One of the RNC. The intention is that organizing develops organically, and so it will look different from sector to sector. Ideally, one large group or cluster planning a large blockading action will “adopt” each sector, positioning themselves as a focal point for coordination of that sector. This doesn't mean their action needs to or should fill the entire sector or that they will be directing intra-sector activity but, rather, that it establishes an open avenue of participation. It would be great if the group was willing to facilitate planning for the entire sector but, at minimum, this group needs to be open to communication from others planning actions within the same sector, and to be committed to respecting a diversity of tactics. To view the sector map go to:
If this doesn't work, check back at http://www.nornc.org.
Sector adoption would ideally happen by mid-July and entails releasing a public statement containing the following information:
1.What sector you're taking, and what you want to name it.
2.Contact information, both for the summer months and the convention itself.
3.Your capacity and intentions in terms of intrasector coordination, e.g., are you planning a public, participatory action? Are you planning spokescouncils?
As the convention nears, you are responsible for releasing updates on your sector - this may be done through the WC, if you wish. Updates should include an honest assessment of sector strength and of your needs - if you do not feel that your sector will be filled, say so. Delusions of grandeur are not permitted.
Plug into a Sector:
Those wishing to plug into a sector without adopting it should establish communication with any group that has done so, and should make every effort to organize in complement with other intrasector activities.
What is the RNC Welcoming Committee's role?
The Welcoming Committee will post the sector adoptions on our website and update the map accordingly. We will make contact information for each sector available, help connect organizing groups and individuals where prudent and, upon request, provide any information that we can about Downtown St. Paul and convention plans, including detailed descriptions of sectors. We will not recognize or, in any way, facilitate the plans or organizing of groups who are willing to cooperate with law enforcement in the repression of dissent.
Ready to adopt? Email rnc08 [at] riseup.net.
Here are links to the publicly announced calls for adopted sectors as of July 14:
Sector 1: Pittsburgh Organizing Group
Sector 5: Unconventional Action Midwest
....and Bash Back!
Sector 6: Campus Antiwar Network
CONVERGENCE SPACE UPDATE:
We're happy to announce that we've nearly secured a spectacular convergence space about one and half miles from downtown St. Paul! Although the i's haven't been dotted, the t's haven't been crossed and the A's haven't been circled quite yet, things are looking up and if all goes well we'll have the space from August 15 to September 15.
Thanks to some recent donations (including three the day after a segment aired about us on Fox News – thanks guys!), we're completely within budget for the space, but still are in need of funds for its adornments: computers, fine décor, and the like. We recently received a $5,000 matching grant, and all funds raised towards this grant will go towards creating a welcoming, functional, creative hub of the resistance in St. Paul. Donate by clicking the paypal button on http://www.nornc.org, or get in touch with us about other options.
The convergence space will be the center of the RNC resistance, hosting workshops, trainings, spokescouncils, puppet building and art making, an indymedia space, and much much more. We'll announce more details as we have them, and if you live in the Twin Cities, watch for a grand open house at the space in August.
June 3rd, 2008: In Solidarity with Kryptonite
If I-69 is indeed the “Superhighway” they make it out to be, then the folks of Indiana are the Kryptonite. Despite the fact that between 70 - 90% (depending on the poll) of Indiana residents oppose this massive act of destruction, capitalists are still trying to shove it down our throats. Clearly this is not representative government at work. Folks have risen up against this tyranny. The people are resisting. The people are fighting. They will not stop!
Read about the struggle here: http://stopi69.wordpress.com
This monstrosity is death, destruction, and subjugation in the form of asphalt and steel. It is replacing farmland with concrete, displacing hundreds of families, and decimating wildlife. For the sake of capitalism we are paying the price of our food sources, our very homes, and our shared and living earth. Your “leaders” are trading the sustainable for the unsustainable.
The RNC Welcoming Committee extends solidarity to the people fighting against the I-69 project. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the farmlands of Indiana or the streets of Saint Paul, Folks will be there resisting the oppression and destruction of our planet and all of its Inhabitants!
How To Help: http://stopi69.wordpress.com/how-to-help/
June 17, 2008: In Solidarity with a Spider Monkey
We in the RNC Welcoming Committee want to express our solidarity with the spider monkey who recently used a garden hose to scale the wall of his enclosure and escape from a Michigan City, IN, zoo. Acts of resistance like that taken by the Spider Monkey in Michigan City remind us that true liberation cannot be handed to us- we must take it, by any means necessary. For, much like our comrade the Spider Monkey, we find ourselves stuck in a fucking zoo. A zoo called “electoral politics,” and if we had a garden hose, you can bet your sweet ass we’d scale that fuckin’ wall of oppression quicker than that Stingray killed Steve Irwin. Quicker than that Tiger mauled that jerk face that was taunting her in San Francisco a few months ago. Quicker than that one Elephant trampled its keeper over in Hawaii a few years back- remember?
As we’ve said so many times before, our focus for the next few months may be on the RNC, but we hope our work transcends this two-party dog-and-pony show. After all, it’s not just dogs and ponies who get fucked over by this show. It’s also: Spider Monkeys, Bonobos, Mountain Gorillas, Tapirs, Siberian Tigers, Snow Leopards, Servals, Grizzly Bears, Black Bears, Burchell’s Zebras, Giraffes, African Elephants, Asian Elephants, Ibexes, Aardvarks, Spotted Hyenas, and the Common Wombat.
And though the Spider Monkey in Michigan City was eventually caught (next door) by the zookeepers and returned, we know that liberation remains only a garden hose away.
Zookeepers get fuckin’ smashed,
the RNC Welcoming Committee
July 6, 2008: Solidarity with Death
The RNC Welcoming Committee would like to extend feelings of solidarity towards Death, who Friday took the life of former North Carolina Senator and dedicated homophobic racist, Jesse Helms. Though we understand that Helms was "comfortable" in his last hours and are thus reminded that no revolutionary act is without its flaws, we are nonetheless awed and inspired by this courageous act.
Dancing on Jesse Helms' grave,
the RNC Welcoming Committee
UPCOMING SUMMER EVENTS:
Get Your Groovy Lockbox Down with Upcoming Summer Action Camps:
Following the Seeds of Peace Action Camp last week there will be a Wilderness First Responder and Action Medical Course from July 15 through July 27. There is a fee of $450.00 for this but at the end you will be nationally certified as a Wilderness First Responder. To sign up for the “WFR” camp, or if you want more information please contact seedsofpeace [at] riseup.net.
The RNC Welcoming Committee and Unconventional Action Midwest will also be hosting an Action Camp from July 31st to August 3rd at Harmony Park in Southern Minnesota. This will also include an array of workshops and skill shares focused on Direct Action Skills such as lockdowns, soft blockades and other blockading strategies.
For more information on the Action Camp visit
or email rncactionretreat [at] riseup.net
RNC Welcoming Committee Presents an Evening with David Rovics July 21:
Monday July 21 2 shows! July 21st 6:30 pm & 8:30 pm
6:30 is the raffle show.
David Rovics has been called the musical voice of the progressive movement in the US. Amy Goodman has called him "the musical version of Democracy Now!" Since the mid-90's Rovics has spent most of his time on the road, playing hundreds of shows every year throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Japan. David's Music has inspired and emboldened many of us on the frontlines. Join us for an intimate evening of music. The concert is a benefit for the RNC Welcoming Committee, an anarchist/anti-authoritarian group based in the Twin Cities facilitating protests and resistance to the 2008 Republican National Convention. Tickets are $20-$30 sliding scale, and all pre-sold tickets are entered into a raffle to win a private dinner and concert for the winner and 15 friends at Bedlam Theatre before the public show at 8:30.
He has loads of MP3's available for free download on his website, http://www.davidrovics.com, along with CDs, links, etc. More importantly, he's really good. He will make you laugh, he will make you cry, and he will make the revolution irresistible.
Tickets available through our website NoRNC.org - click the paypal button and indicate David in the notes, Arise! Bookstore, Northern Sun, and Bedlam Theatre box office.
Email beautifulloser [at] riseup.net with any questions.
The Bedlam's located at 1501 S. 6th St. in the West Bank neighborhood of Minneapolis, Minnesota.
2008 Great Lakes Anarchist Gathering: Creating an Example of Outing Those in Power...
An RNC-Welcoming Committee report back from the Washington D.C. Unconventional Action East Coast Convergence:
After a few days hitchhiking across the Midwest and the Mideast, it was a treat to be greeted in DC with such enthusiasm. Because of my travel schedule the week before, I ended up making it into DC well before the convergence. Spending time with the organizers towards the end of their preparations helped to build some solid affinity which is a much needed part of this process. Thank you DC for the couch, the burritos, *the coffee* and for letting me freshen up on building lockboxes. Maybe we can try some of those other experiments before the conventions.
The DC organizers will be coming out with a more extensive report back, but here are some observations and experiences related to the convergence.
The schedule for the UA-ECC was tight with a lot of really amazing workshops running simultaneously. For those who came with affinity groups, this was the perfect opportunity to learn more about your role and gain skills to bring back to your community. Those who came alone may have had a harder time picking and choosing where to go. That, however, is so often the nature of having so many things to talk about and such a limited amount of time to be face to face. One of the most frequent overall criticisms made of the convergence was that there wasn’t enough time set aside for caucuses. This meant that caucuses ended up taking place during social time and so individuals had to choose between attending a caucus and networking.
The Direct Action 202 workshop was a highlight and crammed as much information as possible into two and a half hours. Obviously it still just scratched the surface, but made space for actual practice (which doesn’t seem to be happening enough), and got people excited to learn more.
At the UA-ECC, there was a lot of talk about messaging for the conventions. There were concerns that there was a lot of work going into a strategic framework and not enough work going into a messaging framework. Beyond that, the messaging that currently exists focuses on what we are against and not what we are for and doesn’t acknowledge that (whether we think it is misguided or not) for many people this election will be a historic event. An example of this is taking about “false hope” and calling progressive rhetoric “bull shit”. While we as anarchist understand this critique, for many who are feeling hope for the first time in a long time, these words say “there is no hope”. It was suggested that perhaps there is a way for us to alter this and say, “I’m glad that you feel hopeful but true hope comes from people not
presidents”. This is, of course, more applicable to the DNC where the attendees actually preach “change”. There was a suggestion of creating a national messaging discussion. An idea is to have locals from the Twin Cities and Denver work with/endorse a national working group that will help create a national messaging framework for both conventions. This
group could call for literature, posters, slogans etc that fit within the developed messaging framework and host a website that could make these medias available for perusal, reading, printing, and distribution. Keep your eyes open for ways to plug in.
Thanks again to the DC organizers for their hospitality and a special thanks to all the presenters, the friendly criticism, and all the support coming out of the Mid-Atlantic.
With insurrectionary dreams,
A Representative of The RNC Welcoming Committee
On the evening of June 19th, a small band of do-gooders descended on Peavey Plaza in Minneapolis at 6pm armed only with naked juice and prepared to share food/take on John McCain.
Unfortunately, ol' Johnny must have gotten wind and was nowhere in sight. There was a "free" concert going on in the Plaza however, and we quickly regrouped to share food along the perimeter to passers-by. Though our message of sticking it to McCain and this obsolete electoral system was blurred by the surrounding cacophony of 3rd rate Bonnie Rait covers, we were able to interact on human levels with a lot of very appreciating crowd goers. That was until this faux biker beefcake camped in front of the soup and stir fry. This self-described "Famous Daves' employee", apparently was upset with our message of solidarity with hungry people and our amateurish attempts at ushering in a gift economy so close to his rib shack. Despite our friendly coercion to get him the fuck out of the way, we still managed to ruffle his American flag du-rag and so the fuzz, already lurking on the scene, came to rescue his pathetic ass. Not to be dissuaded, our rag-tag group walked the eight blocks to Loring Park and continued to share meals in a friendlier setting. While not relaying a succinct political message, this was a fun and spontaneous guerrilla approach to food share.
MN Anarchists leave love notes for Obama?!
Obama Is Hot, Empire is Not!
A FRIENDLY REMINDER: DON'T TALK TO COPS!
As the Republican National Convention draws closer and the number of federal agent encounters increases, the Protest RNC 2008 Coalition reminds you not to talk to police, FBI or any other governmental agents. The Protest RNC 2008 Coalition is working to expose recent encounters that have occurred in our homes, neighborhoods and communities. The only role played by agents in these encounters is to facilitate breakdown of community solidarity.
The FBI recently offered compensation to an individual to spy on “vegan potlucks” and provide information that would lead to arrests of activists (see Moles Wanted http://www.midwestgreenscare.org). The St. Paul police department recently made phone calls and issued letters to activist groups from their so-called "Free Speech Liaison Team” in which they stated they consider communication with activists similar to hostage negotiations.
Not only are these efforts by agents of the state thinly-veiled attempts to gather intelligence on our groups, they are also meant to subvert the important solidarity we have forged through the St. Paul Principles. Many of these attempts involve friendly-sounding agents who try to convince us they are "on our side" but make no mistake--they are not. No matter what they say, these agents are not here to assist you in any way. Any information you provide can lead to your arrest or the arrest of others you know. Police are eager to find ways to counteract the excellent organizing our community has done over the past year. Let's not give it to them.
Here are three common types of encounters used by the police or FBI to obtain information about activists:
Conversation: When the police are trying to get information, but don't have enough evidence to detain or arrest you, they'll try to get the information from you. They may call this a “casual encounter” or a "friendly conversation.” Even if you think the information is meaningless, you may unwittingly help them. It's always better and safer to refuse to talk to police. If approached by a cop, say "officer am I being detained or am I free to go?" If you aren't being detained, leave.
Detention: Police can detain you only if they have reasonable suspicion that you are involved in a crime. (Reasonable suspicion is a complex topic but generally involves specific facts that provide some objective manifestation that the person detained may be involved in criminal activity.) Detention means that although you aren't arrested, you can't leave. Detention is supposed to last a short time and you aren't supposed to be moved to another location. During detention, the police can only pat down the outside of your clothes or look into your bag or backpack if they have probable cause to believe you have a weapon. They aren't supposed to go into your pockets unless they first feel a weapon through your clothing. Always state, "I do not consent to this search." If police ask questions, say “I am going to remain silent. I want a lawyer,” and nothing else. A detention can easily turn into arrest. If the police are detaining you and they get information that you are involved in a crime, they will arrest you even if it has nothing to do with your detention. The purpose of detention to try to obtain enough information to arrest you.
Arrest: If you are arrested, the cops can search you and go through any belongings. It never hurts to say, "I do not consent to this search." Better yet, keep any contraband or important documents at home. Be aware that anything you say will be picked up by the squad camera. Therefore, DON'T SAY ANYTHING except “I am going to remain silent. I want a lawyer.” No matter what happens, resist the temptation to answer questions or make statements. Once in the jail, you will be required to give your legal name and address. Do not discuss your case with anyone in the jail. Assume everything you say in jail is being recorded, including telephone conversations and conversations with lawyers.
You or someone you know can be approached by a cop or FBI agent in any environment at any time: at home, in a car or on the street. They will continuously put pressure on you to talk to them by trying to engage you in questioning, playing the role of a “good” cop, saying that they know everything already, etc. Regardless of their reassurances, threats or questions continue to say: “I am going to remain silent. I want a lawyer”. This is the only way to ensure safety for yourself and the people around you.
If you are approached by a cop or FBI agent, document (discretely) as well as possible whether it be through pictures, notes, or video-taping. After the encounter is over, contact everyone you know as soon as possible and post your encounter anonymously to list serves, websites and forums. It's everyone's job to keep ourselves and our movements safe from infiltration and spying by police authorities. Know your rights and report any incidents to the rest of the movement. To learn more about what to do if approached, please visit the National Lawyers Guild website at http://www.nlg.org.
--The Protest RNC 2008 Coalition
WAYS FOR FOLKS TO GET INVOLVED:
We’re drawing in on a little over a month a half till September and folks are showing more interest in how to help out with the RNC, both in our city and around the country. If you’re unable to make it to our invigorating meetings every Sunday and want to help out in some way, here is a list of things we could really use some extra hands with in the days
*Bike Donations and Bike Building: Folks can drop off unwanted or donated bikes for the RNC at Arise! Bookstore at 2441 Lyndale Avenue S. Minneapolis. Have a bunch of bike parts lying around? Host a bike building workshop and invite friends over to help you build some bikes! After that, head on over to Arise! Bookstore!
*Fundraising: Hey everyone, we’re poor! Help us raise some funds by organizing a concert, vegan potluck or a fun summer event in your town to help raise money for our convergence space, food, comms equipment, medic supplies etc. We also have a paypal option on our website, nornc.org, that you can use to make a donation. Every little bit helps!
*Fliering: There are a lot of places to flier around the city. Talk to anyone involved in the Welcoming Committee about receiving fliers for events that you can help distribute around town, or email rnc08 [at] riseup.net.
love'n an ark key,
your friendly neighborhood anarchists at the rnc-wc | nornc.org | PO Box 4514, St. Paul MN, 55104-9998 | rnc08 [at] riseup.net