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RNC Strategy: Swarm, Seize, Stay / Sectors / Three-Tier Strategy / St. Paul Principles

by reposted from
Here's a little primer on the organizing strategies created by the RNC Welcoming Committee, offered here for NorCal folks considering making the journey to St. Paul this September.

Swarm, Seize, Stay

a call for Crashing the 2008 Republican National Convention

The playbill has been printed, the tickets have been sold, and on September 1st , 2008, the Republican National Convention is scheduled to open in St. Paul, MN. The RNC is political theater- meant to showcase the GOP’s finest actors and send their chosen into a spectacular final round of campaigning before the November election. But what is spectacular about hiding the repressive show of force necessary to keep this system on its bloody course? Republicans, like all politicians in this two-act tragedy, exist to maintain systems of oppression that keep us down- at any cost. Our Earth is not for sale and we are not mere spectators in this brutal charade…. who is going to pull the final curtain in September?

The RNC Welcoming Committee calls for anyone and everyone who cares about a better world than the politicians claim to offer to "Swarm, Seize, and Stay," on September 1st. Our goal for Day One is to blockade Downtown St. Paul, so that the only show worth watching is the one we create in the streets. Generally, Swarm Seize, Stay (3S) means:

  1. Move into/around Downtown St. Paul via swarms of varying sizes, from multiple directions, and with diverse tactical intentions.
  2. Seize space through both hard (e.g., lockboxes) and soft (e.g., congestion), fixed and mobile, blockading methods.
  3. Stay engaged with the situation in downtown St. Paul as long as necessary. Regroup. Reinforce.

The RNC-WC has divided Downtown St. Paul into sectors, so that organizing bodies throughout the country can coordinate their actions and make sure that every inch of the map is covered come September 1st. Now it's up to you. Pick a sector, gather your comrades, and start planning.

For a sector map and further info, see the Sectors page.

See you in September,
the RNC Welcoming Committee


Wait! If you don’t know what “3S” means, read this first.

So what’s up with Sectors?
Per the request of pReNC attendees, we’ve divided Downtown St. Paul into sectors based on its topography. The motivation of mapping sectors was to provide reasonably-sized areas in which various groups- large and small, public and private- could start to plan 3S actions, with the idea that they could coordinate amongst themselves within these sectors. This removes the need for any existing organizing body to act as a central point of coordination for September 1st, while still avoiding needless overlap and haphazardry. This map is meant to be descriptive, not prescriptive, and should be understood as a working model with the potential to grow and change organically from here on out. We welcome thoughtful input, as well as information about developing public plans whose incorporation into the map would help in organizing efforts. For more detailed descriptions of each sector, email

Here’s the Sector Map (if that link doesn’t work, try this one).
Here’s a “How-To” Guide.
Here’s a list of Sector Calls and Adoptions.
And here’s a 3S/Sectors flyer. Download it, print it out, and spread the word.

Sector One: Northeast corner of Downtown St. Paul. Mostly condos, with a few churches and small businesses. Contains several freeway off-ramps and overpasses.

Sector Two: Southeast corner of Downtown St. Paul. Contains two bridge entrances, Kellogg Blvd. E., Shepard/The Great River/Warner Rd. Bordered on the South by the Mississippi River; Includes the bluff and and the narrow riverfront area just below it.

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.

Sector Four: Southwest I-35E section. Contains several freeway off-ramps. Also contains a hospital, with some businesses around that service it and the surrounding neighborhood- primarily residential off main streets.

Sector Five: Northwest corner of Downtown St. Paul. Contains several freeway off-ramps, and on a normal day traffic from Minneapolis would enter via this sector. Borders the "Free Speech Zone," contains the Dorothy Day Center (homeless shelter), a hospital and the Cathedral. Sits on a downward slope toward the Xcel.

Sector Six: Northern section of Downtown St. Paul. Contains several overpasses and freeway off-ramps, and part of the march route. Also contains a hospital, some elderly care apartments, and high-rises.

Sector Seven: Central section of Downtown St. Paul. Gridded traffic from all directions. Contains part of the march route. Mostly high rises, and includes the police station.


The Strategy

On the penultimate day of the "pReNC," a national planning consulta a year in advance of the Republican National Convention, over a hundred anti-authoritarians from around the country gathered to distill a formal strategy for disrupting the convention. Smaller working groups focused on nationwide communications, food/medical/legal infrastructure, media, coalition building, and action planning. Pouring over maps, timetables, and photographs of the city, the action working group hammered out this plan. On the first day of the convention, participants will employ a three-tiered direct action strategy to disrupt the RNC. The tiers are organized in order of priority according to the number of participants; if a small number of participants show up, only the first tier will be carried out, but if the numbers are on hand, all three tiers will be in effect.

Tier One: Establish 15-20 blockades, utilizing a diversity of tactics, creating an inner and outer ring around St. Paul's Xcel Center, where the RNC is to take place.

Tier Two: Immobilize the delegates' transportation infrastructure, including the busses that are to convey them.

Tier Three: Block the five western bridges connecting the Twin Cities.

Those plugging into this strategy will be free to shape their actions as they see fit, using the tactics they consider appropriate. As the specific blockade sites are established, there may be a system of delegating some sites as "red zones" (prepared for self-defense), "yellow zones" (peaceful but assertive), and "green zones" (aiming to avoid any risk of arrest) so as to accommodate a wide variety of creative tactics and involve individuals with differing needs and talents.

St. Paul Principles

The Saint Paul Principles

Historic “St. Paul Principles” Agreed upon by Key Twin Cities Groups

At an anti-RNC conference held over the weekend of February 9th and 10th, a broad spectrum of groups revealed what are being called the “St. Paul Principles” of unity for resisting the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC). Key organizations including the RNC Welcoming Committee and The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War are signed onto the principles which seek to unite and strengthen the partnerships amongst those planning to confront the RNC. This is a departure from the sectarian squabbles that have plagued past years’ anti-convention organizing. Pitting groups of differing political beliefs against each other has been a frequent tactic of state repression since the days of COINTELPRO.

By drafting the principles together, the co-signing organizations are taking historic steps to actively extinguish divisiveness from their respective groups. The principles will ensure respect for the soon-to-be-permitted march on September 1 by people planning non-permitted activities, and in turn, participants in the September 1 march will adhere to the principles and do nothing to sow division among the many activists coming to the Twin Cities to protest the RNC.

The principles are:

  1. Our solidarity will be based on respect for a diversity of tactics andthe plans of other groups.
  2. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of time or space.
  3. Any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.
  4. 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.

The RNC Welcoming Committee, The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, The Anti-war Committee, SDS-U of MN, Communities United Against Police Brutality, The Welfare Rights Committee, and Unconventional Action – Chicago were among the first to sign on to these principles. As other groups sign on to these principles, a unified, effective, and radical front will form.

§Sector adoptions to date
by reposted from
updated 8/17/08

Sector Calls and Adoptions

Sector One

Sector Two
contact: [email address deleted by Indybay editor as Indy-TACT revealed to actually be Bloomington Police Department]

Sector Three
UA Mid-Atlantic

Sector Four
UA in the Bay - updated 7/31 with maps!

Sector Five
Bash Back!
Snow Swam

Sector Six
Grey Coast

Sector Seven

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