Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
I’ve written about the 2012 Republican and Democratic Conventions for a while now, as a focus of planned Occupy and related protests, as a part of the Duopoly system, and most recently, as related to security in Bipartisan Police State Planning for Party Conventions. Among other security tidbits, both Tampa and Charlotte received a $50 million federal grant to help with security “upgrades” and essentials.
In Tampa, as reported by Reuters, grant money purchases include “an armored SWAT truck, a dozen all-terrain-vehicles, riot gear, a fleet of bicycles and surveillance cameras.”
A new city ordinance has designated a parade route and public viewing area for protesters within the 8-square-mile … ‘Event Zone.’ But that viewing area is far from the Forum and camping is prohibited in all city parks.
Some demonstrators have secured the required permits, others are “working around the ordinance.”
Occupy Tampa … (m)ovement members have found private property and set up camps outside the Event Zone in West Tampa at Voice of Freedom Park, owned by strip club mogul Joe Redner.
Protesters advocating on behalf of the homeless, the poor and the unemployed have leased land a mile north of the Forum. They have dubbed it ‘Romneyville,’ … and are planning to house more than 300 protesters there in tents.
The ordinance also restricts the kinds of items that can be carried into the Event Zone. On that list: rope, chain, wire, glass bottles and helium balloons.
No masks, no water pistols. But if you have a concealed weapons permit, you can legally carry your firearm into the Event Zone, though the Secret Service barred them from the Convention itself.
Recently Taylor wrote “Crash the Conventions, Please” here.
Earlier this month a piece at Salon also focused on “crashing,” from a different perspective. Natasha Lennard writes
Thousands of protesters will head to Tampa, Fla., or Charlotte, N.C., or both, with no intention of supporting either party. Unlike in 2008, when counter-DNC antiwar demonstrations numbering in the hundreds were dwarfed by anti-RNC crowds over 10,000-strong in Saint Paul, Minn., this year much of the planned protest takes aim at both parties and their corporate underpinnings.
Tampa, no surprise, has designated “free speech zones,” where people who can’t buy an Elected are suppose to go to pretend they have freedom of speech in a nice, polite, corporate approved way. Federal and local law enforcement, and “intelligence agencies associated with National Special Security Events” are coordinating efforts, which also include use of the “private sector,” with its “vast resources and immunity for committing constitutional infractions, seen so clearly in the Occupy movement.”
At The Nation Allison Kilkenny writes “Occupy Activists Prepare to Protest Political Conventions.”
Occupy Tampa has formed a Regional General Assembly to coordinate Occupy groups throughout the bay area, including: Occupy Lakeland, Occupy St. Petersburg, Occupy Bradenton, Occupy USF, Occupy Port Richey and Occupy Sarasota. …
Food Not Bombs has called a World Gathering and plans to run feeding operations throughout the RNC. …
Yves Smith notes police have started blocking roads and stopping and searching cars all over the neighborhood surrounding Voice of Freedom (Occupy) park, which is in a black, low income area. …
“Free speech” and “event zones” – this is what democracy looks like in 2012.
From Veterans For Peace, particularly powerful words:
Veterans For Peace will have members protesting at both the Republican National Convention in Tampa and the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. VFP President Leah Bolger explained why:
‘Social change, including the abolition of war, does not come from supporting one political party over another, but from changing the culture and influencing all major parties. Women did not vote themselves the right to vote. The civil rights movement did not trade in nonviolent action, education, and mobilization for electoral campaigns. The labor movement was not built by what the labor movement spends its money on today. And when our grandparents passed the Kellogg-Briand Pact banning war, they did so by placing the criminalization of war in the platforms of the four largest parties in the country.
‘A peace movement that only opposes wars when the president belongs to one party is not a peace movement. It’s a partisan campaign that uses the pretended desire for peace as bait and activists as props. What we need far more than campaigning is movement building. We need to organize people to bring our popular demands to the government as a whole. The government is no longer divided into the three traditional branches. The two branches are the two major parties. … We must demand that both parties adopt platforms for peace. Our economy cannot withstand further war preparation any more than our consciences can bear the consequences. …
‘Veterans For Peace knows that both parties are responsible for the deaths of millions of people. Military spending is the sacred cow that neither party will touch. … ’
The media cutting from the scripted GOP show inside the Tampa Bay Times Forum, and from the predictable analysis and entertainment focused “reporting,” to show protests on the streets of Tampa would surely require some really good-for-ratings action. But even if we don’t hear about it via the media doesn’t mean things aren’t happening. I’d guess the Republicans, like the Democrats, prefer the pesky protestors are ignored. But if they do get some media attention, then of course it should be to show those dirty old hippies and lazy, get-a-job kids in the worst possible light.
For another view, go see what the official GOP Convention site has to say. You can even sign up for Convention updates. I’m not sure if you can legally read them if you’re carrying a water pistol, though.
(Republican Convention 2012 Via GOP Convention)