To Those Inclined to Protest at the RNC Convention in Tampa:
This is a plea, a call to reason and a proposal to send a strong and clear message to the powers that run this country.
I am no stranger to controversy and so I write this request to you and your organizations fully aware that it will not be received in the light in which it is being made by some who simply misunderstand and by others who fully understand the rightness of my plea, and choose for their own purposes to marginalize it.
There is a better way to send your message to the RNC; don’t go.
Don’t give them the satisfaction of thinking they hold any power over us. They don’t.
Show them how empty their agenda is. Show them we know they have conceded the election and thus they don’t deserve our efforts nor our respect.
The RNC has conceded the presidential election of 2012 to the democrats just like they conceded it in 2008 by selecting a fossil and a fool to run against Obama; just like Kerry conceded the rigged election in 2004 in record time; just like Gore conceded the 2000 election when he kept ringing down the gavel on one member of the Black Caucus after another who challenged the election results.
To say that we have a one party system and to know it, then to go out and protest the RNC convention is illogical under these circumstances. It’s cognitive dissonance. It’s doublethink. Holding two opposing beliefs simultaneously.
This year the RNC has chosen a Mormon vulture capitalist to run against Obama at a time when the vast majority of the people of this country KNOW that the vulture capitalists and the financial oligarchs have decimated the country on purpose in order to push forward an agenda of savage capitalism and genocidal austerity.
They then chose the one man most aligned with the genocidal austerity platform as his running mate even though poll after poll shows that 80% of the American people reject the privatization of Social Security and Medicare. That 80% includes republican voters as well.
The fix is in, the game is thrown. The RNC is taking a dive in the 1st round and it couldn’t be more obvious.
Over and over again, talking to some of my republican friends, I can tell you (and I probably don’t have to) that they are disenchanted with this ticket and will not be taking part in the election.
Hotels here (I live in Tampa) are running rooms at reduced rates since they never sold out and are desperate to fill their rooms.
This is not an election, it is a rigged prize fight. Has been for a while now. And you know that.
The oligarchs of this nation have decided it is better for them to introduce a softer, gentler version of the slide to austerity, neo-feudalism and all out war with Iran. And they know the left cover provided by Obama serves their interests better than a republican choice ever could. It will keep the opposition left silent for longer periods than if they imposed it with a republican… even a legitimate republican like Petraeus or Huntsman.
The fix is in, the die is cast. So what awaits you in Tampa and what will your presence do? And ultimately what is a better way to send them a message?
It is well known that the police here and the sheriff have a processing plant set up to arrest and fine protesters like Disney World rolls through tourists.
They have spent an immense amount of public wealth, moved inmates jamming them into an over crowded jail known as Falkenburg.
They have every intention of rounding up as many protesters as possible to offset those costs and even profit from their efforts. They will transport you, process you, and set you free to be hooked again in less than an hour.
Others will be kept in the 1,700 bed for-profit facility to enhance profits for that institution.
My plea to you is to not let them do that.
Another aspect of this planned protest of yours is where they are going to ALLOW you to gather.
Here is a photograph published in the Tampa Bay Times. It is the “free speech zone” corral where you will be herded in like cattle in the rain and the mud then rounded up and processed for the purpose of paying fines. Notice what’s in the background…
Behind this corral is the forum where the RNC convention will be held.
Think about that for a minute.
There are several floors outside the main area of the forum behind those 3 floors of glass wall.
They will be gathering on those floors, enjoying the A/C, sipping on drinks, looking out at the rounded up protesters huddling against the rain and the wind, in the mud, with their signs and their slogans being heard by no one.
Can you think of any bigger ego boost than that for these complicit Vichy politicians and their sycophantic business-firster hangers on?
You will be on display. You will be a prop. Literally window dressing to make those people inside feel as if they are even more in power, even more in charge.
And they need you there because they know they are putting forward a losing ticket. You will be validating their phony effort by railing against a broken machine.
I plead with you not to do it.
I beg you not to do it.
By going there you will be serving THEM in this capacity, not us. Not our cause.
You will set our efforts back years. You will be pissing on the memory of the Battle in Seattle and the 1968 Democratic Convention and Tahrir Square.
What if, instead, they looked out that big picture wall of windows and saw an empty field?
What if they all knew that the field was empty because WE KNOW that their little convention is nothing more than a piece of performance art, poorly scripted, and poorly played?
What if we told them we know they aren’t relevant and we chose to show them that?
How would that make them feel at their little charade? If they knew that by giving up they weren’t relevant enough to even merit a protest?
What we MUST do as activists on the left AND the RIGHT is spend our efforts, our resources, our time and our energies to pressure the power that will be in office, President Obama and his administration.
We must ban together to force his office to reject ANY austerity measures.. ANY aggression toward Iran… ANY use of force against the American people and people all across the world because that is OUR agenda… our cause.
Let the republicans have their meaningless conference. Let them put forward their dive artists in preparation for their thrown presidential race.
Let the police sit idly by in the Orient Rd jail, empty, and running up still more costs.
Let the blackbloc agent provocateurs roam the empty streets by themselves wondering if they should still try to make a show of it to demonize the resistance movement.
Let the revelers inside the forum look out on the empty field…
… and let them all know that WE KNOW and we have truly beaten them at their own game.
As the movie said “The only way to win, is not to play” and in this case, that is a fact.
I understand that plans have been made and tickets purchased.
I understand that speakers have already written moving speeches and packed their cars with their merchandizing tables.
I understand that for some it will be hard to process this simple yet potentially crushing action.
And I understand that there are those within our movements who know the truth of which I write and will still insist on putting our movement on the line for their own purposes.
All these things I understand and I ask this of you still.
Read this plea, hear this plea, present it among your groups, and discuss it among yourselves.
Put out a draft letter, hold a press conference. Tell the world you will not play their game. Tell them you know they have conceded power to the “centrist” left cover of the Obama administration and tell them it is there that we must focus our attentions, that it is there that we will together petition our government for redress of these important issues… it is there we will make our stand.
Let them sit back and look at their empty rooms and their empty cells and their empty courts and their empty corral and let their provocateurs roam their empty streets.
Let them know that their agenda is empty just like their town.
Sometimes you can send a stronger message by saying nothing at all. Sometimes the only way to win is not to play.
This is my plea.
Have the rally on Sunday, meet with other like minded activists. Network, bond, grow. But do not play into their hands. Do not march and do not gather in their muddy corral. Enjoy Tampa and the rain and the wind. Enjoy your stay and have the strength to walk away. Show them we are taking control of our destiny and that we are focused on the real fight, not the illusion.
This is my plea.