In the context of the national occupy movement which has wisely rejected both the corporate-Democrats and the corporate-Republicans, it isn’t too early to begin thinking about how folks might converge to disrupt the national political conventions this summer. The Republican National Convention (RNC) is scheduled for August 27-30 at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, FL, while the Democratic National Convention (DNC) will be in September 3-7 at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Even a cursory examination of the Democrats and Republicans demonstrates that they are the same snake with two heads representing the interests of corporations. On any policy important to corporate expansion and control, they share one position and act in concert to promote economic growth — which means expanded corporate control of our lives. The tiny number of issues on which they differ only put in more stark relief the extent to which they share a single platform on the really important issues of economic power.
Massive and militant protests at both the Democratic and Republican National conventions this summer can move forward a fundamental challenge to the corrupt political system in the United States. While most regular people struggle to get by and think it is obscene for a few thousand people to control most of the wealth and power in society, neither party wants to give more then lip service to inequality, since they exist to preserve the wealth gap and are funded by the richest individuals and corporations. It’s time to crash the party and expose the empty spectacle of the presidential election for what it is.
The Republicrats, the government, Wall Street, the mainstream media, etc. are all institutional expressions of a vast system of corporate domination in which powerful economic forces dominate the earth and its people. Decisions affecting everyone are monopolized in a few private hands — made for short term profit — and disregard any consideration of human happiness, beauty, sustainability or health. Somewhere in New York, a few men are paying themselves billions to decide which species will survive, who can go to the doctor, what jobs you can seek, whether the air will be clean, and what you will do, buy, and know. They meet in secret. Its not a conspiracy — its called private industry. The Democrats and Republicans are where corporations buy control of the US government for mere pennies.
Disrupting the conventions isn’t about “protesting” the Republicrats — it’s about creating a crisis that will open up dialog about alternatives to politics-as-usual and corporate control. Its about building our own power and community of resistance. The corporate media won’t accurately report it, but that won’t matter. People around the world intuitively understand what it means when thousands of people surge into the streets and create chaos.
As we’ve done with our occupations, its time to smash the veneer of “satisfaction” with business as usual. We don’t have to just take the world anymore — something else is possible and it’s happening right now. Tame marches and scripted civil disobedience actions won’t be enough. Our advantage lies in being unpredictable, refusing to operate on the system’s terms, and having fun while doing all of it. Have you ever seen a cop smile?
Believe it or not, Charlotte is called “the Wall Street of the South” because of all the financial companies located there. Police started riot training for the convention in October, 2011 and the city council has passed new anti-protestor laws in January that ban camping, body armor and gas masks based on laws passed in Denver before the 2008 DNC. Authorities in Tampa are reportedly expecting 15,000 protesters and are working with the Secret Service to define a free speech-free area around the convention in which no protests will be permitted. We can beat the expectations, can’t we?