By P. Wingnut
Every four years, the big mainstream political parties have their slick, corporate-style national conventions to nominate presidential candidates and — like salmon returning to spawn — the riffraff turns up to flip them off, party in the streets and call the whole democracy™ spectacle out for the fraud it is. This year the Democrats will slime Philadelphia July 25-28 at the Wells Fargo Center and the Republicans will be at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio July 18-21.
As of press time, we’re aware of a few protests planned and it is early — surely more will materialize — but it is currently looking like the “anarchist” scene (such as it is) isn’t in a mood to play. There is a “Resist the 2016 Cleveland RNC” facebook page with pictures of black masks, but it doesn’t have contact information and an activist in Cleveland told Slingshot “I am not involved in any organizing around the convention, and am not sure who put up the Facebook page. Honestly, with everything else going on around here [protests of police shootings including that of 12-year-old Tamir Rice] there are other events drawing our attention and capacity.”
In Philadelphia, there is a march sponsored by the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign and actions planned by anti-fracking groups, but just 6 months before the convention one Philadelphia anarchist wrote “Not sure if there’s anything taking shape yet from more explicitly anarchist organizers.”
Many people over the years have questioned “why should anarchists even dignify these clowns by protesting them — it just wastes our resources, there are so many police we can’t be effective in actually disrupting the event, and everyone either already thinks politicians are illegitimate, or else they’re going to ignore our protests.”
Nonetheless, some of the contention protests I’ve been at over the years have felt worth it because they provided an amazing excuse for a continental anarchist/radical gathering culminating in a riot or attempted riot. We’ve learned real skills and developed important relationships pulling these things together. Disorder in the streets breaks our isolation and powerlessness and helps us link up with others out in society who aren’t part of the “radical scene” but who intuitively understand what it means when thousands of people surge into the streets and create chaos. It isn’t about the Republi-crats — it’s about rejecting their whole system of corporations, hierarchy, greed, centralization, militarization and media distraction.
This year, we’re seeing a large segment of America’s working class react to growing economic insecurity not by rebelling against their bosses, but by falling for clumsy political manipulation — cheering ham-fisted attacks on immigrants, Muslims, and overblown fear of terrorism. There is an opportunity to turn this class-based anger against the corporations and one-percenters.
Meanwhile let’s face it — life in our high-tech, sterile, ultra-specialized world is simultaneously stressful, lonely and boring. Mass shootings, youthful ISIS fighters, and the rise of nationalism worldwide are pathological responses. Radicals, anarchists and DIY free spirits offer real alternatives based on love, human interaction, creativity and mutual aid.
As cities get more dense, expensive and competitive, people become more lonely and impoverished economically and spiritually. The DIY solution to overconsumption and isolated cars, apartments, products, services is a return to community, cooperation and sharing that saves resources and puts meaning and connection back into our lives. Let’s detonate the nuclear family and embrace complex webs of community — multiple partners, shared parenting, and a vast continuum of friendships transcending demographic categories.
July 24: March for a Clean Energy Revolution hosted by Americans Against Fracking et al. Noon downtown Philadelphia. Info: foodandwaterwatch.org “Philadelphia is poised to become a major energy hub, bearing the brunt of fracked gas exploitation. Pennsylvania fracking emissions contribute to global climate change. To avoid further devastation, we know we need to leave the majority of fossil fuels in the ground. This means reducing subsidies and demand for oil, coal, and gas while supporting economic initiatives to create green energy jobs in both urban and rural communities.”
July 25: March for Our Lives Sponsored by Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. City Hall 1401 JFK Blvd 3pm. Economichumanrights.org
Resist the 2016 Cleveland RNC
Resist the 2016 Cleveland RNC is a peaceful and non-violent coalition of individuals and organizations dedicated to resisting the efforts of the Republican National Convention and expressing to them and the world a message of Equality, Liberty and Environmental Responsibility. Many different people from many different movements are rallying around this coalition, join us. Lend your voice to the chorus of change.