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(en) US, Pittsburgh, Apr 19 - call for a regional black bloc-Direct Action Clusterat at Bush visit in pgh

From Pittsburgh POG <pittsburgh_october@hotmail.com>
Date Wed, 14 Apr 2004 21:36:25 +0200 (CEST)

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On April 19th President Bush is coming to Pittsburgh! He will be here to
raise hundreds of thousands of dollars at senatorial fundraiser and attend a
5:30pm rally taking place inside the David L. Lawrence Convention center.
Bush is also coming because he believes that Pennsylvania is a key part of
any chance he has for a 2nd term in office. In response to the visit from
the ‘killer from Crawford’, POG is calling for a Black Bloc (wearing all
black clothing and bandannas)/direct action ‘cluster’ of individuals and
affinity groups to gather as part of the planned protests. This cluster will
begin assembling at: 5:00pm at 10th and Penn Ave. (Downtown Pittsburgh) A
plethora of other affinity groups and organizations will be gathering at
that same location as part of the Thomas Merton Center’s call to respond.

We categorically reject the man and his message. The ‘killer from Crawford’,
and his cronies are not welcome here and we intend to send that message loud
and clear. How dare he come to our city, on the verge of complete financial
collapse, to raise millions of dollars for those proponents of a neo-liberal
ideology whose policies have been a major contributing factor to the city’s
crisis, while at the same time he continues an increasingly brutal
occupation taking the lives hundreds of US soldiers and thousands of Iraqis.
Pittsburgh’s share of the “war” cost is estimated to exceed $100 million
dollars. How dare he expect the citizens of this region to allow him “free
speech” while he is responsible for taking away the rights and silencing the
voices of countless millions through an increasingly repressive Government
at home, and an increasingly violent and repressive military machine abroad.
Those who are responsible for the deaths of thousands of innocent civilians
are war criminals and should be reviled and treated as such. We are working
for the liberation of the people in Iraq AND the United States because all
people have a right to justice and self-determination.

The purpose of this demonstration is oppositional. It is not an appeal to
higher powers to stop what they are doing. It is an acknowledgement that
while this movement doesn’t currently have the strength to stop them we have
a responsibility to do everything in our power to make it as difficult as
possible for them further their agenda. The protests purpose is to visibly
acknowledge what is happening and visibly resist the visit of someone who
shares much of the responsibility for the objectionable actions that are

We wish to put forth to the general progressive community our opinion on
what the goals of the overall demonstration should be:

Overall Mobilization goals:
1: Mobilize large numbers of people from a wide breadth of the ideological
and tactical spectrum to come together at the same time and place in
opposition to Bush’s visit and the continuing occupation of Iraq
2: Make it clear to attendees, spectators, city officials, the media, and
the public at large that Bush is not welcome here.
3: Encourage and support a diversity of tactics, and let a diversity of
perspectives be heard.
4: Insist that the protest be within SIGHT and SOUND of the convention
center and the people who will be attending it. Similarly, oppose any police
attempts to put the protest in restrictive “protest pens”, or to keep the
protest farther away from the convention center than Bush supporters.
5: Support, with resources, statements, on the ground solidarity, the
actions of anyone who attempts to take non-violent direct action, or engages
in civil disobedience in protest of Bush’s visit.

Tactical goals:
1: Non-violently disrupt the event as much as possible through the use of
non-violent direct action and civil disobedience
2: Oppose any police efforts to target people or single out individuals
based on their personal or perceived identity or characteristics.
4: Remain in solidarity with, and support the activities of, those who
favor more or less confrontational tactics
5: Be prepared for the possibility of violent police repression by taking
whatever personal safety precautions individuals deem necessary

Suggested attire is all black clothing and bandannas. As has been the case
in the past, the Pittsburgh police may resort to violence. If so, we intend
to meet their violence with equally determined non-violent resistance. We
will not be intimidated, we will not accept being caged in protest pens, and
we will not be silenced.

In solidarity and resistance,

Pittsburgh Organizing Group

Some people may be asking why POG has chosen to issue a more determined and
angry call than usual. This is in fact our first ever call for a black bloc
at an event. It is simply a reflection of our revulsion towards the effects
of the policies our President is pursuing around the world. We ask anyone to
look at pictures from blockaded Fallujah and not recoil in horror at what
we, as citizens of this country, share responsibility for. As the
atrocities of our government increase so too does our responsibility to
resist, for WE ARE complicit in these atrocities.
Over a thousand Iraqi fighters and non-combat civilians, along with 72 US
soldiers have died over the last 2 weeks. Tens of thousands more are dying
in the US and around the world because of the exploitative system that this
Administration embraces and is beholden to. Our hearts are sick with grief
and rage over the almost incomprehensible death, destruction, and duplicity
that this Government is engaged in on a daily basis. POG utilizes a variety
of tactics that we feel are appropriate to the situation at hand. These
decisions are based on what we believe will most effectively achieve our
goals. We are not tied to any one approach. If, for whatever reason, you
cannot or do not wish to participate in these protests we only ask that you
understand where those who do are coming from and extend what solidarity you
can. Any comments, suggestions, or requests for dialogue can be directed to

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