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(en) US, Anarchist Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG) adopts Sector 1 and will blockade 7th and Wall Streets in the No RNC
Sun, 06 Jul 2008 10:30:30 +0300
Direct Action for Direct Democracy: Shut Down the Republication National
Convention ---- Monday, September 1, will be a day of civil disobedience and
direct action to shut down the opening of the Republican National Convention
(RNC) in Minneapolis-Saint Paul. Pittsburgh Organizing Group (POG) will join
these actions in opposition to a two-party system incapable of meeting basic
human needs that is bankrupting and decimating our communities through a culture
of war and fear. ---- The RNC Welcoming Committee (RNC-WC), a Minneapolis-Saint
Paul-based group, has been publicly organizing to shut down the RNC through a
three-tiered strategy of blockades. Dividing downtown St. Paul into seven
sectors, the RNC-WC is asking groups to adopt an intersection or sector. POG has
decided to coordinate blockades for Sector 1 and shut down the intersection at
7th and Wall St. We invite you to join us in Sector 1 on that day.
Why Shut Down the RNC?
Many rightfully point out that this convention is a spectacle since the result
is already a certainty. This is a coronation, not a decision-making event which
outsiders can influence. If we shut it down, they could always meet a week later
in a secluded location. However, this is exactly why and what we're protesting.
The current system doesn't survive because of a decision made by a party or
politician. It doesn't survive because parties calling themselves "The
Republicans" or "The Democrats" say they represent the people. It survives
because of corporate control of the means of mass communications that limit the
scope of the political discourse. It survives because people give the system
"legitimacy" through their participation (with activities such as voting) and
refusal to demand more. It survives because it prevents the rise of-and has
successfully delegitimized-alternative means of decision-making in the popular
imagination. In the end, people have few choices on a limited set of questions
that never get at the root of where power rests. This is not enough. Our goal
isn't to push a more centrist or even a more liberal candidate. It isn't to
strengthen government power in the hopes that can curtail corporate power. Nor
is it putting into power a new brand of left-wing elites. Our aspirations are to
change the fundamental structures of society to decentralize power and
decision-making so all those impacted by a decision have a say in its outcome,
to change the economic question from "what is profitable?" to "what is
necessary, desirable, and sustainable?" and to expand the concept of liberty and
the pursuit of happiness from simply "freedom from" to include "freedom to."
Conventions, elections, and debates are events that promote the false idea that
people are freely participating and freely choosing who best represents them.
They mask who has power and obscure the reasons why certain people have power.
In this way, the RNC and DNC represent the idea that it is legitimate for John
McCain and Barack Obama to be the only realistic choices to head a vast
hierarchy ruling over the lives of hundreds of millions of people and affecting
the lives of billions.
The positive result of shutting down the Republicans' convention, much like
shutting down a trade agreement summit, does not primarily reside in the
decisions that were delayed or the meeting that couldn't take place. It is in
the loss of legitimacy the institution suffers as it becomes controversial and
alternatives demonstrate popular support. It breaks a cycle of propaganda that
has lulled people into believing "the way things are" is natural, desirable or
inevitable. It reaches out to the half of the population that chooses not to
participate in electoral politics to say, "There are people searching for
something different and we need your voice." It reaches out to the other half
that does participate to say, "We know why you vote. We know that who rules us
can be life or death within this system. But we also know that our future rests
in figuring out how to break out of the trap of accepting bad rulers for fear of
getting worse rulers."
The change we can believe in lies in direct, participatory democracy, built on
strong social movements that oppose interconnected oppressions and expand
individual and collective freedom at the expense of the forces, government and
corporate, curtailing it. We believe that in this desire for true freedom and
true democracy, we have much in common with the people of Minneapolis and St.
Paul and very little in common with the John McCains and Barack Obamas of the world.
POG's Role in the RNC-WC Strategy
Over the past year, the RNC Welcoming Committee has worked with people from all
over the country to create a strategy for shutting down the RNC. The result was
a three-tiered strategy of blockades, the division of St. Paul into seven
sectors and a plan for blockading known as the "3S Strategy" (Swarm, Seize,
Stay). With this in mind, the RNC-WC has called for groups to adopt sectors and
to block intersections. POG has decided to adopt Sector 1 and organize a
congestion blockade at 7th and Wall. As articulated by the RNC-WC, adopting
doesn't mean POG is blocking all the intersections in our sector, nor are we
assuming responsibility for recruiting and ensuring other groups do so, it
simply means we're making ourselves available as a point of contact for groups
interested in operating in Sector 1. In this way, we will provide an open avenue
for participation, and help disseminate information and coordination.
We will announce a Sector 1 launching point, place and time later this summer.
In conjunction with the RNC-WC, we will organize a Sector 1 spokescouncil
meeting the weekend before the actions. On Sept. 1 participants will
collectively swarm the sector, seize key intersections and hold them for as long
We hope this call will provide an inclusive way for others to participate in the
action and help build the success of the mobilization. We see a public gathering
point as important for groups to utilize for their planned actions and it
provides an easy way for smaller groups and individuals to plug into the
actions. Through clear articulation of our underlying motivations and goals we
hope to dialogue with other groups and the general public about why and what
At the 7th and Wall congestion blockade, we will collectively resist any
attempts to dislodge the blockade through our numbers and determination. Though
we hope to avoid it, participants should understand this action has the risk of
arrest and the possibility of police violence. In addition to the normal police
arsenal of weapons, the Twin Cities have recently passed new protest laws
restricting the rights to assemble. A chart of the new policies is available here.
We are working on how to facilitate an initial gathering point for groups
operating in Sector 1 and will post updates on our website. Regardless of
assembly restrictions it's important not to let other sectors down. Groups
should be prepared for the possible necessity of reaching their intersection
alone. Plan accordingly.
To Get Involved with Sector 1 "Direct Action for Direct Democracy":
If your affinity group or organization is interested in publicly endorsing this
call, participating in the blockade of 7th and Wall, or blockading another
intersection in Sector 1, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate.
As we've already mentioned, not all the information is available yet. We will be
releasing another call closer to the action. Check our website at
www.organizepittsburgh.org/rnc to keep up with updates and get information on
our plans and the situation in Sector 1.
For the official call to action and other info see www.rncwelcomingcommittee.org.
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