Rad Geek People's Daily

official state media for a secessionist republic of one

Posts tagged RNC Welcoming Committee

Free the St. Paul 8 and all political prisoners!

These are video segments from a press conference hosted by members of the RNC Welcoming Committee and the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. Several police agencies, ramrodded by the Ramsey County Sheriff’s department, staged massive pre-emptive raids against houses where activists were staying and against the RNC Welcoming Committee’s convergence space. Many of the imprisoned protesters continue to be held without charges. Many have been abused by their jailers, including a woman being knocked to the ground and dragged by her hair, several protesters being denied prescription or over-the-counter medications for serious medical conditions, and a 19-year-old activist named Elliot Hughes, who was beaten and tortured for over an hour because, according to the Ramsey County Sheriff’s department, he was being verbally disruptive.

Ramsey County prosecutors have formally charged eight members of the Welcoming Committee with conspiracy to riot in furtherance of terrorism. If convicted, the St. Paul 8 face up to 7 1/2 years in prison. Affadavits filed by police informants who infiltrated the Welcoming Committee allege that members of the group sought to kidnap delegates to the RNC, attack police officers with firebombs and explosives, and sabotage airports in St. Paul. These allegations have not been corroborated by any physical evidence or any other evidence independent of the testimony of police infiltrators. Members of the RNC Welcoming Committee held a press conference together with the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign in order to respond to these charges and to discuss violence against imprisoned protesters by police and jailers.

In related news, William Gillis is my fucking hero.

See also:

Summit crashing of the Libertarian Left: bringing market anarchy to the Twin Cities RNC Welcoming Committee

A call to action from Soviet Onion on the a3-discuss listserv:

Hello everyone, my name is Soviet Onion. I’m a big proponent of Agorism, left-libertarianism and market anarchism, and a partisan to liberty in general. I’m also a concerned one. Radical libertarianism, as a social movement, still barely exists. Our present state of affairs seems to be one of isolation and atomization, even at the local level. Whatever activism does take place mostly piggybacks on whatever political reformism the Libertarian Party or assorted small government conservatives are involved in (seen by partyarchs as the alternative to doing nothing). We’ve seen this recently with the Ron Paul phenomenon.

You’ll have to excuse this young anarchist, but this all seems terribly inappropriate. For a libertarians, and libertarian anarchists especially, political success is less of matter of directing the state toward certain favored ends and more a matter of blocking it from wreaking more evil. Directly and immediately. The point is not to scribble libertarian amendments into the Constitution but to make un-libertarian laws unenforceable, to make civil society ungovernable. With that in mind, and to kick start some much needed organization, I propose that we converge on the coming Republican National Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul.

The anarchist Welcoming Commitee has been organizing a series of actions for over two years. Their primary of objective is to halt the convention before it begins by blockading the major streets and bridges around the Xcel Energy Center, sealing it off before the delegates arrive. A detailed account of this strategy, and the reasons for selecting it, can be found here. Those concerned about the residents’ welfare should note that the Feds are shutting down the city anyway, so a blockade won’t cost merchants and residents any business or block any movement that hasn’t already been taken from them by the Republicans. The only people we’d be impeding are the delegates.

Summit hopping has it’s secondary benefits, as the social anarchists have noted over the years.
One of which is that it allows activists from distant locations to meet and devolop a geographic sense of each other. As a currently dispersed and highly atomized tendency, there’s nothing we need more. The Twin Cities will make an ideal focal point for that, do our part beside other members of the RNC Welcoming Commitee in disrupting the political class, to distribute and disseminate agorist ideas at the convergence spaces, and as an opportunity for members of our currently far-flung milieu to meet and communicate face-face. Even if the proposed blockade fails, going there together would be a boon to ourselves.

Eight months ago, this call was placed on the LeftLibertarian2 listserve by William Gillis, exhorting us to join the opposition:

Hey folks, my name’s Will and I’m a big fan of Agorism, the Libertarian Left and Market Anarchism in general. I’m also founding member of the RNC Welcoming Committee (a broad, non-sectarian coalition of anarchists and anti-authoritarians in the Twin Cities working to give the Republican Party a Minnesota-nice welcome to our state).

For over a year now we’ve been working to facilitate a diversity of tactics by Anarchists in responding to and overshadowing the Republican National Convention being held next year in St. Paul. The convention is a big propaganda show and it’s important that anarchist voices are distinctly represented in the opposition. On the one hand whatever we do it’s a sure thing that anarchists from around the country will flock to the Twin Cities with the intent of pulling militant and dramatic direct action. On the other hand we have to live here and it’s not enough simply to disrupt the political class, we have to sustain long-term projects towards autonomy and self reliance in or communities. In part that means counter-economic organizing to create an infrastructure for the anarchist response, but it also means respecting every perspective and not trying to impose one set of solutions. We’re a diverse bunch of primitivists, insurrectionaries, individualists, class-war reds, cyberpunks and generally uncategorizable anti-authoritarians. (You can read our broad points of unity here <http://www.nornc.org/who-we-arepoints-of unity/> and be sure to check out the definition of capitalism.)

A recently formed national network called Unconventional Action has called for a specific strategy of Direct Action to block off the Convention on the fist day and ideally prevent any delegates from arriving. But regardless of whether we succeed in denying the Republicans access to our city (a city whose government has rolled over and coughed up millions of tax dollars and public property for this charade) it’s important that we eclipse the convention. The plan is to have plenty of events simultaneously and beyond direct resistance demonstrate to the world by example how a better world is possible. In doing both we’ll crash their little staged show!

Even if it’s Ron Paul at the podium instead of Giuliani, it’s vital that the political class is not afforded a moment or an iota of legitimacy.

Beyond direct action (whether it be conventionally non-violent & passive or involving the aggressive rejection of oligarchical property’s legitimacy) it’s important to use this opportunity to build our movement, both within and without. The Welcoming Committee has been doing serious work and the 08 RNC is gearing up to be a major event in activist history. That we Anarchists are the ones best prepared and most visible of everyone organizing for the RNC (while the various liberal and socialist groups are still floundering) speaks volumes.

While I can’t presume to personally speak for the Welcoming Committee, a Libertarian Left presence at the counter-convention would be fondly appreciated. Any support you’d like to individually or collectively (A3! ) contribute would be absolutely wonderful. Whether it’s just a statement, participation in the actions (agorist affinity groups?!), a separate project, setting up a symposium during the festivities, propping up a book cart in front of a convergence space, or lending some mutual aid and helping us build the infrastructure needed to feed, shelter (etc) the thousands upon thousands of anarchists descending on our fair cities. (Black Markets can also be Gift Economies… hint, hint)

When I was in Seattle in ’99 there was one loud guy shouting above the din of the crowd that the WTO was impeding Free Trade and globally raising cost-of-entry to the market, and that was it’s crime! That one crazy guy had something of an effect upon me. Imagine how great it would be if there was an entire bloc of them! ;)

This is our Call To Action: http://www.rncwelcomingcommittee.org/2007/09/30/crash-the-convention-2008-call-to-action/

Please take a look at it and consider participating however you feel comfortable. I guarantee you’ll have a friend in the committee.

-William Gillis
http://williamgillis.blogspot.com/

Transport and housing lists will available on the Welcoming Committe website, but won’t be fully fleshed out about until a month beforehand… sorry, that’s the best they can do. The good news is that for anyone under 25 and vaguely student-ish, Macalester SDS can provide literally unlimited space (bring a sleeping bag and maybe a tent, whatever you need to be comfortable). Registration is ongoing at http://minnesotasds.org/.

Those who are interested are invited to head over to this thread on the newly formed LeftLibertarian forums, where we’ll discuss the tactics, group organization and ideal placement within the greater range of activities. Even if you’re unable to come, you’re still welcome to drop by and help us plan.

Give it some thought. If you know anyone else who might be interested, please pass the message along to them. I’ll also be posting this message on some of the more public market anarchist venues.

I look forward to hearing from you all.

Laissez-faire,
Soviet Onion

Update 2008-05-28: Soviet Onion adds some more notes on the action and some important links in comments below.

Anticopyright. All pages written 1996–2021 by Rad Geek. Feel free to reprint if you like it. This machine kills intellectual monopolists.