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<nettime> Tear Gas, the National Guard and [Fwd: [pga na] RNC--In the St
lotu5 on Thu, 4 Sep 2008 13:05:34 +0200 (CEST)


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<nettime> Tear Gas, the National Guard and [Fwd: [pga na] RNC--In the Streets on Monday]


The media in the US has really reached a new low in my eyes. I am
really, somehow surprised by this and ready to get the hell out of
here asap. It is scary. Yesterday, the first day of the RNC was
effectively shut down by massive roving blockades and direct action.
Tear gas and the national guard were all that was able to move these
amazing, brave, beautiful people protesting the war on iraq, the war
on immigrants and global capitalism as we know it. As the photos in
this photo essay clearly show. Yet I never heard a word on the media
about this hugely significant event. And today, with over 150 people
arrested, the media is again conveniently focusing on the RNC, and
still not mentioning a word about the virtual war that Saint Paul
erupted into yesterday. Amazing...

See the complete photo essay here:
http://twincities.indymedia.org/2008/sep/battle-saint-paul-photo-essay

More media and photos here:
http://twincities.indymedia.org/2008/sep/rnc-2008-roundup-s1

and below is a story from starhawk about the first day of the rnc,
which most of this country will never ever know about...


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [pga na] RNC--In the Streets on Monday
Date: Wed, 03 Sep 2008 08:57:37 -0700
From: Starhawk <stella {AT} mcn.org>


UPDATES:


Emergency Note: Yesterday, Tuesday, two of our cluster were arrested
before the start of the March for Our Lives organized by the Poor
People¹s Movement. Riyanna and Jason were standing at the edge of the
park where the rally was happening when they were attacked by police.
Witnesses reported to us that Jason was tasered while he was lying
on the ground, not resisting, and was refused medical aid. Somehow,
later, he managed to get a call through to us on his cell phone, to
report that the two taser barbs were still in his hip and the police
were refusing to take them out. His phone remained on while we could
hear what sounds like the cops beating him up. In a later call, he
reported that he has a black eye and multiple abrasions on his head
and torso, but is basically okay, and that the taser barbs have been
removed. We also heard from Riyanna who is also okay. I just talked to
her, and she sounds fine and strong and worried about other prisoners
who are being denied needed medication. Arraignments and release are
now going very slowly, and she could be held as long as 36 hours, or
more. . A good person to call today would be the St. Paul mayor, Chris
Coleman, 651-266-8510 demand that he end the targeting of protestors,
the abuse of prisoners, and the confiscation of property.

Our PermiBus has been officially Œreleased¹, but its owners are
being told there are 23 violations against it and they are not being
allowed to drive it away. They have not received copies of any of the
violations except for one: Œno proof of insurance¹. In reality,
Stan Wilson has proof of insurance on the bus but was never allowed
to produce it. The authorities claim that all searches and seizures
over the last week have been done legally, with warrants and judicial
review. But the bus was seized illegally with no charges and searched
illegally, without a warrant and without the presence of the owners.
This is a violation of the Bill of Rights. For the PermiBus, call the
Mayor Rybek of Minneapolis,

(612) 673-2100 (His office)

Complaints to Mayor Rybek can be directed by email to
dsicomplaints {AT} ci.stpaul.mn.us.



Thanks to all who have made calls‹they¹ve been very effective  If you can¹t
get through‹that¹s probably because so many of us are calling!

This account will also be up on my website, as are my stories from the first
few days. www.starhawk.org

And don¹t worry‹after this week I won¹t be posting so often!

RNC5  Dancing with Delegates by Starhawk

Monday, September 1:

We find ourselves on a wide street that leads into the enclosure where
delegates are being allowed into the convention.  I look over the river,
which winds below us, and when I look up, Lisa and Juniper are in the
street, holding back a bus with their hands.  The bus driver is inside,
looking down at them, and the rest of us run out and join them, until a line
of police comes over and, in a fairly gentle manner, pushes us away.

We regroup on the sidewalk, and realize that we have found one of the key
sites where delegates are being admitted.  Another bus pulls out, and we run
out in front of it, forming a spiral which the police again push back.

Across the street, we see a group of delegates walking in on foot.  We rush
over, and form a line, interfering with their progress and attempting to
talk to them.  They are attempting to push through us, and one gent in a
business suit begins pushing, shoving and shouting at us until the police
jump in, push us back and let them through.

ŠNow there are several hundred of us, Fund the War has joined us with their
sound system. We swarm into the street and become a dance party that blocks
busses from coming in.  We dance our way back up to the enclosure by the
convention center.

Groups of delegates are coming through but they¹ve got to make their way
through hordes of expressive youth and a barrier of rumbling bass.  I see
one flying wedge of riot cops push a group of delegates through the crowd,
These are new cops, much harder edged and more angry than the first ones we
encountered.

The swarm still fills the street, and the busses can¹t get through.  A line
of riot cops forms up and begins pushing us back with batons, chanting
³Move!  Back!  Move! Back!²

I¹ve gone into the state I think of as the Zone of Deadly Calm‹alert, aware,
grounded just like I train everyone to do, but strangely emotionless.  A lot
of truly frightening things are happening all around me, but I¹m not feeling
fear.  That can be a good thing or a bad thing‹fear, like pain, is useful
information.  I¹ve done stupid things, in this state, as well as brave ones.
But I¹ve been through a lot of these actions, and I¹ve been in Palestine,
supporting nonviolent resistance to the occupation, where we were standing
in front of tanks and reasoning with soldiers who shoot real bullets, and
the tension never eases up.  I understand more now about what exposure to
violence does to a person. Yeats has a poem, ³The Easter Rising², I found
myself reading over and over after my first tour in the West Bank.  It has a
line in it that stuck in my head like a mantra:

:²Too long a sacrifice can make a stone of the heart.²

Down the way, at the point where the bridge comes into the street, I see a
line of cops on horseback forming up.  They move into the swarm and begin
pushing us onto the sidewalk with the horses.

We fall back, staying as close to the horses as we can, talking to the cops
on their backs. ³Don¹t do this to your horse,² Andy is saying over and over
again.

More delegates arrive, and the horses block us.  Then a way opens up and we
take the street again, pushing forward to the entrance, a small gate in the
barricades.  The horses are trotting after us and shoulder us aside, then
they fall back to regroup and we move forward.  Our cluster brings out balls
of yarn and we begin tossing them back and forth, weaving a web.   Lisa
keeps tying it onto the fence, blocking the entrance, and a cop with a knife
keeps cutting it.

The web is a soft deterrent to the horses‹but it also could easily entangle
us.  At a certain point, we let it drop.  The horse cops have called for
reinforcements, and there are more of them now.  Suddenly they charge into
us, pushing us back into the curb in a panicky crush. Elizabeth yells
out‹her foot has been caught under a hoof.  I am squeezed between the horses
and the crowd, and I stumble.  But strong hands lift me onto the curb, up to
safety.  I turn and see David Solnit, an old friend from back home in San
Francisco.  My rescuer!  I thank him and he just grins.

Elizabeth, it turns out, is not hurt, just grazed.  But we all regroup on
the sidewalk, where all along a vendor has been selling hot dogs.  Seeds of
Peace arrives with sandwiches and carrots, and we grab a bite of lunch.

A young woman in a motorized wheelchair rolls up near our group.  She¹s
speaking to me, but her voice is so soft I have to lean over to hear her.
Her head is large and her limbs are shrunken and twisted, and I can¹t help
but wonder what will happen to her if the police bring out chemical weapons.
I put my head next to hers, and she says, ³I¹m sorry that this is the image
you¹re getting of our town.  It¹s really a very nice place to live.²

She seems very brave, alone in her wheelchair, so vulnerable, but with
undaunted curiosity. I thank her for coming out, and she rolls away.

A young man sitting on the wall looks up at me.  ³Pagan cluster, you rock!²
he says.  ³You guys were holding back horses with your bare hands!²

I smile at him. That¹s the true reason I¹m still willing to put myself out
here on the streets, at an age when I probably should know better.
Nonviolence isn¹t something that can just be preached.  It must be
practiced.  Show, don¹t tell.  It¹s hard to persuade people of its
power‹because it goes against all of our deepest instincts and the
assumptions we¹ve internalized from our violent culture:  that power comes
from the weapon, from physical strength and the willingness to use it to
hurt and destroy, that force works.  No sane person wants to stand against
horses and clubs and more lethal weapons with only our soft bodies and
hands.  Yet when we do, a different sort of power arises.

Elsewhere in the city windows have been broken.  I don¹t have patience for
long, philosophical discussions about what constitutes violence or
nonviolence, or whether inanimate objects have feelings. I don¹t agree with
those tactics, because, for me, what gets shattered are webs of
relationships‹the trust and support given to us by the ordinary people of
this city where I have friends and relatives and long-standing ties.  It¹s
those relationships we need to truly transform this country. Small groups of
isolated activists, however passionate and ideologically pure, aren¹t going
to do it alone. We need to honor the courage and win the trust of all those
people who are never going to see broken windows as anything but vandalism,
but who struggle every day against huge forces just to hold their lives
together as the system crumbles around us all.  And to do that, I believe we
have to embody the kind of power we want as a base for our lives: the power
of compassion, creativity and love.

Lunch is over. The temper of the cops is worsening with the day, and as more
and more demonstrators appear in the streets, they get rougher.  A bus moves
down the street, and we surge forward to block it.  The police form a line
and begin driving us back, pretty roughly.  We¹re forming up our cluster on
the sidewalk when the police jump on a protestor and pull him down.  A young
man is standing nearby, writing down the legal information, and suddenly the
cops lunge for him.  He¹s alert, and runs beyond their reach.  They grab
Aaron, who is standing holding our flag.  They rip the flag out of his
hands, throw him down on the ground, and kneel on him.  I run forward trying
to get to him, but I¹m blocked by a cop and his motorcycle and I can only
watch as they kneel on his back and jerk his hands up to be cuffed.  One of
his hands is bleeding.

They¹ve got him surrounded, and we can¹t get to him.  We can only call out,
³Aaron, Aaron we love you!  We¹ve got your back!²

Then the police push us out, further down the road.  Their mood is getting
uglier.  They¹re spraying pepper spray, from big canisters, shooting it out
before them into the crowd. The mood of the crowd is starting to get
angrier, too. Behind us now are not horses but lines of riot cops in gas
masks‹a bad sign.

We¹re moving away when we catch the acrid scent of tear gas on the wind
behind us.  I have asthma, and though its very mild I feel an obligation to
myself to at least try to stay out of tear gas, when I can. So we move
faster.

We¹re rounding a corner of a building when a cop goes berserk.  He lunges at
soft-spoken Deborah, whacks her on the arm with his nightstick and knocks
her to the ground.  Elizabeth runs back and grabs her away as Andy and I
move toward the cops and slow them down, talking to them calmly.  ³We¹re
leaving,² I say.  ³We¹re doing what you¹re telling us to do.²

Deborah is bruised, but okay. We¹re moving back up the streets, away from
the convention center. We sit down on a lawn to regroup and rest for a
moment.

A young man in black, with a Nikon camera, comes running into our group,
with two cops on bikes behind us.  He rushes through us‹they drive into us
but can¹t get through.  He looks around like a cornered rabbit, sees us
caught in the melee and turns back, his hands up.

³I¹m giving myself up!² he calls to them.  He could have gotten away, but I
believe that he makes his choice because he feared the cops pursuing him
were hurting us.  He¹s shaking, trying not to cry.  ³I was only taking
pictures.  I¹m only seventeen.  I live here!²

The cops frisk him and search him while we get his name and his mothers¹
phone number.  We try to get his camera, to keep it safe, but the police
won¹t release it.  ³We¹ve got your back!  We love you.  Stay strong!² we
call to him.  The police lead him away, and Lisa phones his mother.

It¹s been a long, tense day and hard to assess its success.  But I believe
I¹ve met my goal‹to hold the Republicans accountable in the streets, since
the Democrats and the media and the institutions of conventional politics
have failed to do it elsewhere.  And tomorrow is another day.













-- 

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