lotu5 on Sun, 31 Aug 2008 11:00:23 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> [Fwd: [pga na] RNC Convergence Space and Houses Raided in Twin Cities]

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [pga na] RNC Convergence Space and Houses Raided in Twin Cities
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 18:08:00 -0400
From: nom(A)d <nomadicschism@gmail.com>

I know a lot of people have heard that last night the convergence space in
St Paul was raided and that today a series of houses were raided and some
organizers were picked off the street and arrested.  There is a lot of
information to go over so I feel it is best to have everyone go right to the
Twin Cities IMC has minute by minute updates: twincities.indymedia.org
Coldsnap Legal Collective also has minute by minute updates:
UpTake Media has video of the raids themselves: theuptake.org

Please keep an eye on developments and calls for support.  I am sure that I
do not need to tell people this, but this is very serious and solidarity is

Together we will stay strong!!

Who wants a world in which the guarantee that we shall not die of starvation
entails the risk of dying of boredom?

Raoul Vaneigem

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: [pga na] Republican National Convention--Convergence Center Raided
Date: Sat, 30 Aug 2008 08:00:09 -0700
From: Starhawk <stella@mcn.org>
To: <Starhawk@lists.riseup.net>,	To-EAT 
<earthactivist@yahoogroups.com>,	Liv Riv <livriv@yahoogroups.com>,	pagan 
cluster <paganclu@lists.riseup.net>,	spider <rspider@yahoogroups.com>
CC: <pga@lists.riseup.net>

RNC2‹Raid on the Convergence Center

By Starhawk

It¹s Friday night. Our Pagan Cluster is sitting on the bluff of the
Mississippi having our first real meeting, when Lisa gets a call.  The cops
are raiding the Convergence Center, where we¹re organizing meetings and
trainings for the protests against the Republican National Convention.  It¹s
not a role play, the caller says.  It¹s real.

Instantly, we jump up and hurry back the six or eight blocks to the old
theater we are using for meetings, trainings and social gatherings.  I Œve
spent the last two days doing magical activism trainings, teaching people
how to stay calm and grounded in emergency situations and when things get
chaotic.  Now it¹s time to put the training into practice.  Aaron, a tall,
red-headed young man who could be one of my nephews strides along beside me.
³Are you grounded?² I ask him.  He nods, and runs ahead.

Nobody can keep up with Lisa, who speeds ahead like an arrow, walking, not
running, but still covering the ground quickly.  Andy and I trail behind.
We¹re often street buddies, because we¹re both big, slow, and supremely calm
and stubborn, willing to wade into almost any situation and become the
immovable object.

We¹re stopped by a line of cops just before we reach the building.  They
refuse to let us through, or to move their van which is blocking Scarecrow¹s
car.  There¹s an investigation underway, they say, and won¹t say more.

Brush, our dear friend, is inside, having gone to a jail solidarity meeting,
ironically enough. So are two very young people who had just joined our
cluster that night.  I try calling Brush¹s cell phone, but get no reply.

We wait.  That¹s what you do when the cops have guns trained on kids inside
a building.  You wait, and witness, and make phone calls, and try to think
of useful things to do.

We call lawyers. We call politicians.  We try to call media.  We call
friends who might know politicians and media.

Through the kitchen door, we cansee young kids sitting on the floor,
handcuffed. We walk across the street, back, made more phone calls.  An
ambulance is parked in front, and the paramedics head into the building,
leaving a gurney ready.  Susu, from her car around the corner, reports that
the cops have been grabbing pedestrians from the street, forcing them down
to the ground, handcuffing them.

Song, one of the local organizers, calls her City Council member.  She wants
to call the Mayor, Chris Coleman, who has promised that St. Paul will be as
welcoming to protestors as to delegates, but no one has his home number.

What I have forgotten to tell people at the training is how much of an
action is just this: tense, boring waiting, with a knot of anxiety in your
stomach and your feet starting to hurt.  Song talks to a helpful neighbor,
who¹s come over to find out what¹s happening.  He knows where the mayor
lives, says it¹s just a few blocks away, and draws us a map.

We decide to go and call on the Mayor, who could call off the cops.  About
five of us troop down there, through the soft night and a neighborhood of
comfortable homes and wide lawns on the bluffs above the Mississippi.  The
Mayor¹s house is a comfortable Dutch Colonial, and lights were on inside.
We decide that just a few of us will go to the door, so as not to look
intimidating.  Song is a round, soft-bodied middle-aged woman with a sweet
face. Ellen is a tiny brunette with a gap-toothed smile, and Lisa,
formidable organizer though she is, looks slight and unthreatening.  The
rest of us hang back.  Someone opens the door.  Our friends have a
conversation with the mayors¹ wife, who is not pleased to be visited by
constituents late at night, and who tells us we should call the office.  The
Mayor, she says, is asleep, and she will not wake him up.

We think a mayor who was doing his job would get up and go see what¹s going
on.  Nonetheless, we head back to the convergence space.

A protestor has been released from the building.  A small crowd has gathered
across the street, and Fox News has arrived. They interview Song, who does
her first ever Fox media spot.  She tells them the truth‹that people were in
there watching movies‹a documentary about Meridel Le Seuer.  Meridel would
be proud, and I¹m glad she is with us in some form.

One by one, protestor¹s trickle out.  Now we get more pieces of the story.
The cops burst in, with no warning.  They pulled drew their guns on
everyone‹including a five year old child who was there with his mother,
forced everyone down on the floor. It was terrifying.

They had a warrant, apparently, from the county, not the city, to search for
Œbomb making materials.¹  They were searching everyone in the building, then
one by one releasing them as they found nothing.

They continue to find nothing, as we wait through long hours.  Meanwhile,
more and more media arrives.  These cops are not as creative as the DC cops
during our first mobilization there against the International Monetary Fund
and the World Bank.  Those cops confiscated the lunchtime soup‹which
included onions and chili powder, claiming they were materials for home made
pepper spray.

We wait until the last person gets out.  He¹s a twenty year old who the cops
have accused of stealing his own backpack‹but apparently they relented.

And now it¹s morning. I wake up to the news that cops have been raiding
houses where activists are staying, bursting in with the same bogus warrant
and arresting people, including a four year old child. They¹ve arrested
people at the Food Not Bombs house‹a group dedicated to feeding protestors
and the homeless. They¹ve arrested others, presumably just for being in the
wrong place at the wrong time.

The Poor Peoples¹ Campaign, which had set up camp at Harriet Island, a park
in the middle of the Mississippi, has also been harassed, its participants
ordered to disperse and its organizers arrested.

Let me be perfectly clear here‹all of us here are planning nonviolent
protests against an administration which is responsible for immense
violence, bombs that have destroyed whole countries, and hundreds of
thousands of deaths.

This is the America that eight years of the Bush administration have brought
us, a place where dissent is no longer tolerated, where pre-emptive strikes
have become the strategy of choice for those who hold power, where any group
can be accused of Œbombmaking¹ or Œterrorism¹ on no evidence whatsoever in
order to deter dissent.

Please stand with us. Because it could be your home they are raiding, next.

Call the Mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis.  Tell them you are outraged by
these attacks on dissent.  Urge them to let Poor People encamp and to let
dissent be heard.


St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman

Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak
(612) 673-2100
(612) 673-3000 outside Minneapolis


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