MARXISTS TO "OCCUPY THE RNC"
PART 2 of 2
Tina Trent, Ph.D - A special report from Accuracy in Media
August 22, 2012
Occupy the RNC (aka resist RNC)
Occupy the RNC is the umbrella organization disseminating information for protesters. It calls itself the “above-ground coordinating committee.” Their website states that they do not organize actions, “especially violent ones,” but only “facilitate logistics for people resisting the RNC.” This claim of non-violence is embedded in angry anti-police agitprop accusing law enforcement of being the real source of the violence at previous convention protests. According to Occupy the RNC, protesters are merely innocent victims of various police “pressure meant to disorient and distract.” “It is clear they want to engage in battle . . . We live in a police state that is in its final stages of completion” their website reads. Until recently, it also featured videos celebrating violence against the police, including one advising protesters to throw Molotov cocktails at officers. After being exposed by RedAlert Politics, Occupy the RNC took the videos down. But the mindset remains.
The following actions also fall under the movement’s definition of “non-violence:”
trespassing in restricted security areas
• refusing to cooperate with police efforts to maintain order
• blockading and disrupting businesses
• providing certain types of support and cover for protesters who are planning to harass private citizens, damage private property, and attack police
This support includes:
offering a map with the locations of hotels housing the Republican delegates
• offering a map pinpointing “evil” and “oppressive” corporations to be targeted for unnamed “decentralized direct actions”
• pledging to defend the Tampa Principles, a statement of commitment to all protest tactics, specifically including property destruction and violence against police and other targets
Even if Occupy the RNC is not technically breaking any laws, why should the city grant protest permits to any group that literally pledge allegiance to and protection for violent protesters? The following is a partial list of the organizations that have signed on to Occupy the RNC. Among them are the usual anti-Democracy, pro-totalitarian useful idiots, people who believe that terrorists, cop-killers, and Chinese dictators are the good guys, while Staples is said to be evil because it is associated with Bain Capital:
• Occupy Wall Street [and several other locations]
• Iraq Veterans Against the War
• Veterans for Peace
• Industrial Workers of the World—Gainesville Area General Membership Branch
• Vietnam Veterans Against The War/Old School Sappers
• Earth First!
• The Leonard Peltier Defense Offense Committee
• Campaign for Labor Rights
• Food Not Bombs [and several chapters]
• Alliance for Global Justice
• Nicaragua Network
• A.N.S.W.E.R. Coalition
• March Forward!
• Party for Socialism and Liberation
• The Green Party of Florida [and other locations]
• Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign
• Rainbow PUSH Coalition
• National Immigrant Solidarity Network
• May 1st Coalition for Worker and Immigrant Rights
• Decentralized Non-Violent Resistance Movement
• Socialist Alternative
“Vegan food for the homeless.” This is the punchline-sounding mission of the international anti-nuclear, anti-war, anti-capitalism group founded in 1980 in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The group’s website claims that “hundreds of autonomous chapters” on every populated continent feed the undernourished using only donations and “dumpster dived” food. Food Not Bombs casts itself as a significant relief aid organization, claiming, improbably, to have been “the first to provide food after the 1989 San Francisco Earthquake, Hurricane Katrina, the attacks on the World Trade Center and the 2008 economic collapse.” Where food was provided after the “economic collapse” is not specified.
In reality, Food Not Bombs is a radical political organization that uses its feeding stations, and the plight of low income people, as props for leftist protest. While some of the organization’s autonomous chapters probably do focus on providing free meals to the needy, the actions they feature on their website are PR stunts designed to get members arrested, or food stations set up at protest sites, where most of the people are not underprivileged, let alone hungry.
Volunteers also helped organize and shared meals at the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle and provided logistical support for many other anti-globalization actions.
Anti-police activity is a main locus of their real organizing. In recent years, Food Not Bombs Rochester has hosted: “Open Mic Against Police Brutality and State Repression” and “Support the Police: Beat Yourself Up.” The FNB website narrates story after story of activists allegedly persecuted for doing nothing more than trying to bring food to hungry people, a problem that does not seem to bedevil real homeless service providers and relief workers. FNB activists, including co-founder Keith McHenry and Emily Good, have each been repeatedly arrested in staged confrontations with police. McHenry claims 150 arrests.
Food Not Bombs self-reports associations with Earth First!, the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee, the Anarchist Black Cross, and Industrial Workers of the World (as much a labor union as FNB is a hunger-eradication program). The association with the Anarchist Black Cross is particularly troubling due to that organization’s long history of committing acts of violence at economic summits and political protests, including slashing police tires, throwing bricks, and rioting.
In Tampa, Food Not Bombs is already set up for the RNC convention on property owned by strip club owner Joe Redner. There they will be hosting trainings on “cop-watching” (harassing police) and knot tying (for anarchist “direct actions”), in addition to meaningless activities including clown workshops. FNB told a reporter they wanted to move their feeding operation downtown, a likely effort to create a confrontation with police, and one that will doubtlessly make its way onto their website as another martyred effort to “feed the poor.” Neither their anti-police activism nor Food Not Bombs’ affiliations with violent anarchists has been reported in Tampa news stories touting the organization’s work.
Food Not Bombs is sponsoring a CopWatch training by Tarpon Springs CopWatch on Thursday, August 23. CopWatch activists view the police as oppressive, highly violent, racist, paramilitary tools of the fascist state and corporate interests. Ironically, many of the police they target are minorities themselves. CopWatchers encourage people to videotape police as officers interact with suspects, creating dangerous situations for all parties, but especially the officers, who must protect naive activists while dealing with suspected criminals. CopWatchers are known for staging incidents in which they feign being injured by police. CopWatch activists frequently videotape themselves haranguing police and publish personal information about individual officers on-line. CopWatch activists have ties to radical anarchist groups. Some CopWatchers actually celebrate the murder of police officers. Here they mock the funeral and the life of Washington State trooper Tony Radulescu, who was shot to death while making a traffic stop. For actions like these, CopWatch should have earned a reputation as the left-wing version of the Westboro Baptist Church long ago. But they are not criticized by the media.
Tellingly, no CopWatch activist cell has ever attempted to disassociate themselves from those CopWatchers who threaten violence against police or harass the memories and family members of fallen officers. Food Not Bombs sponsors and endorses CopWatch and has significant crossover membership with CopWatch groups.
Code Pink, the women’s anti-war group known for their disruptive protest style, is planning to try to make waves at the RNC with a publicity stunt aimed at condemning Republicans for their so-called “war on women.” The theme of the protest is: “Bring Your Vagina to the RNC.” Members plan to dress up like that body part and parade through the streets, a symbolic action designed to imply that Republicans are anti-female.
The protest raises the issue of leftist activists’ willingness to participate in offensively sexist messaging. A “vagina” parade is not only likely to alienate apolitical observers: it also targets Republican females, particularly social conservatives, in a particularly crude manner.
With the local Occupy movement operating in coordination with sleazy sex club owner Joe Redner, the mayor making crude jokes in The New York Times about Sarah Palin, and middle-aged women stomping around in clownish representations of women’s privates, there is a distinctly anti-feminist, anti-female tone emerging in the Occupy the RNC circus.
But there is more to Code Pink than silly stunts. Like a startling number of other high-ranking leftist activists, the organization’s leadership has been known to break bread with dictators and terrorists such as Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Cuba’s Fidel Castro, and Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez.
According to Discover the Networks, Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin “was one of the principal architects of the 1999 protests in Seattle where rampaging anti-globalization activists burned cars, smashed windows and generally sowed disorder in a failed bid to shut down a conference of the World Trade Organization. Benjamin hailed the riots, which caused millions of dollars in property damage, as ‘a battle cry.’” The fact that someone responsible for such destruction is holding a “training session” and protest march in Tampa has also not been noted by the media, which will surely focus on the costumes Code Pink members are wearing, instead.
Code Pink has just announced that Benjamin will be appearing in St. Petersburg.
A question: will socialist heavies like Medea Benjamin be parading around in the heat in silly costumes, or are such tasks left to the lower-level Code Pink dupes? It may not be just Republican women who are disrespected by Code Pink’s leadership.
The Occupy movement long ago devolved into a scabby twenty-something who argues endlessly while refusing to get off the couch and look for work. But all the sloth and illogic in evidence at Occupy encampments (and Occupy Tampa was always an also-ran, even among Occupy camps) did not make them any less effective. The confused college students and homeless people who flocked to the “occupations”—and all the puppeteers and vegans and exhibitionists due soon in Tampa—were and still are effective dupes for the professional activists and leftist organizers operating behind the scenes.
Meanwhile, the residents and business owners near the current Occupy Tampa encampment have complained repeatedly about zoning violations, noise, and filth on the site. Strip-club owner and political gadfly Joe Redner, the “godfather” of the local Occupy movement, owns the property where Occupy, and Food Not Bombs, are currently squatting. Redner recently expressed hopes that the City of Tampa would allow Occupy back on public land soon, as if they actually were a troubled teen caught in a custody battle.
The PPEHRC is an organization with a web presence that seems to form local ad-hoc chapters, when useful, from among the most politicized and least credible members of the “homeless” movement. Its St. Petersburg representative, the Rev. Bruce Wright, who is promoting himself as an organizer of the tent city “Romneyville,” is typical. Wright has faced accusations of profiting from his homeless outreach and has been in trouble for failing to support his own children and other offenses. Reliable providers of services to the area’s homeless population avoid association with him. Nevertheless, recently in The New York Times, Wright was profiled as a respected promoter of the rights of the poor and critic of the Romney/Ryan ticket.
PPEHRC is slated to hold a march featuring Green Party Vice Presidential candidate Cheri Honkala, but it does not appear that they have cooperated with Tampa authorities to obtain permission for the march:
The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign is proud to announce that its founder and National Coordinator, Cheri Honkala, is the Vice Presidential Candidate for the Green Party under Jill Stein. This, of course, has profound impact on “Romneyville,” The March for Our Lives opening march at the RNC protests and for the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign.
Shut Down Bain Capital appears to be a joint project of Occupy groups, Code Pink, Food Not Bombs, and other participants in Occupy the RNC. Descriptions of the event have been evolving rapidly on-line.
According to Occupy the RNC, the protesters will kick off their events calendar with a “Death of Democracy March” on August 26, followed by a “March on the RNC” and possibly simultaneous “March for Our Lives” conducted by The Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign. The convention’s first night will bring a “Celebration of Resistance,” with “radical anarchists” holding a “Roving Radical Dance Party” throughout the city. The “Rally and March Against Voter Suppression at the RNC” is next, followed by a day of “Shut Down Bain Capital” protests staged outside businesses such as Outback Steakhouse, Hospital Corporation of America, and Staples.
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Although the locations of the Bain protests are deliberately being concealed, Staples seems a likely target, and “Impersonation of Ecuadorian death squads” has been suggested as a theme for Staples store protests. Occupy the RNC is also threatening to conduct other “decentralized direct actions” throughout the convention week. The cumulative effect of these threats, and the refusal of organizers to reveal their identities, creates maximum anxiety for business owners and employees who might be hoping to turn a profit while conventioneers are in town.
While some local politicians are unwilling or unable to address the likely prospect of violence, it is a known fact that local and federal law enforcement agencies are greatly concerned. In particular, the anarchist groups and the Ruckus Society are drawing official concern. It is important, as the Republican convention gets underway and goes forward, that the media reveal the true nature of the professional agitators coming to Tampa and their plans to blame the police for any confrontations that may occur.
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© 2012 - Tina Trent - All Rights Reserved