NYC OKs First Permits For RNC Protests
This just in from the AP:
- City officials on Wednesday granted 10 permits for demonstrations coinciding with the Republican National Convention, while negotiations over a massive anti-war rally continue. The Central Labor Council, a coalition of labor unions, won approval for a demonstration outside Madison Square Garden, site of the Aug. 30-Sept. 2 convention. Late Wednesday, police announced additional permits to groups including the Christian Defense Coalition, Planned Parenthood, the Middle East Peace Coalition and People for the American Way. Demonstrations, prayer vigils and rallies by these organizations would be held from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1.
But still no pemit for United For Peace and Justice...
... And Still More on RNC "Volunteers."
OK, we'll admit it. We probably sound a bit obsessed about this. But its just so darn interesting.
Is it really true that the GOP can barely get anyone to sign up for its 8,000 volunteer slots at this summers RNC? If it is, it does a lot more than open the door for a herd of sneaky troublemakers to infiltrate the Convention and wreck general havoc. What it really does is show how unwelcome the Republicans are in this city.
Recently, we quoted mainstream media sources saying that the RNC had only filled half of its volunteer slots. There's been no official update on this front for two weeks. But there is some anecdotal evidence from NY Indymedia that the situation is bleak. One poster writes that:
"The orientation i'm attending has 19 slots filled out of 150."
Another says that:
"So, i got a call today from some rnc volunteer asking why i missed the orientation session i was supposed to show up for and begging me to show up for another one. when i went online to re-register, it became apparent that only a handful of people are registered for each orientation out of a much larger capacity."
There's no way to confirm any of this, of course. But the mainstream media might want to ask the NYC2004 honchos how many volunteers are actually showing up for their orientation events.
Dick Cheney Booed At Yankee Stadium
The New York Times is reporting Dick Cheney attended Tuesday's Yankees-Red Sox game in the Bronx and got a not-so-friendly New York welcome. During the seventh-inning stretch performance of "God Bless America" Cheney's picture appeared on the right-field video screen and the crowd booed. I wonder if there were also a few screams of "go f**k yourself"? If this is happening at a baseball game in July, imagine the reception Bush and Cheney will receive in New York if they stray far from the convention hall?
Shut Down New York (Call Out Sick)
A bit of blog-hoping and trackback tracking led us to this website, which encourages "all New Yorkers to call in sick on September 1st, 2004. Take the day off. Join a protest. Volunteer. Send a message."
We don't know the owners or operators of the site, but they appear to be at least tangentially connected to New York's gay and lesbian community, and are pissed off about the Republican's anti-gay agenda. "September 1st is the perfect opportunity for the NYC Gay & Lesbian community (and our supporters) who work in the city's service industries to call in sick. Actors, musicians, waiters and waitresses, retail salespeople, hotel staff --- we know who keeps this city running, at least as far as the visitors are concerned," the site reads.
(oh, and they don't list RNCWatch as one of their favorite blogs, but that's ok. We forgive them).
Random fun facts ... how we found Shut It Down: a trackback from a right-wing NYC website monitoring the RNC takes us to The Gothamist (a very popular, snarky, but entertaining NYC-related blog) which has a comment from a seemingly progressive web-pornographer who got handed a flyer about Shut it Down outside a screening of Farenheit 9/11. Ah, the glories of the World Wide Web.
Tom Hayden: RNC Protests Will Be 1000X Bigger Than '68 Protests in Chicago
For its special "RNC Issue" John Tarleton of the Indypendent interviews SDS founder and Chicago 8 "conspirator" Tom Hayden about the Republican Convention, Chicago '68, the political impact of RNC protests, the Miami Model, and much more. The first part of the interview is below; read the whole interview in this weeks Indypendent, coming out soon. Also, beyond just talking to figures from the radical past, the Indy also speaks with Rosa Clemente, co-founder of last weekend's First National Hip-Hop Political Convention
JT: How do you see the 2004 RNC protests compared with what you experienced in Chicago in 1968?
TH: They'll be bigger by a thousand fold. [Chicago mayor Richard] Daley and the police really frightened people out of coming and it was a hardy handful who were there. I believe most days it was a thousand people. And on the final day it might have been 6,000. I think between 100,000 and ten times that many will be in New York. And that influences the character of everything including the strategy of the Department of Homeland Security.
JT: So far no permits have been issued.
TH: There they go (laughs). I think people are entitled to march without a permit. When you have a few hundred thousand people on the street you have permission. Nevertheless, the good people seeking permits have to continue doing that because it might happen and they need to lay the legal foundation for a later lawsuit.
JT: What's your advice for dealing with an intransigent local government in this kind of situation?
TH: The politicians of New York have everything that is necessary to make proper decisions and they will have to live with what happens afterwards. The worst scenario is the politicians covering their eyes and turning it over to the FBI.
JT: What do you think of the "Miami model" and the possibility it could be deployed in Boston and New York at this summer's political conventions?
TH: Well, it would certainly be the plan. But remember in Miami there were only a couple thousand protesters in a city that is heavily Republican and includes a lot of rightwing terrorists. It was favorable territory for the police. They had the protesters outnumbered 10-1. they had planted undercover agents inside the protests to stir up trouble in order to justify all the overtime. They shut down the downtown business district themselves destroying a lot of small businesses which lost everything for two weeks. The alternative model would be the Mexican police in Cancun.
More Federal Funding for Security at the RNC
The Senate has earmarked an additional $25 million for New York City to cover security at the Republican National Convention. The line item was included in the 2005 budget for the Defense Department, which the Senate approved Friday, and comes on top of $25 million already approved by Congress. The House version of the budget does not include the new funding provision, but the final joint version likely will.
New York Senators Clinton and Schumer made the request for additional funding as the estimate of security costs has grown from $47 million to $76 million.
Recent Letters to RNCWatch.org
A look into our mail inbox:
Subject:Your "young Democratic Socialists"
Date: Wed, 28 Apr 2004 14:15:16
It's amazing how even the name of your group sounds like the Nazi party of the 30s. I wonder what your agenda really is. Quiet anyone who disagrees with you. No debate, just silence the opposition. It would be interesting for you to try to talk rather than disruption. You might actually find out that people are interested in learning.
Subject:Supporting the President
From: "Skinner, Loretta"
Date: Tue, 10 Feb 2004 11:27:30
What is the matter with you Republicans - put your money where your mouth is. I am so furious that all of you would even allow this attack on President Bush's National Guard status (as if this has anything to do with 9/11, Saddam, or anything other than SMEAR) . WHERE ARE YOUR GUTS? DO YOU CARE AT ALL?
I left the RNC for just this very reason quite a while ago - because you guys have blown it from day one when you had control of the House and blew it - and you continue to do so - WHAT ARE YOU AFRAID OF? I AM ASHAMED OF YOU - ASHAMED THAT YOU COULD CALL YOURSELVES CONSERVATIVE - I THINK YOU ARE A BUNCH OF COWARDS THAT DON'T HAVE THE COURAGE OF YOUR CONVICTIONS!
WAKE UP AND SUPPORT YOUR PRESIDENT - AND PUT AN END TO THIS DISGUSTING ATTACK BY THE DEMOCRATS/MEDIA (ONE IN THE SAME) ON OUR PRESIDENT. He
may not do everything right - but is a President that has a heart for the country and for God - and I fear will be the last President who does.
IF YOU CONTINUE LIKE THIS, YOU WILL LOSE!
WAKE UP AND STAND BY YOUR MAN!
Subject: Relatives of people living with neo-conservatism seeks members
Date: Fri, 16 Jan 2004 16:25:20
To Whom it may concern:
We recently learned of your planned events during the 2004 Repugnican Convention to be held in New York City. As an organization dedicated to serving relatives of people living with neo-conservatism, we have a special interest in participating in your events. In addition, we hope that people suffering from similar circumstances in their families might wish to take the opportunity offered by your events to join us in our work in supporting relatives of people living with neo-conservatism. Below is a description of our organization and its goals. Anyone wishing for more information or wanting to join us at the 2004 Repugnican Convention can contact us at: email@example.com
Elizabeth Frankenstein, National Coordinator
Relatives of people living with neo-conservatism
Poster Update- 38,000 Posters Ready to Go
This just in from the folks at the RNC No Poster Project:
"We're happy to announce that our first set of posters is back from the printer and ready to hit the streets! Printed in modified newspaper format, Our City, Our Walls is the first production of the No RNC Poster Project and contains 19 beautiful posters protesting this summer's Republican National Convention and the Bush Administration. We printed 2,000 sets, which makes thirty-eight thousand posters in all."
You can also help fund this project by making a donation.
First Notice of RNC Street Closings Announced
As has been reported in the mainstream press, New York announced the first of its widely anticipated street closings during the week of the Republican convention.
Newsday writes: "The plan includes blocking off long stretches of Seventh and Eighth avenues, but only during the 13 hours the convention is in session. The closings could be expanded if protests are larger than anticipated, the mayor said.
"Protesters would be confined to pens at 31st Street and Eighth Avenue, adjacent to the Garden, in keeping with the mayor's vow to place dissenters within "sight and sound" of the convention. One lane of traffic would flow around them for most of the convention, the mayor said."
It short: it seems next to impossible that protesters will be able to get anywhere near Madison Square Garden while the RNC is in session. Disagree? Tell us why.
Boss Against Bush?
"Dear Bruce: We the undersigned need you," begins the online petition.
Andrew Rasiej, founder of the New York music venue Irving Plaza is spearheading the drive to have Bruce Springsteen perform at Giants Stadium on September 1. He and the signatories to the petition want the Boss to "play at exactly the same time George Bush is being nominated [to] focus all Americans on the importance in this election for their future as well as the future of the world."
You can read more about it or sign the petition at www.draftbruce.com. Read about previous rumors that Springsteen was considering a show like this, a claim Springsteen's publicist contradicts in this article from Reuters.