RNC Protesters Coordinate Information Distribution
Some exciting developments on the RNC protest information distribution front.
First, radical reference librarians have launched an information site at which protesters can ask questions about this summer's Republican Convention. According to the site flier:
"Radical Reference is a service provided by librarians from all over the United States to give assistance to demonstrators at the Republican National Convention in New York City. We will answer your reference questions via blog, e-mail, chat, and in the street." [Read More]
Also, in anticipation of protest and police repression during the week of the Republican National Convention, the New York Civil Liberties Union has opened a storefront space from which to monitor police activity and provide resources to protestors.
Finally, we hear rumors that NYC Indymedia and the NYC Grassroots Media Coalition are close to securing an independent media space for the convention. Nothing to report yet, but news as soon as we hear it.
Transit Workers Suspected of RNC Bomb Threats
Nick at TomDispatch passed this along to RNCWatch:
First it was the web-based anarchist threat that nobody but the cops and the Daily News could ever locate; then it was the cop who blew himself up while bombing the subway; now transit workers are in on the act...
The Daily News reports: "Transit authorities workers may have vandalized their own trains with threatening messages of a terrorist attack, police said. The graffiti found on the No. 1 line included warnings of a bomb during the Republican National Convention and threats to the President, according to one employee who was interviewed by cops and shown copies of the writings."
NYTimes, Bloggers Document NYPD "Surges"
Also today, the New York Times had a lengthy article today on the 80-vehicle NYPD "surges" that have been charging down city streets in the run-up to the Republican convention. Writes Michael Slackman:
"It goes something like this: On a typical block in, say, Midtown Manhattan, as many as 80 police cars quickly stream in out of nowhere, in neat rows, their lights and sirens going. The drills seem to take place on blocks with restricted parking, and each car executes a fast back-in parking job against the curb."
Way out in front of the Times, a blogger at Cityrag has been documenting the surges for the last month. Read more about 'em and see lots of pictures over there.
New York National Guard Placed on Alert for RNC
According to today's New York Times: "Members of the New York National Guard have been put on alert for possible deployment during the Republican National Convention in Manhattan, and the state plans to use three military teams trained to deal with chemical, biological and radiological weapons when the delegates are in town, state officials said yesterday."
Map of UJPJ March Now Available
It's one thing to know that the United for Peace and Justice August 29th march route, in the words of UFP&J, begins at "14th Street and 23rd Street, stretching from Sixth to Eighth Avenues. The march will kick off at noon from 23rd Street and head up Seventh Avenue past Madison Square Garden. It will then turn west on 34th Street and head over to West Street, also known as the West Side Highway. We will proceed south on West Street to the rally site, which will stretch north from Chambers Street."
But its another thing to actually see the route on a map. What a damn shame, and what a terrible route. Granted, its not the Boston Free Seech Pit, but more than half the march takes place on 12th Avenue, aka, the West Street, aka the West Side Highway. Residents of Jersey City, NJ will have the best of view of both the march and the rally.
*Sigh*. Oh well.
See the whole route at UJP&J's website.
DNC At the Halfway Point
By now I'm sure all our readers know this... the DNC has invited 35 bloggers to the Democratic Convention, where they blogging from the floor. You can read a collection of their posts via rss streaming at Convention Bloggers.
Oh, and the RNC will be doing the same thing at Madison Square Garden in August. Its interesting to note that, unlike the Democrats, the RNC didn't initiate an "open" bidding process for blogging seats.
News From Outside the Bubble
For most of the time we've had RNCWatch online, we've been reposting and analyzing mainstream media commentary about the RNC. Most of that commentary has come from New York City papers (like this article from the New York Times about the relegation of protesters to the West Side Highway).
But as the convention draws near, columnists from out of town, from hamlets and suburban jungles, are starting to weigh in on the RNC. Here's a representative (and scary) sampling:
To lead off, we've got this editorial from the Montclair Times . Taking a page from the Daily News, the newspaper of the trendy-liberal "Park Slope of New Jersey" writes that "the anarchists, usually seen on television footage as dressed in dark clothing with scarves concealing their faces as they set fire to garbage cans and shatter windows, hate governments, hate private investment, hate elections, hate unions, hate companies, hate us and hate you. But they support 'the people.'"
J.D. Mulane from the Burlington County Times recounts his experiences at the 2000 RNC in Philly and reminds us all why mainstream media converage of that convention was so bad. "Back in the summer of 2000, I was assigned to cover protesters at the Republican National Convention in Philadelphia," Mulane recalls. "Day after day, thousands of noisy, shaggy fist-pumpers chanted angry slogans about George Bush, while others chanted their disgust with Al Gore, corporations, globalization, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, the destruction of rain forests, American imperialism, racism, sexism, ageism, capitalism, homophobia, the U.S. Constitution and 'the media.'"
Finally, Alan Behr, writing for the Sun-Sentinel, opines that "as Labor Day nears ... anyone who possibly can will get out of town. The Republicans will head for their Nantucket beach houses, and the Democrats will go to those New England farms where they grow organic gruel."
Week in Review: The Pipe Bombing Cop, Armed Brown Shirts & The Lying Press
It's been an interesting week for news...
* A pipe bomb explodes in Times Square station forcing police to close part of Eighth Avenue fearing a terrorist attack. The top suspect? A New York police officer.
* RNCWatch.org reveals that right-wing protesters plan to carry concealed weapons during their anti-protesters protests at the Republican National Convention.
* 10 days after the Daily News runs a front-page article warning of "Anarchy Threat to City" the paper has refused repeated requests to publicly reveal their source for the story. The entire story -- which warns of "hard core lunatics plotting convention chaos -- is based on a single Internet post that no one, besides the Daily News and the NYPD, has uncovered.
Perhaps the press should soon be warning its readers about the threat to the city posed by gun-carrying right-wing fanatics and bomb-planting cops.
Fortress Big Apple: Will the President Escape From New York?
Check out this comprehensive round-up article on the GOP coming to NYC by Nick Turse at TomDispatch.com.
United For Peace and Justice Backs Down on Central Park Rally Request
So there will be no Central Park rally during the Republican National Convention...
United for Peace and Justice announced today it would accept an alternative march route for its Aug. 29 anti-war/anti-Bush demonstration that will end on the West Side Highway instead of Central Park.
The march is expected to begin at 23rd Street and Seventh Avenue, head uptown past convention headquarters at Madison Square Garden, turn west on 34th Street and end with a rally along the West Side Highway.
UFPJ had proposed five different sites to end the march -- three options in Central Park, plus Times Square or Third Avenue -- and the city rejected all of them.
Last week, the NYPD essentially told UFPJ accept the West Side Highway or sue.
Leslie Cagan, who heads UFPJ, defended the group's decision at a noon-time press conference: "We need to move on, so we decided to take the high road here."
UFPJ's decision has generated some heated debate on the NYC Indymedia site.