By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Although it's still a year before the Republican National Convention, activists here and around the country are already teeming with protest plans and ideas. Why in the world would the party of kleptocrats choose America's largest and most diverse city, hardly a GOP stronghold, as the site of their coronation of George W. Bush for a second term? Well, that's easy. Remember 9-11? And, come to think of it, with Wall Street headquartered here, the Republicans probably think it is their stronghold.
The GOP's power, however, will be met with power. A critical mass of demonstrators and activists is getting ready to swarm the fat cats like so many yapping dogs. Veteran activist Steve Ault, one of those involved right now in meetings with a segment of the troops, marvels at "the level of buzz and activity already." And why not?
"It's all scripted," Ault says of the convention. "It's a big public relations scam, and the people of New York are the fucking propsthe Republicans are using suffering as a prop." Of course, maybe the GOP wants confrontation for its televised circus.
In any case, what follows is a very preliminary and partial list of groups gleaned from those that have signed on at counterconvention.org and rncnotwelcome.org, plus assorted other organizations and websites:
Anarchists in New York!
Click on "nyc cop watch" for valuable information on dealing with Officer Unfriendly. And see the lists of disparate social justice groups, including ones for Indians and Filipinas. This site also features extensive readings, including background information on COINTELPRO, the infamous FBI action from 1956 to 1971 against activists.
Energetic Leninist revolutionaries' anti-war HQ page, with countless links to other groups.
P.O. Box 568, Brooklyn, NY 11211 " . . . an autonomous zone for arts radicals in both old and new media. We publish books on radical media, politics, and the arts . . . "
Act Up/New York
Wily veterans of AIDS protests offer lots of tips for activists.
An organization of "women of independent means" who follow Barbara Ehrenreich's dictum that "dissent, rebellion, and all-around hell-raising remain the true duty of patriots." The Babes, along with the Ruckus Society (see below) and global exchange (globalexchange.org), hired a boat and welcomed Bush to the UN last September with a huge banner above the East River that said, "Earth to Bush: No Iraq War." (Check it out at earthtobush.com.) Now they're pouring money and energy into codepink: women for peace (code pinkalert.org).
Bands Against Bush
babnyc.org (New York City chapter)
Part of a nationwide movement of musicians. Next biggig: an International Day of Action this October 11.
Bring Them Home Now!
"A campaign of military families, veterans, active duty personnel, reservists, and others opposed to the ongoing war in Iraq and galvanized to action by George W. Bush's inane and reckless challenge to armed Iraqis resisting occupation to 'bring 'em on.' " P.O. Box 91233, Raleigh, NC 27675
Get your ammo here on what Bush and his pals are up to. Great headline service at bushwatch.com/bushreport.htm.
Looking to see how your bank fees and insurance premiums are being used? Keep an eye on campaign finance reports filed by this group, a vehicle (along with the New York City Host Committee) used by the GOP to finance its big show. The latest reports, incidentally, show the Republicans taking out huge loans from Wachovia Bank to start paying for their coronation activities. Apparently, deficit financing is OK for plutocratic celebrations, but it can't be used to pay for food, education, health care, and housing for the rest of us. Oh, and you try getting an interest-free loan from Wachovia, as the GOP did.
Working list of groups mobilizing against the RNC. Site includes a helpful list of protestable addresses, including those of the Carlyle Group (520 Madison Avenue, at 52nd Street, 41st floor) and Bechtel (21 East 40th Street, at Fifth Avenue, sixth floor).
Philadelphia's "newspaper for optimism and refusal," prominent during the 2000 GOP convention in Philly. Lots of good tips for demonstrators, including a link to the Lesbian Avengers Handbook: lesbian.org/chicago-avengers/avengerhandbook.html.
Allies from Oakland, California, who may be willing to be "involved in a mini food warehouse, communal kitchen, and bringing food to appropriate locations via bicycle cart."
Electronic Disturbance Theater
"Virtual Sit-In Performance Group." Civil disobedience in cyberspace.
Food Not Bombs Richmond
"We want to be a part of something huge and effective. We'll bring buses from Virginia and affinity groups as well, hopefully."
The George W. Bush 2000 Stolen Election Commemorative Coin
Independent Media Center
Planetary network of activist media. Great collections of stories, actions. For the local folks and their monthly newspaper, see nyc.indymedia.org.
Network of anti-capitalist activists.
Anti-war site. Check out the NYC Guide to War Profiteers, complete with maps, at www. m27coalition.org/directaction_locations.html.
"Make Pie, Not War." See the "Ignorance Is Strength" poster of Dubya. P.O. Box 11063, Brady Lake, OH 44211
"Worker collective providing technology assistance to social justice organizations." 39 Broadway, 10th floor, New York, NY 10006
Clever site by an artists' collective. Lots of images and "propaganda," including a series of images designed for an Orwellian "Two Minutes Hate," starring Dubya.
New York City Social Forum
Group trying to set up a social forum next year in the city like the huge gatherings recently in Spain, Mexico, Italy, South Africa, and Brazil.
New York Youth Bloc
Coalition of high school students for "peace, justice, and empowerment."
Not In Our Name
"No war on the world, no detentions and roundups, no police state restrictions." Flyers, reports, and a "Pledge of Resistance."
NYC Aids Housing Network
" . . . we are planning to re-create the massive demonstration during the 1992 Democratic National Convention called for United for AIDS Action so that the damaging policies on welfare, criminal justice, racial justice, immigration, housing and healthcare can be reversed, therefore stopping the spread of HIV here in NYC, the United States, and globally."
NYC Forum Of Concerned Religious Leaders
Group of serious-minded activists, including Pastor Peter Laarman of Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South. "Save the Date! August 29, 2004, The World Says No to Bush."
One Thousand Reasons
"Need a reason to protest? Here's a thousand." See the hilarious and frightening Dubya résumé at thousandreasons.org/resume.html.
Good, all-purpose site for activists, with an up-to-date events list, highlighting current efforts to counter military recruiting.
The People United
Virginia-based network of progressives and radicals.
The Petition Site
Click on an anti-Bush petition sponsored by the League of Conservation Voters.
"Global pastry uprising" calling for a "million yippie march." Lots of fun, including a catchy tune called "George Bush's America the Beautiful":
O beautiful for spacious lies
And fake bin Laden tapes
For yellow-cake uranium
And evidence that's baked.
There's oil, don't you see?
Though it's a sham,
I'll bomb Saddam
So there'll be more for me!
O beautiful for corporate crime
For Enron, Brown, and Root
For Gates and Lay and Uncle Dick
God bless the Carlyle Group!
Your pensions have been spent
On drugs and clothes
You'll never see a cent.
Exhaustive clearinghouse of activities here and around the globe.
Queers For Peace And Justice
"LGBT anti-war/occupation group dedicated towards building an anti-war/occupation presence in the LGBT community and a queer presence in the anti-war movement."
RNC Not Welcome
Web collective that's organizing against the convention. Among other graphics, get a MetroCard "Not Welcome" parody design for your use.
The Ruckus Society
Invaluable Oakland, California, group with information for training activists. Among many useful topics, see the Ruckus Society Media Manual at ruckus.org/man/media_ manual.html. For the more athletic protesters, there's "How to Hang Yourself From an Urban Structure" (though it cautions that "a good activist is a living activist"): ruckus.org/man/hanging.html.
Social Justice Alliance
Busy SUNY-Stony Brook group.
street theater workshops
From a noted group of giant-puppet masters in nearby Vermont: "How to launch precision attacks on war and capitalist megalomania" and "how to make cardboard politicians, picture stories (cantastoria), hand puppets, and giants for rallies,parades, etc." Eager to provide "a subversive lesson or two." Bread & Puppet Theater, 753 Heights Road, Glover, VT 05839
United For A Fair Economy
Boston-based think tank with plenty of sophisticated ammo for fighting the radical right's "shrink, shift, and shaft budget and tax agenda."
United For Peace &Justice
Huge anti-war coalition's info-packed site. "We organized the massive February 15 anti-war rally in New York City and will be organizing an equally massive march on August 29, 2004, to kick off the week of protest against the Republican National Convention." Check out such useful info as "How to Plan an Action."
Video Activist Network
War Profiteers Card Deck
Ingenious deck of cards with detailed interactive info on Bush and his assorted knaves. "This is no Sunday bridge club. These are individuals and institutions that stack the deck against democracy in the rigged game of global power. Exposing their place in the house of cards illuminates the links among corporations, institutions, and government officials that profit from endless war." The cards are for sale, but you can download the images for free and slap them on T-shirts and posters.
A venerable international organization with branches in Brooklyn, Manhattan, New Jersey, and Connecticutand the Hamptons. Experienced organizers of anti-war protests and peace vigils. Downloadable flyers.
Anti-war group based in Swarthmore, Pennsylvania. Want to make MP3 copies of Dubya saying unequivocally that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Here's a useful guide for editing soundbites from the White House website, including how to convert them from RealAudio: why-war.com/ resources/guides/2003/06/realaudio.html.
For those who want to move the Democrats back to progressive stances, try the Wellstone Democratic Renewal Club's listserv, based in Berkeley, California.
Of course, there are scores of groups and sites not named above that will be involved in the protests. And among the other groups that have already signed up on counterconvention.orgare the Jersey City Peace Movement, Bean (a student activist group in Providence, Rhode Island, that's "looking to do direct action @ RNC"), Peace (activists in Wilmington, North Carolina, who will "probably put something together in our home town to show our support of what you're doing"), and Smear (a "concerned local activist group experienced in organizing nonviolent direct actions around social and environmental issues").