Dress Like an Activist, Walk Like a Delegate



Earplugs help filter out endless hype from the podium and save hearing for important matters, such as any hint of discord between Hillary and Al.

Mobile phones are the official delegate accessory. Use is appropriate on the convention floor, at parties, while walking to the car, at dinner, at tourist destinations and, of course, while stuck in traffic. Most overheard topic: money.

Button, button, who’s got the . . . ? Then again, who doesn’t? Buttons trading is hotter than Beanie Babies on E-bay.

Wear your union T-shirt: One third of this year’s delegates are union members. Alternatively, some state delegates choose shirts that advertise their respective states (floral shirts for Hawaii, for example). A casual shirt will also help distinguish you from the corporate lobbyists, who can usually be detected by their pinstripe suits.

Dress slacks make life convenient for the delegate: Paired with a dress shirt, they segue neatly into party wear.

Swag bags, courtesy of corporate sponsors and local boosters. C-SPAN’s red totes are particularly visible on the Staples Center floor.

Comfortable shoes — it’s a long walk from the perimeter to the entrance.


Hair should be washed in a non-detergent soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s. Oils, dead skin cells and microscopic debris all provide a chemical link between tear gas and skin. Long hair should be worn tied back.

No piercings.

Swim goggles provide protection from chemical agents. (But only temporarily: Both tear gas and pepper spray contain solvents that dissolve rubber and plastic.)

A bandana can also be soaked in baking soda or vinegar in the event of a tear-gas encounter and provide emergency protection for nose and mouth.

T-shirt imprinted with the slogan of a cause — preferably in big enough lettering that it’s visible to news cameras and legible to tele vision audiences.

Phone number for the Midnight Special Law Collective (323-939-3039), or other legal representation, written on arm. Address books can be confiscated by police and used to incriminate friends and co-workers.

Nail clipper: Sometimes works to cut through handcuffs.

Crazy glue on fingertips obliterates prints.

Activists planning to participate in a lockdown situation who anticipate hours of immobility wear an adult diaper, such as Depends© undergarments, under loose-fitting pants. Gap cargos are not ideal: Although Gap nets $11.6 billion annually, the corporation still denies a living wage to workers in 50 countries around the world.

Extra pockets store mobile phone, Clif© bars, water bottle. Clif© donates a portion of its profits to environmental and other worthy causes. Nextel is the activist’s phone of choice, due to its conference-call capabilities, which make it possible to coordinate direct-action tactics spontaneously. (Under some circumstances, however, a Nextel is a liability: The conspicuous operation of such a device has, in some circumstances, led to the arrest of the user.)

Activists wear running shoes, but not Nike: Nike, Inc. still refuses to pay its 300,000-some workers in China, Indonesia and Vietnam a living wage.

Most Popular