Tag Archives: freedom

RNC- not the age of dissent

so, you think you live in a free country? you think we have the freedom to assemble? think again. and i’ll be very surprised if any of us hear about this from mainstream media outlets.
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RNC2—Raid on the Convergence Center

By Starhawk

It’s Friday night. Our Pagan Cluster is sitting on the bluff of the Mississippi having our first real meeting, when Lisa gets a call. The cops are raiding the Convergence Center, where we’re organizing meetings and trainings for the protests against the Republican National Convention. It’s not a role play, the caller says. It’s real.

Instantly, we jump up and hurry back the six or eight blocks to the old theater we are using for meetings, trainings and social gatherings. I ‘ve spent the last two days doing magical activism trainings, teaching people how to stay calm and grounded in emergency situations and when things get chaotic. Now it’s time to put the training into practice. Aaron, a tall, red-headed young man who could be one of my nephews strides along beside me. “Are you grounded?” I ask him. He nods, and runs ahead.

Nobody can keep up with Lisa, who speeds ahead like an arrow, walking, not running, but still covering the ground quickly. Andy and I trail behind. We’re often street buddies, because we’re both big, slow, and supremely calm and stubborn, willing to wade into almost any situation and become the immovable object.

We’re stopped by a line of cops just before we reach the building. They refuse to let us through, or to move their van which is blocking Scarecrow’s car. There’s an investigation underway, they say, and won’t say more.

Brush, our dear friend, is inside, having gone to a jail solidarity meeting, ironically enough. So are two very young people who had just joined our cluster that night. I try calling Brush’s cell phone, but get no reply.

We wait. That’s what you do when the cops have guns trained on kids inside a building. You wait, and witness, and make phone calls, and try to think of useful things to do.

We call lawyers. We call politicians. We try to call media. We call friends who might know politicians and media.

Through the kitchen door, we cansee young kids sitting on the floor, handcuffed. We walk across the street, back, made more phone calls. An ambulance is parked in front, and the paramedics head into the building, leaving a gurney ready. Susu, from her car around the corner, reports that the cops have been grabbing pedestrians from the street, forcing them down to the ground, handcuffing them.

Song, one of the local organizers, calls her City Council member. She wants to call the Mayor, Chris Coleman, who has promised that St. Paul will be as welcoming to protestors as to delegates, but no one has his home number.

What I have forgotten to tell people at the training is how much of an action is just this: tense, boring waiting, with a knot of anxiety in your stomach and your feet starting to hurt. Song talks to a helpful neighbor, who’s come over to find out what’s happening. He knows where the mayor lives, says it’s just a few blocks away, and draws us a map.

We decide to go and call on the Mayor, who could call off the cops. About five of us troop down there, through the soft night and a neighborhood of comfortable homes and wide lawns on the bluffs above the Mississippi. The Mayor’s house is a comfortable Dutch Colonial, and lights were on inside. We decide that just a few of us will go to the door, so as not to look intimidating. Song is a round, soft-bodied middle-aged woman with a sweet face. Ellen is a tiny brunette with a gap-toothed smile, and Lisa, formidable organizer though she is, looks slight and unthreatening. The rest of us hang back. Someone opens the door. Our friends have a conversation with the mayors’ wife, who is not pleased to be visited by constituents late at night, and who tells us we should call the office. The Mayor, she says, is asleep, and she will not wake him up.

We think a mayor who was doing his job would get up and go see what’s going on. Nonetheless, we head back to the convergence space.

A protestor has been released from the building. A small crowd has gathered across the street, and Fox News has arrived. They interview Song, who does her first ever Fox media spot. She tells them the truth—that people were in there watching movies—a documentary about Meridel Le Seuer. Meridel would be proud, and I’m glad she is with us in some form.

One by one, protestor’s trickle out. Now we get more pieces of the story. The cops burst in, with no warning. They pulled drew their guns on everyone—including a five year old child who was there with his mother, forced everyone down on the floor. It was terrifying.

They had a warrant, apparently, from the county, not the city, to search for ‘bomb making materials.’ They were searching everyone in the building, then one by one releasing them as they found nothing.

They continue to find nothing, as we wait through long hours. Meanwhile, more and more media arrives. These cops are not as creative as the DC cops during our first mobilization there against the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Those cops confiscated the lunchtime soup—which included onions and chili powder, claiming they were materials for home made pepper spray.

We wait until the last person gets out. He’s a twenty year old who the cops have accused of stealing his own backpack—but apparently they relented.

And now it’s morning. I wake up to the news that cops have been raiding houses where activists are staying, bursting in with the same bogus warrant and arresting people, including a four year old child. They’ve arrested people at the Food Not Bombs house—a group dedicated to feeding protestors and the homeless. They’ve arrested others, presumably just for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Poor Peoples’ Campaign, which had set up camp at Harriet Island, a park in the middle of the Mississippi, has also been harassed, its participants ordered to disperse and its organizers arrested.

Let me be perfectly clear here—all of us here are planning nonviolent protests against an administration which is responsible for immense violence, bombs that have destroyed whole countries, and hundreds of thousands of deaths.

This is the America that eight years of the Bush administration have brought us, a place where dissent is no longer tolerated, where pre-emptive strikes have become the strategy of choice for those who hold power, where any group can be accused of ‘bombmaking’ or ‘terrorism’ on no evidence whatsoever in order to deter dissent.

Please stand with us. Because it could be your home they are raiding, next.

Call the Mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis. Tell them you are outraged by these attacks on dissent. Urge them to let Poor People encamp and to let dissent be heard.

FLOOD THE MAYORS’ OFFICES ASAP

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman

651-266-8510

Minneapolis Mayor RT Rybak

(612) 673-2100

(612) 673-3000 outside Minneapolis


flag flying

I dislike flags. Can’t understand why people put all sorts of flags up all over their yards. I mean, used to be an american flag on the 4th of July and that was about all you ever saw. Now you see bunny flags, dog flags, easter egg flags, all sorts of flags from the tacky to the overly sentimental. Is this some way for people to feel connected to the world? “Hi! I live here. See my flag proclaiming ducks. I like ducks! How about you?”
anyway…I got this from a friend:


FLY THE FLAG campaign and PLEASE forward this email immediately to everyone in your address book asking them to also forward it.
We have a little less than one week and counting to get the word out all across this great land and into every community in the United States of America . If you forward this email to least 11 people and each of those people do the same…you get the idea.
/THE PROGRAM IS THIS:/
On Monday, September 11th, 2006, an American flag should be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States .
Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this fifth anniversary of one of our country’s worst tragedies. We do this in honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.

more, if you care to read it


I don’t know quite what to do with myself.

This was my last day working at Villanova. 18 years–a chunk of time, that. I feel like I’ve aged 10 years this week. I hope it’s reversible.

The day was better than I thought it would be. Lee wanted to go through some stuff she’ll need to know, taking up a fair bit of the morning. Lots of people coming by to say bye. A fun, somewhat raucous lunch with Lee, Phylis and Kathy set me up for the rest of the afternoon. I thought I’d be leaving early, but Luisa needed to go through things and I needed to go through things, and Lee and I needed to pretend we weren’t ready for a good cry. We’ve been partners for 15 years and leaving her is just the hardest thing I’ve done. Harder than divorcing those old husbands.

So around 3:30 I sent out my final email, set my mail to forward to Lee, gathered up my stuff and managed to walk out the door 15 minutes later.

for the last time

When I got to the car, I set my “good luck” balloons free and drove home.

done


broken straws

i quit my job today.
i quit my job a month ahead of schedule.
the plan was to leave by april fools day, but a co-worker in a different department decided to challenge me. made an effort to upset me. treated me with disrespect and attempted to bully me.
i wanted to give him a wake up call.
i wanted to trash him.
i wanted to rip out his throat out and present him with gristle.
instead, i grew quiet.
i repeated the procedure and fell back on policy.
i then went to lunch.
it took me 45 minutes to stop shaking.
i thought, is it worth it? do i need to take this? is it worth it?
i then wrote my resignation letter
made 3 copies
put one in the director’s mail slot, one in his assistant’s slot, and one in my supervisor’s slot.
i then told those who needed to know that i’d be leaving them to pursue my LIFE.
and i apologized
and i paced
and i pressed my fists to my solar plexus.
i am still pressing
and pressing
tomorrow…
shit will hit fan
i will point no fingers
i will say no thing that could be used against another
but if he calls me up
if he wants more than i’m willing to give
i will tell him that i simply cannot, in good conscience, work in his world.
i will take my dignity with me and hope for the best.


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