Military Resistance at the RNC

September 4, 2008

from the Atlantic.com:

“The war is being supported by the people who consent to it continuing,” declared Adrienne Kinne, a former Army Arabic linguist, to her Iraq Veterans Against the War colleagues. The group had gathered for their own convention in the Ramada Mall of America hotel ahead of the Republican National Committee events, taking stock of their past year’s work and plotting future operations. Many of them had slept little the night before, having driven in from the Democratic National Convention. In Denver they had walked for several hours on mock combat patrols, dressed in camouflage, with imaginary rifles at the ready. They took fire from “snipers” and treated their flailing, screaming wounded. They held off mobs of angry Iraqi protestors, played by volunteers, and shoved suspected “insurgents” to the ground. Sufficiently shocked, they hoped, the lunchtime crowd might reconsider America’s role in Iraq.

full article

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Report from the Streets of St. Paul: “organizers remained determined to move forward”

September 3, 2008

By LeiLani Dowell

St. Paul, Minn.

Despite an onslaught of police terror and repression, protesters from across the country used a variety of tactics to march on the Republican National Convention here on Sept. 1. A mass march organized by the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War was followed by youthful street actions to denounce the Republican policies of endless imperialist war and sweeping attacks on workers.

In an escalation of tactics used at the Democratic National Convention in Denver a week earlier, Minnesota police began the repression against RNC protesters days before the march. The cops raided community kitchens, meeting spaces and protesters’ homes; handcuffed and harassed activists; confiscated political literature; and arrested at least three people on bogus “conspiracy to riot” charges.

Despite this intimidation, organizers remained determined to move forward with what would turn out to be a highly successful, massive march as well as direct actions on Labor Day, Sept. 1.

Some 30,000 attended a rally that included representatives of the American Indian Movement; ANSWER Coalition; Appeal for Redress Campaign; Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War; Code Pink; Colombia Action Network; Green Party; Latinos Against War; Palestine Solidarity Group; Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign; Students for a Democratic Society; Teamsters 743; Troops Out Now Coalition; United for Peace and Justice; Venezuela Solidarity Network; Veterans for Peace; Welfare Rights Committee; and Women Against Military Madness.

The diverse crowd, led by the Iraq Veterans Against the War, then marched to the Xcel Center, site of the Republican convention, and back to the State Capitol for a closing rally. Various contingents included low-income people, youth and students, immigrant rights activists, labor, Palestine and Colombia solidarity activists, an anti-capitalist bloc and an anti-climate-change group.

While Republican Party leaders shied away from the conference so as to not seem insensitive in the face of Hurricane Gustav, activists remembered the neglect of the Bush administration in response to Hurricane Katrina. A Troops Out Now Coalition banner read “Bush–McCain; Katrina–Gustav: Criminal Neglect Continues.”

Meanwhile, hundreds of youth engaged in militant street actions. They were met by brutal attacks at the hands of the police, including being doused with pepper spray and tear gas. Fight Imperialism, Stand Together (FIST) activist and eyewitness videographer Elena Everett reported that a disabled man in a wheelchair was sprayed head-to-toe with pepper spray. Others were hit in the back with tear gas canisters.

The Coldsnap Legal Collective (coldsnaplegal.wordpress.com) reports that as of Sept. 1, the Ramsey County Sheriff’s Office had announced 284 arrests. Some 130 were charged with felony offenses, which most likely will be used to keep them in jail until the end of the convention. The collective says that the majority of those arrested are still being held in jail, and some are being refused proper medical attention. The collective is asking supporters to call the jail at 651-266-9350 to demand that these activists be released and given proper medical attention.

While the corporate media has focused almost exclusively on property damage sustained during the street actions, including windows being broken at a Macy’s department store, several eyewitnesses told this reporter that the person who began breaking the windows was clearly an agent provocateur working with the police. He approached the window in clear view of the cops, broke it and walked away without an arrest. A police car was also damaged.

However, at a press conference the following day, march coordinator Jess Sundin was quick to point out that any rage displayed by activists in the streets is completely justified and pales in comparison to the state violence committed on a daily basis by U.S. forces at home and abroad.

The joint press conference was held by the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, the RNC Welcoming Committee and the Poor People’s Economic and Human Rights Campaign–all of whom held fast in their solidarity with arrestees, despite attempts by corporate media reporters to bait them into denouncing “violence.” One man, representing the Poor People’s Economic and Human Rights Campaign, challenged the reporters: “You act like we’re having this press conference in a country that hasn’t practiced oppression for hundreds of years.”

A number of activities are planned to continue the protests through the end of the convention on Sept. 4, including free public music festivals, a “March for Our Lives” and a “solutions driven” peace conference. For updates on activities, visit https://dncrnc.wordpress.com/.

LeiLani Dowell is an activist and leader with the Troops Out Now Coalition (TONC).  TONC activists and organizers have been on the streets at both conventions, marching against racism, war, and injustice.

To find out more about the Troops Out Now Coalition, go to www.TroopsOutNow.org

To donate to help pay for organizing expenses, go to http://troopsoutnow.org/donate.shtml

To sign the petition demanding an end to police brutality and illegal conduct in St. Paul, go to http://www.troopsoutnow.org/rnc08protestrights.shtml


McCain refuses to meet with Iraq war vets

September 2, 2008

Photos from IVAW March and Immigrant Rights March

August 30, 2008

Iraq Vets Confront Democrats in Denver

August 29, 2008

from Uprising Radio:

Iraq Vets Confront Democrats in Denver

Published on 28 Aug 2008, 10:03 amNo Comments
Filed under Feature Stories

Listen to this segment | the entire program

IVAWOn day 3 of the Denver DNC, former president Bill Clinton addressed delegates, Barack Obama’s running mate Joe Biden accepted the Vice Presidential nomination, and Obama himself made a surprise appearance. Meanwhile, outside the convention hall Rage Against the Machine played to a crowd of thousands, followed by the largest demonstration of the week, an antiwar march led by Iraq Veterans Against the War. IVAW members demanded to meet with the Obama campaign and deliver a letter containing their demands to end the war and support veterans. They were met by a hundred Denver police clad in riot gear and armed with batons and tear gas. Eventually one IVAW member was allowed to cross the police line to meet with a representative of the Obama campaign. Major US news media chose to completely ignore this dramatic story.

GUEST: Aura Bogado, Anchor for Free Speech Radio News, who is covering both conventions for Pacifica Radio – she’s also blogging from inside and outside the conventions at tothecurb.wordpress.com.

Photograph by Aura Bogado, exclusive to Uprising


Standoff with Police as Iraq Vets Demand to Meet with Obama Campaign

August 29, 2008

from Alternet:

“We’re here as veterans, as soldiers, as marines, here to demand that the Democratic Party uphold to the front that they have as an antiwar party, and actually make a stand, and bring our soldiers home now,” said 31-year-old Adrienne Kinnie, a member of IVAW who served in the U.S. Army and Army Reserves from 1994 to 2004.

full article here


Iraq Veterans Against the War celebrate peaceful victory at DNC

August 29, 2008

from Colorado Indymedia:

Shalom Keller
Iraq Veterans Against the War member Shalom Keller speaks Aug. 27, while Jason Hurd raises his fist, at a march to end the war in Iraq. The group and its supporters drew a crowd of at least 4,000 to march from the Denver Coliseum to the Pepsi Center, where veterans held their ground against a wall of riot-gear-clad police. Despite a tense moment in which police readied tear gas canisters, a representative from Obama’s campaign acknowledged receipt of a letter from IVAW, leading the veterans to about face.

Story and photos by Emile Hallez for Colorado Indy Media

When the formation of Iraq veterans did an about face, the wall of riot-gear-clad police put away their tear gas canisters. Ominous storm clouds parted. It was an unexpected victory for the Iraq Veterans Against the War and a relief to everyone near the DNC entrance to the Pepsi Center.

full article here