Tag Archives: Philadelphia

The Hillary Clinton War Machine banner seen by everyone at 2016 DNC but you.


PHILADELPHIA, PA- The second day of protest of the 2016 DNC was expected to dwarf Sunday’s impressive turnout, so we hit the Monday rally determined to repeat our photo-op coup of the day before. This time our banner read “HILLARY CLINTON IS THE CANDIDATE OF THE WAR MACHINE” which we knew would ruffle more feathers. We wore costumes, me as American Cowboy Capitalist, my teammate as war victim, in a black burqa, Muslims being both targets and scapegoats of the US War on Islam. Shutters clicked wherever we went, whether our banner was unfurled or not. Professional photographers recorded our names and fellow activists gave us thumbs up and maneuvered to record us on their phones. Some posed beside us, asking companions or strangers to take their selfies. We gave interviews to Time Magazine, the New Yorker, several newspapers, and multiple foreign news outlets. We spoke about the undemocratic character of our party conventions and about Hillary being the establishment warmonger. Having drenched our clothes in Philly’s 95 degree weather, we consoled ourselves that we had absolutely nailed the message.

We’d learned the day before that getting a visual out before a march began was the most fruitful in reaching the media audience. Unless you’re storming the Bastille, protest visuals are not for drawing people to the street. Visual messaging is for the benefit of local television viewers first, who can rush to join in, and news readers second, to give substance to the coverage.

At first we found scant footage of our banner in the Sunday march, but our early morning bannering, meant be a beacon toward which people could gather, garnered a headline photo by the AP. That picture ran on AP articles across the globe, and dominatd images of “DNC protests” before the convention had even begun.

We knew that press coverage would be best before the convention got started, when protests wouldn’t compete with the choreographed performances inside. But we were confident that the first day’s march, as the biggest and most anticipated, would float our antiwar message to the top. Our war-machine slogan appealed to Bernie supporters, to the Greens, and to the antiwar groups.

We went out early and wherever we went we drew thumbs up, applause, fingers pointed our way, cellphones and cameras. Organizers of a Bernie-delegates press conference asked us to be their backdrop. So imagine our surprise when the day’s news images did not include our banner!

Instead media photo editors chose images of Bernie Sanders supporters despondent about his betrayal. In reality, most protesters on Monday were not apprised of Bernie’s formal capitulation. Protesters were upbeat and enthousiastic. The thousands of Berners who marched that day were exuberant about the prospects of their delegates prevailing in the convention. Press photogs must have known something about what their editors wanted, or the heat and exhaustion produced the compositions they needed. News stories of Monday’s start of the DNC ran with images of solitary protesters, looking isolated and resigned.

For our part, we’re certain the photos of our banner will resurface from the files when Hillary’s presidency is in the bag and the war machine is no longer an embargoed issue.

Clean Energy march opens DNC 2016

Clean Energy March, July 24, 2016
PHILADELPHIA, PA- Sunday’s successful march kickstarted public demonstrations against the 2016 Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Thousands called for environmental justice on the eve of the nomination of pro-fracking, pro-pipeline, pro-war-for-oil Hillary Clinton. The banner brought by Denver Occupiers “THINK OUTSIDE THE CONVENTION” dominated the photopress coverage, thanks to a great AP image carried around the world. It was a good thing too, because “Clean Energy” is a bit of a muddy concept, isn’t it?

The event was sponsored in part by the Sierra Club and Food and Water Watch, known to accommodate fracking as part of their Big Greens “let’s be realistic” about what what environmental actions can achieve. I’m not convinced that the average tree hugger has come to favor “clean” over the lesser-descript “green”, but energy industrialists cerainly like clean. They’re confident they’ve squarely branded it with natural gas. The clean coal industry is still making a play for it too.

Though the marchers on July 24 were unanimously against fossil fuels, participants may have been hoodwinked into believing they can reclaim the word “clean” from corporate advertizing and its captive media. I doubt it. This is the same argument for reasserting ownership of the American Flag from the America Fuck Yeah pro-war patriots. No. You retire the Swastika, you don’t rebrand it to mean something transformative. Someone pushing to rehabilitate the swastika is a Nazi.

Also typical of demonstrations coordinated by Big Greens, the march on Sunday didn’t go to the DNC. Instead it went Eastward, from City Hall for Independence Hall, for a rally in sweltering heat –and unshaded sun– that will incapacitate many participants from the next day’s march. The Big Greens know from their membership rolls that the average age is elderly.

Where to protest the 2016 Philly DNC

PHILADELPHIA, PA- Depending on what you’re here to accomplish at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, pro-Bernie, anti-war, reformist, or disruption, here’s our shortlist of the event sites according to theme.

1. WELLS FARGO CENTER– Main site of DNC, for delegates only, surrounded by four miles of 8ft tall modular steel crowd control barriers.
 
2. CITY HALL– Most rallies and demonstrations are scheduled to converge here before a 4-mile march to DNC site.
 
3. INDEPENDENCE HALL– Sunday’s “Clean Energy” march ended here. Its lawn of is the backdrop for MSNBC live convention coverage and was the 2011 site of Occupy Philly.

4. CLINTONVILLE– Located 8 miles due North of DNC at America & Somerset, “Clintonville” is an urban campsite for the people’s movement, economic justice issues, and Green Party candidate Jill Stein.

5. MARCONI PLAZA– Less than a half mile from the DNC, Marconi Plaza is an ideal launching point to rally demonstrators against the DNC. Shade is sparse but this plaza appears to be the daily epicenter for Bernie Sanders supporters.

6. F.D.R. PARK– This park is immediately adjacent to the DNC and at the last minute was made available for overnight protest camping. There is ample shade but the many trees will prevent large centralized assemblies. It’s the place to be Monday afternoon and evening.

In spite of permits, plans or schedules, protests of Philly DNC begin Sunday, July 24, when whole world is watching.

Cleveland RNC protest marchCLEVELAND, OHIO- Already the 2016 RNC has a lesson to offer organizers of next week’s DNC in Philadelphia. Throw everything you’ve got into SUNDAY, Day Zero. Once party delegates disappear into the convention center, they take the reporters with them. It’s a mistake fresh activists make every election cycle. The biggest demonstrations are scheduled on the official start date, Monday, instead of Sunday when the streets have the undivided attention of the media, and especially of the international press. It’s no wonder Philly administrators approved protest permits for July 25-29, but none to large rally planners for Sunday July 24. My experience from conventions past is that Sunday marches will spontaneously take to the streets, but their numbers will remain limited by the fact that buses weren’t hired to bring the masses until the next day. By then only the alternative outlets will be covering events outside the convention floor. Even the largest protests on Monday will be belittled. The news stories will be about the underwelming turnout in comparison to the host city’s security preparations. Militarized cops will outnumber everyone and even protesters will feel let down by the apparent lack of resolve of their comrades who stayed home. It is dispiriting but it’s false, because the benchmark by which successful convention protests are judged is Chicago 1968, whose mythos has distorted a critical detail: the numbers. The protestors of the 1968 Democratic National Convention numbered only a thousand. The mayhem of lore was investigated and found to have been a “police riot” caused by Chicaco police forces which numbered 11,000. Those troop levels -both sides- will easily be surpassed in Philadelphia. The corporate media will of course pretend otherwise. If would-be disrupters of DNC 2016 were taught their people’s history, maybe they could take heart.