by Eleanor Goldfield
So, the DNC. Queen Hillary was coronated and her drones worked hard to keep dissenters in line. From shutting down Bernie delegates, to chanting “USA” in order to drown out “No More Wars” chants – hello imperialism – the DNC on the inside appeared to be a small but important taste of what a Hillary presidency would look like. And most of the Bernie delegates didn’t want to jump in line for that.
In fact, on Tuesday, Bernie delegates walked out of the convention as Clinton was named the official nominee. They walked to the media tent and staged a sit-in which somehow managed to miss most corporate media outlets despite the fact that protesters were quite literally in their way to report on anything else. Delegates said they were protesting the Democratic party stealing the primaries and the fact that their voices were being silenced by the machine in order to make Hillary the nominee.
And on the outside, election fraud was a major theme, as Bernie supporters held signs and marched against the DNC with chants like, “hell no DNC, we won’t vote for Hillary.”
Indeed, the main dissenting theme of the DNC was this: we reject your order to fall in line. We don’t want your war, we don’t want your greed. We don’t want your profit over planet and people and we don’t want your damn candidate. And while some protesters such as Code Pink (full – two code pink images) were able to take their banners and messages of peace and equality INSIDE the convention center, the doses of dissent that we’re bringing you happened outside the air conditioned confines of the DNC. The police response appeared to be mild but I should add that protesters stayed mostly on permitted streets and free speech zones. Mary Catherine Roper from ACLU Pennsylvania had this to say when I asked her about police conduct:
“Outside the convention site in South Philadelphia, the police presence was enormous, but generally stayed to the side. Most of the officers were on bicycles, which they used to block access to the gates and fences when they thought people would try to breach the security perimeter. Riot police made a couple of appearances – the last on Thursday night in a bizarre incident when the riot squad marched up right after a two-hour standoff between protesters and police at the gate had resolved. The Commissioner was on site and immediately turned them around and sent them away.
The Philly police detained a little over 100 protesters, most for climbing or breaching the security fences, who were issued civil citations and released. But a small number of those who scaled the fences were arrested by federal agents and held overnight or longer, and now face criminal charges in federal court.
There was some use of force. Some of the police using their bicycles as barricades also pushed them at protesters, and one transit officer (not Philadelphia police) used pepper spray through a security fence at protesters who appeared to be doing nothing but chanting.”
She said that overall she felt the police conduct was restrained and from what I saw, I’d have to agree. And to be clear, I view this less as a show of police benevolence and more as a decision by activists and protesters to not cross the blue line.
As these movements push forward, it’s important to review these tactics and organize on the foundation of legitimate gains, disruption and people power.
Regardless, I can tell you that a lot of people left marches and rallies energized and inspired – the fight for justice continues – in the streets, in our movements and against this system. So, without further ado, here are images from the DNC actions as well as a brief video of Day One.
For more, check out the Act Out! full episode airing in the first week of August on occupy.com and Free Speech TV.
Image & video credit: Eleanor Goldfield/Art Killing Apathy
Philly street art on Broad
March For Our Lives flags
US Marxist-Leninist Organization