If Democrats really want to address the issue of “Toxic Politics,” a great place to start would be with what Progressives call the “arrestables.”
What are arrestables and how do they work? What they are is fairly self-explanatory: arrestables are protesters who are predetermined to be arrested.
Who they are is where it really gets interesting. They are a mix of professional protesters and anarchists, organized largely (but not exclusively) through a working relationship between community organizers like Lisa Fithian of RANT, Susie Benjamin and Jodie Evans of CodePink (major Obama fundraisers), and Bernadine Dohrn of the Weather Underground Terrorist Party (major Obama fundraiser).
How arrestables are used is also fascinating. Progressive protest planners typically hire a band called “Rage Against the Machine” who puts on a hell of an energized show, with popular songs like “Killing in the Name” and “Bullet in the Head.”
From “Killing in the Name”
Those who died are justified, for wearing the badge, they’re the chosen whites
You justify those that died by wearing the badge, they’re the chosen whites
Yeah! Come on!
F$%k you, I won’t do what you tell me
F$%k you, I won’t do what you tell me
From “Bullet in the Head”
This time the bullet cold rocked ya
A yellow ribbon instead of a swastika
Nothin’ proper about ya propaganda
Fools follow rules when the set commands ya
After the incredibly amped rebellion-charged show is over, the band and the organizers encourage everyone to take the rage out on to the streets, where they march with or without permit, often (but not always) leading to violent police confrontation and arrest.
Below is an image of Progressive protest organizers going over where the arrestables will be positioned in a post-Rage Against The Machine concert march in Denver during the 2008 DNC convention. More amazing photos from this meeting are available here.
That BS at the top about “NON-violent direct action” must not have been on the diagrams they used in 2008 RNC convention in St. Paul where they rioted in one form or another each day/night they were there. And besides, there is no such creature as a non-violent direct action arrestable. They are a contradiction in terms.
Folks locked-down at several off-ramps leading into downtown, and one crew locked-down at the back entrance of the Xcel Center. Then there was a car lock-down in an intersection downtown. There were also several roving blockades, a roving dance-party that blocked delegate busses, and several sit-down blockades. Some of the lock-downs lasted a few hours, most of the other blockades were dispersed or arrested within 30 minutes.
Up by the main entrance of the RNC delegate busses were streaming in, most with only 1 or 2 delegates on them. Some delegates were even hustled in on foot, in between lines of horses and riot police. The roving SDS/Pagan dance party, called Funk the War, tried hard to disrupt this entrance. Folks stood off with horses, stood and sat in front of moving busses, tied yarn and string from light posts and danced in the streets. No one was arrested in the first part of these events, only pushed out of the way. The police didn’t seem to have the numbers to make arrests.
Meanwhile, right down the road, the black bloc was snaking through downtown, tying up intersections. In response, the police helped the whole operation out by blocking a bunch of streets with riot-cops, to make sure the bloc didn’t make any turns towards other parts of town. All this did was tie up more streets and cause more general disruption.
The story of “anarchists coming to town to cause havoc and damage property” is not just media-hype, it’s how a lot of these anarchists present themselves! We’re making it really easy for the police to come down on us. What happens is that rhetoric inflates the police budget and simultaneously makes the public weary or scared of anarchists/anti-capitalists. A lot of folks outside of this scene have a lot of trouble understanding our politics, let alone the styles and methods we use to go about doing things, from clothes to music to lingo. So we need to be really aware of that and put the politics before the scene.
The idea of shutting down the RNC, without the huge numbers we would need to make this possible, should not have been pursued. There was a myth developed that hundreds of thousands of people were gonna converge on St. Paul. This did not happen. The largest march was maybe 10,000 people, which is tiny compared to the 2004 RNC crowd of over half a million people. This myth of numbers led to folks inflating their capabilities, and also led to a lot of disappointment.
Seattle is always the model for these big shut-down actions. And the RNC folks did a good job in the lead-up trying to travel and organize, explain to folks the general ideas for the protests and network with groups who might attend, but this stayed largely inside of anarchist circles, and was often quite vague.
Short of shutting down the RNC, the most folks could do was disruption, and a lot of this worked. The blockades and the wild marches, along with the associated police violence, painted the RNC in a bad shade. That was part of the strategy of disruption, so the Republicans couldn’t look back on a flawless convention, but one marred by protests and police violence; a reflection of the effects of their policies.
So, Democrats, are you really ready to condemn your Progressive co-Democrats for organizing politically charged rioting mobs in Seattle, Denver, St. Paul, and many other places? We genuinely hope so.