by Pamela Powers Hannley
Occupiers in Tampa, Florida and Charlotte, NC are gearing up for the deluge of politicians, dignitaries, convention delegates, journalists, and other protesters who are about to descend upon their cities.
The Republican National Convention (RNC) will be held in Tampa will be August 27-30. The Democratic National Convention (DNC) will be held in Charlotte (AKA Wall Street of the South) from September 3-6.
With their anti-women, anti-any-color-but-white, anti-immigrant, anti-middle class, anti-gay, anti-union… OK… anti-99% agenda, the RNC offers a fertile field for protests from the rest of us. With Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan on the ticket, the Republicans have cemented their place in history as the party of the 1%.
Occupy Tampa is one of the few Occupations with tents on the ground, and they plan to be camping– and protesting– during the RNC.
More hints about what will be happening outside the convention halls, after the jump.
From The Nation…
“Occupy Tampa has stood in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street since its inception, and will function as the host occupation for the Republican National Convention in Tampa, FL on August 27th–30th, 2012,” the group said in an official statement regarding the RNC, adding that ongoing preparations are being made for the convention protests, including securing sleeping arrangements for occupiers, in addition to canopies, sun screen and portable water containers for protection from the weather.
Occupy Tampa has formed a Regional General Assembly to coordinate Occupy groups throughout the bay area, including: Occupy Lakeland, Occupy St. Petersburg, Occupy Bradenton, Occupy USF, Occupy Port Richey and Occupy Sarasota.
“We have tried to plan as much as possible ahead of time, but we want to leave space open to spontaneously produce additional actions by harnessing the number of people that arrive,” the group states.
Food Not Bombs has called a World Gathering and plans to run feeding operations throughout the RNC. During the week before the RNC, chapters of Food Not Bombs from all over the world plan to convene in order to prepare to feed the flood of protesters entering the city.
“We invite everyone to come and take advantage of the preparations we have made, to help ensure that all occupiers and other supporting groups can use this moment of national attention to confront the political status-quo,” Occupy Tampa states.
Code Pink: Women for Peace is tailoring their protests to the convention. After weeks of telling American women to “bring their vaginas to the RNC”, they will be out in force in Tampa. After all, someone has to jump into the belly of the beast and fight the War on Women. Code Pink chapters– including the one in Tucson– have fashioned handmade pink flannal vaginas which are being shipped to Tampa. (I can’t wait to see what they do with them.) For a list of RNC events, check this link.
In Charlotte, Code Pink and Occupiers are teaming up for some events, beginning on Sept. 1 with the Festivaliliberacion (Festival of Liberation) which marks the beginning of Occupy Wall Street South. Why is Charlotte called “Wall Street South”? Because it has the largest financial center outside of New York City. Bank of America (and many other Fortune 500 companies) are either headquartered in Charlotte or have a major presence. Ironically, although Charlotte is a city with substantial corporate wealth, it also has extreme poverty and homelessness. (Hey, Bank of America, we the people bailed you out. How about bankrolling a homeless shelter or a jobs program for unemployed North Carolinians? OK, I won’t hold my breath.)
Code Pink and Occupy are focusing on economic disparities and the military industrial complex with their Charlotte actions, for example, the Occupy to Free Bradley Manning Dance on Sunday, the Southern Workers’ Assembly on Monday (Labor Day), and the Occupy the Military Industrial Complex on Tuesday. Check out this link and the related Facebook pages for more details. (Watch my reporting from Charlotte– posts, photos, and videos– on the Huffington Post and Blog for Arizona.)
From Occupy Charlotte, via The Nation…
“The Democratic Party has chosen this ‘Wall Street of the South’ as its rallying city despite North Carolina being one of the most anti-union states in the country and despite Charlotte being the home of several corporate criminals, most notably Bank of America, one of the mega-banks most responsible for the 2008 economic meltdown, Charlotte holds the second largest concentration of finance capital in the United States, the East Coast headquarters of Wells Fargo, the new home of human-rights offender Chiquita, and the home of Duke Energy, which recently merged with Progress Energy, making Duke the largest energy monopoly in the country.”
As perhaps part of a symbolic gesture to the Occupy movement, the Democratic National Committee recently announced it plans to pull some of its DNC-related money from Bank of America. Huffington Postnotes that this could potentially be a little awkward, considering President Obama’s re-election campaign continues to use Bank of America for its banking needs. [Ouch.]
“Both the Democratic and Republican Parties are controlled by moneyed interests and the 1%, and the Occupy Movement will hold both Parties accountable at the RNC in Tampa in August and at the DNC in Charlotte in September. We cannot allow this two-party system and its corporate puppeteers to determine our country’s destiny. While we recognize the historical significance of President Obama’s election, we will not sit idly by as the Administration favors corporations and the 1%, tramples civil liberties, and wages tragic wars,” Occupy Charlotte says in its statement, emphasizing to visitors that they are a nonviolent movement, and the Charlotte Mecklenburg Police Department has treated their chapter with respect and “vice versa.”
Last but certainly not least, undocumented Americans are traveling on the UnDocuBus from Phoenix to Charlotte. You may recall a few weeks ago when Sheriff Joe Arpaio was on trial for racial profiling and sweeping neighborhoods hunting for “illegals”, a group on undocumented citizens came out in front of the court house (and were promptly arrested). Some of these “No Papers No Fear” protesters are on the UnDocuBus, joined by others. The UnDocuBus left Phoenix in early August and has been the catalyst for multiple actions in different cities along the way. You can follow the UnDocuBus on their website, Facebook, and Twitter. From the UnDocuBus website…
Every year the Department of Homeland Security removes 400,000 people from the United States. Over the last four years, president Obama has deported over 1 million people. There is a rise of collaboration between local police and immigration agents through programs like Secure Communities, implemented in over 98% of counties in the country. And in June, the Supreme Court gave permission to police officers in Arizona to ask people for their immigration papers, if they are suspected of being undocumented.
Meanwhile, both parties have turned the suffering and life of undocumented immigrants into political football, passing the responsibilities to each other…
We can’t wait for anyone else any longer. We’ve come too far to allow this country to be turned back.
This summer a culmination of this work will be manifested during a Bus ride, through key states in the southern part of the United States, that will continue to confront power with the stories, voices, and actions of those directly affected by these immigration policies. Riders are undocumented people from all over the country, including students, mothers and fathers, children, people in deportation proceedings, day laborers, and others who continue to face deportation, harassment, and death while simply looking for a better life.