[Republican National Convention] It appears that the First and Fourth Amendments have been suspended in St. Paul, Minn., in honor of the GOP's immeasurable contributions in recent years to our free republic.
War protesters are being arrested on vague charges (you know--stuff like "suspicion of intent to violate the fire code") and warrants have been issued authorizing police to confiscate any laptop, cell phone or camera they can find in private homes lodging protesters. (These might just be a spur-of-the-moment, precautionary response to reports of big, scary, masked anarchists--if it weren't for the fact that the warrants seem to be the result of intelligence garnered from a big, scary, months-long COINTELPRO-type infiltration program.)
Press credentials, apparently, are no deterrent to the jackboots: Some AP reporters have been detained, as were Amy Goodman and two of her producers. (On a personal note: Fuck these un-American, fascist assholes; how dare they arrest journalists trying to do their goddamn, Constitutionally-sanctioned job?!?!! OK, end of outburst.)
Now, the only reason I can think of for Republicans to instigate such abuse during their convention (apart from the fact that senseless violence has a natural appeal to Neanderthals) is to infuriate lefties in hopes of provoking a violent response. In its wake, McCain's increasingly despondent handlers can, in a desperate last-ditch attempt to avoid the humiliation of a total rout in November, try to frighten voters by characterizing Obama's "base" as a bunch of domestic terrorists.
Logically, then, wouldn't the protesters be well advised to keep their cool? Certainly they would--but not for fear of providing McCain with political ammunition. Face it: If the GOP machine wants lefty violence in the Twin Cities, the GOP machine will get lefty violence in the Twin Cities, even if it means sending in some hapless squad of brightly scrubbed Young Republicans to stage the required explosion. Unfortunately, the protesters cannot, at this point, avoid being characterized in the media as violent, anti-American radicals.
However, the upside of this it that they need not waste any time considering how their actions will be perceived. Violence is still not an option but, since the mass-media has already made up its mind, the familiar post-situationist, postmodernist strategy we learned at our mother's knee is now dead. Instead of posing for the cameras, they can now aim for maximum interpersonal impact. Shake up a lobbyist's schedule. Confuse a delegate. Bewitch a power-broker. That sort of thing.
No matter what violent media circuses the GOP may have planned, supporters of peace can still achieve their goals--as long as they remain steadfast and remember their Gandhi: "First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win."
The peace protesters have finally reached that third step. If they hold fast, the next stop is victory.