Normal, in this case, meant downtown St. Paul was teeming with a cast of characters ranging from delegates attending to the serious business of nominating Arizona Sen. John McCain as the GOP presidential candidate to street musicians trying to cash in on the influx of conventiongoers.Call me whatever you want but in my opinion the absolutely LEAST serious business being attended to this week is the nominating of John McCain. I'd say the the most serious folks are probably either the Cops or the Anarchists. Everyone else seems out to have fun, ok many of the other protesters are pretty serious too, but ironically the anarchists seem the best organized to really do some shit. From the little I can gather from various media sources these folks mean business and I'm not surprised at all that the cops have been targeting them. I'm surprised they wear such obvious clothing. If I was them I'd have a big white t-shirt with some protest message on it that could quickly be ripped of to change my appearance, and don't put the bandanna over your face till you start some shit, or just before. All I know is that the cops are seeing every type of nutjob you can imagine right now, most of them they know are harmless hippies and what not. Thats not an insult to hippies, they're just not a violent group, so actually thats a compliment. Then all of the sudden they see a line of folks wearing almost all black, faces covered and wearing goggles. Those folks are planning on getting pepper sprayed, watch them.
Within my circle of friends I'm the oddball, because I look so normal. I don't have tattoo's, no piercings, I don't have a mohawk, and I don't wear black that much. In the summer its shorts, a short sleeve button up shirt, and sandals. Winter its jeans, and a long sleeve button up shirt. A big part of this is because I just don't care about clothing and so what I wear to work is just what I wear. The other part of this is because by looking decent and nondescript I can get away with more. I can walk into areas I'm not supposed to be with a slight smile and a purposeful walk and no one hassles me. And that is ultimately my goal in life. Other friends want to say fuck the system, and think the best way to do that is by avoiding becoming a part of the system. They admit that they are slowly being reeled in but they do there best. I on the other hand want to embrace the system, so I can exploit the system. This country is too apathetic to revolt and change things in a major way, of that I am certain, although its possible that could change. The next best hope, is to work within the body politic to try to make changes.
So while I honestly don't think that protests are particularly effective anymore, I do think that the police over reaction can be a very useful tool for getting people riled up. So now lets take a moment and look over some actual serious business from yesterday.
Heres a photo from this slide show, and the related article in the NY Times.
Ok from this pic, thats a legit use of pepper spray, I would guess that cop wasn't knocked over, the article mentions police attempting to arrest someone and other protesters pulling the person away, I'm assuming this is that confrontation. But its still a lot of protesters and not many police around, he probably wasn't in danger per-se but I can understand the use of force in this case.
This is towards the other end of the spectrum, holy crap thats a lot of cops, and one protester who didn't run fast enough.
Heres another article, with more pics. This is either Ralph Nader's Flickr or a supporter, either way theres some pics. Some guy's pics. Another good pic, from here. Oh wow! I knew Rage Against the Machine played at the RNC (and the DNC) I didn't realize Dead Prez was there too, that would have been a great combo show, but I don't think it was, oh shit Anti-Flag too! Heres photos, and a big thank you to Neil who's photos I just linked to.
Also want to thank Neil for this great caption to his photos of the anarchists.
"Each of the anarchist that I photographed is that they all stated that they did not give thier permission to have thier photo taken. In an anarchist state, you need permission?"
I might have time to add more to this later, or start another post but right now I'm outta time!