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News :: DNC : DNC : DNC : Environment : Environment : Human Rights : Organizing
Why To AVOID The Official "Free Speech Zone" At The DNC and RNC
23 Jul 2004
Modified: 09:54:21 PM
A brief discussion of police state propaganda and effective protest for those planning to speak out at the DNC and RNC.
Four years of the Bush regime with its assault on our rights. Four years of Democrats ignoring pleas to take a stand against Bush's voracious militarism. Four years of lies from all sides of government. You've had enough; you've decided to protest at one or both parties' conventions. How can you be most effective?

Certainly the corporate media seems to be framing the debate on how you should behave. But, will you be heard? If you've ever been to a protest, you know how the corporate media will misrepresent, or even ignore your message and efforts. If you haven't, you may be in for a big surprise when you're awakened to the corporate media's credibility gap.

Why distrust the media? This is the same media that repeated the administrations lies about Iraq's WMDs. The same media that cheerled the war on Iraq, while the U.S. economy quietly crumbles. The same media that ignored for years all the facts exposed by Fahrenheit 911. Why should you trust a media that lies to you as easily as lies fall from Bush's mouth?

You've seen the headlines denouncing violence at the conventions, yet no violence has even occurred yet. Yes, there will be violence: it's called police brutality. If every protester dresses in flowers and carries peace signs, and raises not one angry finger or voice, it will still happen. Why? It's all part of a police propaganda campaign to discredit the movement, regardless of how peaceful you are. It's a scripted method of discrediting popular movements that has been used for decades. (1)

So called "Free Speech Zones" are the last place you want to be. Recall the lesson of the 2000 DNC: thousands of people were teargassed inside the fenced "Free Speech Zone" following the abrupt cancellation of a live concert. This blatant act of police brutality was ignored by the corporate media. (2) The media also ignored the fact that LAPD shut down the LA IMC with a fake terror scare, preventing independent news coverage of the days protest events. (3)

The lesson is simple: complicity with police demands is no insurance of your safety at a demonstration. It’s more painful to realize that your freedom of speech has been violently denied by those police charged with upholding it. Even worse, complicity with police demands can reduce or eliminate your message getting through altogether. Why? Because you’re intentionally kept out of sight, out of mind; away from the media covering the event, away from other citizens you might talk to, or hand a flyer. Bottom line: if you plan to go into a hidden protest prison you may as well stay home in the first place.

Already, the press has begun the state’s psychological campaign to attempt to divide the protest movement, and discredit the protests. Please don’t fall into the trap of dictating acceptable protest strategies to others: infighting is exactly what the powers that be want you to do. Chances are, the only violence you will see will be from the police. Should you find yourself near a protest action you don’t want to be associated with, simply walk away. The DNC and RNC protests need to be huge, and will be huge. There are countless opportunities to protest as you see fit.

One simple step that any protester should take to counter the corporate media's bias is to have your message packaged and ready should you be interviewed by the media. Prepare and practice your soundbites. Expect the corporate media to ask misleading questions or attempt to frame the debate: don't follow their lead. Simply change the subject to the topic you want to discuss. For example, if asked about the possibility of violence at the protests, remind the media that any disturbances are nothing compared to the violence inflicted on the Iraqi people, and the torture currently inflicted by the U.S. government. Polish and practice your talking points with your friends before the protests, and for maximum impact, coordinate with the talking points outlined by local protest groups.

The First Amendment guarantees that the United States IS a Free Speech Zone! There are many opportunities for protest outside of officially sanctioned "Free Speech Zones" (more accurately termed protest cages). There are hotels of delegates, corporate media outlets, side events, and criminal corporations that make excellent alternate protest sites. Carefully chosen, creative protests have a much greater impact, especially when seen by others, than any police-managed protest ever does. Should you be wrongfully arrested, keep in mind that charges are almost always dropped shortly after a protest, and many follow-up lawsuits against the police are indeed successful. (4)

Think for yourself, be safe, look out for others, and make these the biggest and best convention protests ever seen! Remember: Peace and Justice is our goal, conflict is theirs.


See "Documenting the Police State" for more links and background on government tactics used to stifle dissent.
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2000/08/2582.php

1. The Mohawk Valley Formula
http://victoria.tc.ca/~d.piney/The-Mohawk-Valley-Formula.htm

2. Media Ignore Police Brutality At The DNC
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2000/08/1173.php

Police Intimidation Tactics Escalate
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2000/08/1500.php

3. LAPD Engages in Infowar Against DNC Protesters
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2000/08/1161.php

4. See the section: Police Repression - Fighting Back
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2000/08/2582.php
See also:
http://la.indymedia.org/news/2000/08/2582.php

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Re: Why To AVOID The Official "Free Speech Zone" At The DNC and RNC
26 Jul 2004
I was at the LA DNC. I noted the time (9 min) between the first police order to disperse and the actual sweep-and-clear operation which started by firing tear gas. Less than half the time the police said they were going to give! (20 min) And the LA Times reported half as much time again (30 min). People who were there knew it was all lies, but the vast majority of people believed the corporate media.

Realize that you are going in harm's way if you go to the official Free Speech Zone. Even if you plan on being completely peaceful, this will not protect you from tear gas, pepper balls or God forbid rubber bullets. Plan accordingly.

>> So called "Free Speech Zones" are the last place you want to be. Recall the lesson of the 2000 DNC: thousands of people were teargassed inside the fenced "Free Speech Zone" following the abrupt cancellation of a live concert. This blatant act of police brutality was ignored by the corporate media. (2) The media also ignored the fact that LAPD shut down the LA IMC with a fake terror scare, preventing independent news coverage of the days protest events. (3)