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On the heels of the most repressive anti-abortion legislation in the country, Spring broke through the tough crust of winter with a bang on Monday. In cities across North Dakota, women came out by the hundreds to oppose legislation that cuts to the core of their basic freedoms. The message was clear, the ND state legislature and Governor Dalrymple have no right to impose the kinds of restrictions this legislation calls for. The new legislation calls for a complete ban on abortion, regardless of circumstance (rape, threat to the health of the mother, etc.), in what was described by one protester as “An assault on women’s dignity.” ;
I arrived in East Texas September 29th, 2012. Drove into a small Eastern Texas Town, where the houses pushed back from the yards sprinkled with drought dried grass. I came to cover a story about some folks who built a wall against the KXL pipeline. A pipeline cutting a swath across the belly of the United States like some deep burnt scar. It's tube to be filled with Tar Sands Bitumen.
I learned about the Alberta Tar Sand where the bitumen was being shipped from years ago at a workshop at an enviromental conference called Powershift. Indigenous folks told stories of machines that dug up around their communities pressing the sand into some sort of high pressure goop that's pushed through the pipes like a super heated laser. Turning the top soil into a dead scar.
"Police officers" climb the tree blockade timber scaffolding on a ladder and refuse to identify themselves. They climbed up to just chat?!
Call Wood County Sheriff Department NOW 903-763-2201
I've recently come from the RNC and DNC. Two convergence events policed by public servants. These are the same police officers that walk our streets, and are put into place for public safety.Through the experience of being policed by multiple different agencies, and now at multiple different convergences, i plan to examine police tactics. How are we policed? What are the plans the police use to control crowds, target disruptors, and I've been told various times, "Keep people safe."
I plan to focus all my efforts tomorrow to document the police in order to do an analysis across these convergences, of how we are policed,tactics used, and also the differences between different tactics. The RNC and DNC were dubbed extremely police heavy, but policed showed unprecedented restraint.
It'll be interesting to see how the New York Police Department compares to these different convergences.
9/17/2012 5am: I will be live on ustream.tv/uneditedcamera
I'll be documenting intersections and tweeting under the #livepress to be able to do a concrete analysis of the event from the point of view of police organization.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Using the freedom of the press to document public servants in public spaces.
Let’s do an exercise 5 words that describe the RNC: Heartbreaking,police,love,laughter and exhaustion. I”ll let that form this post.
But not limit it.
I stayed at Romneyville. I think I stayed their expecting the demographic to be slightly different than the Occupy Tampa camp, but I must be honest, I didn’t visit that other camp, and have no way of placing it’s size, or effectiveness. My experience with RNC’s or conventions in general is always a struggle. Local Organizers fighting to provide housing and open space for participation, while authorities interfere with every logistical call. This one was a strange one.
My experience here was different. It seemed like there was little for folks to plug into besides the standard protest march. Example: One person spoke to me and explained that they attended a Rally where people spoke for an hour, each repeating the same points. They then marched in a circle ending back up at where they started to experience the same speeches again.
Coming out of Occupy Wall Street, I think the one thing we learned, or the thing I hoped people learned was that people want to be heard, not preached too. The effectiveness of union organizers lambasting their unions about what they already believed is…charming, at best.
Regardless, it was interesting to see so many people screaming about the injustice of the GOP, and ignore the hypocrisy of the democrats. I guess it’s nice to be able to see a line and choose a side. Maybe, I’m not enlightened enough.
Still working on the online project, but the goings slow. I'm not too worried about it. I think I just need to open up space for others peoples voices. Sometimes I feel like I'm just ramming out e-mails in the space between being on the street. Regardless a lot of time to troubleshoot and play, until we figure out what works. I'm not that worried.
Today, or yesterday August 26th was the first day of marches for the RNC. I expected an all day stream-a-thon You know, Live! till I can't sort of stuff. Sadly, I suffered a billion issues with my hotspot, and ustream. I finally gave up and started tweeting pictures to cover the events as best I can.
I probably could have done a better job, but got caught up in the different feel of it all. I come out of Occupy Wall Street where actions and marches were based around banks and corporations. The actions ranged from LGBT issues, environmental issues, housing issues and so on and so forth, but what underlay them all was the collusion of corporation and state. The thread ran through the actions...
Here it's mostly against the GOP. It's been an interesting transition and one I'm thinking about as I cover the events.
Started out wandering the city to some marches that ended up at the freedom of speech zone. This zone consists of double fences, and a giant space that didn't give you the true reality of being caged in. One entrance, on exit and folks rallied and chanted and stuck their signs to the fences before taking off to St. Petersburg.
Had a fun ride on the way there as our vehicle threw a belt and we ended up marooned in a BP. I dealt with it how I usually deal with stressful events. I ate some crappy food while we troubleshot.
I feel like I missed a day on this blog, but I haven’ slept yet. I’ll just treat it like a birthday! Where it doesn’t end till you sleep. You know?
It was a good day. Started hot and unbearable, but good nonetheless. I went to a local coffee shop and just worked on the computer and enjoyed some coffee. I didn’t plan on streaming much else but my morning update, and just whatever came along. Sent some e-mails and worked with the folks online on our project.
I love projects. The end. I feel like I should just say, the end. but just working with some folks online to cover and event has been really fulfilling, challenging and exciting.
So, I”m doing well. If a little tired and constantly dehydrated.
The highlights of the day were just being. I really enjoyed walking through Romenyville, with it’s weird woodchip parking lot connected to it’s fenced in tent space. People just floating around and being. It’s nice you know. Maybe not nice in that air-conditioned loft, or whatever, but nice in that just being alive amongst folks who all seem to be here for the same reason.
I’ve been enjoying floating around and asking why folks are here to protest the RNC, and most just say because they’re.
They didn’t see why not, and they’re going to march.
Even while the police threaten mass arrests and swoop around the encampment in their helicopters 24/7. They’re gonna march, and at times it doesn’t even seem to be what moves the camp. It just seems like people are sharing food and being. Just being, and something about that is more powerful than any march I’ve ever covered.
So, I've been in Tampa now for nearly 3 days. It's definitely hot, hot, and hot. I was told today it hasn't been close to as hot as it gets. That's a nice little wake up call to know it's only gonna be hotter. I spent most of this morning trying to find a place to shower. A colleague and I roamed around looking for a gym to see if we could pay a little to use their showers. The answers were no. So, no shower, but I'm looking forward to the next rain and I plan on getting out in it with some soap and using natures open air shower to get myself feeling a little cleaner.
Other news, when I was closing my eyes last night the headlines were being over run with threats: http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/22/politics/conventions-anarchists/index.html?hpt=hp_t2 Why I find this frustrating is the article starts with this claim, "The bulletin, which was obtained by CNN, says that anarchists could try to use improvised explosive devices." This claim being given it's own paragraph and space amongst the whole article before diving into the explanation of the piece. What's frustrating is that the article follows up with what it calls Anarchist tactics:"During past national and international political and economic events, anarchist extremists have blocked streets, intersections, and bridges to disrupt or impede local business operations and public transportation access and, in some instances have initiated violent confrontations with police, the document states."
Hey all, so I'm just doing a quick update on where I'm at. I spent most of yesterday getting a feel of Romneyville. Romenyville being the encampment i'm staying at here in Tampa Bay. It's a camp organized by The Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign. (economichumanrights.org) The camp's pretty nice, everyone seems glad to be here. It reminds me a little of Liberty Park in NYC. I guess all camps probably will from now on.
I did get a little flack from a person who was helping in the camp asking me to not photograph them. I explained that I would try not to, out of courtesy. Regardless, camped next to a kitchen and getting free meals, though they're trying to get some support to get more food to the encampment, but are unsure how to proceed on that front.
We also just got a Police helicopter hovering over the encampment. It showed up at 8:31 am and is hovering over the camp. (whatever)(8:54am police gone) Some folks said they were told it was a traffic helicopter, but it was interesting that it wasn't over the interstate, but over us, then moved towards the other camp.
Today I plan on getting out to cover a story that broke last night. (http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/crime/police-recover-bricks-pipe-from-tampa-rooftop/1246953) I'm just curious if the building was built of brick. Since, they found bricks ontop of it, bricks and one pipe. The story reminds me of one that happened in 2008 RNC about hidden (anarchist) supplies at construction sites. These supplies looking much like construction supplies.