Unconventional Michigan–a group organizing Michigan participation in plans to shut down the Republican National Convention (RNC) in the Twin Cities in early September–has released a report back on an organizing meeting held earlier this month in Grand Rapids:
On August 2, radicals from Michigan and Ohio gathered in Grand Rapids, Michigan to further plan, coordinate, and discuss the upcoming protests against the Republican National Convention (RNC).
What follows is a brief report back from the Grand Rapids faction of Unconventional Michigan…
At this stage in the game, planning is not as far along as what folks in Grand Rapids were hoping for before the consulta. While people remained very committed to going to the RNC and acting within Sector 5 (claimed by the Midwest Cluster), groups were not developed enough to discuss claiming a specific portion of the sector or coordinating between affinity groups. Despite this, the consulta included a review of maps, particulars of Sector 5, and a brainstorming of possible locations for strategic actions. Groups and individuals in attendance were strongly urged to contact the Midwest Cluster, Bash Back!, or the Snowswarm folks to plug into those actions and to facilitate greater coordination and to maximize the effectiveness of the blockades.
We also want to include a gentle reminder to folks planning to the attend the RNC protests to pick an action and connect with a group organizing in a specific sector. There are many to chose from, but time is running short.
There was an interesting discussion about messaging and how radicals can use the RNC to advance our politics. While we were clearly not ready to come to consensus on an Unconventional Michigan message, the discussion was worthwhile and at some points inspiring as we shared our reasons for working towards shutting down the RNC. Many folks shared thoughts about the lack of legitimacy of the so-called “representative democracy,” the need for urgent action, and the hope that the RNC organizing will continue to inspire an upswing in radical organizing.
AFTER THE RNC
Some of the more productive discussions of the day centered on discussions about where we–as radicals in the Michigan area and beyond–go after the RNC. With two months before the elections, there will be ample time and opportunity for continued outreach around the failings of representative democracy and electoral politics. Moreover, with so much energy being focused on the RNC, we hope to see this energy shift onto other projects.
Among the specific ideas discussed at the consulta is the possibility of a meet-up in the Twin Cities (for the third or fourth day of the RNC) to assess both how the blockading went, how the organizing as a whole went, and where we as radicals can go from there. This idea is still being developed, but people from Unconventional Michigan are actively pursuing it. Second, there was considerable interest in a regional (Ohio, Michigan, etc) gathering to facilitate greater networking in the region–especially in terms of bringing out folks that may not have been interested in the anti-RNC organizing. The exact date is still being planned, but it will be in October in Toledo.
Love and Rage,
The Grand Rapids Faction of Unconventional Michigan