Burning down The Can

Well, well, well. Look at the snarling beast that’s threatening to rear its head this summer in Denver:

Not to mention that there’s going to be a significant Iraq veteran contingent at the convention, ready to rock ‘n’ roll. We’ve already had planning meetings about it — we’re going about it the same way that we would plan any decent military operation.

Put it this way: if [Clinton] goes for the gold in Denver, she’ll have to claim the medal somewhere other than the Pepsi Center.

I can’t emphasize enough how potentially scary things could get — we’ve got folks working on the inside of the convention, and it’s all done on a cell basis, so that folks only know what they need to know.

I’m trying to keep everyone calm, as I just mentioned, but it’s getting harder and harder to do so. The mood’s getting ugly, and if we go to Denver without a nominee, the pressure’s going to be intense from without to nominate Obama. She can win the nomination, but it won’t be a prize worth having.

We’re all civilized, thinking men and women here, so it’s hard to argue with Rick Perlstein’s “categorical abhorrence of anyone who’d contemplate introducing violence as a variable in American civic life.” America, like all advanced societies, is a nation of laws, not thuggery.

Still, the anonymous veteran in Perlstein’s post raises an interesting idea. I mean, rule of law is a wonderful thing, but it serves those who make the laws. What if people who have simply had enough of the same-old-same-old were to run amok at the DNC like they did in 1968?

Let me preface the rest of my comments with a note to any NSA or AT&T employees reading this: I AM NOT ADVOCATING STREET VIOLENCE. I’m merely reflecting on what the ultimate effects might be were it to happen. Which I doubt it will. So don’t come knocking on my door in the middle of the night. I live with a high-strung terrier and we don’t want to wake the whole building, hmmm?

It’s worth noting that the elites in both parties have collaborated, for the past seven years, on the greatest campaign of terror the US has seen since McCarthy. Yes, al Qaeda gave Americans a good goosing, but their impact was nothing compared to the resulting 24/7 fearfest visited on the citizenry by the Republican and Democratic parties ever since. A terrified public has been good for the elites because fear makes people manageable, malleable, herdable. In short, we’re in an era where the people are afraid and their leaders are not.

How’s that working out for you, America?

The elites aren’t afraid because the worst that can possibly happen to them is that they get voted out of office and are forced to take jobs as consultants, lobbyists and corporate flaks making only five or six times more than they were before. They have, thanks to the marvels of the modern entertainment industry, constructed the most stunning array of Bread-n-Circus amusements, and as a result the public is so thoroughly pacified that the lot of them could be handily managed by an aging border collie with a bad leg and cataracts.

But hordes of angry rabble rampaging through the streets in protest, that would have to be at least a little scary, you’d think. And I wonder how a bit of genuine fear might impact the official actions of serial malfeasers (is that a word?) like Pelosi, Clinton, Reid, Reyes, and 99% of the Republican Party. Hard to say, but what are they going to do about it? Suspend habeas corpus? Conspire with their corporate allies to illegally wiretap the public? Start outing CIA agents? Invade nations that had nothing to do with 9/11?


In any case, I hope it doesn’t come to this. I live in downtown Denver, just a few blocks from where the running gunbattles would presumably be taking place, and I’m deathly allergic to flying lead and tear gas. I saw how the DPD handled two Super Bowl celebrations, and I hate to even contemplate how they’d deal with real lawbreaking.

So please, play nice.

13 replies »

  1. American politics is almost certain to get violent, given the tone of the rhetoric and the consolidation of power among the few.

    I think it’s just a question of when.

  2. In my wanderings through the Internet, I find more and more that people equate just mentioning something with advocating it. This could be a very long thread — and almost as unruly as the riots of ’68.

    Also, Dr. B., keep that terror-ier on a leash!

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  4. Russ – People do that because it’s mentally easy to conflate discussion with advocacy, criticism with bigotry. They’re intellectual lazy, and in my experience, we all do that on one issue or another, at one time or another. I certainly have.

    The trick is to realize that we’ve done it when someone points it out instead of fighting to the death over something that doesn’t make any sense. And far too many people find arguing easier than thinking.

  5. Let me speak as S&R’s token SDSer: if they do this (get militant in the streets of Denver during the Dem Convention) and the act-up is televised like violence in the Iraq War has been televised, no one will know it happened. Look at what happened as a result of the “Action Directe” that was the G-8 in Seattle….

    If, however, the media chooses to depict televise rioting, they will do so in a way to cause more fear and anxiety in “silent” America. And you’ll be one step closer to streets patrolled by Blackwater types for “the good of the country.”

    “The revolution will be televised” may become “the enforcement of ‘normalcy'” with all the scariness that the measures “deemed necessary” your imagination can suggest….

  6. Cracks me up, Brian, that you didn’t know what SDS was. Boy does that make Jim and I look old in comparison.

    I fear you’re exactly right, Jim.

  7. Two things-
    #1 and perhaps the most to the point the Gang Of Pirates would love not to have any elections at all, and just install a trained chimp as “Presidente for life”. They have all their ducks in a row and only need an excuse to go from proto-Fascist to atual Fascist and just as they inflated 9/11 they could inflate anything to fit their needs.

    #2 It is a well rehearsed Pirate tactic to work for dissension and violence in the opposition. I remember many such stories about plans for violence in demonstrations in the Nixon years, and when the stories got to court long after the real demonstrators had been sidelined during the important timing it turned out that the instigator of the violence, and planner of all the mean stuff was in fact the FBI agent sent in to destroy the group. Something very well accomplished.

    The same tactic of two pretend support groups of Dean and Gephart fought it out on TV in 2004, turning voters off of both men, only to turn out that both groups were Republican Swiftboaters out to remove Dean as the likely candidate. And again quite successful.

    You can bet that the same groups are both active in both the Clinton and Obama camps, and likely have a few Astroturf groups outside both as well, and not a few like Lieberman even among the superdelegates.

    So fight out for the rest of the elections, and fight the dirty tricks, especially from your own camp (and mark well those who create them), but no matter what happens, make peace at Denver and then go fight like hell against the real enemy of freedom.

    Once and If there is an election, then we need to make the mountains shake, to be sure that the rule of law is returned, truth outed by Congress and courts, criminals of the past prosecuted, and real reform of the destruction begun. That is the time to vent your spleen, do so in Denver and your spleen will be vented for you.

  8. In a building of gold, with riches untold,
    lived the families on which the country was founded.
    And the merchants of style, with their red velvet smiles,
    were there, for they also were hounded.
    And the soft middle class crowded in to the last,
    for the building was fully surrounded.
    And the noise outside was the ringing of revolution.

    — Phil Ochs, Ringing of Revolution

  9. This is from my Live Journal:

    ~Okay, here is why I believe the Repugs want to run against Barack Obama this fall.

    First, it is a given that they will do their damnedest to steal the election just like they did in 2000 and 2004. If you still have any doubts about that, watch this video of Greg Palast and Robert F. Kennedy Jr. speaking last May Day about how the Repugs did that very thing.

    Second, keep in mind all the draconian legislation the Repugs have rammed through Congress, little horrors like The Military Commissions Act which, among other things, makes it possible for US citizens to be designated ‘unlawful enemy combatants’ and held without any form of legal recourse whatsoever.

    Third, if you’re not already aware of this – and it still surprises me how many ain’t – lots of black folks in this country are pretty pissed off at how badly they’ve been treated throughout American history [just Google ‘lynching’] and often still are. [can you say Jena 6?]

    As a member of The Oppressor Class [an upper-middle class white male], I have a certain cynical perspective upon all of this and, I if was running the Repug operations, I’d want Barack, too.

    What I would do is steal the election in the most egregious manner possible; do it in a real Fuck You fashion. I would do this because I’d hope – and quite probably quite rightly given number three above – that black folks in various urban areas would ‘get’ that Fuck You and lash out publicly.

    Now we have Civil Insurrection!! and all the ‘extra judicial’ mechanisms put in place [see number two above] come into play and the Repugs get to declare Martial Law…and that, boys and girls, is just about that.

    Paranoid? Baby, if you ain’t paranoid by now, well, just get another beer and go back to watching American Idol.

    And some of you Obots? *sigh* Just last night on my Flist a black female friend of mine said, “if Hillary gets the nomination I’m voting for McCain”. Shit, why not just go down to Homeland Security and turn yourself in right now? I’m sure they have a cot ready somewhere.

    Of course, the Repugs are going to try to steal the election if HRC is the Dem Nom. But, frankly, A) do any of you think people will riot over Hillary? and B) would any of you want to cross Hillary Clinton? [I didn’t think so] And don’t think she ain’t ready for this. Robert F. Kennedy Jr. has been one of her supporters for a while now.

    As I said to someone else on my Flist last night, “Politics is not a game for the faint of heart.” And that’s the name of that tune…

  10. OOOKAY… So armed insurrectionists are planning to storm the Denver convention and demand that Barack Obama be nominated instead of Hillary Clinton. Evidently the great effort both candidates have made to exaggerate the hair’s-breadth difference between them has paid off in the armed insurrectionist demographic. What I’m wondering is, are there armed insurrectionists in Minneapolis planning the same treatment for the Republicans? It seems more logical that armed insurrection would choose Ron Paul over John McCain rather than try to parse the difference between Obama and Clinton. Remember, the difference between Obama and Clinton is in the heads of people who think that if you say you’re for change it must be true.

  11. Of course, the possibilities have to be compared to something, and Chicago ’68 is about all we have to compare the possible Denver ’08 to. But let’s consider the changing reality of American society in the last 40 years. How many kids in the 60’s took guns to school and fired them randomly at their fellow students? How many ’68 protesters grew up in a culture thoroughly saturated with gratuitous violence? And what does the modern protester have to lose? The better informed among them already know that they live under a proto-dictatorship.

    I don’t doubt that the fondest wishes of the neo-con set would be violence erupting in Denver and spreading like wildfire. A. it could all be blamed on the darkie with the Muslim name and B. it would be the perfect excuse for the big clamp down. Nor do i doubt planned infiltrations and provocations. This is why the DNC had damned well better solve their squabbles long before August.