Strategic Forecasting have produced another excellent report on The Lessons Of St. Paul. Here's a few excerpts to whet your appetite.
The RNCWC is a self-described anarchist and anti-authoritarian organizing body created to disrupt the RNC. According to its Web site . . . the group’s purpose was to “crash the convention” and shut down and disrupt the RNC.
The RNCWC’s plan was to provide a loose organizational framework that would help integrate and coordinate the efforts of affinity groups from around the country — including the Austin affinity group headed by Crowder that included McKay. The affinity groups, which are in effect autonomous cells, were then expected to develop their own individual tactical plans and implement them. The RNCWC would provide assistance with logistics and coordination between the various affinity groups.
In September 2007, the RNCWC began its planning in earnest when it held a pre-RNC conference in St. Paul, where some 100 activists met to plan their strategy for disrupting the convention. Most participants who came from outside St. Paul were either representatives of existing affinity groups or were intending to form an affinity group when they returned home. The conference also featured a number of smaller breakout meetings that focused on issues such as nationwide communication, security, legal support, logistics, media, coalition building and direct action planning. Some of the tactics discussed during the direct action planning session included the possible kidnapping of convention delegates, arson, vandalism, occupation of federal buildings in the Twin Cities and the blockading of roads and bridges.
. . .
From July 31 to Aug. 3, the RNCWC and a group called Unconventional Action Midwest hosted an “action camp” at Lake Geneva in Minnesota. This camp was attended by approximately 50 people from many parts of the United States. The action camp was intended to train activists in a variety of direct action tactics, ranging from the manufacture of Molotov cocktails to less violent civil disobedience such as the use of dragon sleeves, lock boxes and tripods to create human barricades that would obstruct traffic. Attendees at the action camp were expected to take the skills they learned back to their respective affinity groups.
. . .
This intelligence also allowed law enforcement authorities to arrest six of the primary RNCWC organizers Aug. 29, before the RNC, and execute a series of search warrants that seized a large quantity of the demonstrators’ equipment before it could be deployed. Items seized during those search warrants included caltrops, spike strips, buckets of marbles and dragon sleeves as well as other tactically useful items such as gas masks and disguises intended to help protesters get past police checkpoints. Computers and planning maps were also seized.
However, the fact remains that many of the affinity groups were still able to launch direct action and block streets with dumpsters, fly signs from high-rise buildings, deploy dragon sleeve blockades, slash tires, throw bricks and other items from bridges onto cars, throw caltrops and spike strips on streets to flatten tires, shoot at police and convention attendees with slingshots, block delegate buses, assault delegates (physically and with noxious chemical sprays) and generally create large-scale mayhem and vandalism. These direct actions resulted in most of the more than 800 arrests during the RNC. These activities clearly showed that not all the affinity groups had been penetrated or rendered impotent.
Sobering stuff. There's a lot more in the original article.
If you ever thought "I'm safe from crime and violence - I live in a big, safe city - nothing will happen to me", guess what? I'm sure the good people of St. Paul, MN, thought the same. It wasn't common criminals who disrupted their lives: it was left-wing terrorists, of a more or less hard-core persuasion. Caltrops? Slashed tires? Slingshots? Molotov cocktails? These aren't the tools of democratic protest - they're terrorist weapons. Be in no doubt about it.
I highly recommend reading the whole article at Stratfor. Food for very serious thought.