DNC Protests, Part One: Confusion or Sabotage?

DNC Protests Sabotage agent provacateursGreetings, brothers, sisters, & others —
We’ve made it out of Philadelphia & are beginning our trek home but, before too much time elapses, I want to write about something that has been weighing heavily on my mind since the protests & demonstrations started — sabotage.

Before I begin, I’d like to emphasize that what I’m about to write is merely my own thoughts & opinions on the matter — I am aware that this is a complex situation & I am more than willing to examine any new information which might change my perspective on any of this. That being said, this is all rooted in my first-hand experience of the DNC protests, as well as the testimony of many others, some of which were with me & some of which were not. For that reason, I believe that what I have to say has merit.

Confusion — or Sabotage?

On Thursday, the 28th, as Hillary Clinton was gearing up to accept her hollow & fraudulent nomination, many different organizations, movements, & marches were converging at the gates of the Wells Fargo Center to stand as one, in solidarity, against the coronation. I was among the many that were converging that night & I reported live on it for approximately two hours (video link here), during which I witnessed a large & peaceful protest, composed of a frankly stunningly diverse array of different activists who had come together as one.

night6 - DNC Protests, Part One: Confusion or Sabotage?
The Freedom-Protection Brigade, seen protecting the Super-Democracy Clubhouse; photo by Jacob Yona, visit the full gallery at this link

The crowd was aware that many of the delegates planned to walk out, in protest of Clinton’s acceptance speech, and it seemed to be common knowledge that we would meet & ultimately march with them. This was still the case at the time that my livestream was cut off because all my power-banks were depleted.

This is the part where things go wrong

Shortly afterward, a murmuring went through the crowd & megaphones were used to announce that the delegates had walked out & that we should march to meet them. A massive portion of the crowd began to march — I happened to be near the front of this march and I heard many voices behind me, asking if the delegates had walked out & if we were marching to meet them.

To find out, I rushed to the dark front of the march (which was moving toward the boat-house in FDR Park), where I found Kshama Sawant with a megaphone, leading chants. I asked her whether it was true or not that the delegates had walked out &, if they had, whether they were at the boat-house or not. She said that they had & that they were at the boat-house.

Believing that to be the case, I linked arms with about a dozen other protesters at the front to set the pace & lead the march toward the boat-house (1 step in front = about 4 steps in the back!). We marched through the dark, chanting things like “Hey, hey! Ho, ho! The DNC has got to go!” & “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? Now! If we don’t get it? Shut! It! Down!”

Socialist Alternative & the Boat-House

When the march arrived at the boat-house, there was loud music playing & we ran up the steps to meet the delegates — instead, there were large, red “Socialist Alternative” banners hanging everywhere & not a single delegate in sight. Soon, people who were decked out in Socialist-Alternative-swag began to speak into a PA, encouraging everyone to ditch the Democratic Party & preaching that they had betrayed us (true enough). But that’s when I realized we had been tricked. Or, at least, that something was awry.

I cannot report on what occurred there afterward because I immediately ran back down the steps to warn the marchers who were still arriving. Jogging back the way we came, I shouted that there were no delegates there & that we had been misled. Almost everyone I encountered had been under the impression that they were marching to meet the delegates and, without exception, the people that I met voiced bitterness & frustration, then turned around to head back to the gates with me.

But by the time that we reached the gates, the protest had died down to a fraction of what it had been & I am told that police in riot-gear had arrived & arrested some of the rowdier protesters.

Here is my live-stream, after the events:

[EDIT: I have since discovered that some delegates did ultimately show up at the boathouse. How many, I am not sure, and they certainly weren’t there around the time that I was there or around the time that other witnesses were there. What I witnessed sounded & looked like a Socialist Alternative rally. This is consistent with other witness reports that I’ve gathered. The delegates certainly weren’t walking out at that time, according to all that I was in contact with on the inside of the DNC.]

Why This is Important

Photo by Jacob Yona, visit the full gallery at this link
For future reference, if you’re the democratic nominee, this is not what the front door to your acceptance speech should look like; photo by Jacob Yona, visit the full gallery at this link

When I arrived — perhaps, 30 or 40 minutes after we initially were led away — there wasn’t much of a protest at the gates, anymore. It seemed to be over, though I learned, later that night (from tweets & videos), that marches occurred afterward when the remaining demonstrators had met the delegates who were forced to leave the convention via the subway. What Socialist Alternative & Sawant need to understand is that their decision literally split us in half.

Did Socialist Alternative really believe that the delegates had been released & that they were at, or shortly on their way to, the boathouse? Or did they take advantage of the situation to bring more people into their rally or party? Or was Socialist Alternative fed bad information by someone else and, if so, who? I don’t yet have answers to any of these questions but I’m confidant that the truth of it will emerge, before long. Regardless of what comes to light, one thing seems clear to me —

We Must Work Together

This was not the first or the only event of this kind that I witnessed — there were multiple instances of our demonstrations being split by several different individuals or factions over the course of the week. It’s ok — these things happen. Revolutions are usually messy — but I think we can do better! We must be organized, we must stand in solidarity with one another, and we must always beware of anyone who is trying to become “the new leader of the revolution.” It’s simple, really — ask yourself, “is the action I’m taking going to lead to more unity or more division?”

We Must Not Let Them
“Divide & Conquer” Us

Photo by Jacob Yona, visit the full gallery here
Just a few angry college students; photo by Jacob Yona, visit the full gallery here

It is my opinion that we must all become leaders if this kind of peaceful revolution is going tosucceed. Now, I don’t know what was going on in the minds of Socialist Alternative’s leaders but I certainly witnessed the division that ensued. What was a very large & possibly effective protest was cut in half & neutralized and that’s exactly what the establishment is trying to do to us — we either did it to ourselves or someone on their side infiltrated & spread false information.

After seeing some of the things that occurred at the demonstrations in Philadelphia, I fear that we may have been actively sabotaged & undermined by the establishment, particularly during a few key moments. I won’t lie to you — this, in addition to the media blackout of the demonstrations, was devastating to the efficacy of our protests. I shall be releasing a part two to this article that will elaborate on all of it (sometime in the next week) & my hope is that, when the people are made aware of it, they won’t fall for it again.

I do, however, have a lot of puzzle pieces to put together, in the meantime — stay tuned & keep your ear to the ground…

To Sum It All Up

Whether it was a mole or somebody’s ego or really unfortunately false information, what we need to take away from this is that we need to be more organized & more unified. There was a lot of momentum present in Philly — that kind of momentum doesn’t just disappear! This movement has a lot of potential to change our society & we’re only really limited by our own will, imagination, & courage! Now is the time to unite! Now is the time to organize! And now is the time for us to stand in solidarity with one another!

If we can do that, there is no limit to what we will accomplish! 

I’ll be dropping a lot of articles over the next week, as I unpack all of our footage & photos — there is a lot that remains to be said but I’ve been learning faster than I can write…

In solidarity,
John Laurits
[twitter-follow screen_name=’@JohnLaurits’]

P.S. Here is my live stream of the protests before the split — it’s two hours long but I hope to release an abridged version soon, with a timeline of the important events. 

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