At an anti-RNC conference held over the weekend of February 9th and 10th, a broad spectrum of groups revealed what are being called the “St. Paul Principles” of unity for resisting the 2008 Republican National Convention (RNC).
Key organizations including the RNC Welcoming Committee and The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War are signed onto the principles which seek to unite and strengthen the partnerships amongst those planning to confront the RNC.
This is a departure from the sectarian squabbles that have plagued past years’ anti-convention organizing. Pitting groups of differing political beliefs against each other has been a frequent tactic of state repression since the days of COINTELPRO.
By drafting the principles together, the co-signing organizations are taking historic steps to actively extinguish divisiveness from their respective groups. The principles will ensure respect for the soon-to-be-permitted march on September 1 by people planning non-permitted activities, and in turn, participants in the September 1 march will adhere to the principles and do nothing to sow division among the many activists coming to the Twin Cities to protest the RNC.
The principles are:
1. Our solidarity will be based on respect for a diversity of tactics and the plans of other groups.
2. The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain a separation of time or space.
3. Any debates or criticisms will stay internal to the movement, avoiding any public or media denunciations of fellow activists and events.
4. We oppose any state repression of dissent, including surveillance, infiltration, disruption and violence. We agree not to assist law enforcement actions against activists and others.
The RNC Welcoming Committee, The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, The Anti-war Committee, SDS-U of MN, Communities United Against Police Brutality, The Welfare Rights Committee, and Unconventional Action – Chicago were among the first to sign on to these principles. As other groups sign on to these principles, a unified, effective, and radical front will form.
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