Saturday, June 11, 2016

DNC protest guide

I wrote this a month ago and then took it down. But I saved a copy so here it is.

The state needs to completely normalize protest as BAD, protesters as VIOLENT, and the status quo as PROTECTING YOU FROM WHAT IS BAD. You've seen how literally sold-out are the corporate media. You MUST protest regardless.

I'm with (what remains of) the non-violent Occupy Wall Street movement. I've been through some of this, been to "know your rights" workshops, etc. over a two year period of actions. If any of this seems odd or even ridiculous, it is not. Empower yourself with this information even if you do not believe it to be required. Seek out even more of it, especially regarding "know your rights" in the Philadelphia area. Cops have a history there of screwing with people who record them, so livestream if you can; they can't take that away from you.

Expand upon these starting points as you are so inspired. This is by no means either a complete list or an instrument of legal protection in case you get into trouble for any reason. Protect yourself!

NO CHILDREN. Do NOT bring children to the DNC. Period. Police WILL be violent regardless of your peaceful actions. You risk being separated from them if tear gas is used and people run. Or worse.

Buddy system: 

-Buddy up with someone and have a meeting place for later each night if you become separated. Share with them in writing, your legal name and birthdate. If you are separated and they do not answer their phone, etc., long after the arranged meeting time, consider them arrested and report that to the organizers. Make sure organizers then have the legal names and birth date of anyone who has been confirmed arrested so they can be found in the system. Have organizers present from their homes via the internet away from the protest who can act as an information base to the larger facebook groups, etc.

-Make sure your family knows where you are going and your hotel, etc. if possible, friends if no family. Let them know when you expect to return. Let them know you'll contact them before you begin your trip home; if they don't get that message or call, something's wrong.


-Comfortable shoes! That cannot be stressed enough if you are going to be there for hours, especially overnight.
-Food such as string cheese which can stay on you for hours until you need it.
-Energy bars.
-Food and water for those who didn't bring any.
-Aspirin or similar pain or headache relief.
-Batteries for cameras and cell phones.
-Warm clothes if needed, especially if doing night protest.
-Someone with a two-wheeled cart can bring cases of bottled water/snacks.

Occupy's "The People's Mic":

-You don't need megaphones or PA systems to communicate. Breaking what you want to say into small enough sections for those around you to repeat...start with "Mic check!" Everyone around you should shout in response, "Mic check!" Do this two or three times in a row until everyone is participating.

Then start with short bursts of what you want to say. "We are here today" for example. Everyone around you shouts "We are here today" immediately after you. Shout another part. They'll repeat it. This is extremely effective and unifying as well.

Quick example of The People's Mic from a video of mine at OccupyLA, go to 2:05 


-Someone might wish to bring a small sound system (easily transportable) if others nearby are okay with or wanting some music. Be open to turning it off or down if you're getting complaints or icy stares.


-This is how you unify the energy of those around you. A good march or stationary protest moves continuously to new chants as any lose steam. A march or stationary protest can go on for HOURS; it is important to keep people interested and united and focused. Sustaining a protest is very important in having it be effective.


-Bring your skills and knowledge. At a set time and place, teach those who attend about legal rights, protest history, socialism and political systems, sign-making groups (bring supplies), how to livestream, etc.

Children's care: 

-DO NOT BRING CHILDREN TO PROTESTS. Police WILL be violent if a protest is large enough. If you for any bad reason need to bring children, arrange care groups well away from the protest areas.


-There will likely be porta-potties, etc. but check the net for public bathroom sites, local fast-food, etc. Know before you need! Share the information!


-Socialist pizza! Know the locations!


-It is perfectly fine to not wish to be arrested or to take part in anything which logically would get you arrested. Get out of any situation which to you is too tense. Do not interfere with those choosing to remain in any tense situation.

-Your rights are limited to whatever an attorney can claim for you, if you are arrested. Sometimes the Bill of Rights is not automatically entered as "evidence" as a defence. It can come down to "did you or did you not fail to disperse when so ordered" without any further context, even if you didn't hear the order.

-NLG (National Lawyer's Guild) legal observers will likely be present; they are your best damn friends in the entire universe. Please thank them if you see them in their pistachio-colored caps. A friend of mine would be in jail because of a lying cop if not for an NLG observer; this occurred during the No NATO protests in Chicago a few years back. Straight up.

-Write in permanent marker along the inside of your arm, the phone number of the local NLG or attorney who is covering the protest.

-There are "I'm being arrested" smart phone applications. Use them.

-Police can and will seize and attempt to unlock your cell phone. Purge it of anything you wouldn't want them to see or have before going to the protests. Know that if they seize it, you may never see it again regardless.

-It is legal to record police from a reasonable, non-interfering distance. Cops will tell you that you cannot. Challenge them with the ruling Glik V. Boston and the resulting $170,000 payout. Some cops will back down. Some will NOT, regardless if it being illegal for them to either interfere with your recording them, or outright seizing your recording gear. Philadelphia cops have a reputation of screwing with people who record them. Livestreamers have been pulled over after leaving a protest and severely hassled, even grabbed and arrested, so have an escape route. If they can get you into their facial recognition software, they can get your license plate and car make and model.

-You MUST record police when they are breaking the law. You are helping their victim. This is your duty. You would want someone to do so for you.


-Hold your cell phone or camera close to your body. It is tempting to fully extend your arm toward the action but that just makes it easy for cops to snatch it. Yes, they'll do that; they've done so before. 

-Orange Bloc is a tactic to record and to document a protest. This is for yours and other's protection in the face of lying police and city prosecutors attempting to make a name for themselves through "being tough on crime" even if you're grabbed for doing nothing. If something wrong is happening, scream "CAMERAS" and be always be ready with yours. Dedicated cameras may power-up more quickly than cell phones.

-Do not crowd police if they are making arrests, no matter if they are completely out-of-line in so doing. They can fuck with you for being too close, so it doesn't hurt to quickly pan down to your feet and any nearby stationary items to have proof of a particular distance from any arrests.

-Have someone watch your back for cops coming up behind you to grab you and your phone. Know what's going on around you or have someone there who can do that for you.

-Back-up batteries. If you're going to be there for hours upon hours, have ready sets of batteries for quick swap-outs.

-USB power stones: people using cell phones to stream, etc. can bring USB batteries which can last for hours. It's an extremely good idea, especially if there is trouble late at night and you become separated and need to use your phone after a full day of already having used it.

Violence and dealing with police: 

-It does not matter if you are clearly, completely non-violent. Police WILL attack you, especially if you are in large groups. They are all about authoritarian control. If you are in a group they feel they cannot control, they will attack. They are mechanisms. If you do not wish to be attacked or to risk arrest, leave any group you feel is too tense.

-NEVER call the police. NEVER. If there is trouble, call for "CAMERAS!" and NLG legal observers. If there is violence, just move away from it. Do not interfere. DO NOT CALL THE POLICE. DO NOT.

-If you are on medication stay away from police lines. If you are grabbed and jailed they will not provide it to you, period.

-If you are non-naturalized you are in danger of being held or deportated if they run you through the system.

-If you are a felon or are have any warrants against you, they can hold you longer than the "regular" initial holding period. These are great reasons for them to screw you up so consider your resources and attorneys. If you are in doubt, run your record before attending. Clear up anything requiring it and carry copies of that clearance paperwork and make certain your attorney also has it.

Police tactics: 

-Police scour social media posts to identify organizers and will target you during a protest, to the point of using snatch squads to step in and seize you.

-Do not describe online how you'll dress so others can find you. Police store facial recognition data and correlate it with social media posts.

-If you march, police are trained to break your march into smaller and smaller groups, and sometimes to then kettle and make arrests. Police during Occupy used to surround sections of a march, declare it an unlawful assembly, and demand everyone disperse...while keeping you fully surrounded, then making arrests.

-Have a meet-up location for later if your march becomes broken up or attacked.

-Police identify the smallest woman and step up on her, giving her trouble in order to troll an arrestable response from any white knight who'll jump to her aid. DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS. This is an excellent chant to begin when cops are definitely making trouble to create arrests.

-Once again, police are NOT your friends. They are there to savagely defend what you are there to protest. Period.

We get up early to BEAT the crowd
"We get up early to BEAT the crowds"


-They will hold you as long as the system allows, will not allow bathroom breaks, will not provide your medication, will not feed you, will not provide blankets if you are freezing, will do nothing.

-Police can legally lie while collecting evidence.They will tell you they will release you early if you'll give them the names of other protesters and most especially, organizers. DO NOT NAME ANY NAMES. EVER. FOR ANY REASON. Even if you have to stay two days without food. NEVER GIVE THEM THE NAMES OR INFORMATION ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE. It will be used to create legal action against them.

Jail Support: 

-Organizers or Jail Support Organizers should be given the legal name and birthdate of anyone arrested so they can be found in the system.

-Prepare a list of all inmate search engines at precincts in the area you are protesting. They have websites.

-A team carrying food and water should go immediately to any precinct where someone is being held as soon as they know they are being held there. Wait until they are released. Hug them, celebrate them, update them, feed them. This can go on as long as the system deems itself capable of holding them. If you are arrested on a Friday or holiday weekend, you may be held until "normal business hours" return. Plan ahead.

-A livestream which you can power up every few hours is a good idea. I believe you can set up your twitter account to tweet when your livestream goes live.

Media response:

-You've already noticed that six corporations own 90% of US mainstream media, and that some, such as CNN's parent company Time Warner, are big Hillary Clinton donors. They will twist anything they can, ignore what they will, and infuriate you with inaccuracy favoring Hillary and condemning you, regardless of the facts.

-They may entirely ignore the protests and may only give them a moment's airtime, focusing upon the most easily-ridiculed or "scary" thing they can find.

-Police WILL attack protesters. It's what they're for, it's what they do: maintain the status quo, and the status quo is what you are there to protest.

-When this occurs, media will play clips 24/7 and will blame protesters.

-Headlines will read "Protesters clash with police at DNC" even if all that happened is cops attacking clearly peaceful protesters. News anchors will tut-tut-tut about the violent protesters. Expect it. They're protecting their corporate system in so doing by demonizing anyone who would stand up to it. (There is no 1st Amendment, only corporatocracy.)

-If groups not affiliated with Bernie are violent, they will blame Bernie supporters. This is to be fully expected and cannot be changed.

-Mainstream media are NOT your friends. Do not do any interviews if possible because they're looking to twist your words the majority of the time, to use it out of context. Especially do not answer any questions about Bernie supporters being violent or do you expect violence.

Media Support:

-The Young Turks and other social media sources might be present. They are equally as vulnerable to arrest as anyone else. Police now target them.

-Call in any trustworthy media support you can think up.

-Occupy livestreamers may be present. Ask them their twitter name so you can tweet out where people can watch. Organizers at home can keep and post a list of streamers.

-Livestreamers from far-right sources such as "infowars" may be also; do not answer any questions from known far-right sources such as Alex Jones/"infowars". Especially not Breitbart, etc. As with cops, anything you say can be twisted against you. They're only there to cause trouble.

Street Medics:

-Anyone with basic first-aid training, or who is willing to immediately take basic first-aid training, should take the responsibility to carry LAW and basic first-aid items. Wear a large red cross (red duct tape in a cross on your clothes) or otherwise be visible as such.

-Note that police often block emergency vehicles and personnel after setting up lines and firing tear gas, etc., so if someone is seriously injured, the responsibility falls to you.

Tear gas, pepper-spray:

LAW: 50% Maalox, 50% water, in a clean spray can.
Milk works fine in a pinch.

-Tilt head so the liquid runs off onto the ground, not your clothes

-Confirm if must throw away clothes if hit by both; the oil may just blend with everything else in a wash instead of washing away.

-Never pick up a tear gas canister with your bare hands. This is due to heat or residual heat as well as the contents. A live canister can give you severe burns. Kick it away or with gloved hands, drop it into a tub of water of some sort.

A large version of this image may be found by of course searching "defending against tear gas".


-Potentially permanently deafening sound cannons are unfortunately becoming ever more popular with the surveillance/police state. Know this enemy and how to begin to counter it.

Article on the LRAD sound cannon. 

Agents Provocateurs: 

-Police have been proven over and over to dress as protesters and to shout, agitate, and say you should throw this rock they happen to have handy. Don't. If anyone tells you to be violent get away from them quickly, record them if possible. If they won't leave you alone record them, scream "CAMERAS", and shout out what they're trying to get you to do.

-At least one right-wing blogger was involved in attempting to turn a protest into chaos in order to incriminate the peaceful protesters.

 G20 video?

Anarchists, other protest groups not aligned with Bernie, etc.:

-If some people are getting in cops' faces, being loud, pushing cops or even throwing things, move away. Do not interfere. It is their right to express themselves at the level to which the system has already harmed them. Find another area. Some of these groups are being executed by police on the inner city streets. They have the right to protest as they wish.

-Black Bloc is a technique, not a group. It is the use of dressing fully in black so as to damage cop's ability to target any individual(s). If you see a group fully dressed in black, do not interfere. Even if you disagree with their methods, they have a right to express as they wish against this utterly corrupt system. Your methods are not superior to theirs. Do not interfere. Leave if you disagree with their methods. You are not their judge. Move away and find another place to be.