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RNC 2008: Unlikely as it might seem, mainstream media lies

By Jess Sundin

Fight Back News Service is circulating the following commentary by Jess Sundin, a member of the Twin Cities based Anti-War Committee and the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War.

December 7, on, Doug Grow published an article entitled, “Unlikely as it might seem, St. Paul's top security cop is gaining the trust of some GOP convention protesters.” Unlikely as it might seem, this article was full of lies and innuendo, aimed at dividing the people who plan to protest at the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul. Don't be fooled.

Consider the source

MinnPost is corporate media. Its CEO and editor, Joel Kramer, is a former editor and publisher of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. MinnPost is funded by media industry millionaires. Most MinnPost writers were headliners at the Star Tribune, before its latest round of downsizing. Author Doug Grow is a career journalist, well known in Minnesota as a feel-good liberal, who has never participated in the anti-war movement that he sometimes writes about.

The article is about assistant police chief Matt Bostrom, who has been assigned to head up St. Paul's security plan for the Republican National Convention. Given his current job description, it's no wonder that he… “hopes that peaceful protesters will help police weed out 'the knuckleheads'…”? The article never says that protesters are considering going along with this delusional plan that Bostrom invented. In fact, Doug Grow never quotes any protesters or protest organizers. Outside two sentences by the ACLU, the entire article is made up of quotes from Bostrom.

The material for this article was gathered at a public meeting that was thoroughly mischaracterized by the author. Before the event even happened, people from our Coalition and others cautioned against giving the police this platform to promote their plans for RNC protesters. Members of our Coalition who attended the event witnessed a crowd that was challenging, untrusting and hostile to Bostrom. Doug Grow found his feel good story, not by listening to people organizing and planning to protest at the RNC, but instead, by looking through his own tainted glasses.

Quote this: Bostrom has not won our trust, and we are not snitches

Bostrom (and Grow) suggest that some protesters are good, and others are bad. We reject this. We are building a broad coalition, united by solidarity, and a shared opposition to the Republican agenda. We welcome all protesters to St. Paul next September, and we hope you will join our September 1st March on the RNC to Stop the War.

The strategy of divide and rule can only succeed if we allow ourselves to be divided – whether by police, the media, or others. We won't allow it. Instead, students, low-income organizers, immigrants, peace activists, trade unionists, socialists, pacifists, anarchists and others have already decided to work hand-in-hand, to protest the RNC in St. Paul in 2008.

If Bostrom wants snitches, he will have to import them. Here in Minnesota, we will focus all of our energy on the troublemakers inside the Xcel Center – Republican conventioneers, meeting to plan and promote an agenda of war and misery. While we may march different paths, or employ different tactics, we will find common ground. We will neither denounce nor rat out others fighting for an end to the criminal policies of the government.

I agree wholeheartedly with our friends from Macalester SDS, who have called on all of us to be, “working together, trusting each other, and understanding that differences are assets, not liabilities.” This work begins here and now.

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