From Philly to LA:
Breaking Thru

Revolutionary Worker #1066, August 13, 2000

It wasn't supposed to happen. The cops had their orders to silence. The media had their plans to ignore. But despite it all, the resistance of the people broke through in the four days of protest and confrontation in Philadelphia.

During those intense days, thousands of people refused to be silenced. Instead the streets rang with the voices of a new generation determined to fight for a different future.

The Republican Convention was intended as a four-day infomercial-where the politics of cruelty came wrapped in a blanket of fake tolerance and nauseating Bush family chatter.

As the mind-numbing media machinery ground on-night after night-the whole situation demanded that the voice of resistance break through. And the determined, irrepressible struggle in the streets did. They dared to call out the injustices of the system and the crimes of these Republican hangmen. They dared to face the police sent to shut them up-putting their bodies on the line in different forms of struggle.

The Philadelphia authorities set up a mini-police state-and the ever-loyal official media covered up the brutal tactics of the cops. The mainstream media tried to portray the protesters as "rebels without a cause."

But despite that, people all over the U.S. and the world could see that thousands had taken the streets and hundreds had been arrested. In Philadelphia itself, the protests were all over the news. Through the struggle of those days, many more people got a glimpse of two different sides squaring off in this society: on one side, those who defend the politics of repression, inequality, greed, cruelty and the exploitation of the world's people and the planet itself... and, on the other side, people who are struggling to forge a different road and a different future.

The courage and sacrifice in the streets and jails advanced the cause of the people, including the fight against police brutality and against the execution of Mumia Abu-Jamal-the revolutionary on death row who has become a rallying point for resistance to this system.

These intense days in Philadelphia were a powerful and important first step in this summer of Convention Confrontation-an opening shot in the political struggle that now shifts to Los Angeles.

The Political Switcheroo

In the last elections, the Democrats wrapped the politics of cruelty in the language of compassion. This year, the Republicans decided they too could play this game.

In the Philadelphia Convention Hall, the Republican delegates strained to make their hard faces look open and "compassionate"-while they endorsed more greed and inequality, more prisons, abolishing abortion (including in cases of rape and incest), a bigger military, eliminating affirmative action, breaking up of public education, privatizing social security, cutting taxes for the rich, and giving churches more control over social programs.

The Republicans muffled their most ugly spokesmen, paraded their Black and Latino representatives in front of the cameras, and rolled out every sappy TV gimmick you could imagine. By the time George W. himself took the stage, you half expected him to announce that his party had renamed itself the New Rainbow Republicans.

And it was all, of course, a cynical game-done with the full support, behind the scenes, from the "meat-eaters" of the Republican right-who have been promised an inside seat in policy-making if the Bush-Cheney team wins in November.

The Scene Shifts

Now, even as activists continue to fight in Philadelphia to free their jailed comrades-the focus for this summer of resistance shifts to the streets of Los Angeles. The world will be watching Los Angeles, as the imperialists nominate and package their other presidential candidate. With this attention comes a new chance to marshal forces in the streets to express the politics of resistance and revolution-to expose the system, its parties, its elections and its leading representatives-to rally and inspire the people and raise their sights.

Now the Democrats will crank out their political message-they will swear that the status quo is wonderful in America and that if change is needed Al Gore is the man to bring it about. There are already commando squads of spin doctors and speechwriters working overtime to promote that lie and, with it, a Democratic fog of disinformation.

Meanwhile, the notorious Los Angeles police have prepared a mini-police state of their own. The ruling class is pressing ahead with its plans to contain and suppress any political expression that might challenge their monopoly on the political arena. They intend to set the framework of political debate-to limit people's sights to the choice between the "New Republicans" and the "New Democrats" -while the visible difference between these two parties, their rhetoric and programs, has shrunk even further.

As the ruling class works to promote their political leaders-and corral people into their election madness, a different vision must continue to break through the media fog. The great revolutionary Mao Tsetung called on people to "create favorable conditions through struggle." That is exactly what was done in the streets of Philadelphia. And that is what needs to be kicked even higher in the streets of L.A.


This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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