Convention Week May Get Messy
While attending a Clinton victory party, Philadelphia Mayor, Jim Kenney, told PoliticsPA this isn’t a problem as “First Amendment rights are sacrosanct in this country.”
He went on to explain that the city was working with the ACLU in making sure First Amendment rights are protected by having things like a permanent site for people to protest and express their opinions.
Although Dan McQuade of Philly Magazine reports that left-wing groups have demands for Jim Kenney that go beyond what has already been planned.
On Tuesday, the Philly Coalition for REAL (Racial, Economic and Legal) Justice, in coordination with other local progressive groups, held a press event outside of the city building at 1515 Arch Street where a group of speakers announced that they will be demonstrating and protesting the DNC next month regardless of whether or not they have a permit.
Erica Mines, who disrupted Bill Clinton at a campaign rally in Northwest Philadelphia before the April primaries, led Tuesday’s press event.
“We cannot allow this political moment to be whitewashed like the Occupy movement,” Mines said. “We, as black and brown people, we must unify again in solidarity with one another. We must capitalize off of this moment with one goal in mind, and that is to resist the racist and capitalist power structure that allow white supremacy and capitalist oppression to flourish.”
The demonstrators want protests allowed in front of the convention site at the Wells Fargo Center, not just in the “permanent sites” the city has planned. They also want rush hour protests allowed during the DNC, and don’t want protestors jailed during the convention. Finally, they asked that the money being raised for the DNC, which totals about $64 million, go to Philadelphia public schools instead.
Another speaker at the press conference, Scott Williams, of the the Workers World party wants to hold a “Shut Down the DNC” march that would run from Broad and Diamond to City Hall, and then to the Wells Fargo Center on the second day of the DNC. They also have not received a permit but are planning on demonstrating regardless.
“The Democratic Party,” Williams said. “This is the party of slavery, of Jim Crow, of genocide of Native Americans. This is the party of Japanese internment, of dropping a nuclear bomb, of the Vietnam War, cuts to welfare, and also the party that’s run this city into the ground and destroyed the lives of millions of black and Latino people. We are here to expose them.”
Also in attendance was Asa Khalif, the cousin of Brandon Tate Brown – who was killed by Philadelphia police in December of 2014 – and Delphine Matthews, mother of Frank McQueen – who was killed by Chester police in June of 2014.
They warned Philadelphia police and other DNC organizers that they should not expect the DNC to run smoothly next month.
“You can no longer control black and brown bodies—we are done with it,” said Shani Akilah of the Black and Brown Workers Collective. “Hillary Clinton is a mass murderer. People wanted to know why, as black people, how could we not support Hillary Clinton? Hillary Clinton is a fascist…Clinton came to Haiti and made sure that the same regime that was killing our people stayed in power.”