Got something you’re itching to tell John McCain, or delegates to the Republican national convention? Here’s your chance.
While some are planning to take it to the streets in St. Paul, one group wants to elevate protesting to a whole new level — the Jumbotron. (See more below on the Labor Day march, and urge St. Paul officials to do the right thing and grant a permit.)
Giant television screens – Jumbotrons, 22 feet high and 30 feet wide – will broadcast anti-Republican-themed messages to convention-goers, the media and the international audience following the proceedings.
Organizers figure they will have much more impact than bullhorns.
The goal is to have pithy, witty and compelling messages laying out the problems in the Republican agenda, and outlining better alternatives, organizers say…
Martha Ballou, an unabashed Democrat who doesn’t mince words: “Every bad guy in the world will be here – Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, gay-haters, immigration stoppers. They’ll all be sitting in a bowl in St. Paul, and we do intend to engage them.”
…”We realize that the people in the Xcel center are never going to agree with us, so our audience is the media and those who watch what’s going on,” Ballou said.
“This could change protest forever,” she said.
Messages on the giant screen could include opposition to the Iraq war as well as thoughts on social issues and labor concerns.
A steelworkers group has contributed $30,000 to the Jumbotron effort, which is enough to rent one screen for a week. Ballou hopes to raise at least $70,000 more, to get two more screens to better blanket the convention area, in the West Seventh Street/Kellogg Boulevard area…
Ballou said that most opponents to the Republicans haven’t yet figured out good ways to get their messages across. “Ironically, the only ones really organized so far are the anarchists,” she said.
“But we’re working hard on this, and our intent is to come up with messages that are witty and technologically sophisticated, so people will want to watch,” she said.
Asked for examples, Ballou said she doesn’t have any yet.
“But the guidelines are: Hold the Republicans to their record. Hang them with their own words. Show people a better way,” she said.
True Blue Minnesota is looking for ideas, and you can offer yours here.
What would you say, if you had a Jumbtron all your own to program and the whole world was watching?
OUT OF IRAQ NOW?
WELCOME, LIARS AND THIEVES?
Well, sure, but we can do better than that. Share your ideas for words, photos and video with True Blue Minnesota. And, if you’d like, offer some ideas in the comment section here, too.
Photo credit: ThreeQBlog.
This from United for Peace and Justice:
ACTION ALERT: Tell St. Paul officials to grant permit for RNC anti-war march
For months now, organizers in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis-St.Paul) have been hard at work planning for a major antiwar demonstration on September 1, 2008, the opening day of the Republican Nominating Convention in St. Paul. That also happens to be Labor Day and so everyone is hopeful that because this is on a holiday it will be easier to bring large numbers of people to this important mobilization.
The Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, made up of more than 100 organizations from around the Twin Cities and across the country – including United for Peace and Justice – has been seeking permits for the Sept. 1st demonstration since days after the Republicans announced they would hold their national convention in Minnesota. The local organizers have been given a permit to assemble and rally at the State Capitol, but the City of St. Paul continues to withhold a permit for a march up to and around the Xcel Center, where the Convention will be held.
For months, City officials promised that the permit process would move forward at the beginning of March. This past March 3rd, the Coalition finally received a formal response to their application: a “provisional” permit to begin a march at the State Capitol on September 1st, with no route, no times, and with a suggestion that whatever route is eventually granted will not be for our exclusive use for the duration of the protest. The document the Coalition received was a mostly blank form, and was accompanied by a set of guidelines that unreasonably restrict the rights of any protesters planning actions during the 2008 Republican National Convention.
On Monday, March 24th, attorneys from the National Lawyer Guild and the ACLU filed a complaint in federal court, on behalf of the Coalition, asking the judge to order the City to approve the Coalition’s permit application and that no extra guidelines be attached. The hope is that legal action will help win the permit that’s needed – one that takes a massive, anti-war march to the doors of the Republican Convention at the Xcel Center.
Local organizers also know that political pressure is no less important than legal pressure. St. Paul City officials have worked hard to create the impression that they want to work with and even welcome protesters. If they truly wanted to roll out a welcome mat, they already would have. The Coalition is planning for a march against the war on Iraq, and we shouldn’t have to wait for a court ruling to force the City to issue a permit that takes us to the Xcel Center on September 1st.
NOW IS THE TIME TO TAKE ACTION.
1) Contact St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. Urge him to deliver a final permit to the Coalition to March on the RNC and Stop the War, taking us from the State Capitol to the Xcel Center on September 1, 2008. Mayor Coleman can be reached at [email protected] or 651-266-8510. Please send a copy of your message to the Twin Cities organizers at [email protected]
2) Send a letter to the editor at either of these two newspapers in the Twin Cities and explain why you believe the permit needs to be granted, now:
– Star Tribune in Minneapolis – send by fax to 612-673-4359
– St. Paul Pioneer Press – send by fax 651-228-5564 or by e-mail to [email protected]