[RNC protest photos] I wrote my dissertation on mass demonstrations around the “anti-globalization” movement, as it was dubbed by outsiders, or the Global Justice movement, as it referred to itself. I attended most of the mass demonstrations from 1999 to 2004, including the WTO, IMF/World Bank, Republican and Democratic conventions, as well as various trade meetings. Those were exciting times, and I focus my field research on the mass arrests, over policing, the use of direct action inside the jails, the legal support offices, and so on. So this was the experience I was bringing to the streets of the RNC in Cleveland, where I expected an exciting mix based on the rumors: open carry laws, $50 million dollar police grant for fighting protesters, nazis, Trump supporters, protesters, fortress RNC, and protest zones far from the convention site. It sounded exciting.
Therefore, when I arrived, especially on Monday, day 1, I was surprised to see so few people out, and wondered if I’d made a mistake in even coming here after an 8 1/2 drive from NYS. But over the next several days, the activity picked up, making it at least worthwhile. The major difference was that there were no national organizations demonstrating, no labor unions, non-profits, or grassroots groups. There were just a handful of smaller organizations: Ruckus Society, Code Pink, Stand United Against Trump, and the RCP. The RCP got the most arrests, around 21, for flag burning activities and such. Alex Jones of Infowars.com fame stopped by and caused one of the main riot situations on the second day, where the police sectioned off the crowds and contained them until Jones was arrested. Bikers for Trump showed up in a motorcycle caravan to shake hands with the police and stand on their side, but just twenty of them, at most. But with such fear of a Trump presidency, why weren’t more people in the streets, protesting such an event?
Of course, it seems that the Republicans didn’t need outside help, as they were imploding all by themselves with the various scandals of many members not showing, Melania’s speech, Cruz’ refusal to endorse Trump, and Trump’s own fascist, lengthy closing night speech. [RNC protest photos]