Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Tent State dumps R!ecreate68

What's more common for lefties than splitting amid infighting and charges of hypocrisy? Nothing! The Post:
A close ally with the local war protest group Re-create 68, which is organizing for the 2008 Democratic National Convention, is severing its ties, the group told R-68 today.
Tent State University, a national group represented locally by Adam Jung, says it is having trouble organizing support and bands to perform because of the violent imagery associated with R-68's name, and with recent heated rhetoric from R-68 organizer Glenn Spagnuolo, who has been the face of the local effort to date.
To date?

From the outset, Spagnuolo's group has attracted criticism because of its name, which suggests for many the violence outside the convention hall in Chicago in 1968.

"We don't feel that Re-create-68 is working well with the anti-war left," Jung said.

Less than two weeks ago, in a comment at El Presidente's place on a Troofer piece calling into question Spagnuolo's commitment to non-violence, Jung sounded very different:

After reading the smear piece written by jonathan, I was of course concerned. But upon reading the full text of the article, not only the parts some bloggers are using to create this picture, I saw this as the best example of fabled Cointelpro tactics I've personally seen.

We work with Recreate 68, and we've attended most of the meetings, and I know for a fact nothing of this sort is being discussed. For one thing, our organization has a strict non-violence commitment. . . .Tent State University will continue to work with Recreate 68 and others and will rightfully ignore this obvious smear piece. I'd encourage others to do a little research themselves before jumping in with the likes of "jonathan."

Apparently Jung took his own advice. The Post continues:
Medea Benjamin, co-founder of the national group CodePink, seconded concerns over R-68's message and image, saying she wanted to portray the anti-war message as positively as possible. But Benjamin didn't rule out working with R-68, as long as the group's message conformed with CodePink's.

You look lovely in a pink tutu, Glenn. Now, dahnce! Dahnce!

Spagnuolo, in anger weeks ago, said the city was creating "a very dangerous situation" because it had given a permit - in a blind lottery - to the committee hosting the convention for use of Civic Center park on the Sunday before the convention. He has since vowed the group would be peaceful.

"We feel like a more positive message would be more attractive to people and we prefer it to be a more positive message," Benjamin said. "We fully intend to work with all the groups, but we want our message to be more positive."

Spagnuolo said Jung's call today was "disappointing."

"This is typically what happens when you have these conservative liberal groups who come in and pressure the smaller groups with their resources," Spagnuolo said. "It's a shame. It's not going to stop us from what we're doing. We have upwards of 40 groups working with us."

When asked to elaborate about what he meant concerning the "conservative liberal groups" Spagnuolo said he would rather refrain from further comment and work to resolve any issues internally.

Spagnuolo refrain from comment? It is to laugh.
After reading a press release that Tent State issued Monday afternoon, Spagnuolo said he thought Jung's decision was "hypocritical," because the name "Tent State" conjures up images of college students who died at Kent State during protests of the Vietnam War.

"They really need to look in the mirror," Spaguolo [update: sic] said. "This is something we talked about for quite a while. ... We look at this as a mutual split."
So there.

More DNC (grab your wallets, Denveroons):

Before Denver landed the Democratic National Convention, Mayor John Hickenlooper promised that taxpayers wouldn't have to underwrite the four-day event.

But now the city is going to have to fork over at least $1.85 million upfront for liability and workers compensation insurance policies to cover the outside law enforcement agencies Denver needs to help with security during the DNC.

Council members, who have to approve the expenditure, first want assurances that the city will be reimbursed, which the mayor's office anticipates will happen but says it can't be 100 percent sure.

"We haven't gotten a firm answer on that," Katherine Archuleta, a senior adviser to the mayor, said Monday.

"We anticipate that we will be," she said. "We've had several discussions with (the Department of Justice) about whether they'll be reimbursable or not, and I think we're feeling positive about it."

Feeling positive.

Update: More revo sniping in the News:
Glen Spagnuola [sic--Ward Churchill couldn't have spelled it worse], an organizer with Re-create 68, described the split as a mutual one. Spagnuola said that his group had concerns over the images that the name Tent State seemed to convey, because it suggested Kent State, the university where four students were shot to death by National Guardsmen during a Vietnam War protest in 1970.

"There's been so much confusion over the last couple of months. People keep insinuating that we're going to be violent when we've been organizing for a nonviolent protest," he said. "We don't want the image of dead students on a lawn being associated with the positive message that we're putting forward."

Pease countered that Tent City's name has nothing to do with Kent State. It's so named because students taking part in the protest sleep in tents.

She called that fact that tent rhymes with Kent an "immature argument" and said it was not an issue that had come up between the two groups.
So there.

Update II: El Presidente at Slapstick Politics notes Jung and Spagnuolo being utterly ridiculous on the city's purchase of police equipment ahead of the convention:
"I'm worried about the message they're sending, but I'm not worried about it actually being used," said Adam Jung, an organizer with the protest group Tent State University. "It sends a message that they're trying to criminalize nonviolent demonstrators."

Glenn Spagnuolo, an organizer with the Recreate 68 Alliance, another protest group, agreed."There's no need to overmilitarize our community and utilize these military weapons on a civilian population," he said.

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