Worry Signs from Tampa - Protest Management at the RNC

  • Posted on: 14 August 2012
  • By: worker

<table><tr><td>From <a href="http://securitydebrief.com/2012/08/14/worrying-signs-from-tampa-protest-... Debrief</a> - by Sam Rosenfeld

<p>It’s not easy being the police department responsible for hosting a NSSE. Counter-terrorism and protest management requirements compete. U.S. law enforcement tend to see this competition as a zero sum game where there’s winners and losers, rather than the two requirements being complementary. A truly effective security effort at an NSSE attracts no or very little media attention &#8211; attention that the organizers want focused on the party message rather than the security effort. The signals that Tampa is sending suggest this will not be the case for the <a href="http://www.gopconvention2012.com/" target="_blank">2012 Republican National Convention (RNC)</a>.</p>
<p>The fundamental requirement for a police department hosting an NSSE is understanding the threat so that the response is proportionate and effective. There are worrying signs that the City of Tampa doesn’t understand the threat or how to manage it effectively. If they don’t understand the threat to legitimate protest and law enforcement properly, how will they be able to facilitate constitutional rights and maintain the counter-terrorist capability that’s necessary?</p></td><td><img title="How is good old sam? I sure hope he is doing well." src="http://anarchistnews.org/files/pictures/2012/monster.jpg"></td></tr></ta...

<p>Anarchists and Extreme Left Wing groups are not synonymous with protesters, but in the effort to combat the former, law abiding protesters are often dragged into the fray, subjected to mass arrests, CS gas and other indiscriminate, ineffective means that don’t actually contribute to either upholding the law or constitutional rights.</p>
<p>The pressure on Tampa PD to manage the protesters effectively will be high because the anarchist movement has evolved over the past four years. There is a new trend of willingness to actually fight the police and de-arrest individuals, something simply not in evidence four years ago. Chicago PD showed significant evolution in their engagement-heavy approach &#8211; they were fortunate in that the anarchist &#8220;A team&#8221; didn’t attend. The real problem that we are likely to see in Tampa is a repeat of the mistakes of 2008 RNC in St Paul/Minneapolis, where a small group of organized anarchists caused the police to overreact on Day 1, and for the police to continue to be heavy handed for the rest of the period.</p>
<p>Effective understanding of the threat is critical. If Tampa PD doesn&#8217;t understand the threat, they will be unable to manage it by facilitating protest by the majority and targeting, arresting, and successfully prosecuting actual criminals.</p>
<p>Three examples suggest this lack of understanding:</p>
<li>The City Attorney not understanding the cause of the lack of sign-up for protest march licenses;</li>
<li>The police spokesperson’s misunderstanding about what the anarchist movement is and its members&#8217; motives; and</li>
<li>The City Attorney publishing legislation that either doesn’t understand anarchist reality over police urban myths, or is deliberately restricting new media and using anarchists as the scapegoats for it.</li>
<p><strong>Lack of Participation Sign Up for Marches</strong></p>
<p>The following <a href="http://www.9news.com/news/world/279384/347/Police-getting-ready-for-RNC-... target="_blank">report by a local news station</a> reported on the preparations for the RNC.</p>
<p>In it, there were interviews with a number of members of the security preparations committees. These include the City Attorney, who is responsible for the legal preparations for hosting the convention. This process must be conducted in close cooperation with the police and federal authorities if it is to be effective. The report states:</p>
<p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>Shimberg [Tampa City Attorney] said that organizers of parades or marches must sign up with the city to use the route, and are slotted in 90-minute increments. But as of July 6, only three groups have signed up. Shimberg said he&#8217;s surprised more groups haven&#8217;t come forward, and doesn&#8217;t know what the low numbers signify. There&#8217;s no deadline to sign up for the parade route, but he said there are 28 open slots during the four-day convention.</em></p>
<p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>&#8220;We&#8217;re a little baffled,&#8221; he said. &#8220;I&#8217;m not sure if it means that people don&#8217;t want to go where we want them to go, or if they&#8217;re just not coming.&#8221;</em></p>
<p>The protesters are coming. They’re coming in strength. However, they agreed months ago that because they didn’t respect the mechanisms that the City of Tampa had put in place, they refused to participate in the city’s processes. Experience tells us that the effective response in this situation is to engage with the protest groups, particularly the moderates, and negotiate sensible agreements that facilitate constitutional rights but that ensure that the counter-terrorism effort is not only effective, but enhanced. There are no signs from either side that this engagement is taking place or is successful. It’s not too late to implement an effective policy that would resolve this situation, isolating those who would be violent or promote criminal damage rather than encouraging solidarity between all protest groups, regardless of their attitude to violence towards others and the police.</p>
<p><strong>Misunderstanding of What the Anarchists Are, and Therefore the Threat They Pose.</strong></p>
<p>The police spokesperson, Laura McElroy, is talking of the protesters when she <a href="http://www2.tbo.com/news/republican-national-convention/2012/jun/17/anar... target="_blank">says in this article</a>:</p>
<p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>&#8220;The large majority are law-abiding protesters who are coming just to be part of the political process; for their voice to be heard,&#8221; said Tampa police spokeswoman Laura McElroy. &#8220;A small percentage is trouble-makers.&#8221;</em></p>
<p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>She said officers have developed a security plan and even attended the NATO conference in Chicago in May to observe how violent protests were handled.</em></p>
<p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>&#8220;We are preparing any way possible,&#8221; she said. &#8220;We can&#8217;t talk about the particulars. We are building a comprehensive security plan.</em></p>
<p style="padding-left: 30px;"><em>&#8220;Anarchy is a tactic, versus a group,&#8221; she said. &#8220;It is used by different groups. Typically, they are loosely organized and misguided individuals who break the law and disrupt the event.&#8221;</em></p>
<p>She is absolutely right in the first paragraph &#8211; the majority of protesters are law abiding and simply want their voices heard, and only a small percentage are trouble-makers. The accurate figures are that generally 1 percent to 5 percent attend ready to initiate confrontation with the police, a further 15 percent will participate in that confrontation if they see that there is a very small risk of repercussions for doing so, and 80 percent don’t want anything to do with the confrontation.</p>
<p>She is not correct in the implication that Chicago handled violent protests that will be of the same intensity as in Tampa. The anarchists coming to Tampa will be better organized; for internal reasons, there were few anarchists in Chicago, and those who were there were inexperienced at best. The few experienced anarchists who attended and watched the confrontation with the police were embarrassed at the poor effort, and if there had been more experienced anarchists there, the bloc would not have marched themselves into a police containment and would have been much harder to deal with.</p>
<p>Most worrying is her statement that “anarchy is a tactic, versus a group. It is used by different groups. Typically, they are loosely organized and misguided individuals who break the law and disrupt the event.” This is wrong. Anarchy is a belief system, not a tactic, and it includes a wide variety of viewpoints and an equally wide variety of potential tactics, from those whose involvement will be feeding other protesters through to those that will want to cause criminal damage and confront police. While their idea of organization may not be the same as ours, their ability to operate in this environment should not be underestimated, as many of them will have considerably more experience of large scale protest events than Tampa police do. This experience has increased dramatically in the past few years, and the anarchists have gained confidence from it, as seen in the recent increase of attacks on police and police stations, better tactics to neutralize the effect of less lethal weapons, and increased use of &#8220;de-arresting&#8221; tactics.</p>
<p><strong>Misunderstanding of Anarchist Tactics</strong></p>
<p>The RNC’s true purpose is to promote the nominee and the platform (though particularly this year, the nomination process is only a formality). To do that, reporters have to have the ability to freely report. In recent legislation, the City Attorney has outlawed a range of items such as camera bipods and tripods that are of use to journalists. The justification was that these items have been used in the past to attack police officers during protests. However, there is no actual evidence of this in the United States, any more than there is actual evidence of any protesters in the United States using jars of urine and feces – it’s an urban myth that is commonly referencedbut lacking in substance.</p>
<p>Managing the security and protests surrounding an NSSE is difficult. Understanding the threat is critical in managing it effectively; to be prepared to manage those actually intent on violence, while being respectful of the constitutional rights of everyone else. The City of Tampa is signaling that it doesn’t understand the threat, which is either a communications issue or an intelligence and operations issue. Both are problems, but it’s not too late to address them. The City of Tampa and Tampa PD pride themselves on their professionalism – part of that approach is being willing to accept that there may be better information out there than current and former U.S. law enforcement are able to provide.</p>


A hip hop video as a response to an article.
How. very. fucking. cliche.

Dude, its Will Smith "Miami," what planet are you from and why did they make you so stupid?

miami and tampa are farther apart than DC and NYC. lol.

so? That still has nothing to do with why this dude is so mad about Big Willy

worker, can ou please remove that Sam crap?

Those YT link comments are also threatening to the privacy of visitors.

i meant SPAM...

Yes, a Will Smith video is threatening to the privacy of visitors........ ...... .......... Half of the time I read these comments and hope they are coming from seriously developmentally disabled anarchists

I just loaded this page. Ghostery and NoScript find no sign of an attempt to connect to Youtube/Google from a hyperlink that has not been clicked on, and no YT or Google cookies have loaded or attempted to load.

Embedded video is dangerous unless the thumbnail is cached on the local server, as a "normal" embed of a Youtube video autoloads the thumbnail from YT's servers. That is when YT/Google is able to track user by IP address logging, and possibly other threats like browser fingerprinting. Not sure if that would load cookies (the most easily countered threat) as I always block 3ed party cookies. You should do so to.

Initial conclusion: traditional hyperlinks should be safe, as long as they are inactive until clicked on. Does anyone here have information to the contrary? If so, please post your information, as it would requre security changes at many sites.

Of course, text can be posted that constitutes a BROKEN link, that must be manually cut and pasted and an obvious change reverted. That is always the safest way. If the YT hyperlinks are deemed a risk without embeds or thumbnails, that's the fix, along with a warning about always using Tor to deal with Google

Rather than go to this, go do something effective (or at least fun). If you go to this, you get what you deserve.

Way to blame the victim. Are you out there trying to find the disconnected baby anarchists who are probably going to go to this? Your "get what you deserve" bullshit is word for word the position of the state.

I mean alot of people scream "cop", but if I ever heard a statement that sounded like it came from a cop on @news, it would be the one you commented on. Fuck that guy.

This actually makes it sound like the RNC might have more potential than I gave it credit for. Odds are still stacked against anyone going, but when has that ever stopped folks?

the odds are always stacked against us and sometimes we make shit happen.... why is this demo any different? what are people so afraid of? there is always potential for shit to happen, you just have to show up to make it happen

there is a difference between fear and intelligent analysis, you cop.

Nah nah...
Get what you deserve.
As in loot. Its the only tenable position in capitalism. Even the ceos agree.

(Non-hipster) insurrectionary anarchist here.
Fuck it, you go be cool somewhere, I'm gonna fuck shit up.

Has the future already been written in a Tiqqun zine?


as someone who has been to tampa and understands the area well, i would advise people to NOT bother going to the RNC. it's going to be pointless, you will be a huge target of a massive security buildup that will have not much to actually do since our numbers WILL be small, it's expensive to get to tampa, there are hardly any anarchists there and no infrastructure to assist those coming in from out of town.

it's a totally different scenario than 2008, 2004, or 2000: all of which were held in large NORTHERN cities with decent numbers of anarchists and radical infrastructure. tampa is a SHITHOLE southern city scared of it's own shadow, incredibly fascist, with no radical population. fuck going there for any reason, ever.

The fact that you even mention the RNC 2000 leads me to believe you are some sort of troll. The 2000 RNC was a non-event, it was the DNC that year that was big.

I mainly agree with you but I can't get down with these consistent posts whenever there is a mobilization for anything. I see value in actually getting together and making things happen and building those connections to move forth long term. Much more value than the "don't even go to this don't be an idiot." Why wouldn't you encourage groups of people close by to go to this if to at anything get experience. It just isn't smart and it gets old.

Written by someone who hates Florida and avoids the state at any point I can.

1) the philly 2000 RNC was a crazy fucking event you moron.
2) to answer your questions, please see the Cleveland 4 article, the chicago NATO serious arrests, etc... it isn't worth inexperienced anarchists going up against the state without a large, militant mobilization for them *to learn from*. the ones who probably could end up being lifelong anarchists who are eager to have an impact could end up royally fucked, and for what upside? i don't think they'll learn much at a convention protest attended by liberals, not enough people and few experienced anarchists, and tons and fucking shittons of cops.

it's okay to say it's a stupid idea to try and protest in certain times and places because there won't be enough people to make it worth it. it really is. there are thousands of conferences and conventions of all manner of fucking predatory capitalist pigs happening all the time. why aren't you constantly advocating people go to those? your fucking analysis is shit.

build communes. build war machines. create autonomous territory where we can all find safe refuge from which to build, grow, and fight. anything else is fairly pointless.

Can't respond to this all right now but I just can't agree that the RNC even came close to the DNC. It was a different world back then though.

I certainly advocate localized mobilizations as far more important than national so there is no reason to put that on me.

The cleveland and chicago entrapments could have happened anywhere and they will keep happening as opposition grows.

I wouldn't advocate folks further than a certain diameter even attending this. To say that people in florida should miss this sort of experience I don't think is a good idea. Yes, the chicago shit is straight up horrible but as something who lived through the first wave, its best to not be scared.

There has to be at some point, some way that anarchists can actually agree that something national is worthwhile though. Even if it is not a protest.

For instance, regional mobilizations around presidential debates could be worth the time.


Roundhouse/CFCF R2K'er here: screw you. And glory glory Salvatore.

What I remember about Philly 2k was just a shit ton of arrests and that funny John Stewart skit prior to the action. Let me see if I can find that......no luck.

A cop DID die of a heart attack...

I was at the 2000 philly RNC. That action was no joke at all, we got off some heavy blows even while the pigs were playing very dirty.

We had at least 1800 protesters on the main day of direct action, preceded by 10,000 people marching with Kensington Welfare Rights Union the day before, and 20,000 participants in the "Unity 2000" union march against the RNC.

On the main day, the pigs raided the puppet warehouse at 2 hours ton deployment. That tied up 600 of our best people trying to break an hours long siege, while another 1,200 went downtown.

We were short by 1/3 of our people, yet managed to blockade one state delegation inside their hotel and tie up a downtown plaza. There were overturned dumpsters used as strongpoints to reinforce intersection blockades, yarning of streets-and the famous "cop trap."

Timoney was leading bike cops using their knives like cavalry sabers to cut down banners hung across streets. Knowing this, a special banner was prepared, reinforced with electrical wire. When the bike cops rode into that one, they were effectively netted, all of them crashing down in a heap!

"they were fortunate in that the anarchist “A team” didn’t attend"

this is an interesting comment, both in its use of terminology and congruence with reality.

The whole piece is pulled from commentary afterward from different sources. The only thing that rings not true and that shows me this dude probably wasn't there was the attendance. Yes, experienced radical activists were low in attendance, but the bloc and the surrounding radicals in the march was by far the largest convergence I have ever witnessed in the midwest. It seemed like certain marches were almost all anarchists and radicalized occupy people numbering in the thousands.

The part of this that really gets to me is the point about the police cordon. Shit is right on more experienced folks would have changed the whole character of the action.

Rosenfeld never knows what he's talking about. Slightly higher reading comprehension than average cop but total misunderstanding of these events.

i find his commentary to be fairly accurate and way more so than the idiotic tampa PD.

"The accurate figures are that generally 1 percent to 5 percent attend ready to initiate confrontation with the police, a further 15 percent will participate in that confrontation if they see that there is a very small risk of repercussions for doing so, and 80 percent don’t want anything to do with the confrontation."

Comments like these make no sense. Just stupid propaganda.

^^^ sam made a comment!

Where you go wrong is forgetting that Sam writes these things to be somewhat insightful but mainly to get hired on as a private consultant. I am sure these security managers at these events pay people thousands of dollars just for a little knowledge that they are too stupid to understand.


Maybe because they at least try to reject spectacular revolt, whereas in the US avoiding a losing conflict is derided as being overly cautious.

Because smashing capitalism, the state, civilization, patriarchy, or whatever, isn't seen as a losing conflict?

Is there any less "spectacle" to recycling academic texts and throwing in a few hip-hop lyrics?

Yeah, no spectacular revolt in Greece...

seriously sit this one out and surprise them for once.

shift open revolt to the local terrain!

"shift open revolt to the local terrain!"

how often does this actually happen? It's hardly "open revolt" when the twenty anarchists in one town break a few things. When a thousand anarchists meet in one city it really does look like revolt. For that reason alone I think the big national convergences are worthwhile.

if there are 1,000 anarchists in tampa i will eat my hat!

fuck going to tampa!!!!!!!! quit being reactionary, political (in the bad sense), activist MORONS.

stop being activists, start being anarchists.

"stop being activists, start being anarchists."

how do you suggest we do that o wise one?

since when is smashing the state with a bunch of your comrades considered activism? it's active resistance and we should see a lot more of it.

No, being an anarchist is about dressing a certain way, liking the right music, having cool friends, having the right books on your shelf, and what websites you read. If you want to be an anarchist you need to do more of that stuff, do it right. Also pick a current niche within anarchism so all the other ones will know how to make fun of you.

Because going to tampa and throwing a newspaper box in the street is smashing the state. riiiight. Posture away.

no, sorry buddy i no everyone trolls about the newspaper boxes but sometimes shit actually does happen so you can sit home while people actually actively fight in the streets like were supposed to be doing.

"actively fight in the streets" lol. And flicking a lit cigarette in the direction of a cop is "setting cops on fire".


"Anarchists and Extreme Left Wing groups are not synonymous with protesters"

protesters must have all the same views to be considered a protester! if you aren't for reforming capitalism you are terrorists and therefor cannot be part of the protests

haha too bad most of the bullshit occupy movement is against capitalism and nowadays thats who is mostly at these things what a tool

"Chicago PD showed significant evolution in their engagement-heavy approach – they were fortunate in that the anarchist “A team” didn’t attend."

"I rock more bling than Mr. T / I make it look easy cuz it is to me"

Lets all go to Atlanta.

I have never liked to summit hopping scene, and have had the idea of converging somewhere with less police. Maybe even a town that the cops are all being pulled out of to go to tampa (But I hate Florida).

I guess the whole reason for going to these things is the mass of people (liberals) that'll be there. and the anonymity of the crowd.

At least fucking up state and capital in another town is better than: "DON'T GO THERE!!!!1!"

Sure, if that is actually what you were doing instead of pseudo-insurrecto tourism.

Add new comment

Filtered HTML

  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
Enter the code without spaces.