A tale of two parties: Democratic town hall taken over by Black Lives Matter protesters, Republican event was taken over by Donald Trump
— Jane C. Timm (@janestreet) July 18, 2015
People's Front of Judea really showed the Judean People's Front today
— Benjy Sarlin (@BenjySarlin) July 18, 2015
Surprised that Bernie Sanders’s call for “revolution” was interrupted by more radical activists? May I introduce you to Russia 1917
— daveweigel (@daveweigel) July 18, 2015
Even before Will Roger’s famous snark, there was Finley Peter Dunne, back in the original Gilded Age:
No, sir, th’ dimmycratic party ain’t on speakin’ terms with itsilf. Whin ye see two men with white neckties go into a sthreet car an’ set in opposite corners while wan mutthers Thraiter an’ th’ other hisses Miscreent ye can bet they’re two dimmycratic leaders thryin’ to reunite th’ gran’ ol’ party.
I was born into the Democratic Party, and the 1972 Democratic National Convention was the first to which I paid serious attention. (I was sixteen, and enamored with Shirley Chisholm.) So yesterday’s “shit show” at Netroots Nation wasn’t the shock to my sensibilities that it was to some other people. As described by local outlet AZ Central:
Civil-rights protesters gave Democratic presidential contenders Bernie Sanders and Martin O’Malley a raucous and tense reception Saturday in downtown Phoenix, disrupting and commandeering a forum that was billed as a conversation with the two progressive candidates…
Tia Oso, a Phoenix resident with the Black Alliance for Just Immigration, said she helped organize the protest because Black-rights issues were not represented at Netroots Nation this year. While events for Latino immigrants were integrated into the convention, black immigrants were ignored, she said…
“They said, ‘Oh we’re doing it in Arizona. We have to be all about immigration,'” said Angela Peoples, a co-director at LGBT inequality group Get Equal from Maryland. “But then they’re only centering the conversation on Latinos, which is important, but we also know that the experiences … are connected and we need people to be connected to Black lives as much as brown lives.”
In a written statement, Netroots Nation said it “stands in solidarity with all people seeking human rights.”
“Although we wish the candidates had more time to respond to the issues, what happened today is reflective of an urgent moment that America is facing today,” the statement said. “In 2016, we’re heading to St. Louis. We plan to work with activists there just as we did in Phoenix with local leaders, including the #BlackLivesMatter movement, to amplify issues like racial profiling and police brutality in a major way…
Of course, NN15 paid special attention to Latino issues because Markos Moulitsas “and his DailyKos community” were already boycotting the event in protest over its location. The Phoenix affiliate had done a lot of planning, and I’m sure they hoped for more coverage of events like the #ArpaioFreeAZ protest…
— Miriam Wasser (@MiriamWasser) July 18, 2015
… not to mention the general Progressive goal of “dragging HRC leftwards.”
— Darren Sands (@darrensands) July 18, 2015
But the #BlackLivesMatter protest organizers understandably have their own goals, sometimes orthogonal to those of the general Netroots Nation “train grassroots workers to better promote and elect more progressive (i.e., Democratic) officials at every level of government.” They feel their concerns are underrepresented, and they have to use the platforms available — which will be Democratic, not Republican, venues — to rectify that. It would seem, from the reports, that they succeeded in doing so yesterday:
“It’s not like we like shutting s— down, but we have to,” Patrisse Cullors, co-founder of Black Lives Matters, told the crowd, saying the group’s issues were an emergency.
As a side benefit, the protest identified its organizers (Oso, Peoples, Cullors) to the general media as “leaders”, spokeswomen for the larger issue, and the MSM can be expected to go to them and their group in the future for quotes and stories. This is not nothing, since the very diffusion of social media that makes it possible for movements like #BlackLivesMatter to arise makes it harder for any group or individual to achieve “credibility” with the MSM.
— Raw Story (@RawStory) July 19, 2015
Financial oligarchs, Tea Party fascists gotta be watching all this, thinking "Man, they make it so EASY for us!" https://t.co/EBCU1GR7Eu
— Billmon (@billmon1) July 19, 2015
So, what’s done is done, and it is to be hoped that the aftereffects won’t be as toxic as the 1972 convention (which broke Rep. Chisholm’s heart, destroyed McGovern’s never strong chance of taking back the White House, and established a tradition of hippie-punching and anti-feminism that have yet to be exorcised). Never thought I’d be using the phrase “Thank God for Donald Trump’s big mouth” in earnest…
I wonder if Trump supporters and #NN15 activists realize just how good a day it's been for Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush.
— Daniel Drezner (@dandrezner) July 19, 2015