The militancy of the painted face


Some would-be protesters at the Republican National Convention in St. Paul today ran up against a group that may be more likely than the cops to give them a hard time — reporters.

Today, the Anti-War Committee announced a protest at the Xcel Center on September 4. The group received a permit for a protest, but not at the time it wanted.

“Day 4 will be for a committed and more militant group of activists….” Committee spokesperson Misty Rowan said at a news conference. (Listen)

Militant?” Say what?

“Anything and everything that will bring a strong message to Republicans,” she said. “Our hope is (the convention) will go on with a bang instead of a fizzle.”

Guess what the first question was. “Like what?”

“I don’t think it’s bad to protest with something that’s loud and spirited,” co-speaker Katrina Plotz (pictured above) said. “Creative tactics that aren’t going to be at the traditional march.”

On her list? Painted faces.

What about what most people think when they hear a term like militant, violence, for example?

“The violence that I’m worried about is the violence that’s being carried out in Iraq right now,” she answered, which isn’t really an answer.

“You’re not answering my question,” a blogger said, uttering the five words that mark a great political journalist.

“I know,” she said, adding that she doesn’t consider the blockades being planned — allegedly — by other groups “violence.”

“That’s not what we’re planning,” she said.

“We worked very hard to make the Day 1 march on the Xcel something that you can bring your family to and you can all come out for the war. And we believe Day 4 is for the truly committed and for the people who really want to see change and expect that to be a little harder to come to than just showing up with the kids and the balloons.” (Listen)

That sounds almost militant. Perhaps, too militant, because the other speaker jumped in to spin that answer…

“If people are wondering about Day 4, is it going to be safe, is it going to be OK to bring their families, we would say ‘yes.’ I think the more the better.”

A few minutes later, however, she said militant might mean that “people face a little more risk by coming down.” (Listen)

After saying there wouldn’t be any “sit-ins” or “die-ins,” that led us back to the question of how the second protest is more militant than the first? “I would say if people have questions, they should get in contact with us,” she said.


She said people should go to an organizing committee meeting to find out what the protest is going to look like.

Listen to the entire news conference.

(h/t: Tom Weber)

  • JohnnyZoom

    With all due respect to the silent types who might actually agree with the points the protestors are trying to make, that language sounds a lot like that of someone trying to pencil in their 15 minutes of fame into their appointment book.

  • tomweberfanclub

    good one tom-you rock

  • GopherMPH

    “You’re Not Answering My Question” … 5 words I never hear enough from journalists. It would be easier to count the number of times I have heard it, when someone pestered the speaker until some acknowledgment of the absence is made (or an answer given).

    If they want to be militant … why not just put it out for everyone to see? Military power requires that everyone else know what is in your arsenal. I’m not going to show up for it, if I don’t know what, exactly, I would be getting in to. Getting arrested wouldn’t phase me, as long as it was for something pleasant like obstructing traffic or creating a public nuisance … but I’ve no desire to show up and get arrested for being in the midst of a mob assaulting the police.

    Do they not realize that – despite the tons of attention given here to the St. Paul police – that there will be *other* law enforcement here? The Republicans aren’t going to offer their sacrificial lamb … um, candidate … with just the boys in blue in our capitol. Militant is, perhaps to their impending detriment, something the FBI and Secret Service have much, much more practice with.

    If they’re so willing to get into trouble, and are admitting it … why not tell us, rather than sound like little dweebes that want to talk tough?

  • Tyler Suter

    I’ll choose to bite my toungue on this one, at least for the most part, but protest that leads to nothing is pointless. I have trouble believing that painted faces and spirited chanting will do anything.

    Maybe militancy, in its literal definition, won’t be exercised at the Convention, but if McCain somehow pulls off the upset there will be. In all honesty, the same may be true if Obama takes office. Time to head down to the crossroads.

  • Ryan

    Yikes. “She said militant might mean that ‘people face a little more risk by coming down.'” That’s not something you really want to say when referring to a national party convention. Especially not when you’re referring to the convention of the party whose members (mostly) seem to be okay with waterboarding. 😉

    On a slightly more “huh?” note–who the heck is going to bring their family down to the political convention? I mean, forgive my crudeness, but would you bring your kids down to a circle jerk? Because that’s about what a national convention amounts to.