Occupy the RNC, which is billed as the “above-ground coordinating committee” for protest marches against the Tampa RNC, affirms the “diversity of tactics” pledge as part of the “Tampa Principles” detailed on their website:
• Our solidarity will be based on respect for a political diversity within the struggle for social, economic and environmental justice. As individuals and groups, we may choose to engage in different tactics and plans of action but are committed to treating each other with respect.
• We reject all attempts to create divisions among our movements. We agree to not publicly criticize other parts of our movement or cooperate with state or media efforts to portray good protester/bad protester.
• The actions and tactics used will be organized to maintain appropriate separations of time and space between divergent tactics. We will commit to respecting each others organizing space and the tone and tactics they wish to utilize in that space.
This pledge is actually an endorsement of violence, not non-violence. Yet, Occupy the RNC angrily asserts elsewhere on their website that they are not endorsing violence. This is an obfuscation of both the meaning and application of the “diversity of tactics” pledge. It is also hardly believable, coming from an entity that goes to great lengths to conceal its identity while angrily lashing out at police and other targets.
Yet the main protest planners, including Food Not Bombs, Occupy the RNC, and other Occupy groups, all subscribe to “diversity of tactics.” Activist-journalist Natasha Lennard confirms that the adoption of the Tampa Principles allows for the possibility of violent protest in Tampa:
Groups in both Tampa and Charlotte have publicly stated that their plans for protest are peaceful, although a mixture of permitted and unpermitted actions are planned. The Coalitions to March in both convention cities have adopted their own versions of what were originally the “Saint Paul Principles,” used by RNC 2008 protesters. The principles include a respect for “diversity of tactics,” such that if a group chooses to adopt more radical or less law-abiding tactics than another protest contingent, they will not be obstructed. Above all, the principles stress that activists will not assist law enforcement action against other activists, regardless of a disagreement in tactics. Whether groups will break windows, burn dumpsters, damage property or even adopt Black Bloc anonymity tactics to move through the streets cannot be predicted and would never be publicly announced in advance.
Since the Black Bloc anarchists wreaked havoc in Seattle in 1999, anarchists, Occupiers, and other anti-corporate radicals have cost cities millions. Their real goal in Tampa is to drown out debate by making the election season as visceral as possible. Meanwhile, the professional activists behind the anonymous websites want only one thing: to capture the image of a Tampa policeman in riot gear lobbing tear gas at some youth in a t-shirt and broadcast it around the world.
Adbusters, the magazine credited with inspiring the Occupy movement, photo-shopped such an image even before the first Occupy tent unfolded. The Occupy the RNC website is lurid in its taunting predictions of martyrdom and bloodshed.
Diversity of Tactics. God exists. Hell is eternal.