Originally published June 10th by One Angry Queer.
This is part two on the Netroots Nation blogging conference attended by Senior Staff Writer Ian Finkenbinder. The first article can be read here.
By Ian Finkenbinder
After spending all day going to panels and trying to find fellow revolutionaries (and Tweeting an insane amount of Tweets about the Radicals’ Caucus the next day) I headed out to a couple receptions (one of which was about marriage equality. I, while welcome, definitely drew some curious looks. Why was I there again? Oh yeah. Free booze) and then joined Joe Jervis and co. for the Providence JoeMyGod meetup. Hilarity and more drunkenness ensued.
The next day was definitely far more action-packed. We started off with the LGBT caucus, which invited a politician (no, I don’t remember who, politicians kind of bore me) to speak. Note: “He has a 100% equality rating with the HRC!!!” isn’t exactly a shining endorsement. We also received official White House copies of Barack Obama’s pride proclamation.
Also, Zach Wahls, famed for his impassioned speech to the Iowa legislature on behalf of his two moms (and the most Tweeted about, swooned-over member of the LGBT caucus) called me a cutie pie.
We had our unofficial, unsponsored Radicals’ Caucus, and I’m happy to report it went well. We started by identifying our key issues (police oppression, decolonization, anti-capitalist organizing) and then brainstormed how we would support each other in our blogging efforts. We agreed that we would push for more politically challenging content at the next Netroots conference, shook hands, exchanged information, and promised to keep in touch.
The highlight: I was not, surprisingly, the only out-and-proud anarchist at the conference. Neat.
After the Caucus I stepped out for a smoke and a chat with FarmerChuck of the Daily Kos. This was cut short, as a member of Occupy Providence ran up to me, breathless. Her comrades, she explained, had been marching through the nearby mall. Arrests were happening. I was needed. I took off at a run, ducking into the hotel and sprinting through the skyway bridge connecting the mall to the Westin.
As I hurtled through the doors, sweating, panting Occupiers were running the other way. “Don’t go in!” they warned me. “Is shit going down?” I responded. “Yeah. They’re arresting everyone.”
So of course I went in.
The arrests, it appeared, had been completed, and all I had left to do was take pictures as Occupiers were being dragged into the mall security office. This wasn’t appreciated by Providence Police Department. One large cop, who probably thought he was intimidating, immediately started shouting.
“Leave the area immediately.”
“No sir, I don’t think I will be.”
“Leave the premises at once or you will be arrested.”
“I have as much right to be here as you.”
“You have been given two warnings. If you don’t leave immediately, you will be spending the night in jail.”
I left. It galled, but I had no intention of missing my evening’s plans. Grrr.