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I've heard many suggestions that RNC protesters dress in business/formal attire, act nonviolently, and try to look and behave as "normal" (i.e. non-radical) as possible, in order to give the protests resonance (and relevance) for the millions of undecided Americans who will have the images delivered to them on TV and in newspapers.

What better way to do this - and to reclaim patriotism for the left - than to bring a lot of American flags. The dKos logo on the upper left has always resonated with me as an emblem of patriotism and defiance - in fact, it defines patriotism by the very act of defiance. Let's bring this image to the streets en masse.

When you burn a flag to protest the President, you are giving the President sole ownership of the flag. You are doing exactly what they want. When Clinton was President, did you see right-wing extremists burn the flag or wave it in defiance? Of course they didn't burn the flag. They would never think of giving that up. Since the Cold War, they have claimed - and continue to claim - patriotism for themselves, and no one else. Let's take it back, for once and for all. Don't burn, desecrate, write on, or disrespect the flag. Wave it proudly, for what it represents to you, and what it represents for the future. We need to wed our ideology as strongly to our patriotism as the right has.

So bring as many flags as possible to the RNC protests, and wave them proudly. Take your flag back, and take your country back. We are the true patriots, not the zealots and bigots and warmongerers and fundamentalists, and we need to make that as clear as daylight.


Originally posted to thirdparty on Mon Aug 23, 2004 at 07:09 AM PDT.

Poll

Which flag will *you* be waving at the RNC protests?

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| 23 votes | Vote | Results

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Comment Preferences

  •  Very good message (none)
    It would also have the added benefit of protection. What cop wants to be photographed tackling someone waving a large American flag?
  •  Also bring water and fire extinguishers (none)
    Douse any burning flag IMMEDIATELY
    •  i do not suggest this... (none)
      i think we should allow all to express their views - so long as it is done nonviolently.... even those views we strongly disagree with.

      we are NOT the owners of what is "legitimate" dissent - that belongs to ALL americans.

      •  i disagree (none)
        I am not talking about what dissent is "legitimate" or "illigetimate". And it's not that i strongly disagree with burning the american flag. I just think it's incredibly stupid, politically speaking. And I think it's time for a change on the left. We need to stop worrying about our individual "ownership" of our individual choices of dissent, and start worrying about the effectiveness of such dissent.

        If I see someone raise a hand to throw a rock to break a window, I'm going to try to stop him/her.

        If I see someone carrying a banner that says "Death to America", I'm going to suggest that that's not the appropriate sentiment.

        And If I see someone burn an American flag, I will try to put it out.

        We need to politicize the majority of the people in this country who don't give a shit. We don't need to further isolate ourselves on the left, which is what burning the flag does, and always has done.

        So I'm not going to stand idly by and watch some idiot who thinks s/he's a revolutionary with a bic lighter create the one image which will be used against the left for years to come. No, we need to control the imagery again, and we need to take our flag back.

        •  question (none)
          Do you recommend the use of violence to stop someone from burning the flag, or to take away someone's sign that you disapprove of because it "sends the wrong message"?

          I don't belong to any organized political party, I'm a Democrat--Will Rogers

          by Dancing Larry on Mon Aug 23, 2004 at 07:50:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  absolutely not (none)
            if i see someone about to commit real violence, i may try to restrain them. but that's pretty much the extent of the force i'd ever use.

            otherwise, i would simply suggest, engage in conversation, etc. i would never, ever tear down someone's sign. i would never even act belligerent unless someone started with me first.

            I don't think using a fire extinguisher (at least the way it's supposed to be used) is particularly violent. if there's a fire near me, i usually want to put it out. no matter what's on fire. :)

          •  No (4.00)
            Water.
            Just water.

            And scream as loud as you can: "I can't believe the audacity of you Republicans!  Come to MY town, in MY streets, and burn OUR flag.  You should be ashamed!  Hasn't Bush done enough damage to our country?  Stinking REPUBLICAN flag-burner!"

        •  your opinion.... (none)
          i submit that it's your opinion that it is "incredibly stupid".  this is not everyone's opinion.  and it is not a fact beyond dispute.

          personally, i think this is a moral issue.  that no one owns what is "smart" dissent.  what is the difference between you deciding that it is not ok to burn the flag and ashcroft deciding that it is not ok to protest the war?

          if the moral argument does not sway you, let me try a practical argument. what you appear to be advocating is violence against protesters.  i believe that if you take such action (water on a fire, or taking a sign away from someone) you will be provoking violence... and the pictures the rnc will have to show the world will be FAR worse than without your intervention.

          of course, i do not support violence against anyone.   and if you wish to descalate a violent (or potentially violent) situation.... i BEG you to get some nonviolence training first, so that you at least have a clue on how to proceed.  the actions you are describing are likely to escalate violence.  this is bad news for everyone.

          •  opinions (none)
            personally, i think this is a moral issue.  that no one owns what is "smart" dissent.  what is the difference between you deciding that it is not ok to burn the flag and ashcroft deciding that it is not ok to protest the war?

            I'm not claiming ownership of anything. I'm simply trying to advance my own opinion, trying to convince people of what I think is the best strategy here.

            What's the difference between my opinion and Ashcrofts? For one, I'm not the Attorney General. For another, I support free speech. I also support a real discussion about how we use this free speech. I do not support unprovoked violence. I do not want to stifle the speech of others. I want to convince some that their speech is counterproductive. I don't see how anything I suggested would be seen as stifling free speech. Putting out a fire? Maybe that comes close to the line. Maybe I should re-think that.

            But see, this is turning again into a debate about individual expression. This is exactly what makes our voices on the left so fragmented. The march on Sunday, for instance, is themed Say No to the Bush Agenda. not Say No to America. If you burn the flag, you implictly and explictly state that Bush=America. If you do that, you've already lost.

            I think we should worry a little less about letting every individual express themselves in exactly the way they want, and a little more about solidarity, unity, and clarity of message. A little less about every single issue in the world that's worth protesting, and a little more about the big picture. Say no to Bush. We can all agree on that. Let's focus on that.

            I'm not advocating any repression or stifling of free speech. I am advocating a more thoughtful use of it.

            •  thanks... (none)
              thanks for your thoughtful reply...and for rethinking the water bit.

              instead of water, i would suggest that you carry sign (to be brought out if appropriate) saying something like "burning the flag is stupid" - i'm sure you can come up with something better than that ;), but you get the idea.

              that way, you've had your say.  but, you haven't stopped anyone else from having their say.

              regarding fragmented voices.  yep. but, that's who we are.

              if you want a protest with a single message... why not organize one yourself?  but these protests were NOT organized for a single message with everyone to be "kept on message".

              from the latest UFPJ email, they list ten reasons to protest during the RNC:

              1. THE WAR AGAINST IRAQ.
              2. THE MILLIONS SPENT ON WAR AND GIVEN AWAY AS TAX CUTS INSTEAD OF BEING USED FOR BASIC HUMAN NEEDS.
              3. OUR RELATIONSHIP WITH THE REST OF THE WORLD.
              4. THE PATRIOT ACT.
              5. RACIAL INJUSTICE, IN ALL OF ITS FORMS.
              6. THE ATTACK ON WOMEN,S RIGHTS AND SEXUAL FREEDOM.
              7. HALLIBURTON.
              8. THE ASSAULT ON ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTIONS AND THE THREAT OF NUCLEAR WEAPONS
              9. THE FAILED ATTEMPT TO OVERTURN MEDIA OWNERSHIP REGULATIONS.
              10. EVERYTHING ELSE.
              11. BECAUSE IT,S A POWERFUL, INSPIRING, STRONG WAY TO MAKE YOUR VOICE HEARD!
  •  and if you need a bit of an alternative.... (none)

    i got one of these to hang outside my house for the fourth of july (from the nice folks at www.peaceflags.org).  it's beautiful!

  •  Makes way more sense (none)
    than those who suggested wearing a monkey suit and neck-constrictor to a demonstration.  The flag makes a political statement, whereas all wearing a suit would do would be to make you uncomfortable standing and marching for hours and hours in a hot beating down sun, and a necktie would give a cop something to choke you with.  (Pretty obvious to me that those calling for wearing suits have never been to a demonstration in their lives.)  

    However, the flag shouldn't be a large one as depicted, because the pole would give them an excuse to take it away from you.  A small one will do very nicely.

    I don't belong to any organized political party, I'm a Democrat--Will Rogers

    by Dancing Larry on Mon Aug 23, 2004 at 07:33:48 AM PDT

  •  This is a great idea. I'd also suggest... (none)
    spending the few minutes it takes to read this page:

    http://www.usflag.org/flag.etiquette.html

    A small knowledge of flag etiquette will go a long way in winning over not just the cops, but the whole world who will be watching.

    We are as sacred a part of America as a Boy Scout troop, a schoolyard Pledge of Allegiance and a homecoming parade. Claiming the US Flag as our own can't help but be a good idea. Just make sure you take into account all that the claim entails; don't use Bush's claiming of the Iraqi flag as your template...

    •  Conservatives and the flag (none)
      As this image illustrates, Americans approve of uses of the flag beyond the normal bounds of flag etiquette when they agree with the statement being made.  

      PS, the guy using the flag in this manner is virtually the definition of the "swing voter" that we are pandering to this election, white urban ethnic working class male, traditionally Democratic but socially conservative.  Because he is a "swing voter" he is a better human being than us radical lefties, or so many many people here at Kos would have it.  After all, he gets pandered to, we get ordered around and browbeaten.

      I don't belong to any organized political party, I'm a Democrat--Will Rogers

      by Dancing Larry on Mon Aug 23, 2004 at 08:04:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  but see... (none)
        Conservatives get away with this shit precisely because they have successfully claimed sole ownership of the flag.

        Once we take it back, it's our weapon too. Let's take it back, radicals, moderates, socialists, centrists, everyone. We all own the flag.

      •  Not meaning to order anyone around, Larry, (none)
        and I wouldn't come here if I didn't share a set of attitudes and feelings with you and others about this country. And no, I'm not going to be in NYC. I feel, I feel like doing and saying what I can without going to make demonstrating against the Republicans work. That's what I care about.

        To quote former Dem senator and presidential candidate Fred R. Harris, and I think he was quoting someone when he used to say this in his stump speech, "You cannot have a mass movement without the masses." A generation ago, that meaning "Going Clean for Gene" or participating in local party machinery to try to become a caucus delegate for McGovern.

        Remember: It is the GOP who want you to be perceived as an asshole.

  •  I'm on the wrong coast... (none)
    ...but my American flag is flying--at half-staff--as long as folks on both sides are still dying in Iraq.

    Rubus Eradicandus Est.

    by Randomfactor on Mon Aug 23, 2004 at 07:55:35 AM PDT

  •  Excellent (none)
    That is a great idea. I sent this suggestion as feedback to Garofalo's show on Air America. They will be talking about this all week.
  •  Yes, Yes Yes! (4.00)
    I will be protesting at the RNC with a US Flag and a sign that reads:

    Patriots for Kerry!

    Because Corruption, Ignorance and Arrogance are not American Values!

  •  If you must burn a flag (none)
    How about the Stars and Bars? We are, after all, dealing with a neo-Confederate movement, here. Hell, they're even bringing Lynrd Skynrd with them, just to rub in their "States' Rights" refutation of our dirty, messy North, with its infernal cities teeming with multiculturalism, foreigners, social welfare programs, labor unions and Queer sex, to name but a few GOP bugaboos.

    The modern Republican Party is the Democratic Party of the 1860s, and should rightly be waving its flag, not ours. Which is all the more galling, given that we in the North are still, even after deindustrialization, the producers of most of our country's wealth, while the neo-Confederates, pausing only in their wailing about welfare queens driving Cadillacs to gulp up a few more government handouts, are the benefactors.

    Me, I'll be waving the 'Washington's Cruisers' flag with its lone New England pine and its 'Appeal to heaven' legend, symbols familiar to my Quaker ancestors who sank roots on the Ohio River to speed the Underground Railroad, and to the Free Soilers who held the line in Kansas against the incursions of Southern ruffians. Man, if they could only see what has happened to their Republican Party. It'd break their hearts.

    The people have the power / The power to dream / To rule / To wrestle the world from fools -Patti Smith

    by Septic Tank on Mon Aug 23, 2004 at 08:05:05 AM PDT

    •  Confederate Flag - hide it!! (none)
      How many times do you think someone would get the shit beat out of them as they take the subway to the protest, walk down the streets, etc, while carrying the stars and bars.

      I'm from NJ and was on vacation in NC last week. I saw that they were selling inflatable rafts with the confederate flag design on them. I was trying to imagine what would happen if I were to bring that up to the beaches in NJ and how long it would take before I was pummeled to death. Happy thoughts.

      •  Confederate dunces (none)
        Here's hoping the Skynrd bus breaks down in East New York, Bed-Stuy or the South Bronx. Preferably with Zell Miller on board.

        The people have the power / The power to dream / To rule / To wrestle the world from fools -Patti Smith

        by Septic Tank on Mon Aug 23, 2004 at 08:34:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I prefer Flag-washing. (4.00)
    to get the bloodstains out.

    I am not currently Licensed to Practice in this State.

    by ben masel on Mon Aug 23, 2004 at 08:44:39 AM PDT

  •  And if you bring a flag ... (none)
    make damn sure that your American flag was made in America by American workers.

    I'm tired of seeing "patriotic" red-white-and-blue displays at WalMart, Christmas Tree Shops, and other discounters where every flag, banner, Uncle Sam figure, or other piece of Americana was made by slave workers in China.

    CTHULHU ENDORSES KERRY "Bush too evil even for me", Great Old One says

    by Jon Meltzer on Mon Aug 23, 2004 at 10:18:54 AM PDT

  •  Another possible poll option. (none)
    Do the New York police have a flag?

    CTHULHU ENDORSES KERRY "Bush too evil even for me", Great Old One says

    by Jon Meltzer on Mon Aug 23, 2004 at 10:20:42 AM PDT

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