The headline reads:
The Guns of August: A Call to Arms for Progressives and Obama Activists
This made me a little uncomfortable and then as I read further:
This is a call to arms for the army of activists who powered President Obama to the White House.
O.k. now it sounds just plain scary. Who would write this type of incendiary commentary?
Health Care For America NOW! would.
After inciting people to bear arms (in my opinion), they go on to turn the entire health care issue into a race issue.
This is an angry minority, bitter about an America that they don’t recognize, led by a man that doesn’t look like them.
This is unconscionable. If the Obama administration AND media do not address this incitement of mob mentality – then they will be responsible for the outcome.
I am forwarding this information to the media outlets and to the snitch line – firstname.lastname@example.org – and asking for a statement against this type of inflammatory remarks. PLEASE do the same.
HCAN has created a “Fight” page for information to “Train Yourself To Combat Right-Wing Tactics”. It includes diddies such as:
Who are these people?
The people who show up are far right-wing ideologues recruited by paid organizers. Much of this recruitment and organizing is funded by industry lobbyists and public relations firms to engage radical right-wing groups. Many of these groups are motivated by far right ideology in general – not by health care as an issue. They are held together by a common vision of the world that centers on defeating Obama and his agenda. We can expect to see anti-abortion groups, pro-gun groups, insurance company employees (mandated by employers to come out), militia groups, and anti-immigration groups.
And ways to ensure ONLY their message is heard.
Organizing your own events with a Member of Congress
One advantage to organizing your own Town Hall or public event with Members of Congress is that you will have much more control over the event and limit the other side’s opportunities for disruption. Still, you should take precautions to make sure that you can keep meetings you organize under control. Here are some basic tips:
- Talk to the Member of Congress ahead of time so that you agree on a format that is comfortable for the Member and that you can troubleshoot roles or concerns that the Member may have about the event. It is important to know how much time the Member will have, when he will arrive, what staff he’s bringing, and how many questions he’ll answer so that you can anticipate any issues that may arise and can plan your program appropriately.
- Know who you are turning out to attend the event. Make sure you turn out a substantial number of people from your base and that everyone signs a sign in sheet upon entering the event. Give everyone name tags so they are easily identifiable. If you want to ensure greater control over turnout, you can ask attendees to rsvp or even issue tickets to the event and require presentation of the ticket at the entrance.
- Choose a venue that is difficult for the opposition to access without being noticed. Get to your location early and make sure you set up the venue in a way that ensures that the attendees you want are at the front and that any protesters who come are sequestered as far as possible from the stage. Make sure that you have signs and visuals up and that you adequately understand the layout of your venue so that you know where the entrances are, where the press will be positioned, where your speakers will be, etc.
- Select a strong moderator to move the agenda in a disciplined way. Make sure you select someone who is comfortable interrupting rowdy protesters, who can command the attention of the room, and who understands how to de-escalate tensions and re-direct people to the agenda.
- Lay out goals for the meeting and establish ground rules for conduct in the meeting at the beginning of the event. Among these ground rules should be a protocol for asking questions. One way to do this is to ask people to submit questions ahead of time on cards, to permit only one question at a time, and to limit the topic of questions.
- Plan for disturbances and assign marshals. Make sure that you assign marshals to take care of moving the crowd, keeping people organized and orderly, and acting as security should any need arise to ask noisy or disruptive protesters to leave. If you have cause to think that you will need more back-up, notify the police ahead of time.
- Collect signs and leaflets that are not provided by you or your organization. Another way to limit protesters’ ability to hijack your event is to confiscate signs or leaflets that they may bring into the venue from outside. The best way to do this is to make a blanket rule that no one can bring signs or leaflets and to advertise this fact as you do turn out in the weeks preceding the event. You can distribute your own signs in the event and offer them one as they enter if you choose to allow them to enter.
Assign people to greet the media and to stay close to reporters both as they enter and leave the event. It’s important that you take away right-wingers opportunities to talk with reporters by making sure that your staff or leaders are in constant contact with the media who attend. You should set up a special table or area for the press to sit during the event and that area should be close t the stage and away from any areas of the venue where protesters may gather. Also make sure you have materials ready for the reporters so that they know the purpose and message of the event.