Diamond Dave's report from Romneyville

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Rainbow family and livestreamer buses and the Food Not Bombs table at Romneyville in Tampa, Fl
PHOTO BY DIAMOND DAVE WHITAKER

Activists from San Francisco and around the country are descending on Tampa this week to protest the Republican National Convention. I got a call this morning from Diamond Dave Whitaker, the poet who hung with the beats and the hippies in his 75 years, CCSF student senator and San Francisco legend. He's has been serving food to protesters at election-season conventions for almost three decades. His first was 1984, the Democratic Convention here in San Francisco before he got hooked and headed to Dallas to protest the Republicans. Along with a few hundred others, Diamond Dave braved the rain, but missed the full effects of Hurricane Isaac on the tent city last night. The RNC starts officially starts today (though many of the day's events have been called off due tot the hurricane warning.)

“I’m talking in the midst of Romneyville,” he said. “Folks came from far and wide to camp out together, cause a ruckus and be here.”

What’s Romneyville? “It’s a homeless camp, a poor peoples camp,” said Dave. He’s been there a week setting up the Food Not Bombs kitchen, and Romneyville grew up around him. It now has few hundred tents, he said. But most people arrived today, so as the convention gets started, it will probably grow. “Two buses from Zuccotti Square came today,” he said.

Romneyville is put together in part by the Poor Peoples Economic Human Rights Campaign. Dave said Green Party vice presidential nominee Cheri Honkala, a formerly homeless mother herself who works with the Poor Peoples campaign, is a fixture around the camp.

"Our demands are housing for all, food for all, healthcare for all, and living wages for all. We call for an end to foreclosures and homelessness, an end to the war on the poor, both here and abroad. An end to criminalization of poverty. Money for jobs and housing, not for war!” says a statement from the group.

More protesters are staying over at the Occupy Tampa encampment.

A permitted march left this morning, and Diamond Dave says there’s another, unpermitted, planned for 3pm est. Many citizen journalists and livestreamers are documenting the events, one can be found at mobilebroadcastnews.com.

But so far, his work has been handing out free meals with Food Not Bombs.

“We fed the masses this morning for sure,” he said.

Comments

A convention is a public and political part of our constitutional democracy and an important part of the presidential elections. So there is nothing wrong with a convention, and so nothing to protest against.

Sure, you might not think Romney is the best candidate, but why would anyone have to protest against him? He won his candidacy fairly and squarely, and now the people get to decide.

If you don't like him, then don't vote for him, or even get involved with the other candidiates standing. but protesting the democratic process just seems dumb. If not democracy, which system would you prefer?

Posted by Guest on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 10:28 am

We pay for the conventions and as such they are ours to do with as we would.

Posted by marcos on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 11:34 am

to your half-witted complaint:

*Why* would anyone even run a campaign ad against Romney?
Maybe -- just maybe -- protesting the Repuglican convention is a way of turning the free media coverage they are getting against them?

Hmmm....

Sure seems quite a bit more ethical than declaring a fucking "code orange" like your boy Bush did every time there was any positive development at the last Democratic Party convention.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 11:54 am

marcos makes a valid point. For some reason I was thinking about inauguration parties. The conventions *are* paid for with public funds.

Every angle for criticizing the protesters is a non-starter.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 11:59 am

Why would I "imp" Marcos when we agree on this point and I have never "imped" anyone other than in your fevered imagination?

Your paranoia is very unhealthy and seems to be approaching Colorado-shooter level. Get help.

Posted by Troll II on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 12:05 pm

It's like saying we should "protest" an election because we don't like one of the candidates in it. It's pointless - the correct response to a candidate whom you do not like is to not vote for him or her.

Or even work for a competing campaign. But protesting the democratic process itself is a futile and pointless gesture.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 12:52 pm

I don't protest conventions but others do and they have the right to even though the government constrains their speech so that they cannot in effect exercise it to protest the conventions that they are coerced to pay for.

Posted by marcos on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

is obviously motivated far more by a love of Mitt Romney than is suggested by the accompanying mealy-mouthed extollment of democracy, let's not fail to recall that the concept of a "protest zone" was *invented* by the Bush administration; right around the same time that they were playing color games against the psychological well-being of Americans -- and in effect helping the terrorists -- for personal political advantage.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 2:07 pm

there or anywhere else. I asked you what the point of it is?

Posted by Guest on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 3:14 pm

"We" do not pay for the conventions. They have corporate sponsors, who will get a little pay-to-play payback for their efforts

Posted by Troll the XIV on Aug. 28, 2012 @ 7:07 am

Republicans mooch off taxpayers to hold their convention in a taxpayer bought and owned public facility:

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/articles/2012/08/27/taxpayers-shouldnt-fun...

http://www.tampabaytimesforum.com/arena-information/history

"During the summer of 2011, the publicly-owned Tampa Bay Times Forum underwent a $40 million transformation that was privately funded by Tampa Bay Sports and Entertainment owner and chairman, Jeff Vinik."

Posted by marcos on Aug. 28, 2012 @ 7:18 am

Maybe -- just maybe -- protesting the Repuglican convention is a way of turning the free media coverage they are getting against them?

Hmmm....

Sure seems quite a bit more ethical than declaring a fucking "code orange" like your boy Bush did every time there was any positive development at the last Democratic Party convention.

Posted by lillipublicans on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 10:54 am

So basically they are demanding socialism for all. Everything they want can be obtained with a four letter word. WORK for it like the rest of us.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 11:05 am

It's somehow beneath them. But everyone else should work, so the liberal can live well in his leisure.

Posted by Orwell's Uterus on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 11:26 am

Obama got 345 electoral votes 4 years ago. Is the suggestion that the voters who delivered those electoral votes don't work?

Posted by marcos on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 11:35 am

No.

Posted by Orwell's Uterus on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 12:51 pm

are typically under-employed by the standards of most. Which explains why they are able to show up in such misleading proportions to day-time City Hall hearings.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 5:12 pm

Is the suggestion that left wing activists gave Obama all of those votes?

Posted by marcos on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

dependency - especially on programs like SSDI?

That seems curious considering your statement that "liberals don't like to work." I guess all that wealth being generated out of "liberal" companies like Apple is a mirage.

Posted by Troll II on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 12:01 pm

It is worse than that. "Blue," more liberal states that touch bodies of water, either salt or fresh, subsidize the "red," more libertarian states.

http://taxfoundation.org:81/article/federal-taxing-and-spending-benefit-...

Thus the entire notion of libertarian self-reliance crashes to the ground when it turns out that they are in reality mooches, welfare cheats, whose economic sharia can't pay the bills.

Posted by marcos on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

They have some highly effective tax mitigation strategies.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

They voted one time to deny Apple tax incentives because Apple was one of the first companies to give benefits to its GLBT employees.

Posted by Shanniquah on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 5:30 pm

Whoa, you mean that supporting LGBT rights is a license to practice right wing economics?

Posted by marcos on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

Hey Guest, grow up, will ya? To use the phrase "he won his candidacy fairly and squarely" in referring to Romney's nomination to run for the presidency reflects a naivete that would make a hyena gag. With billions in Super Pac funds, you don't think there's a little leakage around the edges? Then, to compound your complacency you throw in assorted trite phrases about the democratic process.--Yawn. Remember to eat your vegetables and never, never think for yourself. Always, suck up to the rich and whine about the motives of those who don't agree with you.

Posted by Apthorp on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 12:03 pm

dumb given that half the rest of the planet is protesting so they can actually have democracy.

There's nothing wrong with our democractic processes and therefore no need to protest it.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

then don't protest. But stop telling others they need to think and feel the same way you do - people have the right to protest under the constitution. Deal.

Posted by Troll II on Aug. 27, 2012 @ 7:08 pm

convention. He said there is no point, unless of course you don't really like democracy, because that is what they are protesting.

Posted by Guest on Aug. 28, 2012 @ 5:53 am

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