It would be odd if the Occupy movement, born months after the last Conservative Political Action Conference, didn’t try something around this year’s event. But what will it do? The official announcement breaks the laws of physics to end up both transparent and murky.
Occupy CPAC. Create as much non-violent resistance as possible, and make this a conference the attendees will never forget.
Okay, but how? I’ve watched credentialed media and paid ticket-owners get pulled out of the Marriott Wardman’s main ballroom if they made fusses. (In 2009, I think it was, a liberal blogger was ejected after hassling Fox News’s Carl Cameron, who looked into his Blackberry, ignoring the distraction.) There’s some security – less, but some – around the breakout sessions. But there’s very little security stopping anyone from entering the rambling area at the hotel entrance. There’s nothing theoretically preventing the mess outside the Americans for Prosperity summit last year, when Occupiers ringed the Washington, D.C. Convention center, blocking people from leaving. Will that change?
“We generally don’t comment on security plans,” said a very polite Wardman spokesman, Mark Indre. (I don’t think he’d be good at his job if he said anything else.)
This is where the transparency comes in. Occupy:
We will have actions on Friday at noon and 5pm (for Scott Walker’s speech at the Reagan Banquet), and on Saturday we will meet at Malcolm X Park at 16th and Euclid at noon to march to the Marriott.
These actions come with the endorsements of the AFL-CIO, the SEIU, and other groups not usually into disrupting CPAC. What do those endorsements mean?
“We are inviting folks from the AFL-CIO headquarters to go out on Friday to the two events,” said AFL-CIO spox Ja-Rei Wang. “There may be other members doing more. I know that I got an invite to join.”
During Occupy’s D.C. heyday, the nearby offices of the AFL-CIO opened up to protesters who needed showers, but the union took no part in the more confrontational actions.