All posts by Holly Branch

Bike tribe caravan – peddling to confront the Republican National Convention

Calling all Bike Tribe Family far and wide! Madison, Wisconsin will be host at the end of the summer to two exciting Democratic National Convention (DNC) and Republican National Convention (RNC) resistance events: the People’s Networking Convention August 15-17 and then a bike caravan from Madison to the site of the RNC in St. Paul — a Gathering of the Streams to Form a Giant River of Bikes to the RNC. Streams flowing into a river are known as “tributaries” — you can be a “contributary” to this river!

You know who you are! The ones who would hop trains, build boats, learn bike mechanics, collect wild herbs, eat garbage and fly with abandon down by the sea. And you know that we can change the world. You know it because you’ve felt it and lived it. Real life is better than fiction — this land of make believe the Empire Builders would have us believe is real. We know it’s a lie and it’s up to us together to free Ourselves, Earth, Water and Sky. We can.

People’s Networking Convention

From August 15th-17th, join radicals and concerned people from around the country to participate in skill shares, workshops, games, speeches and performance at the People’s Networking Convention. The PNC is our answer to what the Democrats, Republicans and mainstream media try to sell us as real democracy. We are countering their conventions by claiming our own space to organize democratically outside of the electoral political system.

Madison is the perfect place to do this because of our long history of activism and cooperative organizing. We believe real change comes from the grassroots and that politicians are never going to be able to fix what ails us. You can find our registration form in our pamphlet at: www.infopnc.org. We are asking people to fill it out by August 1st so we can find housing for everyone and get an idea of what kinds of workshops and events we will be offering.

GrassRoutes Bike Caravan

After the PNC, the GrassRoutes Caravan will leave Madison on August 18th and travel 300 miles for twelve days by bicycle to St. Paul for the RNC protests. Our mobile village will stop and stay in communities along the way in Wisconsin and Minnesota. We will plug into local struggles offering our people power to help out with 2007 flood relief, community gardens, and by doing volunteer projects that locals tell us they need help with. The organizers of the ride are contacting communities along the route to set up camp sites, water access, bathrooms, volunteer service and performance venues ahead of time so you don’t need to worry about where all of us will stay each night. We are also seeking performers for the ride who can delight local audiences as well as other members of the village with puppet shows, music, dance and creative expression.

If you are interested in attending the PNC and/or riding on the GrassRoutes Caravan, you must register ahead of time. The Caravan only has space for fifty riders. The organizers of the ride are emphasizing self-sufficiency which means that the ride is only going to be awesome if everyone gets their shit together before we take off. That’s why we have set an early registration deadline of July 4th. The PNC and the GrassRoutes Caravan will be non-violent and legal spaces so you cannot bring weapons or drugs to these events. We will be putting a list of the things you should bring, like a tent and sleeping bag as well as food preparation kits and utensils, on our website to be found at: www.pnc2rnc.org. Also, it will be good to practice ahead of time attaching and carrying everything you need to your bike to avoid having to deal with annoying details once in Madison.

It may also mean preparing some performance or short skit or learning how to video record or making sure you have a good camera or a million other things that will occur to you if you just start imagining NOW, months before the political conventions. Imagine yourself the most beautiful you can see yourself being in your mind’s eye and then begin to create that You in time for the bike ride. If everyone does that, just think about how amazing we will be.

You get extra-super-major points if you ride all the way to Madison, from wherever you are reading this from, be it Maine, Austin, Boston or Mexico City. ALL are welcome. You do not have to be a US citizen to enjoy the free breeze on your cheeks and the joy of participating in community-building on bikes.

The time is now for us to come together and demonstrate our people power in the face of the Democratic and Republican National Conventions. Register by July 4th for the GrassRoutes Caravan and by August 1st for the PNC and we will see you in Madison this August!

Or just show up, lackadaisically, like you always do, cool and smooth at the last minute. Fashionably late and disheveled. I will always think we were better than that. I miss you. I love you. I really want to know you.