A protest by any other name is still a protest. But not all protests are an occupation.
Two months after the major group planning to protest the Democratic National Convention changed its name, a new and bigger demonstration is being planned for the September event. This time, it's being led by "original" Occupy protesters.
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Protest organizer John Penley, among the first to join the Occupy protests in Zuccotti Park, says some Occupy protesters were disturbed by the name change, which turned the "Coalition to Protest at the DNC" into the "Coalition to March on Wall Street South — Building People's Power During the DNC."
The change in nomenclature, he said, let Democrats off the hook.
And so despite the perception that Occupy is more liberal than it is conservative, Penley says his demonstration, "Occupy the Military Industrial Complex," will very much target President Barack Obama.
"We're targeting Obama's out of control military spending," he told Whispers. "It's the key to so many problems in the U.S. That, and the drone strikes on American citizens. And the NDAA. People feel so upset with Obama."
In 2011, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which sets the defense budget into law. Defense spending currently amounts to $685 billion a year.
Some 500 people have already RSVP-ed to a Facebook page for "Occupy the Military Industrial Complex."
And Penley, whose protester contacts stretch across the U.S., will likely get many more. In addition to being an original at the Occupy protests in Zuccotti Park, Penley is also an active antiwar protester, often participates in the ongoing Food Not Bombs demonstrations, and has photos of the 1990 May Day Riot featured in N.Y.U.'s Tamiment Library.
Penley, who also describes himself as an anarchist, says the group does not plan to get permits for the protest.
"I think it's ridiculous to have to enter a lottery to protest," he said.
Instead, the protesters plan to spontaneously set up camp in Charlotte's Frazier Park, and he said "the people will decide" whether or not to bring tents with them. If protesters face problems from police, he said, the police can expect "civil disobedience."
"We are all seasoned protesters and we know how to handle police provocateurs." he said.
A video posted to YouTube suggests socialist groups may be joining the Occupiers at the convention.
In a talk delivered in Asheville, N.C., the International Socialist Organization voiced similar concerts to that of Penley—that the Democrats had shown they were as "incapable" as the Republicans.
"The majority of the protesters say neither party is doing what we hoped they were going to do," says Penley. "So they are going to vote for the Green Party... or just sit this one out."
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