[Anonymous submission received on 01.09.22]
Fuck You Ed Gainey and Fuck the RNC
It only took a week for Ed Gainey to decide that the largely good feelings based campaign he ran could be safely set aside in favor of the “we love the ‘economy’ more than people” that seems to be the main line of the Democratic party more broadly these days. The new mayor of so-called Pittsburgh sent a letter to the RNC saying the city would be “excited” to host the 2024 event. In short, fuck you Ed Gainey for inviting the RNC to Pittsburgh, and fuck the RNC. Don’t come, your time here will be unpleasant.
Conventions and Their Consequences
The (tired) justification for bringing this gathering of fascists to town is that it will “help the local economy”. In this case, the “economy” should be understood to be the monied interest in the downtown area – mainly real estate and hotels businesses. This relatively limited amount of money (four nights of hotel stays and people at the Primantis in Market Square) is of course not weighed against what it will cost to generate.
But those costs are paid by people Ed Gainey wouldn’t give the time of day, let alone actually attempt to help using his political power, so he’s unbothered. Houseless people will be forced out of downtown systematically to “clean up the streets” and those that escape the increased surveillance that proceeds such an event will be vulnerable to the ghoulish attendees of the RNC. Those same ghouls will of course enjoy the protection of law enforcement as they harass and torment people unable to escape.
The increased state repression is not limited to the people in the area of the convention either. We have only to look to St. Paul in 2008 for an example of how this will play out. The no-knock warrants executed before the RNC as pretext to get organizers off the street were just the tip of the mass-police-violence iceberg. Over 15 years later the police are only more militarized and the surveillance state is only more vast. In the rather…charged…political climate expected in 2024, law enforcement will only be more brutal.
For events closer to home, look to G20 Pittsburgh in 2009. For someone who’s been in the region his whole life, Ed Gainey sure seems to have forgotten. The mass arrests, the use of the LRAD, the courageous fight against the assembled power of global capital may have faded from his memory, but not from ours. Such a presence in the city is intolerable and must be resisted by any means possible.
The Machine Grinds On
Ed Gainey got elected on building a better, more inclusive Pittsburgh, especially for those who have been left out of it before. While this was clearly a pretext even before the invitation to the RNC, the letter lays it bare. Bringing the RNC to Pittsburgh threatens harm to vulnerable communities here but Ed Gainey was never really interested in helping those people except incidentally and as could be used for positive optics. He put out a statement condemning the actions of Republicans on January 6…and then is “excited” for those same people to have a convention here.
Democrats who prioritize the economy over people in order to bring fascists to our city should meet the same scorn as any Republican who would attempt the same. For anyone who was still excited about Ed Gainey, this should be your wakeup call. He’s going to pull the same levers with the same murderous effects that his predecessors did and the mayors who come after him will. It’s up to us to tear down this murderous order and build something better in its place.
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