A summer of heated protests are being planned against Republican House and Senate members, with organizers already forecasting clashes with police and staffers over their efforts to stop GOP reform of Obamacare.
A leading organizer, Indivisible, has issued a new "tool kit" to guide protesters on how to conduct a sit-in that could last a very long time.
One rule: Don't rat out the protest leaders to cops. The memo calls on protest groups to designate a "police liaison," explaining, "This is the individual responsible for speaking with law enforcement. This person should not divulge information about who planned the event, who the Action Coordinator is, or dictate what participants do."
Clashes with congressional staff in district offices around the nation are also expected. Said the memo, "If something unexpected happens—if the staff threatens you, for example—your Action Coordinator should make a decision whether to exit and everyone should do so as a group. Even in these cases, gathering outside the office and publicizing what happened will still accomplish the most important part of this campaign—applying intense public pressure."
It recommends that protesters rehearse the Obamacare sit-ins, which are compared to 1960s civil rights efforts.
"Practice a few different scenarios. Have someone play the [Senate and House member's] staffer, disgruntled passersby, police, etc. Take stock of how you and your group are feeling as you rehearse. Is it uncomfortable to sit on the floor? Was it clear to your group how to respond if staff asked you to leave? If the police arrived? Practicing the event will allow you to make contingency plans and think critically about the experience and safety of the demonstrators."
And plan for a long standoff, it added: "It is almost inevitable that some discomfort will be involved. It is important the Support Team do their best to mitigate this by bringing snacks, water, supplies, warm meals, pillows, and anything they can to make it easy for demonstrators to continue. This team is also a big part of morale during the event. They should be encouraging and should cheer on the demonstrators while being responsible for comfort. Your group might be physically uncomfortable. You might be confronted by staff. The police may be called."
Protests during recent congressional recesses have drawn wide media attention and the group said that they helped stall President Trump's agenda. "Remember, we're five months into this Congress, and they have yet to enact a single significant piece of legislation. That's because of YOUR advocacy on your home turf. Implement this strategy, fight this campaign, keep standing indivisible, and we will keep winning," it said.
The planned sit-ins and protests come as Congress is grappling with how to deal with security for members in the wake of the shooting of a lawmaker and staff during a GOP practice for last week's Congressional Baseball Game.
At least one lawmaker has suggested that members arm themselves.
Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at email@example.com