5 Places in Cleveland the GOP Won’t be Going to
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by Marni Halasa
Republicans are going to be scurrying the streets of Cleveland this week for the Republican National Convention (RNC), so it’s important to get a leg up on where they will not be going. So what places are guaranteed GOP-free zones?
1. One place, for sure, has to be the Cleveland branch of the International Socialist Organization, a small yet fierce group of avowed socialists that holds meetings at the Gypsy Beans & Baking Company on 6425 Detroit Avenue in Cleveland. Over coffee and croissants, the group meets bi-monthly in the summer to discuss books like Naomi Klein’s, The Shock Doctrine: the Rise of Disaster Capitalism. The group also coordinates activists to attend the yearly Socialism Conference, which attracts over 1,500 activists and organizers nationwide for four days of socialist politics, debate and entertainment. Heated arguments over Trump and the role of right-wing populism to whether the Democratic Party can be considered by the left can be heard every now and then at the locally owned European bakery, but so far, said one bakery employee, “a croissant has never yet been thrown.”
2. The History of Contraception Exhibit at the Dittrick Medical History Center, located on the third floor of the Allen Memorial Medical Library at 11000 Euclid Avenue in Cleveland, also may not make the A-list of excursions in Cleveland for the GOP. The exhibit includes over a thousand different artifacts including a large number of contraceptive devices created throughout history. From beaver testicles, cat bones, crocodile dung and ear wax from a mule, the museum also showcases historic forms of contraception including sponges, diaphragms, loops, pills and IUDs, all displayed in a chronological tribute to human attempts to control fertility over the past 1,000-plus years. The exhibit, which is free to the public, began as a donation from Percy Skuy, who had privately collected a large number of the items on display, but has grown significantly since then. (In contrast, however, don’t be surprised if you see Republican Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, an evangelic Catholic, at the Museum of Divine Statues at 12905 Madison Avenue in Lakewood, Ohio, a beautiful space which shows carefully restored religious statues for display in a museum setting. Also unforgettable is the Living Bible Museum located at 500 Tingly Avenue in Mansfield, Ohio, which takes museum seekers on a tour of giant wax recreations of bible stories.)
3. Republicans will also not set foot in the headquarters of Organize! Ohio at 3500 Lorain Avenue. The progressive group, which has for mission to build a support system for community organizing efforts across the state, recruited the help of the American Civil Liberties Union to obtain a permit for protesters from the City of Cleveland, which had delayed issuing permits to groups looking to demonstrate. According to its executive director Larry Bresler, the GOP won’t step anywhere near the main office or the Ohio City Masonic Arts Temple on 2831 Franklin Boulevard in Cleveland, the west-side cultural center that has been rented as a hub for protest groups demonstrating at the Republican Convention.
4. GOP Senators also won’t go near the home base of Black Lives Matter of Cuyahoga County, because ‘it’s in the hood,’ said one of its founders, Jeff Mixon, who lives in Lakeview Terrace, a subsidized housing complex in Ohio City that overlooks Lake Erie. Mixon, who is a limousine driver by day, policy wonk by night, explained the group was created to educate local communities of color about the importance of voting, as well to explore policies that lead to the unfair imbalance of power that exists in social, political and economic institutions. “We didn’t want to be an organization that served our own interests, we want to serve our communities,” he said. “And to do that one has to be honest and recognize the inherent conflicts of interest that exist.” Similarly, one can also bet the GOP won’t be making any visits to Black Lives Matter of Cleveland, a direct action group affiliated with the Black Lives Matter national network. Members who demonstrate on a regular basis on the streets of Cleveland are sitting out the RNC protests because the chapter doesn’t believe that protesting Donald Trump, a man who has shown no real interest in ending racist policing, will serve black Clevelanders. Instead, BLM Cleveland will focus their organizing might on the incoming Cuyahoga County prosecutor, Michael O’Malley.
5. With GOP delegates ratifying an anti-LGBT platform, including a proposed amendment to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality, it’s pretty clear that Republicans will not be seen at Cleveland’s oldest leather gay bar, The Leather Stallion Saloon at 2205 St. Clair Avenue. Established in 1970, the bar has been serving the LGBT community for four decades. It’s also safe to say that the GOP won’t be visiting other gay and lesbian establishments in the area like Bounce Night Club or The Hawk, gay bars both on Detroit Avenue, or Twist on Clifton Avenue.