Everyone had their eyes on Trump’s Convention in Cleveland but the shit really hit the fan at Hillary’s camp.
Photos by Joseph Rushmore
A couple weeks ago, the Democratic National Convention (DNC) and the Republican National Convention (RNC) were held in America. In simple terms, this was where Trump was nominated by his Republican party to run for president, and Hillary Clinton was put forward by the Democrats. The antics that followed were all over the news, but the protests going on outside the convention centre at the DNC in Philadelphia received far less media coverage. We chatted to photographer Joseph Rushmore who was on the scene as angry protesters marched through 100 degree heat to have their voices heard, with no one really listening.
For people that don’t know, what is the DNC?
After we’ve had our primaries and caucuses across the country in each state, the delegates go to this thing, the convention. They officially give their votes to whichever person they want to represent them, and it’s a bit of a facade because most of the time it’s really obvious who’s going to get it. This time it was obvious that Hillary was going to get it but there were still a lot of protests from Bernie supporters inside the convention centre too. Inside was just as crazy as the outside most of the time. There were so many things happening with the delegates, like walk-outs during the speeches.
How was the RNC (Trump’s party) different to the DNC (Clinton’s party)?
Everybody expected the RNC to be really insane, there was a lot of hype leading into it but the biggest protest there was maybe a 1000 people and most of the protests were marches of less than 100. There was a huge police presence there, police from all over the country, it was ten-to-one, but it was really pretty calm. The DNC was a lot more intense, people were really angry.
Who were the angry people, was it mostly the Bernie supporters upset that he didn’t get nominated?
The Bernie supporters felt that the election had been rigged against him in a way, which became more obvious when everything about the emails leaked the day before the DNC. It became obvious that the party had been working against him and there were a lot of people there that thought it ran a lot deeper as well. I think people wanted to show their anger, that people on the left felt betrayed by their party.
What were the biggest concerns that the protesters were voicing?
They felt that in Bernie, they had someone who represented solutions to so many of the problems in America. While Hillary, at face value, says she supports many of these things, but her track record doesn’t really speak to that. People felt that Hillary lied to them, and didn’t represent the left-wing. The thing they are most worried about with her is that they don’t feel like they can trust her.
I don’t know what your political leaning is, but do you feel like it affects the way you capture something such as this?
I tried to photograph as subjectively as possible; capture what I was seeing in front of me and the mood of it. But I’m sure my leanings get in there somewhere. I supported Bernie and I didn’t go to these things to protest, I just went to photograph. I wasn’t taking sides but I feel like I was fairly sympathetic towards the people I was shooting.
What was the overall mood?
It was calm most of the time. There were a few times they busted through the barricades of gates, and a couple instances where police pepper-sprayed people. Amongst the protesters there seemed to be a lot of in-fighting and no-one could quite get a group big enough to do any one thing and pieces would break off. There were fist fights within the protesting groups, and there were a lot of people who wanted to get more extreme with it, and a lot of people who wanted to be peaceful outside the gates. Things would fire up for 20 minutes, then disintegrate and everything would be calm again.
Was it what you had expected of your first time shooting a protest?
The weeks leading up there were the protests in Baton Rouge and Louisiana over the police shootings there, there were the shootings in Dallas before the RNC and there was this expectation of head-butting. For whatever reason, it was just fairly calm at the RNC; not what I expected. It was amazing to experience history on the ground, I spent all the money I had to get up there and do this. I feel like this election is really important because there’s a lot of disintegration happening in both parties and it’s amazing to see. I wanted to see it first hand and get involved in whatever was happening.
You can check out more of Joseph’s work on his Instagram @no_jackson