Brad Crowder is a leader of the Austin Socialist Collective, the Austin, Texas branch of Socialist Alternative, an organization “dedicated to the advancement of socialist, independent working-class politics.”
In September 2008, as the Republican Party kicked off its national convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, David McKay and Bradley Crowder, a pair of activists from Midland, Texas traveled to the city.
St. Paul was their first large-scale protest, “and when they arrived they were taken aback: Rubber bullets, flash-bang grenades, tumbling tear-gas canisters—to McKay and Crowder, it seemed like an all-out war on democracy. They wanted to fight back, even going so far as to mix up a batch of Molotov cocktails.”
Just before dawn on the day of Sarah Palin’s big coming out speech, a SWAT team working with federal agents raided their crash pad, seized the Molotovs and arrested McKay, alleging that he intended to torch a parking lot full of police cars.
After taking a plea bargain, Crowder was sentenced to two years in federal prison.