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DENVER, COLORADO- The City of Denver has dismissed all charges against Occupy Denver activist Michael Moore stemming from his April 29 arrest at the march against police brutality. Michael was accused of Second Degree Felony Assault of a Police Office, Criminal Mischief, and Resisting Arrest. Michael was riding his bicycle when a motorcycle cop tried to push him over, but fell over himself. Michael’s apprehension prompted an indignant response from his comrades which gave the Denver police license to pepper spray the crowd and make ten further arrests. Michael spent two days in jail and forfeits his $1000 bond deposit. The other victims suffered brutality and pepper spray as a result of voicing their objecting to Michael’s arrest. The crowd’s reaction was vindicated when it turned out that Michael’s arrest was wrongful. Will the charges against them stick?
Occupy rally for DPD teen victim Jessie Hernandez rained out, Denver cops deploy anyway. #justiceforjessie
DENVER, COLORADO- Rain kept numbers down at the event yesterday calling for Denver officials to investigate the brutal police murder of Latina teen Jessica Hernandez. Even as the crowd influx never surged beyond steady, over the course of two hours the police force arrayed against Occupy Denver and their allies never wavered from the usual: disproportionate and overwhelming. The DPD is obviously taking no chances with the potential firestorm the teen’s killing could ignite in the Denver community. Excellent. Humbled as we may feel that it takes so few activists to threaten the system, we feed off that fear. Individual police officers can denigrate protesters all they want, obviously the protests have their respect.
DENVER, COLORADO- As Occupy Denver learned with the recent verdict, even one drummer performing an unwanted refrain can be considered loud and unusual enough to earn a complaint. With the Tattered Cover Five temporarily shell-shocked, reinforcements have arrived to bridge the gap, last weekend in the fearless personage of Colt Justice, who reports contrary to expectation, he was not arrested. Game on heartless Denver, lest Tattered Cover patrons and other Denverites ignoring the plight of the homeless fail to yield to the disturbing protestations of the Occupy homeless advocates.
DENVER, COLORADO- On May 8th 2015, the Tattered Cover Five returned to the scene of their heinous crime, feeding the poor and homeless. After being convicted in a kangaroo court hearing in City Court for disturbing the peace and being a general nuisance, the defendants once again returned on Friday to the Tattered Cover Book Store where they fed the poor on a rain soaked evening. When we as a society look past an act of compassion and charity in feeding the poor and homeless, to see our shame, to feel our discomfort and then to criminalize this act of kindness. Then we are a Broken and Sick Society.
(The above photo is of Janet on May Day 20015 feeding a group of 50 people in front of the state capital, still wearing that warm smile for all the homeless and hungry.)
Janet Matezen was a 54 year old working mom. She had recently lost her job at a local market where she worked as a meat cutter. Like many of the middle class, Janet was also struggling to make ends meet. It was October 2011, Occupy of Denver made camp in Denver’s Civic Center Park. Their number began to grow daily as word of the movement spread via the media. Janet had never been a protester or even been to a rally such as Occupy, but she was curious. She decided one day that she would drive to the park to see what it was all about.
In my circle they’re called “Saint Paul’s Principles” because my colleagues think the edicts are Catholic I guess. The St Paul Principles came from St Paul Minnesota, circa 2008, and were formally adopted by the varied groups organizing to disrupt the Republican National Convention of 2008. They’ve lived on as guiding principles for activists of all ilk. In 2011 many Occupy encampments ratified the StPP as their own code of conduct, indifferent to whether they were applicable or even beneficial. Let’s examine the well intended dogma. Do they apply universally? Are they constructive? And how did they work out for St Paul? The last one is easy. As you may remember, disruption of the 2008 RNC failed spectacularly.
DENVER, COLORADO- You don’t have to be a high school physicist to know a bicyclist is less likely to topple a quarter-ton motorcycle than to cause the equal opposite reaction. But it was cyclist Michael Moore that officers had to yank from his bike and wrestle to the ground. So where Newtonian law might have failed, the DPD enforced it in their own manner. A bystander video shows the motorcycle cop fall over of his own accord. The DPD used this false flag as an excuse to rush the crowd, douse it with First Amendment disinfectant, and make arrests.
Occupy Wall Street composed a chant to rebut the ageless heckle hurled at protesters: GET A JOB YOU DIRTY HIPPIE! After Zuccotti Park was razed and Occupiers regrouped, they offerd this rejoinder. Remember it?
“Got a JOB. Took a SHOWER.
We’re still occupying, speaking truth to power!”
Of course it wasn’t true, or at least whether we did or not was as irrelevant as the original misconception. But street activists come up against misguided advice much more pernicious than the crudely insulting. Consider the constructive advice from journeymen activists who’ve been at this for a long time and know how it’s done. You know the ones, who preach nonviolence or you’ll never get anywhere, as if they have a record of success or fount of experience more illustrative than the old grindstone. False history has even robbed them of the authentic lessons to glean from Gandhi and MLK. Yet even the best-intentioned of our peers caution that movements will never take hold without blablabla. This sacred cow, for instance: community outreach.
April 15: NYC took a bridge, Chicago & Seattle took the streets, Portland took Town Hall, and Denver took the cake
DENVER, COLORADO- Yes, Denver’s FIGHT FOR FIFTEEN march kept to the sidewalks. When ISO members (organizing the local “15 NOW” group) pushed the boundaries, SEIU marshals criticized them not just for agitating, but for pushing their socialist agenda. Occupy Denver activists held a prominent banner which referenced reigning minimum wage champion Socialist Alternative. Most of the attendees were union members whose representatives have obviously failed to credit the SA party or Seattle Councilwoman Kshama Sawant for the nation’s first $15 minimum wage victory. We fielded questions all evening from marchers eager to know if an SA chapter was brewing in Colorado.
DENVER, COLORADO- On the subject of filming cops, Denver activist Caryn Sodaro is in trouble again. Caryn was attending a community meeting on Colfax Avenue when attention was drawn to an arrest happening at an adjacent liquor store parking lot. Several people converged on the scene, Caryn ahead of everyone, her videocamera aimed at an officer grinding his knee into the face of a prone man, likely homeless. Another cop looked on, warning his partner that they were being filmed, while an Argonaut security guard prevented the witnesses from getting close. Unlike onlookers who only dare to record an abusive arrest, Caryn tried to prevent further brutality and so raised her voice to caution the officers that their acts were not going unnoticed. Soon enough the witnesses were being ordered to leave Argonaut’s private property. Though deep within the departing group –everyone was complying– Caryn was picked out for arrest anyway. Fortunately she passed her camera to a colleague who was able to prevent the footage from being confiscated by the DPD. It’s all on tape: the details described here and the reinforcements piling on Caryn. She spent the afternoon in jail. Her next court date is April 27.
DENVER, COLORADO- Anonymous activists converged on the capitol on Sunday, as they do “Every 5th”, this time to remember the growing list of victims of Denver police violence, and this time was going to be different. This time the call went out for torches or similar flamables and enough unnamed Anons delivered. As dusk approached and numbers grew, so did sightings of SUVs ferrying riot cops, at five staging areas. Despite another SUV whose officers were glued to binoculars, and a new HALO camera installed on a nearby streetlight, Anonymous lit its torches to send an angry message before the police rushed in.
DENVER, COLORADO- Prosecuting attorneys for the City of Denver were granted their own motion to have their case against Patrick Jay dismissed for lack of evidence! Prominent civil rights lawyer David Lane was informed this weekend that all charges against Patrick have been dropped.
DENVER, COLO.- The Denver police had really stepped in it this time. At 6:30am on January 26, officers opened fire on a parked car full of unarmed teenage girls, killing Jessie Hernandez with eighteen bullets. This time the most homocidal police force this side of Baltimore used lethal force against a charismatic 17-year-old Latina. Even if officers had confused the queer tom-boy for a male, Jessie wouldn’t pass for a boy over eleven. Jessie’s killing follows a year rocked by public protests against police excessive force in Ferguson and New York City. Victims Mike Brown and Eric Garner were black males with the attendant stigmas. This victim was literally a poster child. If Jessie had a criminal record it was as a juvenile. The official account immediately began to unravel as witnesses came forward. Most notably, after the passengers were released from jail, one of them said the police fired first, before an officer was struck by the vehicle and not afterward as the officers claimed. Yet the public’s revulsion has been measured and dimminishing. What happened? Was the outcry stage-managed? By whom? The aftermath of Jessie’s execution was captured on video, in defiance of officers threatening the bystanders. It’s only been described to reporters but the Denver Post has it.
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO- Someone tried to firebomb the Springs office of the NAACP yesterday. A pipebomb failed to ignite a can of gasoline left leaning behind the building located in Hillside, the city’s traditionally African American community. The FBI claims to be interested in a white male with a beat up pickup truck. Across the state activists are alarmed at the subdued media response and lack of outrage. I’d like to explain why this bomb, a typical racist MO, has yet to resonate here.
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO- We’ve seen the mapping of areas most vulnerable to the toxic emissions of Drake, our downtown coal plant. In particular we’ve learned that freezing temperatures mean that emissions aren’t dispersed according to best laid plans but instead linger in the neighborhoods to the southwest. What does that look like? Recent cold temps have afforded a glimpse. That mist in the morning in Ivywild and the Broadmoor hills is setting a mood which affects your mental health more than you know.
DENVER, COLORADO- Temperatures didn’t exceed 10 degrees, but that didn’t stop protesters or their SWAT escorts from their appointed rounds. Activists weren’t about to attempt to block Interstate 70 where vehicles were already negotiating very hazardous conditions but their police minders didn’t know that, so processions past the on and off ramps meant heavy police blocking which couldn’t help but impede traffic flow on its own. After laughing at officers jeopardize everybody’s safety, the march swung back to the quiet neighborhood streets and dispersed. Not before encountering a “MONSTER” energy drink distrubuter determined to give free samples to the cold officers forced to ride the sideboards in their riot gear.
Unless you are throwing down like Ferguson or their brave comrades in NYC, Oakland, Berkley and other race riot battlegrounds, I’m not interested in your “Dear White People” and “Things White Allies Need to Stop Saying” rants. Your not being White or CIS-gendered may give you insight for schooling your traditional tormentors on privilege, but it hardly qualifies you to wrestle protest actions from their organizers. The inclination to divide and insult with pedantic specious arguments suggests to me you put preening above solidarity. As a white male agitator in the wake of Ferguson, I welcome leadership from communities of color. I’m happy to follow and applaud fresh voices. But they have to be in solidarity with the Ferguson insurgency not its couchsitters. Being African American doesn’t automatically mean you speak for Mike Brown or Eric Garner. Does President Obama speak for African America? Your minority studies parlance may hold sway in academic jousts but has fuck all to do with movement building or hastening their momentum.
COLO. SPRINGS- TED-TalksTM likes to say it offers “a spa for your brain” and when I saw that an X-variant was coming to Colorado Springs (“TEDx”s are unaffiliated affiliates. Yeah, uh-oh.) I wondered if a spa might only be as good as its mineral water. Or its mud, or masseurs, whatever. Yes, I foresaw the inevitability of Dumbass Springs confirming its nature, but the lure of a train wreck was strong. I confess my expectations were lower still because incessent shared posts on Facebook have inoculated me with an aversion to the TED motivational formula, no matter the click-bait hyperbole they are AHA-moments For Dummies.
I heard a dispiriting conceit at yesterday’s 350.ORG whistestop rally at Denver’s Union Station to cheer climate activists bording the Amtrak Zephyr destined for the New York City #S21 People’s Climate March. This young, otherwise energetic and charismatic environmentalist told the crowd that she did not expect anything to come of the hoped-to-be-massive demonstration but would attend anyway. Ironically this was addressed to supporters who’d already decided not to join the march based I’m guessing on the same logic. Yet we cheered, chanted about the imperative to act, and applauded a successive speaker who added that if world leaders ignored this people’s march, there would follow another and another, ever larger. Hmm. I doubt it. Activism is already showing diminishing returns and drawing numbers to unsuccessful actions doesn’t help. I appreciate not wanting to seem to hold foolish expectations, but I’d rather accept defeat having believed it was not inevitable. The antiwar movement laments the election of Barack Obama because he herded the populist anti-Bush groundswell toward supporting the other corporate war party. But I blame Obama for a larger malpractice: innoculating Americans against hope. Extended generations of altruists lost their cherry to the hope-change-artist and while they wise up incrementally, I have yet to see hopefulness normalize the defeatism. This doesn’t mean that hopefuls don’t keep falling for smooth promises, but the promises are smaller, to be believable. Bill McKibben’s 350 march for example doesn’t even want to make demands, yet insists that your personal attendence will be the biggest impact you can make against climate change. And if the march doesn’t move UN leaders, come back and do it again. Until what? Until world leaders are convinced that the public is serious. Why are we not serious? Should McKibben admit that traveling to New York could be distracting activists from where their bodies really need to be, in front of coal plants, blocking pipelines, and organizing communities against fossil fuel extraction? Pressuring the UN is similarly immediate but we have to apply veritable pressure. If a march is meant to impress, even as a gesture, it must be more than a parade.
DENVER, COLORADO- Occupy Denver’s Tim Calahan and I were arrested and jailed at last Friday’s boycott action against the Tattered Cover Bookstore. This marked Tim’s third citation for drumming, my second, and Janet Matzen’s first. For drumming. Disturbing the peace is what the DPD charges. We maintain the DPD are curbing our free speech. SO NOW I want to tell you the story of how famed civil rights attorney David Lane came to represent us.
Continued arrest of Denver Occupiers confirms homeless protest is battle line where people’s rights offend Capitalism
DENVER, COLORADO- The weekly demonstration in front of the Tattered Cover bookstore ended once again in arrests yesterday. Three Occupiers were arrested, led away in handcuffs, detained at length in the back of police cruisers, and given citations for “disturbing the peace”. Four bucket drums were confiscated, presumably one was beating itself. This marks the fifth arrest at the Tattered Cover action. Arrestees at earlier homeless ban actions had been cited for jaywalking, some required to post bond before being released from jail. Many more Friday night actions have been interrupted and truncated by a DPD show of force or DPD warning that a complaint gave officers license to restrict “time, place and manner” of what the activists decry as their free speech. Although a bullhorn was initially taken last night and declared to be evidence, it was returned to the Occupiers, probably for fear the act would too literally represent their voices being silenced.
Wall Street is why we can’t have nice things. Your gullible good nature is why America can’t change that.
Cops are people too, voting matters, use honey not vinegar, the only way is nonviolence, yada yada. Try this against your old liberals’ tales: If one million indignados foreswore property destruction, a policeman with a sharp pencil could subjugate them all, the state could spend more on amassing capital, and the press wouldn’t have to report a thing, etc. Occupy is a revolutionary movement rallying support for the understanding that we must burn down this castle of inequity and injustice. Those urging demonstrators to lower the pitchforks are the primary defensive line of the system. Armored police are nothing compared to the duped stooges who circulate among us enforcing conformity and dissent within-limits. Occupy Wall Street targeted Wall Street because it pulls the strings in DC. We can continue to protest corporations and the military but our biggest adversaries are our own defeatist tendencies. They are neither accidental nor transcendent, they are malignant.
[FULL TEXT OF LETTER SUBMITTED TO CS INDEPENDENT MAY 14] Two years ago Colorado Springs lost 346 homes to the Waldo Canyon fire which precipitated floods expected to haunt the westside and Manitou for years to come.