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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.
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.
COMING TO DENVER for a repeat performance: on MAY 17 Keystone XL thugs will run a leaking pipeline through downtown Denver to give everyone a further taste of undemocratic, eminent domain abusing, profit driven, bullying.
They fell for Darfur and Kony (and Obama!) and now the Colorado Springs social justice community confirms that the city’s national repution for dim-bulbedness doesn’t reflect just its conservatives. Even the dissenting voice in this belly of the US military-judeo-christian-racist beast, is pro-imperial, toe-the-line, neoliberal dumbass. They’re against war and injustice, they even understand illegal war, but cloak it in terms of “intervention” and they stand beside their warmonger neighbors cheerleading for US aggression in Sudan, Libya, Syria, and wherever Pax Americana dictates we bomb in Africa. Where the local armed-forces community might be slow on the uptake regarding a Democratic president’s pandering to transnational corporate needs, the Springs peacekeeping Left will lead the way. On Monday, the usual shepherds of non-confrontational conformity held a vigil for the Lost Girls of Sudan -pardon- Nigeria, echoing the White House call to #bringbackourgirls. Unlike authentic antiwar vigils, this action got press, quelle surprise, from the media war machine! Congratulations AFRICOM-dupes! Nevermind non-American girls lost to US collateral malfeasance, no official hashtag for them, ergo no Springs peacenik campaign that would give a conscience indigestion.
Would we care more if the 267 kidnapped schoolgirls were not black? (!) If they were white they wouldn’t be from a country we’re trying to destabilize.
DENVER, COLORADO- Five arrests resulted from last Monday’s Anonymous march, two on the scene and three afterward, but measures employed by combined Municipal, County and Homeland Security forces to suppress the demonstration will likely prove to undermine charges of wrongdoing. Marchers were accused of obstructing the roadway, but all vehicular traffic had already been blocked while ordinary pedestrian usage continued unhindered.
DENVER, COLO.- I might be sensationalizing a technicality, but in effect it’s what happened: the remembering of Ludlow has been commandeered by the class who perpetrated it. The preliminary series of events commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the Ludlow Massacre (April 20, 1914) concluded tonight at Denver’s History Colorado Museum with a panel discussion featuring only establishment voices. “Is Ludlow relevant?” was the question posed to five participants among them three professors, a soldier, and a union rep. That’s like asking “is global warming real?” The question is loaded with the suggestion that the opposite is equally plausible. I would have preferred to hear HOW is Ludlow relevant. Though the union rep skillfully skirted the issue, no one pushed back at another flawed presumption, that the coal strike was an armed conflict. Yes the massacre provoked the ten day “Coal Field War” during which striking miners retaliated against the mine company employees, but the death toll was still but a fraction of the number of miners killed in the mine accidents which precipitated the Ludlow strike. It took an audience member to address that omission. Alas nobody mentioned the aftermath that found many miners under arrest, others scattered, and no mine owner, operator, guard, strikebreaker, Baldwin-Felts thug, or National Guard save one, was punished for the atrocity. Yes many immigrant miners were veterans of Bulkan wars, but some Colorado soldiers were veterans of the US campaign in the Philippines, where villages were dispatched with flame and machinegun fire. Not mentioned. Instead a Colorado National Guard representative was let to say that burning the tents at Ludlow was not a tactical error -and since the “non-combatant” deaths were unintended, Ludlow was not technically a massacre.
DENVER, COLO.- Saturday’s “Every 5th” Anonymous march didn’t get two blocks along the 16th Street Mall before Denver police officers advanced into the compact procession to extract what looked to be targeted activists. Said one Anon: “One minute we were chanting ‘FUCK THE POLICE’ and the next they were fucking themselves! Our demonstration AGAINST police brutality was in solidarity with the New Mexico action #OpAlbuquerque, but became a demonstration OF police brutality. Thank you DPD!” Hundreds of downtown shoppers were drawn to the shit show, to see four dozen masked protesters menaced by a paramilitary force three times the size, ostensibly for jaywalking.
OCCUPY DENVER recidivist Caryn Sodaro was given 90 days this week for violating the terms of her probation, an earlier plea deal which relinquished first amendment rights in exchange for what turned out to be temporary freedom.
PUEBLO, COLORADO- 2014 marks one hundred years since the Ludlow Massacre of 1914. A variety of commemorations are planned before the formal anniversary on April 20. I attended one such event on Wednesday, a lecture by a CSU professor to footnote the “Children of Ludlow” exhibit at El Pueblo History Museum. I’m always excitied when attention is paid to Ludlow, a subject regularly left out of American schoolbooks, but I was disappointed to find key elements of labor history excised from the museum’s narrative. Literally. The United Mine Workers of America, the organization central to the strike, which supplied the tent city, and which even today maintains the memorial site, was mentioned only once, IN FINE PRINT! The Ludlow miners voted to strike because the mining companies refused to recognize the UMWA. Unmentioned. The horrors of the atrocity were not tempered, in their explicitness perhaps we think them enough, but there was also the apologist suggestion that some culpability belonged to the miners. I questioned one curator who admitted they were at pains to keep the story “balanced” and that the squeakiest wheel thus far has been the National Guard. Apparently the Guard is offended that its role will be misconstrued. What balance do they want, I wondered. Had they lost children in the “battlezone” too?
COLORADO SPRINGS residents are left to wonder what kind of leverage the public utilities CEO holds over his board of directors. City Council wants to raise Jerry Forte’s salary to half a million in spite of the coal-black hole in which he put the city’s energy portfolio. They won’t consider investing in renewables lest it bump utility rates by 1%, put they will raise the rates by 3% to resolve a payables problem, austensibly, (They want to act quick while higher winter usage means the rate hike will yield more) and I guess for the CEO’s raise.
DENVER, COLORADO- Occupy activists were making their usual cacophony on Friday night when Denver police cruisers began converging into a familiar disproportionate show of force. Experienced skirmishers though Occupiers are, we couldn’t help whispering to each other as we watched more DPD officers accumulate on foot from vehicles yet unseen. The unintended effect of course was that our chanting diminished as the tension rose and Denver onlookers were treated to a literal illustration of the chilling effect of police intimidation. To make matters more embarassing, Occupy was shouting that we would not be silenced! By the time police were trooping upon us there was no sound but DPD boot steps and our “cameras on, everybody, cameras on.”
Colorado Springs is not home to an Olympic Training Center because of our competitive nature, proclivity for classic games, nor certainly athletic bloodlines — it’s our high altitude that draws athletes in training so they’ll hit the games with a competitive advantage against the majority of teams stuck at sea level. Boosters who look to promote the city’s Olympic identity ought maybe admit its true character before taking for granted that people want to celebrate it.
DENVER, COLORADO- Representatives of Occupy Denver met with both owner and manager of The Tattered Cover Bookstore last week hoping to avert taking public action against the popularly lionized bookseller for its passive support of the city’s Urban Camping Ban. There was hope that owner Joyce Meskis could reconsider her “neutrality” on the policy of oppression which has proved disastrous for Denver’s beleaguered street dwellers, at the very least, rescind her membership in the Downtown Business Partnership, the lobbying entity which conjured the ordinance.
A lesson the US forgot about Iraq? Prosecute war criminals like General McMaster, don’t spread their “lessons”
COLORADO SPRINGS– Whose fault is it that America is “forgetting the lessons of Iraq and Afghanistan”? We never learned them… Instead of prosecuting war criminals like General “H.R.” McMaster, fans of neoliberal genocide like the Colorado Springs World Affairs Council celebrate the yahoo and let him infect public minds about how the atrocity of TEL AFAR was a victory and not the crime against humanity it resembles. What was this bastard’s kernel of wisdom about his fine-tuning of a counterinsurgency technique which dates to America’s Indian Wars? Don’t be afraid to call genocide a “win”. Uncritical Gazette reporter Tom Roeder quotes McMaster saying Americans should be “unabashed.” Unabashed! Goddamn moral degenerate and we stand him up in front of crowds without a noose and scaffold! We have only ourselves to blame that our blimpneck officers congratulate themselves for their lessons learned.
How about those journeyman activists throwing their social justice experience around like it’s inviolate because they’ve been at this longer than the whippersnappers trying to rock their slow boat to China. They know what works after thirty years of utter failure, and they’ll admit to not a single inkling that their nonconfrontational passivism has only accelerated injustice and war. By what aggrandized blindness to irony can they congratulate themselves for their contribution to justice and peace? I don’t care that they decorate themselves like the dumb soldiers above whom they hold themselves, but hear this: don’t you dare coopt the enthusiasm of your youngers, or obstruct their path because their fresh directions offend you.
What are active duty soldiers doing in veterans day parades? It’s premature isn’t it, and self congratulatory? They’re being deployed to a public relations stint designed to admonish the public to remember their sacrifice, except present day recruits weren’t drafted. They’re economy dodgers. Yeah hardly voluntary and I don’t envy the straw they drew, but it’s hard to sympathize for signing up to kill and bully lesser armed people. Anyway, Veterans Day parades are a perfect example of soliders demonstrating their non-contribution to productive society, a chance for antiwar protesters to share an inside joke: GET A JOB!
LOOK OUT DENVER! There was no birthday cake this year for Occupy Denver, though the second annual #S17 OWS anniversary celebration did not go unmarked. Subgroup offshoots of Denver’s notorietous Occupy deployed themselves with the usual rowdy spirit. Denver Homeless Out Loud, advocates for the homeless where traditional “advocate” kapos leave off, defied the city’s no-sleep no-shelter ordinance by setting up tents on the eve of S17. Police kept the activists awake all night and forbid them to enter the tents, but the encampment hung on until morning for a scheduled solidarity action. At noon Colorado Foreclosure Resistance picketed the offices of Castle Law Group, responsible for 90% of the state’s foreclosures. Occupiers moved on to protest the Westin’s Palm Restaurant (Boycott the Palm) for its stand on criminalizing Denver’s poor. Other Occupiers couldn’t join in because they were in Boulder organizing Occupy Flood Relief. Armed with megaphones, drums, the capability to mobilize at often a moment’s notice, and an attenuation level pegged at disruptive, Occupy Denver acts every bit its age, prepare for it Denver, a year of the terrible twos. Happy Birthday Occupy!
COLORADO SPRINGS, CO- International news headlines read “G-20 Summit Overshadowed by Syrian Crisis” but not in Colorado Springs! Here every politically active Democrat was working to defeat a recall of state senate leader John Morse, a democrat though barely. Morse is a duly elected, if unlikely, representative of conservative El Paso County, being assailed by a mutinous GOP majority angered by his stewarding of gun control legislation. The NRA has backed a blitzkrieg recall campaign, aided by local Republican officials and judges who connived election parameters designed to coax a recall victory. But who’s on the side of right, presumably with the people?
“In the footsteps of Martin Luther King”, as if he’d lead a meaningless ask-for-nothing commemoration
Another million pawn march, to nowhere, commemorating the corporate brand of “MLK” sterilized of instructional efficacy, sanitized of King’s ultimate demands: jobs, economic justice, peace. This weekend’s 50th anniversary of the dream speech was the usual reminder that professional organizers abound who will gladly wear out would-be activists until they have no energy for real demonstrations. Of course there’s “work that remains to achieve King’s Dream”, who knows that better than the assholes waylaying it, then every year genuflecting before their sainted fictional MLK.
Want to know where you can find Prince Harry on his war cheerleading US tour? Half of it is in Colorado. On Friday he’ll be at a UK Consul-General’s reception at the private Sanctuary Golf Course in Sedalia. Between Denver and Castle Rock, that’s the Castle Pines exit off of I-25. He’s staying overnight in Colorado Springs and leads the opening ceremonies of the Warrior Games at the US Olympic Training Center at Union and Uintah. He concludes his Colorado visit on Sunday at the Air Force Academy on Sunday before flying east for a polo match. How unseemly for American media to be fawning over a British royal, and what a slap in the face for Colorado Springs Tea Partiers, if they weren’t so uniformly stupid, to celebrate a monarch for which they claim so much credit for having expelled. Nathan Hale would have hung a second time and a third and forth presumably to have had the chance to show smug twits like Prince Harry the door. Harry pretends to continue the work of his mother Lady Diana, ridding the world of land mines, yet how much credit does he get when he advocates for their root cause, war?
I’d tell you I’ve had it up to here with moderate turncoats, but of late I’ve resolved to keep them well underfoot. Take the local fight against FRACKING.
We’ve built a pretty determined group of fractivists in Colorado Springs, with healthy allies statewide, and in the interest of growth began to make alliances with less hardy participants who have unseemly strong opinions considering their otherwise unproven skills, stamina, and motives. Their most common denominator however is that they do not hold firmly oppositional positions to the oil & gas industry; they consider themselves more diplomatic than radical which by their own assumption will prove more successful. Except, no.
Haven’t we seen this countless times before: a nonprofit buys bigger britches forgetting that there was a reason it wore tight pink shorts, esthetics being the governing factor in neither case. Local Pride organizers may tell you they needed a larger park, but for what? The world’s loudest private barbeque? Over the span of two decades the annual Colorado Springs pride festival became the preeminent outdoor festival, dwarfing Spring Spree and Cinqo de Mayo in attendance and charm. The city even tried to dislodge it with its own “Diversity Fair” in lieu of formally endorsing Pride. And the authentic pride event took place where this traditional homophobic city had to look at it, smack dab in the middle of downtown, at town center, the square block of Acacia Park. This was also convenient for the pride parade which marched to it from blocks away. Convenient because the Springs gay community may fill a park, or a parade, hardly both, with barely enough leftover to be spectators. This year the festival is installing itself into America The Beautiful Park, formerly Confluence Park, formerly the unpaved ramshackle neighborhood in the lee of the coal power plant, adjacent too, as recently profiled in the local newsweekly, a toxic cleanup site. But mostly it’s a park invisible to anyone not going there and nearly inaccessible to them, by virtue of its single entrance and minimal parking. To ameliorate and confound access it’s going to be surrounded by police cruisers, so gay pride will be a guarded closet. Will enough of the gay community turn up to man the booths, trek 1.5 miles to the parade staging ground, and or attend along the parade route? Crowd enough to leave everybody feeling pride? Let’s hope so, this year of victory for gay marriage.
I haven’t been a loud advocate of gay marriage, not while grievous inequities mount worldwide, and especially as American gays clamor for the right to join the war making not end it. I was also disappointed by pride organizers in San Francisco who declined to name Bradley Manning as honorary grand marshal in response to the brilliant campaign by Bradley supporters: “Parade Marshal not Courts Martial!” What are the chances of that flying here? Last year we marched with a sign saying “I am Bradley Manning” and they took it literally, asking “And?”
BUMMER. I was thrilled a documentary would tell the world about Tim DeChristopher. You might think his achievement would be more widely know. It’s a testament of the power he’s up against, added to the meager support he has received, that even here I have to explain who he is and what he did. Tired of the futility of outdoor protests to prevent BLM land sales to the extraction industry, Tim DeChristopher attended an auction of particularly dubious legitimacy and successfully thwarted it by posing as a bidder and buying many of the lots. This happened at the close of Bush’s presidency, but Obama’s administration pursued a successful prosecution. DeChristopher has just been released after serving two years in federal prison. The documentary “Bidder 70″ recounts the ordeal in a manner that provides neither encouragement nor inspiration, and leaves me to question how DeChristopher might have been better represented in court, publicized in actions, and celebrated in film. To say Bidder 70 reduces Tim DeChristopher to a number distorts the idiom. No mere number, DeChristopher is the important but solitary number one, among a casualty count always rising. In the sea of ineffectual activism that prompted his improvisational escalation, DeChristopher emerges more singular than when he started, but that’s to judge based on a flawed documentary. Hardly an surprising result.