Latest Local News
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.
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.