DENVER, COLORADO- Protesters from AIM, Idle No More, 350 Colorado, Deep Green Resistance, and Occupy lay siege to the Suncor Energey refinery, where what Canadian Tar Sands oil isn’t processed is spilled into Denver’s Sand Creek.
COLORADO COLLEGE- How do you protest having to seek permission to protest? Do it without. But Colorado College students learned on Wednesday that protesters risk arrest for trespassing: trespassing on the private property of a private college ostensibly protecting the non-dissenting students from having to see dissent. It would be interesting to see college administrators have to explain that on their campus, the freedom to speak didn’t include the freedom to hear.
MANITOU SPRINGS- Idle No More organizers from Denver and Pueblo woke the sleepy local Native American community with a spirited gathering on Saturday, smack in the middle of Manitou, neath the town clock, only blocks from the CS Indian Center.
Broomfield Police play rough game of Cowboys & Indians with Idle No More Native Americans, literally
BROOMFIELD, COLO.- Fellow Occupy members and I joined in a “round dance” flash mob at a local mall on Wednesday night, as part of the growing IDLE NO MORE actions whose First Nations grievances include the despoiling of indigenous treaty lands by tar sands extraction and the XL pipeline, and sovereignty issues about which Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence is now on a 22 day hunger strike. Two previous round dances in Colorado had proceeded uneventfully but no sooner had we begun in the Flatirons Crossing Shopping Center, located between Denver and Boulder, that mall security and police began routing the round dancers out the door. It was a rather comical scene, peaceful dancers, many of them children, being blocked and herded straight out into the cold, no warning or explanation being given. Of course the round dance stopped in its tracks, people instead dancing in place, gently waving their signs, as security told them they had to leave or face arrest. Apparently, because we didn’t hear it. Drummers were let to finish the first song, after which they packed up to leave. Once the drumming stopped however, we were surprised to hear security and police officers relaying their instructions, that “anyone who looked Native American” should be made to leave.
DENVER, COLORADO- Indigenous activists paused only one day before assembling a second IDLE NO MORE gathering to perform a round dance at the Canadian Consulate in Denver today, to deliver a letter urging the Canadian government and the British Crown (the Queen!) to meet with Chief Theresa Spence and end her hunger strike over recent legislation which gutted First Nation treaty protections. After a rally of dance, song and orations, a delegation sought to enter the consulate but was denied. After filling the downstairs lobby, being told picture-taking was not allowed, and the building’s security crew receiving a squad of reinforcements from DPD, the activist were finally sent a representative to accept the letter without comment.
DENVER, COLORADO- This was the scene in Denver’s Cherry Creek Mall on Saturday, December 29, where a flash mob of over 300 Native Americans commemorated the 1890 massacre at Wounded Knee, in solidarity with “IDLE NO MORE” demonstrations stretching from Canada to Mexico, where First Nation members are raising their voices to defend their land and sovereignty.
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO.- This past Tuesday saw the largest demonstration yet against oil and gas drilling in Colorado Springs and the ugly practice of hydraulic fracturing. Several dozen fractivists allied with Colorado Springs Citizens for Community Rights (CSCCR) and Occupy were joined on the steps of City Hall by Colorado College students who’d marched from their campus with banners and posters denouncing fracking. You didn’t hear about it did you? After the rally everyone filled the council chamber to give 3-minute personal testimonials that ran for two hours. That too went unreported, in particular by the Gazette, who had two reporters in the room, one who’d conducted interviews, and both who took notes during the presentations. But neither produced a story — an odd dereliction of responsibility you might say. Even more odd was the role played by Gazette editorial page writer Wayne Laugesen who ultimately opined on the city council’s decision to postpone their vote, as “caving to anti-energy activists”, offering no details. Laugesen actually interjected himself into the rally outside as a lone counter-protester, interrupting interviews being filmed for TV stations KRDO and KKTV. When they asked Laugesen to let them do their job, the goon replied that he was doing his. So the Gazette was not satisfied to blackout reports of the community rally, but aimed to sabotage it as well.
The UK wouldn’t extradite Pinochet, but they’re threatening to storm the Ecuadorian embassy in London to see that Wikileaks impresario Julian Assange is extradited to Sweden where a prosecutor wants to decide whether to charge him for sexual violations, more likely so that the Australian can then be rendered to the US to be imprisoned like Bradley Manning and face the death penalty for espionage. The US denies this intention, though it voted against Ecuador’s allies to hold a meeting about the continuing US-UK assault on journalism and whistleblowers. Can the Western empire let Assange and Manning escape severe reprimand? The two are only the mastermind and the alleged-source who’ve ignited the global uprising behind the anti- austerity movements, Arab Spring, and Occupy. President Obama cannot leave either off the hook without encouraging a deluge of more insider defections. Bradley Manning is already under torture in military custody, but Assange continues to evade US clutches. Should he escape to asylum in Ecuador where Obama’s exterminator drones can deal “American Justice”? The US has yet to condemn a white man to targeted assassination, but in the Global South, in darker-skinned populations, who will know? I favor Ecuador expanding its embassy to more than the first floor office, to offer Wikileaks an entire center of operations for as long as Julian Assange is confined under virtual house arrest. In Assange’s speech from the embassy balcony he repeated three times: “Bradley Manning must be released.” Journalists must be free to expose the crimes of the rich. Citing prison sentences for a Bahrain dissident and Russia’s Pussy Riot, Assange concluded: “There is unity in the oppression. There must be absolute unity and determination in the response.”
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– It’s so dispiriting to witness the perpetual truancy of the local social justice community. They can attend prayer meeting circle jerks apparently, but when President Obomber comes to town, on the anniversary of the targeted assassination of the City of Nagasaki via atom bomb no less, August 9, those finks are nowhere. We saw teabags, potheads and Paultards with more spirit. You might be satisfied to hear that none of the other sign-bearers divined the motorcade route, but with patience we were able to see and be seen by the president twice, as he left Cutler Hall for the Olympic Training Center and on his return to Peterson AFB via Uintah to I-25. We would have welcomed antiwar colleagues, but what are you going to do? I guess advocating for military intervention in Darfur, Libya and Syria occupies a pacifist dupe full time, not to mention cheerleading for the Army’s “sustainability” PR. And you can’t speak up for immigrants, prisoners, women, gays, the environment, the poor and oppressed, if you’re sucking on Obama supporters’ toes for the duration of the election season. Some of the democrats exiting the campaign stop thanked us for our message. One asked: “Are you with the Justice and Peace?” Sadly, no, we said. They don’t turn up in public anymore. You might ask them about that, I recommended. I write this after the next day’s anti-activist trial, also a no-show by the excuse-making louts.
DISNEYLAND, California– Out of Iraq, into Anaheim, Orange County California. You thought the militarization of America’s urban police forces was overkill? You didn’t know the police state they had in mind. Next come the drones.
Steve Bass to get his day in court, but he can’t say what he was doing or why, & above all he can’t mention “Occupy”
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.– Municipal Court Judge Spottswood W. F. Williams heard a final motion today before the AUGUST 10 trial of Occupier Steve Bass, charged with violating the city’s camping ban. The prosecution motioned to forbid from trial, “discussion of political, economic, or religious beliefs or ideology as a purported justification for the alleged acts”, and even “arguments related to the belief that the defendant’s conduct was constitutionally protected”, and in true Colorado Springs fashion, the judge GRANTED the city’s motion! YES THAT’S RIGHT, now if Bass wanted to say he wasn’t “camping,” he can’t say what else you would call it! In effect, Defendant Bass is prevented from explaining WHY he was occupying, or even THAT he was occupying, because saying “OCCUPY” is expressly forbidden. The judge will play it by ear whether to make an exception for himself during “voir dire” if selecting impartial jurors might require asking their opinion of “Occupy”. That’s IF BASS GETS A JURY AT ALL, because next, Judge Williams prompted the city prosecutor to research whether Bass was entitled to a jury of his peers for the infraction of camping…
The Secret Service planning its security measures for the upcoming DNC in Charlotte, North Caroline, has ordered unprecedented quantities of concrete barricades and fencing to insulate convention activities from the expected demonstrations. Protesters will have full run of downtown Charlotte, within the parade permits, except for the facilities scheduled by the Democratic Party. Barricades will block the convention center, an arena, and an additional warehouse whose purpose has is not being explained. Intelligence command and control centers are not unprecedented, although like police stations, have never been the target of protest. Mass detention centers such as used in NYC 2004 might be another story.
American solidarity with global outcry? “Sorry, no can do.”
Pundits, even friendlies, are infecting the Occupy Movement with direction-waylaying cynicism, so I’ll tell you what I think Occupy should do next. Never mind the usual grievances, leave those to existing advocacy groups, although they do benefit from Occu-proding obviously. No matter what you think Occupy Wall Street’s core issue was, by definition OWS asserted our system of governance was broken, our regime is not responsive, not representative, and immovable by the conventional permitted mechanisms. So right now, which bankrupt democratic mechanism is being paraded before us, taunting a debunking from Occupy? We’ve been paying it lip service already: the fraud of our electoral process. Isn’t it time Occupy said DON’T VOTE? Don’t dignify Election 2012 with your buy-in, undignify it with a vote of no confidence. I don’t mean merely not vote, let’s Get Out The No Vote! Now wouldn’t that separate the men from the Dems!
Art Institute of Chicago mocks antiwar protest sit-in with Roy Lichtenstein redux: “Oh Brad… I forgot stop NATO.”
OCCUPIED CHICAGO- President Obama got last weekend’s protest message loud and clear, he’s lost that voter to antiwar favorite Vermin Supreme. A week after the NATO Summit, his Democratic Party headquarters in the Prudential Building leaves the office lights on for the law enforcement vote. Or was it to compensate for Mayor Rahm Emanuel stiffing the CPD on their overtime pay for quelling popular dissent at the summit?
Denver activist Chad Duffy and the ultimate protester’s protest sign.
Was it Utah Philips or Michael Parenti who said it, “the only thing the rich have ever wanted was EVERYTHING”?
Do you wonder why Occupy’s demands have to be specific? To my mind, Occupy has a mandate that’s equally self-evident: EVERYTHING BACK.
OCCUPIED DENVER– If Denver Occupiers accomplished one thing this May Day, in solidarity with global calls for a general strike, and in sync with more aggressive protests in Oakland and elsewhere, Occupy Denver had a great time. THAT WAS ALL IT HAD TO BE. The crowd was largely young, with the energy, idealism and ideology reminiscent of the early days last fall. OCCUPEZ LES BONS TEMPS ROULER!