To Recreate 68 at the Denver DNC is not a call to incite a Rumble in the Jungle

Free the Conspiracy EightContrary to the hype it is encouraging, RECREATE-68 does not want to recreate the violent clashes of the 1968 Democratic National Convention. That would have to be up to the police. While we know the Chicago Seven (+1) and their cohorts did not go quietly, it is now also well admitted that the violence in 1968 was perpetrated by the Chicago police without provocation.

I don’t think anyone wants to relive that brutality again, especially as riot police today have much more debilitating and potentially lethal weaponry. Recent demonstrations, as in Seattle against the WTO and in Miami against the FTAA, have seen militarized police force used against a well intended, if obviously outraged, outcry.

Last week at a public debate against Denver City Councilman Charlie Brown, Recreate-68 event coordinator Glen Spagnuolo made clear that they are not interested in receiving a beating or permanent injury at the hands of overzealous police. Of course the catch-phrase “recreate 68” does titillate with accompanying slogans like “Do It in Denver,” but this is done to pique people’s interest, and it has accomplished that.

Recreate-68 is determined to get people engaged with the DNC, in the streets, instead of in front of their televisions as passive spectators to the usurping of their power. The Democrats are party to continued funding of the war, raiding the US treasury for the rich, denying Americans universal health care, taking away our civil liberties with the Patriot Act, and colluding with murder, torture and profiteering. If the American people go along with these crimes, they are accomplices. Too bad they are also the victims. Official channels do not permit people to raise their voices above a silent consent. The DNC in August, in Denver, is opportunity knocking in the streets.

When party organizations admonish you to work through the system, they perpetuate their power to deny progressive reforms. The will of the people has only ever expressed itself through protest. Democracy, Human Rights, Abolition, Suffrage, Child Labor, Civil Rights, Pacifism. We have only made these gains by collective action. A redress of grievances is what it’s called in the constitution. I can just hear Democratic representatives saying, “oh we can’t go that that far, we could never get elected if we advocated for such extremist reforms.” They are undoubtedly right, because real reform is always up to you. But as much as Obama can urge you to feel hopeful, “you” doesn’t mean you voting for a representative who is promising you in actuality nothing.

Recreate 68 is about recreating the sense of connectivity Americans held in 1968, when young and old put their bodies into the line of fire desperate to bring an end to the disastrous Vietnam War. The people’s movement of the sixties had been growing, led by men soon assassinated. Students were rioting in London and Paris, and Cassius Clay was suspended from boxing for having declared himself a conscientious objector. By 1968 people understood that nothing would change unless they did it themselves.

Today we are into the sixth year of the Iraq War and there is no American antiwar momentum to speak of. There are diverse projects on the internet and in sporadic protests, but the US effort is a pitiable movement compared to the public outcry overseas.

Particularly lacking are young people. You may say it is because there is no draft, but enough are still volunteering to fight. I rather think that the youthful opposition is absent because of No Child Left Behind. Our children are being educated to be uncritical thinkers, in particular, narcissists and apolitical bubble babies with no immunity to corporate misinformation. They may be cynical, and clever by half, to the extent that they lack a social conscience. As a result, their forever adolescent thinking that nothing can touch them keeps them civically disengaged until it is too late and they are indebted to the machine.

The youthful cynicism which the slick corporate media celebrates as hip irreverence keeps kids from caring for their fellow people, and certainly holds them from believing that anything they do can make a difference. Look at the average age of the typical social activists. They’re past middle age. Is this a coincidence?

Young Americans, even up to age thirty something, are so jaded to have become tragically ineffectual. Electoral politics might be the extreme of their participation, and look where it will get them, against fraudulent pollsters and rigged voting systems.

I’m curious about what will happen in Denver if Recreate-68 is able to mobilize the youth. Perhaps kids will only be able to express themselves as Grand-Theft-Auto and Half-Life have taught them, as our soldiers are doing, cast adrift in Iraq. In that case, the disembodied violence to which we carelessly expose them will have come home to roost. If Denver becomes a riot, it is a development I think we will need to face.

For my part, I hope we can recreate 68. Let’s break through the media moratorium on the social issues important to us. Let’s remind the TV populace that we want to hold at least our Democratic Party politicians accountable to listen to our needs. If the candidates will not, and we’ve already learned that someone like Dennis Kucinich cannot get the nomination, perhaps the party system is too phony to matter.

What if the Democrats are only shills for the Republicans in charge? I believe the Democratic convention might only be setting up a candidate to lose to John McCain. For example, do you think Americans are ready to elect a woman or a black man to the presidency? I’d like to think so too, but I have a feeling the media is prepared to inform us in November, “oh, so close but no cigar!” Who is suggesting that Americans are past the gender or race card? Is it the corporate media, tool of the rich white man? Since when did the average American TV viewer wise up? George W. Bush’s approval rating was already at a dismal low when Americans reelected him in 2004. This, even after televised debates showed unequivocally that Bush was the dunce everyone remembered from the back of their classroom. Even if Bush didn’t really win in 2004, as in 2000, at least there were enough dumb white voters to make it look legitimate. Are those constituents going to vote for an unexperienced, non-veteran non-white Obama? Those errant voters are still out there, you see them, they still have W-04 stickers on their cars. And the the black box vote counting, voter registration and poll both gate-keeping are still in the hands of Republicans.

If the Democratic Party really hopes to represent the people, it has to do much better. If the Democratic Party is not prepared to offer Americans a real alternative to the corrupt misrepresentation in Washington, we can find better entertainment with the charades of the WWWF. Should the Dems hear this from you? Is your representative listening or still asking you to show patience? Take him or her to the mat, in Denver, in August.

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Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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2 Responses to To Recreate 68 at the Denver DNC is not a call to incite a Rumble in the Jungle

  1. Avatar Major George Hutton says:

    Yo Eric,
    What does the WWWF stand for. Not commies, I hope. Look at red cuba & red chine for their outlook for the people ahhhh or is it the part they look out for. If you do not like who is in the democratic party – vote him or her out. Eric, you do know you do not have that right or vote in the commie party. Rule by the party is not nor never has been nor ever will be for the people. party is all that matters. So now Eric use your vote before I am censored off the net.

  2. Avatar tony logan says:

    Yeah, you are the WWWF ‘cop’ wrestler dressed up in clownish drag, George. Topless and all!

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