April 15: NYC took a bridge, Chicago & Seattle took the streets, Portland took Town Hall, and Denver took the cake

Photo by Laura Avant
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.

TO BE FAIR, Denver’s march did take an adventurous turn, by Denver standards, but the rally began as might be expected from an event dominated by the SEIU and other corporate unions and their immobile nonprofit cohorts. Denver’s 4-15 rally started in the middle of CU-Denver’s Auraria campus, invisible from any street and unseeable to even partipants arriving, until they turned the corner to find it, behind the Tivoli Center.

Then organizers had a lineup of speakers which stretched well past expectations, trimming the crowd by over a third as supporters opted to slip away due to the unexpected cold front. Next participants were admonished to stick to the sidewalk, even on campus grounds, and applaud the police who’d agreed to permit the march. We were heading to a neighboring McDonalds, at least we were taking the scenic route.

Throughout the rally and march, a brass band played, and members of the local band Flobots led chants and songs. This lent a fun energy but it did preclude ordinary marchers speaking out or centering the vocal messaging on anything more than the generic themes of financial discontent. Even as crowds lingered in front of McDonalds, the band played on, when poignant denunciations might have provided a suitable climax.

Fortunately, a “Silver Brigade” had been deployed to patronize the fast food monster beforehand, to prevent managers from being able to lock the doors when the marchers arrived. McDs managers did lock the doors and they discussed a number of interesting defensive tactics under the noses of our operatives, but the managers were ultimately unable to refuse senior citizens demanding they be allowed to exit. This exit was timed to allow the Fight-for-Fifteen procession to march straight up to the counter, demanding a living wage, etc. Their objections heard, the marchers left and eventually crossed the street and dissolved into shortcuts through the Auraria campus.

(Note: My account of our inside job may appear indiscrete, but I include it purposefully. One, because even with advance knowledge it’s a difficult tactic to prevent, and two, because organizers of successive protests of establishments such as McDs need to include this tactic if they don’t want to remain locked out.)

Photo by Laura Avant
The highlight for me was infusing the event theme with the S-word. Desperate as they were today to fight for a living wage, vowing “we’ll be back” or else to “shut it down”, these union adherants will shortly become the usual Democrats, waving the Hillary banners, as if there was no alternative.

Whose fault is it that America’s minimum wage has been allowed to lapse below the poverty level? Is the responsibility not in part that of the unions’? The SEIU is driving the official “Fight for Fifteen” campaign, but only after socialists have led the way, as they did whenever the labor movement made its gains.

Super Bowl ad winners: Tebow soft-sell PR campaign and screaming chickens

Hands-down the best Super Bowl commercial was the Tebow mother and son soft-sell, where the advance PR hullabaloo delivered the anti-abortion message, leaving the TV-spot, an advocacy theme flag-planting placed at a celebrated cost of three million dollars, to ice the cake. Only its detractors would find the final 30-second message anticlimactic. The “Tebow Ad” was a month long campaign. Count ABC and the NFL also big winners, whose commercial breaks were watched more closely because of the Tebow hoopla, especially lookouts anticipating a multiple Tebow spot. Sunday’s ads might have been scrutinized more than the game itself. Second place goes to the Denny’s Grand Slam screaming chicken spots, with another ad-world sophistication, piggybacking on the Tebow jitters with a spot that began with lighting a birthday cake, a Tebow feint, interrupted by the now-recurring alarmed chicken.

Focus on the Family’s brilliant move, orchestrated obviously by Madison Avenue talent and choreographed over the range of traditional advertising mediums –PR, editorials, activists– illustrates further what would-be social message advocates are up against when denied ad placement by the networks. Adbusters has sued the US networks for forbidding an anti-consumer spot. Could they have advanced an inoffensive and surrounded it with a meatier media debate? More and more it requires the collusion with the editorial bosses. Each successive Yes Men action has met with an ever tightening controlled response.

Media pundits are calling wins for the usual Budweiser and Dorito ads. Based on TiVo results. Bet you didn’t know those machines were returning the logs of your viewing habits in shorter than 30 second increments…

Viva Monserrat!

We need to give Monserrat political asylum now that she has been arrested in Chile! She is my favorite political prisoner in the world, in fact, and we need more women like her, those who would protest the prudishness of society rather than being the prudes. See Chilean subway stripper arrested The serious lack of a sense of humor and any sense of proportion around the world today is indicative of how authoritarian society everywhere actually is.

One might note, that the head of the Chilean government is herself a woman. We should all hold our breath though if she were in fact to speak out against the prosecution of Monserrat. These politicians always talk about freedom and liberty but in fact are the direct antithesis of freedom always.

Monserrat is in more danger in jail of being raped by those that claim to be upholding morality, the police, than she was on that subway where filmed. A good question was asked by spectators of the police as they hauled Monserrat away.

‘Que es el motivo?’ or translated simply to English… ‘Why?’ Yes, why indeed?