And You Should Come Join Us!
We're Protesting at the Democratic Convention
By CHRISTIAN WRIGHT
August 4, 2008
In just a few weeks the Democratic National Convention will be held
in Denver, Colorado, where I live. For the past few months leading up
to it I have been organizing with Alliance for Real Democracy (ARD),
one of the local formations that is building towards a week of
protests, teach-ins, and concerts at this event.
It has occurred to me that the reasons for protesting the Democratic
Convention are not clear to everyone. As usual, much of the
mainstream press coverage has centered on speculations about
"Seattle, '99- style" confrontations, and this has served well the
purpose of burying the actual issues involved. Coverage on local TV,
in the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News have all vied for our
attention with competing headlines, ranging from the benign to the
absurd. But the general "theme" has been established as
"multi-million dollar security appropriations" versus "the masked
Spectre of anarchism."
But what are the fundamental issues addressed. Is the Democratic
Party an inept opposition that is out of touch with its constituency?
Don't citizens have a right to assemble publicly and air their
grievances? Isn't a country that welcomes debate and dissent, even
when it is "civilly disobedient", preferable to a National Security
State where all dissent as attacked for even existing as such?
The reason why most in ARD are protesting is to call this party to
account for its record, and to make sure that progressive, and
specifically antiwar politics, are heard loud and clear.
In every election, w are told to vote Democrat because the
Republicans are worse. It's as basic and ingrained as the colors of a
stoplight. Whether it's done with bright eyes and high hopes, or with
gritted teeth and muttered cynicism, almost the entire American left
accepts the logic to some extent: If we want to end the war in Iraq
and Afghanistan, if we want environmental justice, if we want to
challenge the racist criminal justice system, if we want to support
immigrant rights, if we want equality for the LGBT community, if we
want to truly support a woman's right to choose, and if we want to
build real progressive social movements in the United States, then,
we're told, the first step is to get Democratic politicians into office.
The problem today with this argument is that Democrats have had a
majority in congress since the 2006 elections. Since then, they have
taken an overwhelmingly antiwar, anti-Bush mandate, and used it to:
* Pass "non-binding" resolutions expressing "disagreement" with
the Iraq war, while simultaneously voting for hundreds of billions
more in funding for it.
* Declare that "Impeachment is off the table".
* Join Republicans to gut civil liberties and allow the
government to spy on anyone, at any time, without a warrant.
On broader social justice issues the record is just as lukewarm.
* Abortion remains unavailable in most counties in the United
States and access to it continues to be restricted.
* Education today is more racially segregated and unequally
funded than it was decades ago, and college itself is increasingly
* While productive industries crumble into recession and
outsourcing, there is a "bipartisan" consensus on the need to expand
both prison construction as well as military recruitment in schools.
Voting Democratic hasn't brought the rosy results that were promised.
A lot of hopes were raised as the returns came in two Novembers ago,
and what has (or more importantly, what hasn't) happened sense then
has significantly changed the political landscape.
There is no more post-2004 "awe" of mythical "red state" domination.
Farmers in Kansas aren't keeping the war going. Democratic votes in
Congress are. The period of "wait and see" has come puttering to its
inevitable end, and the leadership of the Democratic party has failed
to live up to the mandate of its voters. Barack Obama, whose early
opposition to the war and community organizing background inspired
many liberals to support him in the primaries, is bunkered down in
right-wing positions on a wide range of issues (much to the concern
of those to whom he owes his victory).
Tragically, many social movements have tended to demobilize in
election years. For the antiwar movement, this was quite obvious in
2004, happened again in 2006, and is going on this year as well. The
political effects of this have been to leave the movement, and most
antiwar activists, confused, disorganized, demoralized, and unsure of
how to proceed.
This has occurred at a time when a confident, progressive voice in
the streets has been more important (and conspicuously absent!) than ever.
This is most clear today in the interaction between the war in Iraq
and the new war on Immigrants. Very few people were concerned about
immigration before 2006. But in that year, with the war going
horribly, many Republicans found out they could still win elections
by appealing to anti-immigrant phobias. The way this rhetoric has
been articulated since then would have been confined to far-right
hate groups, and the extreme fringe of the Republicans, at any time
before the war on terror. But now, with the acceptability of racial
profiling, with a public already taught to view brown and foreign
people as enemies first, racist language has found a new
acceptability. As the economy slides into a war-related recession
millions of Americans are looking for someone to blame. The
Republican Party offers to the outraged citizenry a sacrificial lamb.
Meanwhile hundreds die crossing a desert border every year, and
families are destroyed as ICE raids workplaces. The legacy of the
civil rights movement seems to be forgotten.
Meanwhile in Iraq over the past year and a half exactly two major
policy developments have occurred. The first is that George Bush is
marketing a "surge" in troop levels as the solution to help stabilize
things (under firm US control). The second is that the Democratic
Party has decided that possibly sending some troops home within 18
months is really the same thing as ending a war.
Among the many less reported developments are quite a few
"inconvenient truths". One is the invisible (to the American media)
crisis of over 4 million Iraqi refugees- almost none of whom have
been granted asylum by the US. Another is the completely overwhelmed
VA that can't respond to the overload of physically and mentally
wounded veterans. A third is the scam of "reconstruction" that costs
billions of dollars, generates super-profits for American companies,
yet does not actually reconstruct!
That's the short list.
Every country but ours has massive protests on the anniversary of the
war, as citizens around the world pressure their governments to stand
up to Bush's aggression. Yet we're supposed to rest?
If Democrats know they have our votes in their pocket without having
to even promise us anything, they're going to be spending their time
making promises to everyone else to get their votes too. The result
is a political establishment that lurches ever-rightward. The voices
of the left, minorities, women, immigrants, veterans, students, and
pretty much anyone else who isn't independently wealthy or
politically connected, are left out in the cold.
These are the costly lessons of recent experience. They teach us that
unless we organize our own communities, keep our movements
politically independent, and actively pressure ALL politicians-
whatever their party affiliation- no progressive agenda will be
moving forward any time soon in the United States.
The Alliance For Real Democracy is a coalition representing some of
the most insistent voices of protest from Colorado and the nation.
Member groups include Iraq Veterans Against the War, CODEPINK, United
for Peace and Justice, Veterans for Peace, the Colorado Green Party,
Students for a Democratic Society, Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice
Center, the International Socialist Organization, Progressive
Democrats of America, Jobs with Justice, and many others. ARD is a
model. The fact that it can even exist, bringing together such
diverse constituencies, is a testament to just how deep the
credibility gap of the Dems has become.
Its s members not only tolerate- but welcome- debates on our attitude
to the Democratic Party and that's inspiring in and of itself. I
don't think I've ever been in a meeting where members of PDA, the
Greens, Anarchists, and third-party Socialists are all working
collaboratively on something, and where there is (in spite of media
and police-induced paranoia) such a general level of goodwill among
people of diverse ideological backgrounds.
We are a non-partisan organization. We're not in ARD because we like
long, endless meetings, or haggling with a wary city over permit
details, or because we enjoy insurmountable fundraising challenges.
There's certainly not a lot of NGO- political career advancement out
there for people who are really good at protesting the Democrats!
ARD exists for the simple fact that we're tired of the war and people
we know getting killed. We're tired of watching our nation descend
descend ever deeper into a national security state, where the
government is above the people, and no one knows if anything they
write or say is private anymore. We're tired of seeing racism and
ignorance become acceptable.
I remember in 1999 after the Columbine shootings when the whole
country was up in arms about the need to get counseling to the weird
kids before they get so frustrated they try to resolve their problems
with violence (I myself was sent by my school for such counseling).
Today military recruiters are more often seen than college recruiters
by a lot of kids. At least one Colorado high school has an Apache
Helicopter mounted proudly on its front lawn* . I can't think of a
more fitting irony, or tragic confession, of just how upside down our
country has become.
It's time to take it back. People's lives are more important than any
election, or any politician's career. We're going to speak truth to
power this August and judge the actions of all politicians by the
same, "non-partisan" standards.
We hope you'll join us. If you can not make it, but you agree with
our aims and would like to support ARD, we ask that you still help us
to get this message heard. We are planning numerous events, including
large-scale marches, innovative workshops, teach-ins, non-violence
trainings, and concerts featuring major musical acts.
To support us contact www.realdemocracy2008
West Grand High School in Kremmling, Grand County, has an Apache
Helicopter mounted in its front lawn. A picture I took of it on my
camera phone can be seen at:
Christian Wright lives in Denver and can be reached at email@example.com
D-Day in Denver?
by Ellis Washington
Posted: July 31, 2008
Join us in the streets of Denver as we resist a two-party system that
allows imperialism and racism to continue unrestrained. We will
demand change by making the Democrat Convention of 1968 look like a
small get together in 2008.
~ Recreate '68
During my daily search of interesting news across cyberspace, I came
across an item posted on DrudgeReport.com from the Denver Rocky
Mountain News, "Mayor says no to Tent State overnight."
As the Democratic Party prepares festivities to present its
presidential candidate, Barack Obama in Denver next month, all is not
quiet on the Normandy coast (to borrow a World War II metaphor).
In the Battle of Normandy, launched June 6, 1944, we successfully
used propaganda and disinformation to fool Hitler into believing that
the Allied Powers were not going to attack the French coasts of
Normandy, but Norway and France at the Pas de Calais. While
"Operation Fortitude" did fool Hitler's generals (to a degree), dug
in across the Normandy coast were Hitler's vaunted storm troopers
prepared to exact a grim causality count from our valiant Allied forces.
This brings me to my point, with less than 100 days before the 2008
presidential elections and less than one month before the Democrat
convention (Aug. 25-28), not all Democrats are in a celebratory mood.
Many rank-and-file liberal activists are out for blood from their own party.
There are tens of thousands of shock troops that want to dig in and
camp out at the Democrat National Convention in Denver and the
Democrat National Committee is doing everything it can to prevent
this self-sabotage (again).
These student activists aren't the DNC's only problem. There is even
a quasi-terrorist, fascist group calling itself "Recreate '68"
promising to spread anarchy and mayhem at the convention.
You will remember that 1968 was the year the Democrat Convention was
held in Boss Richard J. Daly's Chicago where a very radical group of
protesters called "The Chicago Eight" (later pared down to seven)
were charged with conspiracy and incitement in connection with the
bloody riot at the convention. Remarkably, all charges were later
overturned by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. (You can always
count on those liberal activist judges to let the devil himself out of jail).
The eight protesters charged with conspiracy and incitement were the
ususal suspects of their day Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden, David
Dellinger, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Jerry Rubin, Lee Weiner, and
These eight "freedom fighters" and the multitudes of useful idiots
(the mob) who took part in Chicago's "police riot" in 1968
successfully sabotaged their own party along with the presidential
aspirations of the great Hubert Humphrey and running mate Edmund M.
Muskie (who in his own presidential run in 1972 would achieve infamy
for crying at a certain spot "Muskie cried here"), thus paving the
way for Richard Nixon to win two terms, both landslide victories.
So it seems inevitable that history will repeat itself 40 years later
in 2008 as a motley assortment of progressives, anarchists, students,
radicals, demagogues, socialists and leftists of every stripe will
all try to have their voices heard at the Democrat Convention. Since
the Democrat National Committee is already giving them the middle
finger salute, the mob will feel that its only recourse is to lash
out in vengeance by sabotaging the Democratic candidate, B. Hussein Obama.
The latest controversy revolves around a college-age group from Tent
State University petitioning Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper to allow
its group (and presumably about 50,000 likeminded student protesters
and activists across the country) to camp out overnight at City Park
near the sports arena where the convention will be held.
At the time of this writing, the mayor and virtually every Democrat
politician in the state of Colorado are in unison in answering the
students' inquiry with a resounding NO!
The delicious, irresistible irony here is that for over 100 years,
since the advent of the progressive movement that gave birth to
modern liberalism, the American public has been relentlessly
propagandized with such ideas as socialism, humanism, radical
egalitarianism which is the equality of results (rather than access);
that the Democratic Party alone is the party that cares for
everybody, even "the little guy," that they are the real "big tent
party" where "everyone has a voice" and no one is marginalized.
The events developing in Denver would seem to betray that
characterization and highlight the utter hypocrisy of liberal
Democrats who zealously demand fairness, equality and "social
justice" from everyone else, but when it is their turn to show
equanimity even to a bunch of non-violent, idealistic students who
just want to be "part of history," their compassion turns icy cold.
At $500 a night for hotel rooms near the Democrat Convention, "the
poor" need not bother to attend.
Speaking of the poor, I heard that the Democrats, the party of the
people, by the people and for the people, are strongly urging all of
the bums (or homeless for the PC crowd) in Denver during the time of
their convention to please go to a movie on their dime. This is an
Where is all the love and camaraderie Democrats claim to have for all
people, races, classes, colors and creeds? This seems to me like
liberals are promoting a policy of hiding or segregating the bums
from the rest of society. I guess one creed liberals don't like is a
vow of poverty, and the only color welcomed at the Denver convention
is good ol' American greenbacks.
In the article cited above, Denver resident "Madison" was quoted as saying:
"Right now, we don't even let the Boy Scouts sleep in the parks. It
isn't political. It doesn't have anything to do with any message or
anybody. It's just that we don't do that," she said.
"Once you let one group do it, even though (the DNC) is an
extraordinary circumstance and all that, I think that it opens up the
door to a lot of people just thinking that they should be able to do
it, and then if we say no, they can sue us for it," Madison added.
The downside, she said, is that no one knows where the protesters
will go at 11 p.m.
Oh, I know where the protesters will go after 11 p.m., the same place
where they went 40 years ago in Boss Daly's Chicago into the
streets itching for a fight against the police or anyone who tries to
stop these youths from raising hell. And that's how Obama and the
Democrats will "Recreate '68" and perhaps lose the presidential
election in 2008 (again).
Re-create '68 has repeatedly promised to make the bloody 1968
Democratic convention "look like a small get-together."
The mayor of Denver has promised that if the students camp out at
City Park as they plan to do that the water sprinklers will be turned
on them. Why don't they just throw in some free bars of soap when the
sprinklers are turned on those exercising their First Amendment
rights, for I'm sure the students will need a good shower by then.
Better yet, forget the sprinklers, Mayor Hickenlooper. Where are the
water hoses of Gov. George Wallace, Bull Connor and Boss Richard J.
Daly when you really need them?
Will D-Day happen in Denver next month? While I certainly hope that
Tent State University will not become Kent State University (where
four college war protesters were infamously killed in May 1970), I do
love to see liberals being entangled in their own egalitarianism and
their irrational PC ideas where everyone has to have an equal voice.
Rev. Jeremiah Wright notwithstanding, it is these chickens (Chicago
1968) coming home to roost 40 years later (Denver 2008) along with
the litany of perverse ideas (fascism, egalitarianism, social
justice, anarchy) they love to foist upon others. Now they will be
forced to contend with themselves.