Monday, August 25, 2008

DNC Street Protests, a Video Feast

To understand the different strategies of protest throughout the day on Sunday, you have to grasp what happened to Democratic National Convention peace-protest organizing. Recreate 68 was the first on the scene, but the organization was heavy on the radical-macho side. They moved to a more explicitly "avoid violence" position later in the game, but several peace and environment groups felt uncomfortable with where things were headed, and split off to form Alliance for Real Democracy. On Sunday at 9 a.m., Recreate 68 held its kickoff protest led by one of my favorite singers, David Rovics:

Yeah, those are bodyguards, and that's what makes the R68 effort aggravating. Many speeches were good, including ones from Cindy Sheehan, Ron Kovic, and Ward Churchill, excerpted here, and a Cynthia McKinney speech and Dead Prez performance which I didn't record. I was put off by Cynthia's running mate Rosa Clemente, and by an African-American radical in dreadlocks, not just because they romanticized violence, but implied that those activists who use nonviolence as a strategy are wimps, no better than Democrats (gasp). No surprise Rosa still idolizes Weather Underground, that's how asinine some positions were. The R68 march from State Capitol to Pepsi Center was fun, however, which you can see here and here.

In the early afternoon, ARD, Code Pink and other groups held a Funk the War march to dance around the streets of downtown Denver. One anarchist group called Unconventional Denver split off to do a running street blockade. There was a near confrontation with police near the State Capitol, but all was resolved without violence. It's interesting to note that the middle-aged speakers at R68 all talked of being tough, but the real street activists in the afternoon were all teens and early 20s. Talking vs. doing, I guess. The initial march video is below, and you can find the next sequential steps at Blockade 1, Blockade 2, Blockade 3, Cop Response 1, Cop Response 2, and Blockade Ends.

Finally, ARD and the affiliated Tent State University held a late-afternoon rally at Cuernavaca Park, where Amy Goodman spoke, Jonny 5 of Flobots offered poetry (below), and many Denver groups talked organizing. I grabbed a quick comment from Frances Mendenhall, coolest organizer in Omaha. Later this week, we have Public Enemy, Rage Against the Machine, Flobots, Nader speaking with Nellie McKay and Jello Biafra, and on and on and on. Bill Sulzman and I will be giving a "class" at Resurrection City Free University on Thursday.


Sharon said...

The poetry reading by Jonny 5 was really really powerful!

Don't "avoid" violence, reject it, no matter how worthy the cause. There is so much more power and dignity in walking into their batons than in raising our own.

I hope the week goes well and that thoughtful and intelligent protests continue and continue to be available for the whole world to see. (Yeah YouTube!)

Take care out there and have fun!

Ruth said...

I love the "Good night Bush" poster.

It felt like being there with you watching these videos. And yay! I could play most of them on my laptop.