Posts tagged Colorado

Rank and file

The week before the election, I complained about an ad that DNC political hacks sent out, which (wrongly, and dangerously) suggested that political change amounted to nothing more than, and ended with the success of, an effot to get some millionaire professional politician installed in office. It turns out that MoveOn agrees with me, and they’re working on organizing Fired up and ready to go gatherings in every community the can, to keep their grassroots organizing moving forward. I know because they sent me an e-mail about it. <Well, bully for them. However, having read some of the comments that MoveOn specifically selected to represent the sentiments they were hearing from their members, when they asked about what to do after the election, I can’t say I’m terribly heartened by their idea of what kind of organizing you do after an electoral victory:

From: Nita Chaudhary, MoveOn.org Political Action
Date: 3:01 PM
To: Rad Geek
Subject: Fired up and ready to go

. . .

We need to continue the same level of involvement and commitment to whatever this Presidency needs of us to accomplish all that we believe can be done. Yes we can, Yes we did, and Yes we will!—Judith C., Salem, MA

. . .

We have to be prepared to go through with whatever we need to—even if that means some sacrifice. Obama will lead the way!—Sarah A., Greer. SC

. . .

Let Barack know that we stand ready to go to work. Take advantage of our energy and enthusiasm for the common good, put us to work.—Jeff R., Boulder, CO

. . .

Be willing to work with him and make personal sacrifice for the good of our country and our children’s future.—Stephanie L., Laguna Niguel, CA

I don’t know whether these sentiments are actually representative of the MoveOn membership, or whether MoveOn selected a few unusual comments that seemed most useful to their purposes. But in either case, this sort of sentiment — that grassroots, street-level organizations should stand ready, not as a countervailing social force to direct recently-elected politicians and to keep them on track for the grassroots’ own agenda, but rather as shock troops for some messianic leader to issue marching orders to and put … to work, even at great personal sacrifice, for whatever the leader may require — is the sort of thing that ought to disgust anyone who genuinely believes in people-powered community organizing, and ought to terrify anyone who believes in the principles of a free and open society.

I’ve seen that movie before, and I know how it ends.

I guess it really is time to Move On.

See also:

Cute.

(From a lot of places; most recently, Make No Laws 2008-09-30.)

Here’s the latest cheeky commemorative t-shirt from the Denver Police Protective Association.

It's a black t-shirt with a cartoon of a giant policeman looming over the skyline of Denver, holding an oversized bat, with the caption "We get up early, to BEAT the crowds / 2008 DNC

A laugh riot, I’m sure. According to CBS 4 Denver, every cop in Denver gets a shirt for free; cops for neighboring police departments, like the Lakewood police and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department, have been clamoring for the shirts and have ordered dozens more. abc 7 NEWS in Denver tells us that the shirt pokes fun at DNC protesters. For reference, here’s how Officer Scott Stewart poked some fun at a protester named Alicia Forrest:

This past Tuesday, the Denver District Attorney’s office publicly refused to pursue assault and battery charges against Officer Scott Stewart, the violent thug seen in this video hollering Back up, bitch and knocking an unarmed woman, who posed absolutely no physical threat to anybody, down to the ground by smashing her with the long end of his baton. The cops say that there will be an internal investigation, which of course means that absolutely nothing will happen to hold this dangerous hollering misogynistic batterer accountable for what he did, or to protect the public from his violence.

ALL you need to know about organizing is what you can learn on the web

Alliance of the Libertarian Left Ad Hoc Global Organizing Committee

ALLies,

First things first. Do you know any individualist anarchists, agorists, mutualists, left-Rothbardians or others on the libertarian left in or nearby any of the following metropolitan areas, who might be interested in getting involved, or getting more involved, in local activism and organizing? (If that description matches you yourself, that’s good enough, too.)

If so, please drop me a line with their contact information. I have some requests from prospective local organizers who are looking for people to start locals for the Alliance of the Libertarian Left. I would love to be able to put them in touch with anyone locally who might be interested.

Which brings me to my broader topic. In principle, one of the great things about a decentralized outfit like the Alliance of the Libertarian Left is that it’s easy for supporters to organize new locals and begin building alternatives in their own community. Since there’s no central bureaucracy you need to ask for permission and no paperwork to fill out, all you need to do is find people in your hometown, declare yourself a cell of the A.L.L., and start working on actions and projects in your own community. That’s a pretty low barrier to entry. But Just organize in your own community! is a bit easier said than done. One of the downsides of a decentralized outfit like the Alliance of the Libertarian Left is that there’s little in the way of a ready-made structure or resources for people to find each other, or to know how to move the organizing forward once a core group has managed to find each other. If we’re going to do this decentralism thing, one of the things we’ll have to do is to work out decentralized methods of making these resources available to new organizers who want or need them.

Recently I’ve gotten a number of e-mails from people who are looking for local ALL contacts, or who want to start an ALL but need help with some of the logistics (for example, with getting web space for their group). In order to help make it easier to start up new locals, I’m proposing that we establish an ALL Ad Hoc Global Organizing Committee. In fact, it’s so ad hoc, that I’ve already started it: http://libertarianleft.org/.

The purpose of the Organizing Committee is to serve as a clearing-house for currently active ALLies to help put other ALLies in touch with each other and to provide some information, some advice and some resources that will help people get going on local organizing. Any and all ALLies who are interested in participating are invited to do so. Here’s a couple ways that you can help right now.

  1. Help us network to put local ALLies in touch with each other — I’ve set up an Organizing Committee listserv for two purposes. One purpose is to do some brainstorming and scheming about methods of outreach and resources for newbie organizers to make available through the Organizing Committee website or by other means. (About which, see below.) The other important function is to for us to network so that we can help prospective local organizers find other people in their own neck of the woods. If you happen to know a lot of libertarians or anarchists outside of your hometown (or know people who know a lot of libertarians and anarchists outside of your hometown), you can help out a lot just by signing up to the list as a sort of activist matchmaker — so that if someone gets an inquiry from an ALLy in Walla Walla, say, we can check in with each other to see if anyone knows good contacts in Walla Walla.

  2. Brainstorming useful resources, information, and advice to make available through the page — for example, there’s currently a rudimentary page for helping solitary local left-libertarians find ALLies in their area for the purposes of organizing an ALL local. The page currently consists of a landing-pad that encourages them to e-mail members of the organizing committee, along with Shawn Wilbur’s ALL Frappr map as a means for people to find each other based on geographical location. What it could use are some links to useful resources and some concrete advice on other ways to get the word out. What would you suggest for things to add to this page, either in terms of services that existing ALLies can directly offer, or links we can point to, or advice we can give, on finding other like-minded people in your community?

    More generally, what would you like to see on the Organizing Committee website as a whole? What kind of services can we offer that would be most useful to you, or to prospective local organizers? What kind of information and advice do you think would help out the most? Let’s discuss in the comments section.

Finally, I’d like to mention that, as part of the Organizing Committee effort, I (Rad Geek) am making subdomains and webhosting space available to ALL locals that need them. If you are organizing, or hope to organize, a local ALL chapter, and you want web space for your group (to make contact information available, to provide some information about what A.L.L. is all about, to put up news and announcements, to provide an online landing-pad for people who see flyers or other literature that you might distribute around town, etc.), then I can hook you up. You will get use of a subdomain name of your choice (in the format yourhometown.libertarianleft.org), and, if you need it, I can provide you with free web hosting space on my own web servers. As long as traffic remains relatively low, the hosting will be completely free. If in the course of the Revolution traffic should spike to the point that I need to upgrade my servers or Internet connection to handle it, I would just ask a small cost-price-based fee to help handle the upgrade–good mutualist practice, and far less than anything you’d get from buying a commercial web hosting plan. (Solidarity economy and all that.)

Onward.

This is what a police state looks like. (Part 3 of ???)

Show me what a police state looks like…

This is what a police state looks like!

In the interest of equal time, this footage comes from the streets of Occupied Denver, during the protests outside of the Democratic National Coronation. While police repression was much less severe in Denver than in St. Paul, the city government’s use of fascist free speech zone cages was much more extensive, and the paramilitary cadres in Denver engaged in plenty of their own pre-emptive raids on activists, round-ups and mass arrests, pepper-spraying, beatings with batons, and all the rest.

Remember that so-called electoral democracy — in fact, nothing more than an imperial elective oligarchy — never means that we (meaning you and I and our neighbors) are respected as sovereign individuals or left alone to manage our own affairs. What it means is that a highly organized, heavily armed elite insists on the privilege of representing us, ruling over us, and ordering us around, on the excuse that, once every several years, we are given some minimal opportunity to select which of two tightly regimented political parties will take control of the ruling apparatus. It is, in other words, not freedom, but rather a Party State, in which we are given only the choice of which of two bureaucratic political parties might control our lives and livelihoods, with their authority supposedly justified by the ritual of elections and the mandate of popular sovereignty. And if the people (again, meaning you and I and our neighbors) should dare to think that we might challenge the authority of the regime supposedly representing us, you’ll find that it’s the people that go out the window, not the rigged electoral system or the parties’ grasp on the authority supposedly derived from those people.

See also:

Cops are here to protect you. (#7)

Trigger warning. The video footage and news report include both video and a verbal description of a male cop shouting misogynistic curses and using sudden physical violence against a woman trying to find out why another protester had been arrested.

This special edition of Cops are here to protect you is brought to you from the streets of Occupied Denver, during the recent police riots against people protesting the Democratic National Convention.

Government cops protect you by yanking random dark-skinned men out of the park for no clear reason. Then, if you should walk up and try to take some photographs of what’s happening, or ask them why they’re arresting a dark-skinned man who, as far as anyone could tell, was standing around not doing anything wrong, they’ll protect you by jabbing you with a stick. Then, if you should dare to verbally demand that your public servants stop jabbing you with a stick for asking questions, they’ll make sure you’re good and protected by screaming Back up, bitch! in your face and slamming you to the ground with a body check from the same stick.

Oh, and then grabbing you and hauling you away to jail when you try to talk to reporters about what just happened.

The woman shown on video being shoved to the ground by a Denver police officer says the officer hit her four times with his baton in an incident she describes as unprovoked.

CodePink protester Alicia Forrest, 24, was released on $500 bail Tuesday night and has a court date for late September, she said Wednesday at an anti-war protest march through the middle of Denver.

I’m a little sore, she said, but I’ll make it.

Forrest is a former fashion designer from Los Angeles.

She and others were asking officers why they were arresting another protester Tuesday afternoon outside Civic Center Park when the officer poked her twice with his baton. He then pushed her with the long side of the stick once, Forrest said, before yelling, Back up, b—- and shoving her hard to the ground.

The final shove was captured by a Rocky videographer.

. . . I was taking photos (and) he kept hitting me with his baton, she said. I was so shocked that he did that.

Forrest and CodePink said the officer was reassigned and can no longer interact with demonstrators, but that could not be immediately confirmed Wednesday.

Forrest was in jail about five hours, then spent another two hours talking with the Denver Police Department’s Internal Affairs Division, she said.

— Paul A. Anthony, Rocky Mountain News (2008-08-28):

I suppose it’s for the best that he can’t get all interactive on demonstrators’ asses anymore. But if it is true that he acted improperly enough to yank him from protest control duty, then isn’t also the case that he violated the rights of an innocent woman with his use of force? And, if so, why is this dangerous thug — who feels perfectly free to beat an unarmed woman with a stick, while screaming misogynistic curses at her, apparently for nothing more than daring to give him lip — why, I say, is he not in jail on charges of assault and battery?

See also: