Tag Archives: anarchists

Call for anti-capitalist contingent at April 4th Denver labor actions

30 Mar

The following is a statement issued by the Denver General Membership Branch of the IWW calling anti-capitalists to converge on the April 4th labor actions in Denver. There will be an anti-capitalist and radical worker’s bloc participating in the march beginning at 11:30am at 17th and California as well as a presence at the later rally and vigil.

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NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO COMPROMISE

SEIZE THE TIME!

The uprisings in Europe, then North Africa and the Mideast, and in the United States are not a coincidence. They are, at least in part, a common rebellion against a common enemy that threatens to make working people pay for its plunder and failures: the neo-liberal policies of unregulated capitalism, croney government, and phoney “banking”. We believe the best of what workers have spoken so far is not reforming a crippled and crippling capitalist system, but for the working class to step in as replacements for bundling bankers and bungling politicians.
WE HAVE A CHOICE TO MAKE: WE CAN LET OUR MOVEMENT BE CHANNELED TO WEAK REFORM AND ELECTORAL MEASURES OR WE CAN PUSH ONWARD NOT JUST FOR WORKERS’ RIGHTS IN THE OLD SYSTEM BUT FOR WORKERS’ POWER to control our own work, our wealth, our well being. Early in the last century the newpaper The Messenger, founded by A. Philip Randolph, called for mass strikes and workers’ control as “the antidote for capitalist poisons”.
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Never is your voice so lovely as when it harmonizes with history

2 Feb

Some words from a friend in the wake of Saturday’s events…

Excellent! What delightful news! Pity that 16th and 17th St are paned in space-glass, or something.

It brings a particular joy to our troubled lives to hear of the constellations of events taking place in the US and across the world. Keep listening comrades, there is a call that is reverberated. The spirits of Marvin Booker, Paul Childs, Frank Lobato, and Ishmael Mena still yearn for redemption. They incarnate all those who will listen to the song of the vanquished. The Queen City has been terrorized by those miserable blue-clad soldiers of fortune for far too long. Let every avenue shake uncontrollably, and expose the enemy to its paradoxical vocation.

Denver is a city with a long history of struggle—a city deeply entrenched in the story which will not come to end until the whole of life is emancipated from Capital and its police. The shame of so many defeats and betrayals haunts that city, filling the streets of Santa Fe, Colfax, and Broadway with sad ghosts. The movements of the oppressed, alienated, and exploited that have been repressed boil beneath that pathetic structure on the corner of 13th St and Cherokee. The labor of the exploited permeates all those disgusting cartographies of neo-ubranism that make Denver such a desert of smiling faces filled with cocaine. We still hold on to the memories that weakened all potency before Obama shook hands with Hickenlooper, and before DPD got up early to beat the crowds.

Remember how they put down striking workers only a few hours south, and transformed the weakest among them over time into allies in their long march of progress. Remember how they reduced the power of brown and black liberation to cowering politicians and NGOs. Remember how they exposed the anarchists of an earlier age to their sad position and neutralized any intensity within their collective form of life. So many defeats, betrayals, frightened passivity yearning—like every city paved in the dead labor and of the past to be avenged—for redemption.

Denver, Queen City of the Plains, your task is not easy, but it’s so lovely, for one who knows intimately what trauma you’ve suffered, to see you fight. Throw off the weight of those scared little puppies, treat the snitches appropriately and refuse to governed by the activist-politicians. Expose the police to their paranoid nightmare, and reduce the facade that covers your beautiful flesh to ashes. Never is your voice so lovely as when it harmonizes with history.

Love and solidarity from the South.

kisses,
-Liam

We ain’t takin this no mo’: The streets fill with rage against the Denver cops

1 Feb

from Queen City Antifa:

Denver, Colorado. January 29, 2011.
We ain’t takin this no mo’!

The Action

In a third round of street demonstrations against police terror in the Denver metro area in the last six months, hundreds took to the streets of downtown Denver on the night of January 29th. A crowd that started as 150 and at times fluctuated to almost twice that number stormed the 16th Street Mall, a commercial epicenter of downtown Denver in a display of rage that hasn’t been seen in Denver in quite some time.

The actions come on the heels of an endless series of police misconduct incidents, including the killing of a prisoner named Marvin Booker by Denver County Sheriffs at the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center in July 2010. A laundry list of beatings, rapes, child pornography and drug charges has marked police activity in the metro area. Lawsuit after lawsuit has been filed, with the city of Denver paying out millions of dollars over the last several years.

The crowd gathered at the Denver Skatepark at 19th and Little Raven Streets at 6pm. Because of its proximity to downtown and the locations of several high profile police misconduct cases, the Skatepark has been the launching site of two of the three street actions that have happened since the murder of Marvin.

The crowd assembled for several short speeches, and stormed off into the night, filling the streets. Banners accompanying the crowd included messages such as “Marvin Booker was murdered” and “6 months later, we have not forgotten”. Several more pointed banners also illustrated the anger seething within the crowd. One banner displayed a picture of a Glock pistol with the words “They have left us no other option” printed below the weapon. Another depicted twin unicorns impaling stereotypical renderings of a businessman and a police officer.

As the crowd moved toward downtown, united chants filled the air: “From Denver to Greece, Fuck the Police!”; “Cops, Pigs, Murderers!”; and “Oink, oink, bang, bang, every day the same old thang” were among the crowd’s favorites. Marvin Booker’s name was also chanted excitedly and for long periods of time, to remind the cops and other passerby of one of the many victims at the hands of Denver metro law enforcement agencies.

The march passed over the pedestrian bridge into the 16th Street Mall district, taking both lanes of the street, shutting down all bus traffic on the mall. As with the demonstration on October 22nd, hundreds of stickers of Marvin’s face were placed on storefronts, street poles, and other targets.

Although no permit existed, police worked to direct traffic away from the march, and kept their distance while the march worked its way toward the capitol and the detention center.

After an unexpected turn toward the jail, the march took over Colfax Ave, one of the busiest streets in Denver, blocking all traffic on the street. Several blocks later, and the march was at the steps of the Van Cise-Simonet Detention Center, the new jail where Marvin was murdered by guards just six months ago, and where so many other victims of police terror end up on a daily basis.

The crowd surged toward the doors of the center, covering the large glass entrance with stickers. The whole entrance shook as marchers pounded and kicked on the doors and windows, while the crowd loudly screamed Marvin’s name. A deputy that came out to try to intimidate the crowd found himself momentarily pinned in between the frame and the door he attempted to exit from. After the door being slammed on his arm several times, he retreated back inside the building. The crowd had demonstrated its militancy and willingness to engage the deputies. No other jail guards attempted to confront the crowd.

The march proceeded to 14th Ave, and took a turn back toward downtown. At this point, construction barrels and security fencing from a large event that had taken place earlier in Civic Center Park were pulled into the street behind the marchers. A series of low level barricades were erected.

The march turned yet again, this time onto Broadway, another of the busiest streets in Denver. The march proceeded the wrong way down the one way street, and police frantically tried to clear traffic out of the path of the march.

As the crowd passed through the intersection of Colfax and Broadway, the police cars stationed there became targets for stickers and graffiti. Officers hurried out of their cars to try to arrest demonstrators. Their attempts failed, and the crowd continued back toward the 16th Street Mall.

By the time the crowd reached the mall, the march had been in control of the streets for well over an hour. A sense of power and rage seemed to be emanating from the crowd. The second pass through downtown would not be as peaceful as the first.

Trash cans, benches, chairs, and anything else not bolted down filled the streets behind the marchers. Christmas decorations, pay phones, and displays were destroyed by the crowd. Even more trashcans and chairs were thrown at bank windows, though few, if any of the windows seemed to break.

Anti-cop graffiti filled the walls and windows of businesses as the crowd continued to work its way back up the 16th Street Mall. The crowd wanted to make sure that people would not forget this night. The city and the police would not be able to ignore the anger and rage seething from this march.

Somewhere near Champa and 16th Street, a decision was made to disperse, as riot police were finally mobilizing nearby. With a quick group countdown, the marchers dispersed themselves into the night.

One arrest was confirmed during the dispersal, though the person arrested was later released without charges after the police failed to identify them in any photos they had taken of the acts of property destruction.

The Actors

Much has been already noted about the mood of those in attendance, and the actions they took. But what of those that took the streets?

Much like the crowds that assembled in October, the participants in the march were mostly youth. Many were homeless and poor street kids who are frequently targeted by police downtown. Anarchists and other radicals were much better represented in this march than the previous October action. However, many familiar faces from the various scenes that make up the Denver anarchist movement were yet again missing. More mainstream activists and progressives were also in attendance, but yet again, constituted a very small minority. Probably the biggest difference from October was that local graf crews and hiphop heads were well represented at this march.

Overall, the crowd was widely diverse, but was overwhelmingly comprised of poor or working class youth. Just as in October, this factor was one of the largest reasons that the march was as militant as it was.

Finale

In the several days that have passed since the march, very little media coverage has been aired of the events of January 29. Two small snippets appeared on the local ABC and FOX affiliate news channels. A photo-montage of the police response that took place at the end of the march appeared in the local entertainment weekly, the Westword. But these few examples represent all of the local mainstream coverage of the event. Several photo essays and videos have been released from participants or independent and movement journalists. These reports, as has become typical, are the best representations of the events of the night.

Even as the media and the police try to black out the events that transpired, the news has reached thousands of residents in Denver already. Of course, the visible reminders of the march still litter parts of downtown days later, spurring conversations and storytelling about the nighttime melee.

The Next Act

The future looks promising for a movement that is both anti-cop and anti-authoritarian to continue to strengthen in the Denver area. With each successive action organized by radicals in response to the growing police terror in our communities there has been an escalation of tactics. The participation level has also increased, but not merely in the area of numbers, but in the amount of participation a single person puts into each action. Instead of a march with just several people controlling all the messaging, and the tactical decisions, the vast majority of the crowd became an active part in shaping the demonstration. Whether through tagging, erecting barricades, confronting cops, constructing banners, or controlling the chants, the march participants nearly all left behind the role of spectator by engaging the in the actions of the night.

The reign of police terror does not seem poised to cease any time soon, and neither does the anger rising from our communities. As one march participant pointed out our mission is to “create crisis and break the peace.” The actions of January 29th definitely succeeded.

The police may still attempt to take actions against the participants, but as of yet we know of no charges having been filed against anyone involved in the march. This lack of immediate repression has also done much to embolden the participants of the march.

The next few months could be tumultuous indeed for the city of Denver. Even if elected officials fire a few of the officers involved with the endless list of misconduct cases, it doesn’t appear that the thirst for vengeance will be quenched.

People in Denver are starting to realize that they can become powerful. That can only spell trouble for the people that attempt to steal that power.

There are certainly challenges that face this movement. Questions of tactical efficacy need to be posed, especially as several march participants were almost hurt by others within the march wildly throwing objects. The general tactical decisions of the group seemed sound, but the relative inexperience of the participants could have injured fellow comrades.

Could the crowd have defended itself if directly attacked by the police? In case of mass arrest, were networks strong enough to deal with dozens of arrests, bail scenarios, and courtdates? How easily can various elements of the participants be turned against each other? Does solidarity only exist between social groupings during these marches, or is solidarity an everyday experience?

Education and training will certainly be needed, as well as much more practice in the streets. Most of these questions can only be answered if the needs themselves arise. Others, however, need to start to be answered now, before the situations they reference become reality.

January 29th was just the latest chapter!

The rest of the story is unwritten!

In solidarity and rage!
Queen City Antifa
January 31, 2011

Videos available here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PslrrbLMDQY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ODGnv7kjp14

More from 1/29 anti-police march

1 Feb

More video from the anti-police march on Saturday in Denver, where about 150 to 300 people took the streets, threw some barricades and trash cans to block cop cars, painted anti-police slogans on 16th St Mall storefronts, and stickered the doors of the new Denver jail.

Also see this photo-essay at the Westword blog.

Anti-police march in Denver pretty rowdy

31 Jan

 

The anti-police march in Denver Saturday night saw about 150 to 300 people in the streets, hastily-constructed barricades, graffiti on 16th St Mall storefronts, and stickers covering the doors of the jail where Marvin Booker was murdered.

One person was arrested, and released without charges.

^Look at that dumbass. Watch the video too, it’s pretty good.

Denver anti-police demo trashes cop car

26 Oct

Cop carIn communities across North America October 22nd has become a day to commemorate victims of police repression and violence. For many communities, October 22, 2010 took on a more urgent meaning in the wake of severe police repression and violence that has plagued cities large and small. In Denver, this year’s October 22nd event saw a rise in hostility towards the cops and an increased militancy from years’ past.

Throughout 2010, police in the metro area have repeatedly made headlines with horrific acts of violence directed at community members. Ranging from allegations of sexual assault, rapes of children, murders, and beatings, news stories have painted a picture of a department that is clearly running amok and waging war on the residents of Colorado. Offending officers are rarely held accountable and department leadership deftly sweeps incidents under the rug to stave off an increasingly angry public.

One of the most violent and high profile incidents occurred in July. Denver Sheriff’s Deputies serving as guards at the new Denver Justice Center murdered 56 year old Marvin Booker, a homeless preacher being held as a prisoner at the jail. Marvin had asked for access to his shoes before he would comply with orders to return to his cell. In response, five deputies tackled him, placed him in repeated choke and pain compliance holds, tasered him, and beat him. Marvin died shortly after the attack. While the local coroner deemed the death a homicide, the DA announced in late September that no charges would be filed against any of the officers involved.

In response, an ad hoc coalition called for a demonstration in the city in observation of O22. A cluster of diverse participants, most hearing of the march through fliers and handbills diffused around town, began to amass in Confluence Park. Folks were given access to candles, stickers with Marvin Booker’s face, and a bilingual handout to give to passerby on the route of the march. A banner was unfurled, “When police attack, we will fight back” and quickly the group, numbering at about eighty, took the street and marched towards the 16th street mall, the commercial center of downtown Denver.

The makeup of the crowd is a particularly important and revealing factor in how this march went down. Few members of the local “left” were present. About two dozen Denver based anarchists, most of whom were involved in organizing the demonstration were on hand along with several members of RAIM and Comite Defensa Del Pueblo. Otherwise, the crowd was nearly entirely made up of street youth and other homeless people. The participation of liberals, non-profit organizers, radical collective house dwellers, and even other militant revolutionaries and most of Denver’s anarchists was visibly lacking from the event. The march was almost entirely comprised of people that have direct experience with the police on a daily basis, who were motivated more by hatred at their direct social conditions than any reading of political theory.

Because of this, the mood of the march was pretty clear at the onset. Chants of “No justice, no peace, fuck the police” and “Cops, Pigs, Murderers” were loud and spirited. Previous debates that have plagued local activist circles for the last several months, about violence and nonviolence, about whether every cop is our enemy or not, were non-existent. The crowd was united by rage and a militancy that is all too rare in political actions in Denver or elsewhere.

Masked demonstrators dashed to passerby handing out fliers and slapping the stickers of Marvin on every imaginable surface, including shop windows, higher-priced cars, buses, and posts. The crowd gained more participants from the street, screaming Marvin’s name and jeering at the cops beginning to follow.

Halfway along the route, a parked police car was redecorated by the demonstrators. Stickers of Marvin were put on the windows, tires were slashed, people took keys to the paint and various projectiles were thrown at it. This was all done directly in front of an unmarked police car coming to respond to the march, a real indicator of how fearless and angry the crowd was.

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Saturday in the streets: vengeance on the police

25 Aug

This Saturday there will be a march against the police in Denver.  We are not posting the organizers’ rhetoric in full because we find it deflating.  We are not interested in “taking a tour,” but we intend to use this opportunity to take a little bit of our vengeance.

The very existence of the police is violence.  Our very existence is revolt.

Saturday we will be in the streets.  If this march ends up good for nothing more than social activity (don’t get us wrong, talking to people and passing out prop against the police is all well and good), let us arrange another time to get anti-social.

Either way we expect to see you there, and on your baddest behavior…

Where: Gather at 20th and Little Raven

When: Saturday August 28, 2010 @ 2:00pm, Step off @ 2:30pm

Bring your… rage